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500 Rising and International Women's Day 2024


This Friday, 8th March, is International Women’s Day. Usually at Rencounter we take this opportunity to run a Women’s Self Defence Workshop.

We aren’t running a workshop this year- but - it's because we are doing something that we think will have a bigger impact in the long term:

We are hosting a 500 Rising instructor course - specifically we are training Women’s Self Defence Instructors.

Level One Group Photo

Who are 500 Rising?

Training Course 500 Rising is a programme developed by and for women. From their website:

We train trainers to deliver truly impactful education in women's proactive and responsive self-defense. We address the 80% of the reality women face that most women's self-defense does not address. We have the honest conversations, the hard conversations most training programs avoid.

We will equip you with a new mindset: women's self-defense education from a place of strength & power...not fear.

The theme that runs through all the training is that You have the right to take up space on the planet.

We are excited to be hosting Dr. Tammy Yard McCracken, the founder and CEO of 500Rising. She brings decades of experience and knowledge from many fields and has created a truly comprehensive self defence programme that addresses the realities that women face and the context that they may experience violence.

How is it different?

500 Rising focuses on the crucial “80 percents” for women:

These are:

  • In 80%* of violence against women,  the attacker is someone known to her;
  • 80% of the skills that come before a physical attack: threat assessment - awareness and prevention -so all the tools that we have available before a threat or conflict turns physical - we have options.

one step demo

For women size and strength isn't all that matters - but it’s certainly a factor, and we can't ignore that when teaching women self-defence. However, women are not just vulnerable sitting targets, at the mercy of any bad actors out there. We have options and agency to make our own decisions and choose how we want to live our own lives. This programme is based on the idea that we build from strength to strength.

Women have so many skills and strengths already hard-wired into our everyday lives, that this training taps into. We look to build on what we call “unconscious competencies” that we have, and layer conscious skills that we can hone on top of that. This helps us trust what our "gut instinct" is telling us.

For example: Women are by nature and nurture already good at multitasking and connecting lots of pieces of information into a bigger picture to make high speed-decisions. By drawing attention to these skills we can use this to recognise that our gut instinct is actually a highly informed dynamic threat assessment based on the information around us, not to be easily dismissed.

We want to harness all these skills to help women be empowered and energised by training, not living in a place of fear.

The Teaching Team

Our Head Instructor Linn is part of the teaching team on the course, together with Tammy, and Dan Trailescu - who has a background as mediator, conflict communication instructor, self defence instructor and Aikido Black Belt. (Dan has taught with us for our last two Women’s Self Defence Workshops here in Edinburgh).

Sarah and Dan

Senior instructor Sarah is a certified instructor (L2) with 500 Rising, and is taking part to refresh and deepen her knowledge, and we are excited that instructors Susi and Judyta are able to join in and take the course for the first time.

In addition to being a course for instructors, or those looking to become instructors, this course is also open to women who want to take part as an intensive crash course in self defence, with a heavy focus on soft skills - as well as simple and practical physical skills, and we are delighted to have some students taking part, including Almu who is taking the course for a second time and has also attended the Level 2.

This means that we will have more trained colleagues and instructors available locally to deliver more workshops and classes here in Edinburgh in the future, and we are much better placed to get solid, practical self-defence information out to the women that need it. Exciting things will be happening in the future - keep an eye out!

We are also looking forward to welcoming participants from all over the UK and Europe for what's going to be an intense and very educational weekend. We are really excited both for this course and for what it means we can do in the future.

Together we rise!

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