Business Spotlight: Strategic Living
Joanne Factor teaches Self-Defense 101 for Women, a 6-week progressive skill-building class that helps students learn how to set boundaries, identify red flags in others’ behavior, and defend themselves physically if needed. Joanne has 25 years of Karate training with Feminist Karate Union, where she began to learn not only physical fighting skills but also about the interactions, body language, and boundary-pushing that are often precursors to assault.
Nowadays, Joanne’s classes spend a chunk of their time learning about the dynamics of assault and developing skills that can prevent an assault before they learn how to physically defend themselves. She stresses that her classes are a space free of victim-blaming; while the skills a person learns from Joanne might help them feel safer, nobody ever asks to be assaulted and the victim is never at fault in an assault.
Joanne has been teaching in various locations around Seattle for more than 20 years, and at the Phinney Center for about 5 years. While her classes at the Phinney Center are only for women, she teaches classes for kids and young people on the East side and at other venues in the Seattle area. Joanne offers some personal safety tips for the community; to trust your gut when something feels wrong, to use your voice and set boundaries, and that while speaking up often seems lonely, with support it is a critical component of being true to yourself.