Home Alive is a Seattle-based anti-violence organization, started in 1993, offering empowering self-defense classes on a sliding scale. We see our work as integrated into larger social justice movements, recognizing how violence is often perpetuated through oppression and abuse.
We are excited to offer our innovative, participatory curriculum to everyone looking to build a world free of violence.
It’s 2017. The incoming US president is an avowed sexual predator and malicious bully, aligned with white supremacists. He and his cronies are preparing a national agenda of full-scale assault on the human rights and dignity of women, people of color, immigrants, trans and queer people, disabled folks, indigenous people, Muslims, people who use social services, and basically everyone who breathes air and drinks water.
In the face of this looming assault, with harassment and abuse already ramping up around the country, the need for politicized self-defense is greater than ever. Home Alive continues to offer our curriculum anti-copyright and free of charge on this website, and we strongly encourage you to use and share it with friends. Share all or part of what you find here with your organizations, classrooms, and workplaces. And please contact us for support in bringing Home Alive’s curriculum into the places it is most needed.
Learn about Home Alive’s fundamental principles and history as we have evolved over the last two decades. Connect with other anti-violence resources, including community organizing, skill-building, healing and self care. And find our curriculum with activities and exercises we use in our classes.
HOW TO USE THIS SITE
To become a Home Alive instructor, instructors-in-training underwent an intensive 32-hour training, which incorporated anti-oppression topics as well as hours of focused practice with all of our physical and verbal skills. This training was followed by many hours of teaching under the mentorship of an experienced Home Alive instructor, who would give constructive feedback and observations. Obviously, reading descriptions on a website cannot replace the experience of hands-on training and practice. With that limitation in mind, here are some suggestions for how you might get the most out of this site:
WORK WITH OTHERS
Whether you are planning to bring new curriculum to your existing program or organization or simply working to build your own self defense skill set, we believe you will get the most out of this site if you form a study group, pair up with a friend, or arrange some form of organized, focused study with other committed individuals. Read out loud, debrief, ask questions, practice the exercises, give each other feedback, explore the feelings that come up as you delve into this work, and support each other.
And not all at once. Spread out your engagement with this website so you are able to digest the information in reasonable chunks. Start with the About, Our Approach, and History pages to get a sense of who we are. Our Resources page offers books, websites, and other information that will be a great supplement to this website as you learn about teaching self defense. When you are ready to delve into our curriculum, start with the About the Curriculum page, then spend time with How We Teach, being sure to read our intro before getting into Opening the Space, Agreements, Closing the Space, and checking out our Sample Class Outlines. With each of the other four sections on our Curriculum page (Rethinking Violence, Holding Space, Boundary Setting and Physical Skills), read their intro pages before reading in detail about each of the specific exercises and skills.
As you read about our physical skills, get up and move around. Try out the motions in the air. Give each other feedback and make observations. Don’t be afraid of doing it wrong or looking silly. It takes lots of practice to get new movements to become part of our “body memory.”
TAKE A CLASS
If you are able to take a self defense or martial arts class in your area, do it (preferably with the other members of your study group, so you can debrief, process, and practice together). You might find that the class does not line up with your own philosophic approach to self defense, or you might find a class that fits perfectly with your values. Regardless, the opportunity for physical practice and experience exploring the content can be valuable in your learning. (Note: If your instructor or classmates are victim-blaming, discouraging, or in any other way prevent you from learning in a safe environment, we encourage you to find another class in which you will feel supported and encouraged!)
If simply reading our descriptions does not allow you to understand our physical exercises, try searching YouTube to see if any of our skills are displayed there. (Disclaimer: We are not familiar with any videos in particular and cannot vouch for material that others have posted. Still, you can use your own good judgment to determine if the video you are watching is or is not helpful).
GET IN TOUCH WITH US
Don’t be afraid to contact us if you have questions, would like to give or receive feedback, or for any other reason. We’d love for this site to hold a useful space for connection and resource-sharing among all sectors of the anti-violence movement. Please get in touch for support, feedback, and suggestions.