Rose City Self-Defense

Rose City Self-Defense
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Welcome to Rose City Self-Defense!

Rose City Self-Defense empowers girls, women and the LGBTQ+ community, with a focus on engaging communities of color, people with disabilities, folks with unstable housing, as well as safety for sex workers. ALL PROGRAMMING IS FREE!

Introductory Class Schedules


Registration opens Tuesday, March 7th at 9:00 am

Mt Tabor School, 5800 SE Ash, 97215 

Mondays, April 3rd, 10th and 17th from 5:30-8:45 pm


Registration opens Tuesday, April 4th at 6:00 pm

Jefferson High School Cafeteria, 5210 N Kerby 

Wednesdays, May 3rd, 10th and 17th from 5:30-8:45 pm



Registration opens Tuesday, June 6th at 6:00 pm

Las Adelitas Apartments (in the event space at the east end of the building), 6735 NE Killingsworth St, 97218

Tuesdays, July 11th, 18th and 25th from 6:00-9:15 pm 


Registration opens Wednesday, July 5th at 6:00 pm

East Portland Community Center, 740 SE 106th, 97216

Saturdays, August 5th, 12th, and 19th from 9:30 am-12:45 pm 

We welcome all people who identify as women as well as folks who are non-binary. Classes are open to ages 13 and above. Young women under 16 need to be accompanied by a participating adult.

  • Please fill out our online registration form on or after the registration date listed for each month.
  • Please plan to attend all three sessions at the location you select.
  • Please cancel your registration before the first session if you cannot attend all three sessions.

Weapons Class

May/June: (Prerequisite: must have taken the Introductory Class in the last year)

Registration opens Tuesday, May 2nd at 6:00 pm

Northeast Community Center Gym, 1630 NE 38th Ave, 97232

Wednesday, May 31st, Monday, June 5th, and Wednesday, June 7th from 5:30-7:45 pm

Middle School & High School Programming

This programming is currently on hold due to staffing shortages. We will update this website as these classes become available.

Safety Workshops

Personal Safety Workshops are designed to introduce adults to a variety of self-protective options in a short, non-physical, discussion format. The basic workshop covers:

  • prevention strategies
  • recognizing when one is being targeted for an attack
  • the pros and cons of various options for ending an attack

Discussion is designed to help people identify their risks and evaluate their strengths, and to explore their options for dealing with the threat of violence.

Specific workshops:

  • All gender work groups (90 minutes in length, does NOT include physical self-defense skills)
  • For women identified people who have Intellectual or developmental disabilities (2 hours in length, includes physical self-defense skills)
  • For women identified people who use mobility devices (2 hours in length, includes physical self-defense skills)
  • Women's groups (90 minutes-2 hours in length, option of including physical self-defense skills)
  • De-escalation training (3 hours in length, includes all topics that Personal Safety Workshops cover with an additional hour of de-escalation skill building and practice)
  • For your affinity group, we will tailor the workshop for your group!

Click here to register.


Thank you for your interest in becoming a volunteer self-defense instructor! We are currently planning on a new volunteer training in 2023, with dates to be determined. If you are interested in volunteering, please email and let us know your name and email. We will be in contact when we start accepting applications.


In July of 2022, The Strength Programs (WomenStrength, GirlStrength and BoyStrength) moved from the Portland Police Bureau (PPB)! We have moved to the Community Safety Division (CSD) under the City of Portland’s Office of Management and Finance. This move was for several reasons: CSD was created to house safety and prevention programs in 2021, and the Strength programs were a natural fit. The other significant reason is that we found in WomenStrength, it was hard to reach some communities with our association with PPB; specifically, communities of color and the LGBTQ+ community. This move to CSD was a positive move and motivated us to rebrand our name and also update our curriculum to focus on equity and inclusion of those who we have been missing.

The Youth Against Violence (formerly BoyStrength program) has moved under the Office of Violence Prevention. You can find their website here.

Since 1979, we have provided free empowerment-based self-defense classes and personal safety workshops to people around the Portland metro area.  We have taught self-defense skills to approximately 40,000 women and teenage girls, and personal safety workshops to over 110,000 people. In our self-defense classes we offer just more than just physical self-defense skills. Included are topics such as using your intuition, understanding different escape options, negotiating consent, information about abusive relationships, boundary setting and assertiveness skills. This holistic approach has been successful in teaching our students that physical fighting is our last resort and we have so many options to choose from if faced with the threat of violence.

Finally, please be patient with us during this transition. We anticipate more web content in the upcoming weeks.

Class Resources

  1. Do you have questions about the health of your relationship
  2. Part of self-defense preparation is knowing the difference between intuition and bias. Learn more about your implicit biases by taking these tests
  3. What are some alternatives to calling law enforcement? Consider putting these into your phone contacts for easy access:
    1. 988: Suicide and Crisis Lifeline (anything mental health related)

    2. Call to Safety: 888-235-5333

    3. Portland Police Non-emergency Line: 503-823-3333

    4. *911 and ask for Portland Street Response (they arrive in less than 20 minutes with a mental health care worker and an EMT, no law enforcement unless specified). PSR will be 24 hours by summer of 2023.

  4. What are your boundaries?
    1. What is important to you?
    2. What makes you uncomfortable?
    3. What do you want to keep private?
    4. How do you want to be touched?
    5. What makes you feel respected?
    6. Have you identified any “deal-breaker” behaviors?
    7. Are there things that trigger a trauma response?
    8. Is this a reason for a boundary or is it a bias? Think about the difference between intuition and bias. Our prejudices are not reasons for boundary setting.


Contact us at