Once we can alleviate fear and conquer intimidation, our confidence has no limitations.

When I started on the road traveling with WWE, I experienced a moment that changed my life. Even as an educated, professional, hard-working woman who exercises regularly and is physically fit, I experienced a moment of complete disempowerment. Traveling alone at night for work after a show, I was filling up on gas and snacks at a gas station somewhere between New York and Connecticut. Three men inside the gas station approached me and were asking inappropriate questions about my plans for the evening. As I tried to ignore them, they got more aggressive and crude, calling me names and commenting on my body. They made it clear they wanted me to come with them. The small man behind the counter looked as helpless as I felt, and I immediately realized that this situation could easily get out of control. Reacting only to immense sense of fear I felt, I dropped my water and snacks on the countertop without paying and bolted out to my rental car, only to be followed out by them shouting vulgar comments at me. I locked my door, put the car in drive, and jetted out of there, pulling over as soon as I could to regain my composure. That was when it struck me: despite my fitness level and confidence, I wouldn’t have the slightest idea of what to do if I were physically assaulted.

After immersing myself in the Women Empowered program – a women’s self-defense program based on the principles of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu – not only have I gained back the power I felt I lost that night, but I realize that I am physically capable of much more than I ever imagined. Unfortunately, I know that most women have experienced incidences like mine, and many much worse. I now want to share with other women this secret to total empowerment. The idea that we can reduce our risks, and that with the proper mindset and physical techniques, we can protect ourselves from violence. As women, once we can alleviate fear and conquer intimidation, our confidence has no limitations.

It’s time that we fight the myths about a woman’s ability to defend herself.

The thought of sexual assault exists in every woman’s mind, yet few of us every take the steps necessary to prepare for the possibility of an attack. Why?

Here are some of the most popular myths surrounding women’s self-defense:

Myth - “Fighting back” during a sexual assault puts women at a higher risk of injury or death.

Reality – There is no statistical data to support the notion that “fighting back” will worsen the situation for the target. In fact, 68% of women who used physical force of any kind against an attacker were able to escape.

Sexual predators generally seek out the “easy targets,” or women who appear timid, weak, and/or unaware of their surroundings. When a targeted woman fights back, and proves to be more challenging of a target than originally anticipated, the assailant usually retreats to avoid being detected.

The limited understanding of self-defense has lead many to believe that it can only escalate a combative situation. The reality is, with the right strategy and physical techniques, you can neutralize an attack without escalation and still keep yourself safe.

Women CAN and SHOULD defend themselves if physically attacked.

Myth - Sexual assault is not that common and only happens in certain neighborhoods amongst people of certain demographics.

Reality - This is perhaps the most dangerous myth regarding sexual assault. The reality is, 1 in 5 women will experience sexual assault in her lifetime, 1 in 4 women between the ages of 14 and 24. More than half of all sexual assaults take place in the target’s home, and perhaps even more surprising, 74 percent of sexual assaults are by non-strangers: acquaintances, co-workers, spouses, even relatives. These statistics are not intended to trigger fear, but rather a heightened understanding that the threat is real, and it can happen to anyone. Although no woman is ever at fault for being targeted, every woman can and should defend herself if attacked, regardless of who the assailant may be.

Awareness is our first line of defense, awareness that an assault can take place anytime, anywhere, by anyone. Learning to trust your intuition on the people around you (both strangers and acquaintances) can mean the difference between your safety, and a life-changing incident.

Myth – A woman cannot realistically defend herself against a larger, stronger assailant.

Reality – It is true that most women’s self-defense systems utilized strength-based techniques that rely heavily on the speed and athleticism of the student, and therefore cannot be relied upon against a larger assailant. While many of these aggressive tactics can be successful at the early stages of an attack to fend off an assailant, they do not prove reliable against a much larger/stronger attacker, and once taken to the ground. The techniques of the Women Empowered program are based entirely on leverage, timing, and distance management so that the techniques can be applied by any woman, regardless of her age or fitness level.

It’s time that we fight the myths about a woman’s ability to defend herself.

Like many women, I used to believe that it wouldn’t happen to me, and if it did, I couldn’t realistically defend myself against a larger, stronger, opponent. I was wrong. My encounter at the gas station woke me up to the reality of the threats that are out there, and I have since taken steps to empower myself physical, verbal, and psychological strategies so I am ready if it every happens again. There is a realistic solution for women, and I want to share it with you.


Women Empowered is a comprehensive self-defense program for women based on proven verbal, physical, and psychological defense strategies tested and proven effective over nearly two decades. The program is based on the principles of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu, the most effective martial art created to allow a person to defend against a larger attacker. After years of analyzing assailant behavior and studying the most common and worst-case scenarios of sexual assault, the Gracie Family distilled the program down to 15 essential techniques, creating the most comprehensive and effective self-defense program for women.

