Warrior Sisters holds women’s self defense training in Eugene
Warrior Sisters is a Eugene-based organization that offers women’s self-defense and training classes twice a week.
Warrior Sisters was started by a group of women that used to work in rape crisis centers. They saw a gap in women’s verbal and physical defense training that was caused by classes being too expensive and inaccessible to women.
“Warrior Sisters was started in 2013 by a small group of women who believe that free, empowerment-based, women-centered self-defense education should be available to every woman,” according to the organization’s website.
Warrior Sisters has 100 regular trainings across 13 states, and anyone across the country can request to have a training held in their city.
The organization serves to “provide free self-defense training to women and girls,” Rachel Collins, the Director of Warrior Sisters, said.
In 2016 alone, 12,436 calls to Lane County domestic violence and sexual violence programs were answered, according to a summary of services provided by sexual and domestic violence programs in Oregon.
The Warrior Sisters offers two classes in Eugene every week at the Art of War MMA, located at 251b West 7th Ave.
The completely free class is on Sunday from 11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. and is a “Women’s Training” class. This class focuses on verbal and physical defense tactics.
It is open to women and girls over 12 years old; however, people under 18 will need a parent or guardian to sign a waiver to participate.
Collins said that getting parents to sign these waivers is usually not a problem because most middle to high school age girls that come in are looking to do a mother-daughter style training.
Classes are designed to be accessible regardless of fitness or MMA experience level. However, the Tuesday classes are more challenging, according to Collins.
The Tuesday “Sister Strong Women’s Defense” class is free the first time you attend, $9 for drop-in, and $30 per month. This is a more physically focused, workout style class that is designed to be taken after the Women’s Training class, and has no verbal defense training.
Collins said that the women who come to the class set the pace because they know their bodies and needs.
“If someone just needs a breath in terms of this subject matter they can step out and talk to one of our volunteers at any time,” Collins said.
While the organization isn’t currently holding classes at UO, they often do trainings for sororities, and UO students are always welcome to the twice-weekly trainings.
“A large chunk of young women who come to our trainings are University of Oregon students, and we’ve had male students participate in trainings as volunteers,” Collins said.
The organization holds these classes so that women and girls can identify violations of their rights and defend themselves, Collins explained.
“So many women report wanting to take a self-defense class but didn’t for a really long time because of the lack of supportive environment,” Collins said.
On Wednesday, March 7, the Warrior Sisters are holding a fundraiser at Oakshire Brewing Public House from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. $1 from every pint sold will go to the organization and volunteers will be at the fundraiser from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
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