Strategic Living's News & Views
June 2014

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Dear ,  
Joanne Factor of Strategic Living
Our thoughts the last week have been with the Seattle Pacific University community.  Deepest condolences to the family and friends of the young man taken too soon.  Wishing a quick and complete recovery to all those injured.  And much thanks to SPU student Jon Meis, whose initiative and courage stopped the shooter and certainly saved lives.

Mr. Meis apparently saw the opportunity and stepped in quickly.  Many others would have paused too long, wondering if this was a real break and how long it would last and would they really have enough time . . . you know that old cliche about he who hesitates.
KUOW-FM broadcast an interview with Greg Crane, president and founder of Alert Lockdown Inform Counter Evacuate (ALICE).  They were discussing what to do if faced with an active shooter.  Mr. Crane says the best practices are pro-active.  Know what you can do, and practice.  Noise, movement, distance, and distraction all can slow down a shooter. It's when someone takes charge that lives are saved, quotes interviewer Marcie Sillman.

How can you prepare yourself, just in case?  Can you be that person to take charge?  Start by listening to the interview, and you should get some good ideas.

Sincerely, Joanne

Can Your Stick Family Car Decal Put Your Flesh-and-Blood Family in Danger?

We've all seen them.  Decals, generally on minivans, showing stick figures representing family members.  Or sometimes representing parodies of family members.  Or a T Rex snacking on family members . . .

Some people like them, some are annoyed, most probably don't care one way or the other.

But do pedophiles care?  Will the decal draw the criminal element to your family?  Some people believe so.

Even a few police departments are warning about having these decals on your vehicle.

However, there is one complicating issue.  There are no cases cited where a perpetrator gleaned personal information from stick figures and used it to commit a crime.

As a self-defense instructor, I have a short list of "rules" I check before giving safety recommendations to students.  Rule #1 is that any piece of safety advice has to be based on evidence.  There has to be some proof that this reduces violence in the real world, not just as a hypothetical in the world between someone's ears.  No matter how logical or reasonable it may seem, if it does not exist in reality I will not recommend it.

This suggestion that stick figure family decals can attract bad guys fails to meet that standard.

This piece of advice also ignores the substantiated fact that most predators who go after children are people already known to the family and do not need any decals to inform them.  You're better off learning how to assess the real people in your children's lives.

When I Need a Sudden Get-Away . . .

(Imagine, in the background, you are serenaded with the unmistakable guitar intro for The Beatle's Yesterday.)

Pepper spray. 
When I need a sudden get-away. 
From a punk who wants to make my day. 
Oh I can use my pepper spray.

By request, we're now offering a single-session class on selecting, carrying, and using pepper spray.  Easy to obtain, inexpensive, no permit required (in Washington state), and simplicity of use make pepper spray the defensive supplement of choice among women who are looking for additions to their arsenals.  Yet, as with any other weapon, there is some learning and practice involved is you want to get the most out of it.  In this class you'll learn about the different spray patterns and why you should care, when size does matter, and how hot is hot.  You will actually practice firing (special inert training units) at stationary and moving targets. And you will learn how to incorporate pepper spray as an effective aspect of your personal safety skill set.

Suddenly he's not half the thug he thought he be.
There's a red cloud hanging over he.
Oh pepper spray did save my day.

Why he meant me harm I don't know, he didn't say.
I said, "BACK OFF NOW!" 
Then I used my pepper spray-ay-ay-ay.

Classes offered this summer July 5 and August 10.  Visit for more info and registration.  Class size limited to no more than 8 participants.  Must be over 16 year of age.

The Invisible War:  Screening and Expert Panel


A female soldier in combat zones is more likely to be raped by a fellow soldier than killed by enemy fire.


That is but one of the dismal facts exposed in the film The Invisible War.  This groundbreaking investigative documentary is about one of America's most shameful and best kept secrets: the epidemic of rape within the U.S. military. Focusing on the powerfully emotional stories of rape victims, The Invisible War is a moving indictment of the systemic cover-up of military sex crimes, chronicling the women's struggles to rebuild their lives and fight for justice. It also features hard-hitting interviews with high-ranking military officials and embers of Congress that reveal the perfect storm of conditions that exist for rape in the military, its long-hidden history, and what can be done to bring about much-needed change.


Strategic Living, LLC, is proud to make this screening available and free to the public on Tuesday, July 29, beginning at 6:30 pm at Mosaic Coffeehouse. Doors open at 6:00, and you can arrive even earlier and hang out in the cafe.  Address is 4401 - 2nd Ave NE, Seattle WA 98105.


After the film, a panel of experts on sexual assault, trauma, female veterans, and self-defense will talk about their work with survivors  and answer audience questions. 


Admission is free but space is limited to only 40 people, so please register online.   


