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Girl Army: Women’s Self-Defense

March 21, 2008

Hello, world. I’m Erin, the project editor for Blue Snake Books, and I’ll now be contributing to the blog every once in a while, with updates on upcoming books and news from our authors.

One of my current extracurricular activities is a self-defense collective called Girl Army, founded in 1994 by a group of women at the Suigetsukan dojo in Oakland. (Suigetsukan is a collectively run, non-profit martial arts school in Oakland, which primarily teaches Danzan Ryu Jujitsu, Yoshinkan Aikido, and Toyama Ryu Battodo.) In Girl Army, students from all backgrounds are invited to learn the basics of practical self-defense. While the curriculum is decidedly influenced by the founders’ background in martial arts — jujitsu and aikido — it also includes a wide variety of techniques not generally covered in a martial arts system. Students learn not only how to strike, block, fall, and escape from wrist grabs, but how to assert themselves: how to say “no!” and have it respected; how to yell; how to not back down; and how to drop their voices and use body language to show a potential attacker that they’re prepared to fight back. Girl Army students also practice “real-life scenario” applications designed by participants, which allow students to try out the skills they’ve learned in a safe and supportive environment.

Girl Army currently offers Basics courses three times a year: a three-week class in Spring and Summer, and a more intensive six-week class in the Fall. Students who complete a Basics course are invited to join the collective, and can go on to take advanced Multiple Attackers and Weapons classes. The classes are open to women and transgender people of all skill levels, and are sliding scale $0-100, no one turned away for lack of funds. Classes are always on Sundays from 1pm-4pm.

If you would like to take part in a Girl Army course, or have questions, please call 510.496.3443 or visit the Girl Army website: On this page you’ll find contact information and a pre-registration form to download and print.


Basics Course
April 27, May 4, May 11
All classes 1pm–4pm

Basics Course
July 6, 13, and 20
All classes 1pm–4pm

6-Week Basics Course
Dates TBD


Suigetsukan Dojo
103 International Blvd.
Oakland, CA

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