Strategic Living's News & Views
Mid-Summer 2014

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And, for those of you who've taken my classes, review me on Yelp

Dear ,  
Joanne Factor of Strategic Living
Bonnie, along with her young teen daughter and some friends, arranged a mother-daughter class eight years ago.  Fast-forward to about six months ago, and Bonnie was back in a class for herself.  Her kids were independent, she was between careers, and she was looking to do something bold.  She joined the Peace Corps, and wanted a self-defense refresher before going overseas.

Great move.  She is now in Albania, and found she had to use the skills she practiced.  Awesome self-defense success story, and I'll direct you to her blog to learn the details.

And now she's looking to teach self-defense to other Peace Corps volunteers, and they in turn can pass the skills and practice along to Albanian women and girls.

And that's why I love my job.  I get to help people make their lives better.  Sometimes they may get to pay it forward.  Someday that person could be you -- are you ready to step up?

Sincerely, Joanne

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.
Next class is Sunday, August 10.  Visit for more info and registration.  Class size limited to no more than 8 participants, and participants must be over 16 years of age.

The Invisible War:  Screening and Expert Panel is Next Week!


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 members 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. Our panelists are:


Dr. Ann Cotton earned her doctoral degree in clinical psychology from Pacific University in 2000, completed her post doctoral training at the Seattle VA in 2001, and has worked there ever since treating Substance Use Disorders and PTSD. She first learned self-defense from Model Mugging of San Luis Obispo California, and is the co-creator of Taking Charge: Self-Defense Therapy for Women.


As a Sergeant in the United States Marine Corps, Ms. Julia Sheriden discovered that injuries change everything but don't have to ruin a person. She founded Outreach And Resource Services (OARS) for Women Veterans, a 501(c)3 that helps women veterans' transition from military life to civilian success. Ms. Sheriden has received many awards for her work with veterans, most notably the prestigious 2013 Jefferson Awards, a Nobel level recognition of her public service and volunteerism on behalf of women veterans.


Janis Clark is founder of Ladies Operation Moving Forward, a non-profit providing life skills and self-sufficiency training for women veterans to successfully transition back to civilian life. As a veteran herself, Janis understands how the unique needs of women veterans are overlooked or misunderstood, including addressing homelessness, unemployment, PTSD, military sexual trauma, and domestic violence.


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


Fight the Fear Campaign


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 next set of classes will be in mid-August.  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
End-of-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 Monday evenings, 6:30 - 8:30pm, at University Heights Center, Sept 8 - Oct 13.
Six Tuesday evenings, 6:30 - 8:30 pm, at Phinney Neighborhood Center, Sept 23 - Oct 28.


Single Afternoon Seminars:

This short self-defense 5 hour basic class will be offered on August 17 and September 14  in Seattle's International District.  Some Fall classes are also open for registration, so please take a look at the schedule page.

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! 


For Teen Girls:

Visit the Self-Defense for Teen Girls info and registration page.  Classes are constantly being added. The Fall schedule is also open for online registration.


NEW!!! For Teen Girls Off to College:


The class at Bellevue College is full, and the wait list is long.  However, there are two more classes open in Seattle on Thursday August 14 (9 am - noon) and Saturday August 16 (5 - 8 pm).  Visit the Self-Defense for Teen Girls info and registration page
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 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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