Strategic Living's News & Views

May 2015

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Dear ,  

I am one of those rare Seattleites who hasn't embraced my inner "12th Man."  No offense to the Seahawks, I'm just not into football.  But, like everyone in Seattle the past two years, the Seahawks have become a pervasive part of my social milieu.  Pete Carroll had an aura as a different, in a positive way, sort of coach.  I was intrigued to hear that both Carroll and Seahawks manager John Schneider vowed they would never allow a player who was involved in domestic violence to play for the team.
But now we are being asked by the Seahawks' new draft pick, Frank Clark, to have faith in him.  Whatever for?

The selection of Clark as a Seahawks draft choice is dogged by charges that he struck his girlfriend, Diamond Hurt.  They allegedly got into a fight in a hotel, someone called the police, the officer interviewed several witnesses and determined there had been some physical violence and thus was obliged to arrest Clark.  Larry Stone's article in The Seattle Times lays out more of the evidence and issues, and you should take a look at that.

One quote from Stone's article bears special notice.  He cites John Schneider as saying, "I would say there are always two sides to a story. You have to go through the whole thing. You can't just go with one police report. You have to talk to everybody involved. Everybody."  Stone notes, however, that they did not talk to Diamond Hurt.  A subsequent article by Geoff Baker, also in The Seattle Times, notes that in fact the Seahawks did not talk to any of the witnesses.  Except for Frank Clark.  It would appear that "everybody" is limited to everybody who would say what they wanted to hear.

Renowned psychologist Paul Ekman has written, in his book Telling Lies, that intelligent people can sometimes fail to see blatant untruths because they have a vested interest in believing the lie, in "collusively helping to maintain the lie, to avoid the terrible consequences of uncovering the lie."

Even though I don't know much about football, I do know something about abusive relationships. Abusers too often continue to abuse because they can.  It is a learned behavior, it gets them what they want, and there are often few if any meaningful consequences for them. That's because often people around them make choices that help minimize and mask the "not-so-bad" behavior."

It can be easy to minimize abuse when the abuser is someone you like, or you think can perform well for your organization.  It can be easy to minimize a police report when that certain someone has skills you want to exploit.  Domestic abuse is perpetuated not only by those doing the violence, but by those with a vested interest in other aspects of the abusers' lives.  By those ancillary enablers who will justify their "compassion" to give a second (or third?  fourth?  fifth?) chance, but end up teaching that some "valuable" abusers can get away with a LOT of bad behavior before suffering serious consequences.

Frankly, we will probably never know for sure what happened that evening.  In general, however, by the time a relationship gets to physical violence, there's been a lot of power and control and manipulation happening.  And physical violence in a relationship, once it begins, is not a one-time event.  As a self-defense teacher, my suggestion to students is to recognize the relationship for what it is, and plan how to keep themselves safer.

Going forward from here will be challenging.  The first step I'd like to see is Carroll, Schneider, and the Seahawks as an organization be accountable for their decision to draft a player who, by witness accounts, did hit his then-girlfriend.  I'd like to see them own up to not really interviewing "everybody."   I'd like to see them discuss how to hold Clark accountable going forward.  Finally, I'd like to see Clark own his accountability for his behavior, which would involve being publicly honest about that evening's events.  Because, whether or not I follow football, my community is affected by prominent public figures publicly denying abusive behavior.

Class Schedule Spring/Summer 2015:

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 Sunday mornings, 10:00 am - noon, through the ASUW Experimental College (location in Seattle's International District), beginning July 12.

Six Saturday afternoons,
1:30 - 3:30 pm, at Bellevue College's North Campus, beginning June 27.

Six Monday evenings, 7:00 - 9:00 pm, at Seattle Central College, beginning July 6.

Six Sunday mornings, 10:00 am - noon, through the ASUW Experimental College (location in Seattle's International District), beginning July 12. 

Six Thursday evenings,
:00 - 9:00 pm, at South Seattle College (in West Seattle), beginning July 23. 
NEW CLASS:  Beyond the Basics -- Self-Defense 102 for Women

Self-Defense 102 takes up material you learned in Self-Defense 101, and kicks it up a notch!

This is a progressive skill-building class, which means each session will review what you learned the previous week(s) and build on those skills. You should be prepared to commit to attending all 4 sessions. Each session is 2 hours in length. Prerequisite is Self-Defense 101, or another multi-session Empowerment Self-Defense program.


Offered Sunday mornings, June 7 - 28, 10 am - noon.


Visit Strategic Living's Beyond the Basics page for more info as well as online registration! 



Single Day Seminars

This five hour self-defense basic class will be offered in Seattle's International District on:
  • May 31  
  • June 21
  • July 26
  • August 23
  • September 27

A seminar will also be offered on June 13 at North Kirkland Community Center.


Also check out this shorter (2 hour) offerings at the Burien Community Center


NEW CLASS:  Safety Shorts 


This set of short classes focuses on specific self-defense topics. Each class stands on its own (you do not need to take #1 before #3). You can come to as many or as few as you'd like, depending on your interests.  Please note:  this is not a progressive skill-building series (if that's what you want, please register for Self-Defense 101).
  • Class 1:  Street Safety
  • Class 2:  Relationship Safety
  • Class 3:  Boundaries and Safety
  • Class 4:  Verbal Safety
Offered four Thursday mornings, June 18 0- July 9, 9:30 - 11:00 am and four Sunday mornings September 13 - October 4, 10:30 am - noon.

Visit Strategic Living's Safety Shorts page for more info and online registration.



Pepper Spray  


Three sessions scheduled for the summer: June 28, July 11, and August 29. Register online today



For Teen Girls Only

  • For Teen Girls (ages 15+) is on May 9 and July 12 in Seattle
  • For Teen Girls (ages 14-17) at Bellevue College is on July 28
  • For Teen Girls (ages 14+) at North Kirkland Community Center on on August 22
  • For Teen Girls (ages 12-15) is on June 7, July 2, August 9, August 25, and September 20 in Seattle
  • For Girls Off to College is on
    •  July 21 and August 11 at Bellevue College
    • August 15 at North Kirkland Community Center
    • September 13 in Seattle
  • For Tween Girls (ages 10-13) is on June 20 and August 30 in Seattle.

Visit the Strategic Living Teen Girls page for more info and to register.   



Classes for Teen Girls and classes for LGBTQ+ Youth are also offered through the Fight the Fear Campaign (FtFC). 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 who would otherwise not be able to afford these classes.   Visit Strategic Living's FtFC page for more info and registration. 





Safety Skills for Kids   

Saturday, May 30, at North Kirkland Community Center (Class 45557) 




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 attendance at a Single Day 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. 

Contact Information
phone: 206.202.0748

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