Organize a Course

The University of Toronto Community Safety Office has offered Wen-Do Women’s Self-Defence courses for over twenty years because we believe Wen-Do is uniquely well suited to the needs of women and girls. Each course prepares participants both mentally and physically, giving them the confidence to deal with the types of aggression they are most likely to encounter in real life. The techniques taught are practical, hands-on, and easy to learn, and the learning environment is safe, supportive, and full of positive energy. Wen-Do is designed by women to empower girls and women of all ages and abilities, and that is exactly what it does.

University of Toronto Community Safety Office

Who Can Organize a Wen-do Course?

Setting up a Wen-Do course or workshop is one of the best things you can do for the safety of women and girls in your organization or community!  Over the last 40 + years, committed women have organized Wen-do workshops and courses in a variety of settings including:

  • non-profit organizations
  • elementary and high schools
  • companies
  • unions
  • hospitals and health centres
  • universities
  • friendship centres
  • seniors groups
  • shelters
  • community centres
  • and even special groups of family and friends.

If you want to organize a course, there are a few things to consider. Who do you want to get involved?  What support will you need within your organization?  What is the connection between self-defence and the work that you do?  There are so many great reasons to bring Wen-do to your organization.  Here are a few examples of ways women have incorporated Wen-do into their organization or school:

  • Celebrate International Women’s Day
  • Health and Safety Lunch and Learn workshop
  • Professional Development in the workplace
  • Promote self-esteem and confidence for all Grade 8s before they transition to high school
  • A pro-active response to support women and girls after a challenging event in the community
  • To support women in male dominated workplaces feel confident in their rights
  • To provide support and skill building to women survivors of violence
  • To connect to a community safety issue being addressed
  • To bring women and girls together, get active and have fun!

How long is a Wen-Do course or workshop?

The Basic Wen-Do Course is 15 hours long; it can be taught over 2 days or 5-6 evening sessions.  Shorter workshops can last an hour, a full day, or anything in between.

Who can participate?

Women and girls age 10 and up, of all levels of physical ability. This includes trans women who consistently identify themselves, present themselves, and live as women.

How many women can attend?

There is no limit to the number of participants for a 1-hour workshop, as long as the space can accommodate them.  Longer sessions are limited to 20 participants.

What kind of space do we need?

The room should be big enough for all the participants to stand with their arms outstretched without touching each other. It should be private, closed to through traffic, and cleared of all obstacles. The floor should be clean. It is useful to have some chairs available, in case some women are not comfortable sitting on the floor, and a table for handouts. We strongly recommend using a wheelchair-accessible space, if possible.

How much will it cost?

The workshop fee is $200.00/hour, and the 15-hour Basic Course fee is $2500.00, plus transportation and accommodation if travel is required.  If an organization cannot afford these amounts, most instructors offer a sliding scale.

Fundraising: Do not overlook the possibility of applying to corporations, unions, foundations, service groups or the government for financial assistance with the course.

Charging fees to participants: How much, if anything, you charge participants is up to you.

Suggestions for publicity and registration

Publicity: Book your instructor and location 6 to 8 weeks in advance, to give yourself time to publicize the course.  Publicity can take many forms: flyers; email announcements; social media posts; articles or events listings in organizational newsletters or local newspapers; public service announcements on local radio and TV.  Your course can be posted on the Wen-Do website and phone line, on request.

Registration: Record each registrant’s contact information.  Please tell her it is important to attend all sessions of the course, and ask her to arrive 10 minutes early on the first day. Participants should wear loose, comfortable clothing and rubber-soled shoes or bare feet.  For workshops longer than 1 hour, women should bring: a yoga mat, firm cushion or rolled up sleeping bag, to serve as a punching bag; water to drink; and paper & pen (optional) if they wish to take notes.

If you are charging a fee, we recommend that you consider someone registered only after she has paid.  If you are offering the course for free, consider asking registrants for a small deposit to hold their spot, on the understanding that it will be refunded if they attend the course.

Note that participants under 18 will need a permission form signed by a parent or guardian.

For more information explore our website or call us at 416-929-3636 (416-92-WENDO).