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Taken at LifeArmourYYC. // Photo courtesy of Mackenzie Kelly Photography.

Self-defence: the best places to learn in YYC

By Tori Taylor, March 10 2020 —

There is no time like the present to have your own back. There are so many situations that can make us feel unsafe and a million-and-one red flags to keep your eyes open for. Having spent years bartending in sketchy places, leaving at the ass-crack of dawn and having to walk to my car as all the evening’s drunk hooligans stumble around in their own vomit and echoing cat-calls — I am no stranger to the ol’ keys-as-a-knife and head-down-speed-walk.

There are safer ways to protect yourself. More correctly, there are more effective ways to protect yourself. I have very little faith in my dull car keys or walking speed when it comes to self-defense.

Here are a few places that are highly recommended for beginners wanting to learn how to defend themselves and to feel safer day-to-day.

Champions Creed:

This gym is a great place to take fun workout classes in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu that will kick your butt and also teach you essential self-defence moves. Jiu-Jitsu has to be one of the best ways to sweat it out while absorbing important tactics for real-life situations. You will learn self-defence moves as you consciously grapple and calmly establish the smartest moves to get out of an attack or hold. Champions Creed is a great atmosphere for beginners to learn and practice with the support of passionate teachers. Visit them online at championscreed.ca.


This facility is run by City of Calgary Police Officers. It aims to deliver a “boots on the ground” style of practical knowledge. They offer a variety of wonderful classes like SafeTots, SafeSeniors, SafeTeens, SafeMotherDaughter and SafeAdult. The adult class is all about self-defence. You can learn specific strategies and the mental skills needed to avoid an assault. Taking the SafeAdult class will allow you to practice the skills you need to monitor your surroundings, stay in safe environments and learn how to escape an attacker. More information is available on their website.

RDW Martial Arts Health & Fitness:

RDW has been open since 1995. They are a very long-standing facility for self-defense in Calgary. This is a family-run business that believes in providing personal, hands-on training. All ages, mentalities and physical levels are welcome. Learning martial arts can be very intimidating, but the goal at RDW is to break down that barrier and teach people based on the way they learn best. It is a great way to stay in physical shape and practice self-defence at the same time. This location goes beyond learning to fight and works to teach continuous life skills — like conflict management and avoiding negative situations that could escalate. Find more information online.


This fitness centre aims to provide a community of world class self-defence to all Calgarians. They believe it is one of the most vital skills that a person can invest in. LifeArmourYYC works to teach confidence and how to avoid being a victim. There is a strong concentration on building up their clients’ confidence so as to maximize what they are able to absorb in their training and then remember in a negative situation. If you are looking to learn how to detect danger arising and how to understand and control your own fear then this is an excellent facility to look into. LifeArmourYYC will teach you the legal responsibilities that come along with self-defense and how to avoid confrontation instead of instigation.

Studio Group Martial Arts:

This martial arts school is traditional in its values and teaching practice. If you are looking for a true experience in martial arts then this is a fantastic place to try out. They offer classes for all levels of fitness. Women can learn self-defence and how to read the body language of people around them so as to avoid being in an aggressive altercation. They teach classes on the last Wednesday of each month from 8 – 10 p.m. and their schedule is available online.

Our city is full of self defence options. You can learn several different styles at several different locations. Knowing how to protect yourself is a life skill that everyone should have and confidently know how to use. Grab a friend or a family member and sign up for a class — you won’t regret it.

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