Fight the Fear Campaign has Launched


In July of 2009, two women were repeatedly raped and stabbed in their South Park home.  One died.  The brutality of this attack shocked many in Seattle (and beyond), and in some local communities, palpable fear seemed to swell out of the Puget Sound itself.  This story caught the attention of local musician Brandi Carlile.  She got in touch with the surviving woman, became close, talked about friends and fear, and a movement emerged. 


Fight the Fear Campaign (FtFC) is a community oriented violence-prevention initiative. FtFC provides training in basic self defense skills including awareness, de-escalation, boundary setting, assertive communication, and fighting techniques, as well as access to resources for survivors of violence or abuse. Funded by Brandi Carlile's Looking Out Foundation, the goal of FtFC is to make self defense available to as many people as possible.  Classes are run by experienced self defense instructors who provide the most up to date and useful training, tailoring each workshop to serve the specific, focused needs of different populations.


I am fortunate to have been asked to participate in teaching classes, and will be offering a series of free workshops for teen girls.   The first will be held Tuesday, June 17.  You can see the schedule of these classes here, and find out more about FtFC on their site.


There will be more classes added over time, so please bookmark these websites and share.



Class Schedule
Summer 2014:

Self-Defense 101 for Women:
 A six week course that builds progressive skill and prepares you for life's unexpected (and unwanted) moments.  To register for any of these classes, visit for links to each organization and class registration.

Six Thursday evenings,
7:00 - 9:00 pm, at South Seattle College. July 10 - August 21 (no class July 17). 

Five Saturday afternoons, 1:30 - 4:00 pm, at Bellevue College's North Campus. July 12 - August 9.

Six Sunday mornings, 10:00 am - noon, through the ASUW Experimental College.  July 13 - August 24 (no class July 20). 

Six Monday evenings, 7:00 - 9:00 pm, at Seattle Central College. July 14 - August 18. 


Single Afternoon Seminars:

This short self-defense 5 hour basic class will be offered this summer on July 28, August 17, and September 14  (Int'l District) and June 28 (North Kirkland Community Center). 

We are back with our Third Annual DAWN Fundraiser!  This year the class will be on Sunday, August 3, 1-4 pm.  Learn cool safety moves, have fun, and support an AWESOME organization in providing services and advocacy to domestic violence survivors!  Register today.  



For Teen Girls Only:

Visit the Self-Defense for Teen Girls info and registration page.  Classes are constantly being added. While the class at North Kirkland Community Center is full, there's still space in the Bellevue College classes on July 22 and July 29. 



Safety Skills for Children:  Child-appropriate safety skills (for parents too!), August 23 and September 27 at North Kirkland Community Center.

NEW!!!  Pepper Spray:
A short workshop in selecting, carrying, and using it effectively. You'll even get to fire a training cannister!  Offered on July 5 and August 10, limited to no more than 8 students each session.  Register today.


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Self-defense skills are like CPR, you should review and practice them annually.

If you've already taken a class and want to keep it fresh, Strategic Living offers a 50% discount on select classes. And, if you refer your friends to a Strategic Living class and they sign up, I will donate $25 to one of three awesome organizations for women and girls. Visit my Paying It Forward page for details.

Do you work with a non-profit or community organization that holds silent  auctions? Ask me to donate a gift certificate for a private 1.5 hour seminar.

Do you work with a non-profit or community organization whose staff/volunteers/members/clients would benefit from a safety skills seminar? Visit for information on requesting partly subsidized training sessions. 

Liz J's staff had this feedback from their session: Self defense class - striking practice

"I really enjoyed the training.  It reinforced the notion of trusting your instincts and being aware of your environment.  I thought the physical techniques we learned were easy to remember and very practical."
"I thought it was a great training.  It has made me more mindful about my presence in the world.  I've been practicing acknowledging people (men) when I'm by myself by making eye contact but not smiling at them.  I used to feel like I had to smile to "be nice".  I've been conscious of my posture as well.  Also just being aware of my surroundings.  I haven't actually thought about using any of the self defense methods other than remembering what they are."
"I thought the training was helpful to remind me to continue being aware of my surroundings and feeling confident that I have the right tools to handle myself in any situation that comes my way."
"Role playing was very valuable (especially in getting a bigger voice out of my quiet one) and also it was great to practice the defensive moves. I thought we could have done more of that - there was a lot of dialogue which was helpful too but for me practicing something ingrains it in my brain more. The one thing that really stuck with me was walking around the car to create space between me and my possible attacker.  I do feel I recognize when I'm not walking big. I correct my stance more to walk taller and keep my hands by side more when I'm out and about by myself. So I'm ready!"
"I loved this training. I think about the moves that we were taught when I start to feel nervous when I'm out at night, etc. And it's helped to reinforce positive things I was already doing - like walking tall, making eye contact, etc. Really great!"   
Contact Information
phone: 206.202.0748

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