About Strategic Living
There’s really only one reason to learn self-defense: to enhance your quality of life. To emPOWER you to make safety choices with confidence. To promote resilience and independence.
In these self-defense classes you learn to use your voice to say NO and STOP. Not exactly your positive relationship-building vocabulary. But we focus on saying NO and STOP to people and events that threaten to diminish your quality of life, so that you’re ready to say YES! to all the cool, fun, challenging, exciting, and joyful people and events that are out there waiting for you.
Our constant focus is on simplicity and effectiveness of skills, since you’ll have to remember and execute them under stressful circumstances. Accurate assessment of potential risks and how to mitigate them are crucial. Resilience, a predictor for success when facing challenge and uncertainty, is a critical part of a thriving life skills mindset, and is cultivated in these classes.
Situations where you may need to use self-defense skills are inherently risky and unpredictable. You should recognize that, while the skills taught in these classes will increase your odds of successful evasion, there are no guarantees.
If you had been a target for assault, sexual assault, rape, or domestic violence, some class topics and materials may be upsetting or triggering. Please make sure you have the emotional support you need, from a counselor or therapist, support group, family, and friends.
Strategic Living, LLC is committed to making these life skills of confidence, safety, and independence accessible to anyone regardless of financial resources. Visit the Donated Class page to learn more about the program. Visit the Empowerment Self-Defense Alliance to learn more about empowerment self-defense, and for research on its efficacy.
Joanne Factor, owner / instructor at Strategic Living, LLC, has been helping women discover their inner super-sheros since 1994.
Students and class organizers praise her unique ability to work with people “where they are, in their own lives, in their own space,” as well as the balance in class between physical, verbal and mindset skills.
Joanne has taught self-defense to women from six to senior, from sorority sisters to grandmothers and business executives, homeless women and those in transitional housing, and just about everyone in between. In addition to quarterly classes at lifeling learning venues, Joanne’s unique combination of strength and sensitivity has brought many invitations to teach. She has held classes for dorms and sororities, law firms, restaurant employees, manufacturing facilities, medical clinics, YMCA and YWCA groups, Angeline’s Center (homeless women’s day shelter), Opportunity Place and other transitional housing sites, the Veterans’ Administration Medical Center, Providence Everett Medical Center, girl scout troops, book clubs, and groups of families and friends who wanted to be safer.
Seattle PI blogger Mary Davis attended and wrote about her experience in a three-hour self-defense seminar.
Joanne began her training at the Feminist Karate Union, Seattle’s pioneering martial arts and self-defense school for women. She has served on Boards of Directors of both the National Women’s Martial Arts Federation (Director-at-Large for the Self-Defense Group, 2006-2010) and the Pacific Association of Women Martial Artists (Vice President and President, 2006-2010).
Joanne has been nationally certified by the National Women’s Martial Arts Federation since 2003.
Joanne keeps her skills and information fresh by attending or presenting at the meetings, annual conferences, and trainings of these organizations:
- National Women’s Martial Arts Federation
- American Women’s Self-Defense Association
- Association of Women Martial Arts Instructors
- Pacific Association of Women Martial Artists
- National Speakers Association — Northwest Affiliate
Joanne holds a black belt in traditional Japanese karate and Okinawan weapons from the International Karate Federation, a B.A. from Cornell University, and was selected Seattle’s Best Feminist Butt-Kicker in 2007 by The Seattle Weekly.
Roseanne “Kinny” Kimlinger has worked with Joanne since 2003. She too began her training at the Feminist Karate Union. You’ll often find Kinny assisting in the six-week courses and self-defense seminars.
Susan Geluardi contacted Joanne in 2013 to learn to teach self-defense. She is inspired to focus on children as she watches her two daughters growing and evolving small steps towards independence. Susan teaches safety skills and self-defense classes ranging from Kindergarten through adults. Susan has over 15 years training in martial arts and was a volunteer at the Portland Women’s Crisis Line