Some of the physical self-defense techniques featured in the Women Empowered program include: wrist releases, rear attack defenses, hair grab defenses, weapon defenses, as well as several techniques to escape if an attacker has you pinned to the ground. Women Empowered offers a range of solutions covering everything from how to neutralize aggression and break free from an attacker without escalating the fight, to how to incapacitate an assailant who has abducted you and has you trapped in a confined space.

Myth - “Fighting back” during a sexual assault puts women at a higher risk of injury or death.

Every woman. Every scenario.

One thing we can certainly expect is that any potential attacker will be much bigger and stronger than we are. Relying on our strength or athleticism as a means of escape simply won’t cut it. The techniques in the Women Empowered program are based entirely on leverage, timing, and distance management so that they can be effectively applied by any woman, regardless of age or athletic ability. It is also the only self-defense program that effectively addresses how to defend against attacks by non-strangers (78% of sexual assaults are by people we know) using specific techniques that neutralize the threat without escalating the situation.

No two sexual assaults are the same. In the Women Empowered program, not only do women learn several techniques to counter the most common threats facing women, but they also learn the core principles of self-defense so that they can modify and adapt their techniques to any specific situations they might encounter.

The Philosophy

Self-defense begins long before the fight gets physical. Your first and most important line of defense is a heightened sense of awareness. Women Empowered teaches you the most common strategies used by both strangers and non-stranger assailants so you can prevent attacks before they happen. The reality is, no matter how diligently you practice awareness and avoidance techniques, someone might slip through your defenses and attack. Regardless of your age or physical condition, you CAN and must defend yourself, and the Women Empowered program will give you the tools and the confidence to make it happen.


Eve Torres and Rener Gracie offer Women Empowered seminars to college campuses, military bases, high schools, and corporations looking to educate women on how to stay safe and defend against worst-case sexual assault scenarios. The most effective approach to safety is a heightened awareness to prevent attacks before they happen. They discuss the awareness principles and essential street-smart reminders that will drastically reduce any woman’s chance of being targeted.

What makes these seminars different from other safety/self-defense courses is that it is the only self-defense program that examines the four-phase assault strategies used by stranger, and “non-stranger” predators, and teaches proven defensive measures that can be employed at each of the four phases.

The Women Empowered program is presented in both keynote presentation format (for large groups) and interactive self-defense seminars.

Women Empowered Keynote Presentations

The Total Empowerment Talk

For corporations or educational institutions that are looking to empower it’s female members, but do not have sufficient training space for the interactive self-defense seminar, we highly recommend the Total Empowerment Talk. In this 60-90 minute enlightening and engaging presentation, the viewers will be empowered through an in-depth discussion on the following topics:

  • The top 5 myths of sexual assault

  • How to be a bad target

  • Empowerment through total awareness

  • Avoiding the Triangle of Victimization

  • The top 3 Verbal Self-Defense Strategies

  • If it happens

  • Understanding the Four Phases of Sexual Assault (Stranger/non-stranger)

  • How to avoid panic during Phase III

  • Defending against undercover assailants

  • Sexual violence in the workplace

  • The College Talk

  • The psychology of dealing with armed assailants

*The topics of discussion can be modified to meet the needs of the hosting organization.


The Core Program

An interactive seminar in which participants will learn how to defend against the most common attacks on women. These scenarios include control holds, wrist grabs, chokeholds, and bear hugs, and we teach verbal assertiveness to establish and enforce personal boundaries. What makes this seminar different from other self-defense workshops is the identification of the Four Phases of Sexual Assault, and the unique defensive strategies for the different phases of an attack.

The program will cover essential awareness principles, street smarts, and the critical psychology that will enable women to avoid panic and escape from an attacker who has pinned her to the ground. In this course they also address defensive strategies in the event of a non-stranger sexual assault, or “undercover assailant”, where the attacker may be a colleague, friend, relative, or other acquaintance.

Founded on the principles of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu, the techniques are based on leverage and timing, eliminating their dependence on physical strength, coordination, age, or flexibility. This program is truly designed for all women, and no martial arts experience is necessary.

Depending on the amount of time allotted for training, the length of the Core Program seminar can be customized to include anywhere from the three most important techniques to all ten Core Lessons (90 minutes – 8 hrs).

The Core Plus Program

This 12-hour (2-3 day) interactive seminar covers all the material featured in the Core Progam as well as five bonus techniques including rear attack defenses, and weapon defenses.

For more information, or to schedule a Women Empowered Seminar for your organization, click here.