Monthly Women of Color Self-defense Workshops

Sweaty Betties and Four Elements Fitness Join Forces

Two San Francisco Bay Area martial arts agencies with deep roots in community outreach and engagement are joining forces to help end violence against women and girls, particularly among low income girls and women of color. Sweaty Betties and Four Elements Fitness are collaborating to offer scholarships to our WOMEN OF COLOR SELF-DEFENSE WORKSHOPS starting in February 2019. Our goal is to provide free self-defense training for girls and women at FOUR Elements Fitness. We seek to offer girls and women in the community up to 20 scholarships per month over a period of a year.

The past couple years have been a turbulent time for women, communities of color, and LGBTQ+ folks. Recently we’ve seen increased incidents that may have undermined our sense of safety: attacks on the LGBTQ community and immigrants, #MeToo reports of epidemic sexual harassment and assault for women in all sectors, a rise in intimate partner violence, as well as multiple mass shootings. Safety continues to be a growing concern for many marginalized people. But we are also taking a stand and fighting back, supporting each other, and in many cases triumphing -- as we did during the midterm elections with historic wins for women of color.

With this backdrop, it is clear that self-defense and martial arts training can be life-affirming and life-changing for many. Sweaty Betties’ mission has always been to unite, educate and empower a diverse community of women and girls in the martial arts. Four Elements Fitness has focused on making martial arts training accessible to LGBTQ+, female and POC students. These missions have never been more relevant or significant than it is right now.

With your help, we can continue our important work and make a real difference in our communities. We ask that you consider making a donation today to support our work to end violence against girls and women and help us achieve our budget. Any amount is appreciated.

Your donation is tax deductible, and donors are listed on the Four Elements Fitness website. Four Elements Fitness Community Programming is fiscally Sponsored by 501c3 Rock Paper Scissors Collective EIN # 80-0694281.

If you are looking to make a difference, click here

Our Philosophy
Sexual and physical assault is never the victim’s fault. It is the perpetrator’s responsibility to respect women’s boundaries, and our society must build institutions and values that support the safety of women. But until this day comes, we encourage women to learn self-defense; not because it's their responsibility, but because it's their reality.

About Women of Color Self-Defense Workshops
We believe self-defense is more than knowing how to fight back against a physical attack. Our workshops teach you how to think in terms of choices and options while developing awareness, assertiveness skills and practice for physical self-defense techniques.

Our training offers:

  • Safety strategies, assertiveness skills and physical self-defense techniques.
  • Awareness of specific vulnerabilities and issues of women and girls.
  • Classes designed with women's experiences, strength and capabilities in mind.
  • A focus on sexual assault and domestic violence prevention.
  • Designed to empower women and girls.

We will also teach you a series of simple highly effective self-defense techniques for use to during an assault. Rather than relying on strength to defend against a stronger assailant, you will learn the basic techniques of self-defense that includes the principles of leverage, timing and energy efficiency. None requires exceptional strength, speed or coordination. In addition, our self-defense system effectively addresses what to do in the worst-case scenarios: when the assailant pins you to the ground against your will, when the assailant is between your legs or a bigger and stronger attacker grabs your wrist. Regardless of your age, weight, or fitness level, you can learn the techniques of self-defense while gaining an increased sense of personal confidence and empowerment.

Who Can Join
Self-identified women and girls who are people of color.  Ages 9+ welcome. No experience required.

What to wear
Comfortable workout/yoga clothing. Training will be barefoot or in socks.

Founded in Oakland, CA in 2014 by two female martial artists, Sharon Sanghera-Sidhu and Shawn Tamaribuchi, FOUR Elements Fitness is dedicated to building community strength through martial arts and fitness. The gym’s programs and services enable individuals to realize their potential, connect with others, and become healthier in body, mind, and spirit. As a martial arts gym with an orientation towards social justice, Four Elements Fitness regularly holds fundraisers, participates in community events, and provides free self-defense seminars for at-risk groups.

*SF Gate



*Pacific Association of Women Martial Artists