Stay Safe This Summer: Find a Self-Defense Class Near You

Illustration by Justin Renninger

The temps go up, and so does the crime. It happens nearly every year in every city across the country, and, unfortunately, we all know Philly isn’t a city full of saints. In the last month, I’ve followed the Sabina Rose story in horror, and we here at Philly Mag have dealt with our own set of scares. One of our co-workers was mugged right near Rittenhouse a few weeks ago—thankfully she’s okay!—and two weeks ago I came home from a weekend-long camping trip only to find my car had been stolen from a spot in No. Libs that I had thought was totally safe and fine. It was found a few days later in Camden, completely gutted and stripped. So to do our part in keeping everyone safe this summer, we rounded up a list of area self-defense classes. Sign up, stay aware, and take a few minutes to purchase a key chain Mace Pepper Spray like the one I tote around (yes, it’s hot pink, and no, I don’t care)—and learn how to use it. — Class descriptions and research by Jillian Skrocki


Maxercise Training Academy & Fitness Club
707 Chestnut Street 2nd Floor, 215-928-1374
Although they’ve built their street cred as Philly’s top kettlebell gym, Maxercise Training Academy & Fitness Club is now offering women’s self defense classes. Sign up for their two-hour seminar on July 17th to learn how to protect yourself from attackers. Or, if you’re interested in learning some more serious skills, check out their Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Judo, or Muay Thai classes, various forms of martial arts that will help you teach any perp a tough lesson should he approach. Women’s self defense seminar, $75 (Mention Be Well Philly when you sign up to receive $10 discount!); Class prices available upon request.

Urban Defense Center
725 North 6th Street, 267- 974-0287
Urban Defense Center will teach you how to protect and prepare yourself for common dangers that can crop up during city living by combining traditional martial arts skills with practical instruction on getting through street crimes safely. Best part? Your first week of classes is free, so what do you have to lose by trying? Walk-ins start at $15; Monthly passes start at $55.

Delaware County

Action Fighting Arts
4051 Ivy Lane, Easton, 610-253-3666
Action Fighting Arts has everything from basic self-defense classes for men, women, and children to intense instructor certifications in everything from Sexual Harassment Assault to Rape Prevention. Class size varies from one-on-one up to 50. Self defense classes, $25-$50; Instructor training and re-certification starting at $240.

Chester County

West Chester Martial Arts & Self Defense Academy
1504 Paoli Pike, West Chester, 610-692-6767
Emphasizing kicks more than other martial arts, Tae Kwon Do is ideal for self-defense. It improves balance, flexibility, and endurance, and teaches you how to deliver a powerful, unexpected kick to an attacker. This nationally recognized studio has classes for both children and adults. Two-week trial, $19.95; Average $130 per month.

Bucks County

Safe Day Studio
Spring Mill Athletic Club, 173 Jacksonville Road, Ivland, 215-370-1650
Sign up for Safe Day’s three-hour women’s self defense seminar to learn everything from how to protect yourself during home and car invasions as well as numerous other all-too-common scenarios. There’s also a wide variety of adult and children’s martial arts programs, such as Muay Thai, a difficult martial art from Thailand that makes use of punches, kicks, elbows, and knee strikes, and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, a martial art that focuses on grappling and ground fighting. Self-defense classes 10/$80; Monthly unlimited karate, $50.


Sente Martial Systems
1100 East Hector Street, Suite 416, Conshohocken, 484-459-6861
Don’t have time to get to a class or seminar? Sente’s self-defense program can come to you—they’ll provide providing one-on-one private and group training in any location or environment. Sente does everything from basic self-defense to integrated kickboxing. While some classes are taught at Alliance in West Chester, instructors are flexible to meet wherever is best for you whether at home or in the office. Monthly pass, $100; Private training, $75/hour, $280/4 sessions, $520/8 sessions.