High School Self Defense Classes

SAFE International™ believes that Personal Safety Education is a life skill that all high school students should receive.  We believe this instruction helps to develop and ensure that these students transition into our communities and workplaces as more confident and responsible individuals. If you think your students can benefit from this type of education, you have come to the right place! SAFE International™ has taught more than 200,000 students since 1994! 


Our SAFE International™ High School self defense course is our flagship program that began our journey in 1994.  Our high school program is taught to approximately 12,000 female and male students each year and continues to grow every year, not only in Ontario, but also through our SAFE International™ Certified Partners worldwide. 

SAFE International™ has become Canada’s most popular high school course for both boys and girls due to the fact that we are not teaching martial arts, but rather a practical approach to personal safety with an emphasis on detecting and defusing potentially dangerous situations. All of our instructors are certified through SAFE International™ and have a unique ability to reach the students in an effective and memorable manner.  



Did You Know that 1 in 4 women will be assaulted during their lifetime… and the highest risk group is teenagers! 

We provide a number of course options ranging from 1 to 5 hours for all grades.  These courses can be taught over consecutive days or all in one day depending upon your needs. We offer high school seminars customized to meet the class’ needs and expectations, whether it is first year students just beginning their high school journey or senior students who are about to embark on their post-secondary career.  

How Will Your Students Benefit?  

Your students will not only learn how to physically defend themselves, but more importantly how to recognize and avoid potential violence through environmental and situational awareness.  The students will be introduced to the tools to defuse and de-escalate a physical assault.  These verbal strategies  will also carryover to other areas of their life, not just self defense scenarios. They will also be exposed to the legalities of self defense and its use in a legal, ethical and moral manner.  Time will be spent learning defenses against the most common attacks they may face using proven concepts and principles that do not require memorization, but rather an understanding on how violence may unfold.  This self defense course has been developed specifically so that even with just a few hours of instruction, the student will leave with an enhanced chance of survivability in the event of conflict, confrontation, bullying, or harassment.

How Does The School Benefit?

Our SAFE International™ High School self defense program addresses the Personal Safety component of the Healthy Active Living Curriculum.  You can be confident that you are offering a quality self defense course that is based on reality, not fantasy which is unfortunately the case with many martial arts courses disguised as self defense courses.  Teachers consistently tell us that their students rate our program as one of the favourite activities in the Physical Education career.  Having taught more than 200,000 students since 1994 we have also received countless endorsements from both parents and teachers for offering this potentially life saving instruction.                                                                                                       

Basic Course Outline

Hour 13D High School

Strategies to Avoid Violence – through discussion and role playing, some of the topics covered are:                               

  • How and why to walk with confidence.                                                                                         
  • Importance of being aware of your environment.
  • Stairs/elevators in a building.
  • Safe use of buses and taxis.
  • How being too polite can be dangerous.
  • Distraction techniques an attacker might use.
  • How giving directions or the time of day can be dangerous.
  • What to do if being followed.
  • How to carry purses/wallets.
  • Why cell phones are good and bad.
  • The MP3 player, the criminal’s greatest invention.
  • Safe relationships.

Hour 2 – Strikes

During this hour, the students are taught basic, easy to perform, yet highly effective strikes.  The goal of these strikes is to allow one to "Stun & Run" their attacker as quickly as possible.  Also taught are the consequences of using these strikes and how one must understand the legal implications to using self defense.  As we teach, the goal of self defense is not to hurt or punish the attacker, but to stop them from hurting you. The students are given the opportunity to train with partners safely through practice on striking shields.  Many self defense companies teach strikes that are just not practical on an attacker who may be altered by alcohol, drugs, or their strength.  We at SAFE International™ strive to keep all instruction simple because when one is under stress, they do not have the ability to remember or perform any strikes or moves that are not basic and simple.  Some of the strikes taught include palm strikes, ear slaps, elbow strikes, hammerfists, and much more.  In the following clip, you will see a short example of our Strikes class with students.  You will also notice how we integrate humour into our program, which is a key reason why students enjoy our approach to personal safety.


Hour 3 – Escapes, Holds, and Groundwork


During this hour, the students are taught how to escape some of the most common attacks such as wrist grabs, bear hugs, chokes, ground attacks, andGround more. Students are also taught how to identify the pre-contact cues of an attack in order to maximize their chances of getting home safely to their family.  Rather than teach a memorized set of new techniques for each attack, we teach a few basic concepts meant to address all possible attacks.  This allows the person a much better chance of surviving an assault because they do not need to remember dozens of different self defense moves.  The majority of self defense courses ignore the fact that real violence involves a high level of stress and adrenaline, making it virtually impossible to perform any fine motor skills, aka "fancy moves." This is why SAFE International takes a more conceptual approach to self defense, teaching gross motor skills that anyone has the ability and potential to remember.  Real self defense scenarios are messy, chaotic, and downright scary, so anything taught that is not based on reality, not only robs the student of quality instruction, and may also give them a false sense of security. 

Hour 4 – Simulated Attacks

During this hour, the students get to practice their new skills in a safe environment on the instructor who is padded with the Spartan Training Gear.  The instructor simulates an attack based on the skills and concepts the students have been taught. This is always a highlight of the course with the students (the instructor might disagree!). Each student is able to perform at a level that challenges them, but, at the same time, empowers them. Students get the opportunity to feel the stress that may be felt during a real attack.  By the end of the simulations, the students are empowered, but also very aware that the awareness and avoidance chat they had is the most important day of the whole SAFE International™ High School course.  The goal in any self defense course should be to learn how to avoid confrontation, but also be prepared to deal with violence physically as a last resort.

Teachers tell us that the SAFE Simulated Attacks are not only the favourite day for most of the students, but also a life skill that the students will take with them for years and hopefully never have to use. We often hear from students years later about how this day helped build confidence in other areas of their life because they learned how to face a challenge head on and beat it.  We like to think that our self defense program teaches much more than just self defense, but rather, how to grow as a human being.


High School Principal Testimonial

For several years now, our TDSB school's Phys. Ed. department has invited SAFE International to visit their classes and provide workshops to all grade 9 students.  In response to our  growing concern that our students lacked the awareness of potentially dangerous situations which may put them at risk, we began to place more emphasis on personal safety in our Health and Physical Education classes, including units on personal safety, injury prevention, conflict resolution, decision-making,  and reducing vulnerability.   The workshops from SAFE International complement our program in a way that is useful and relevant for youth.  Students and parents alike have expressed their gratitude and praise. These workshops have given students valuable information on detecting dangerous situations, diffusing or de-escalating potentially dangerous situations and reacting in ways that would improve their chances of "getting away" in the event of confrontation or danger.  The staff are knowledgeable and professional, and they've been an excellent resource for our teaching staff.

Sincerely, Sandy Kaskens

Advanced Courses 

Thanks to the popularity of our Basic Course, most schools will offer one of our advanced programs to their students in following years. These advancedParentGuide courses review material from previous years while also expanding on the student's knowledge base.  One of the concerns we often hear from parents is how to prepare their children for their post-secondary years when they leave for college or university.  While this is an exciting time for our youth, they will encounter new experiences with some new challenges.  SAFE International™ has an answer for this as well.  Not only do we continue to offer our world renowned physical material, but we also address additional topics from our eBook, "A Parent's Guide to Achieving Peace of Mind When Your Child Leaves Home for College."  Included in this program are some of the safety concerns unique to students living away from home for the first time, such as campus safety, safety in social settings, safe use of public transportation, plus much, much more!   


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