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The Best Online Self-Defense Classes Of 2023 For Safety, Empowerment & Confidence

Christie Calucchia
April 9, 2023
Christie Calucchia
By Christie Calucchia
Christie is a writer, editor, and content strategist whose work has appeared in Shape, Real Simple, Southern Living, InStyle, People, Travel + Leisure, and more.
best online self defense classes
Image by mbg creative
April 9, 2023
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The thought of fending off an attacker is scary and may feel out of your depth (even if you take the occasional boxing class), but there are ways to prepare yourself to handle a potential threat. One thing you can do is enroll in an online self-defense class.

There are a wide variety of self-defense classes available online. The best self-defense classes are taught by professionals with certifications in certain types of self-defense, including martial arts. With an online class, you can learn self-defense by yourself on your own schedule. Some classes are even free.

The best online self-defense classes of 2023:

What is an online self-defense class?

Each online self-defense class is different, but the best ones include a curriculum designed to teach students how to be aware of potential dangers, avoid violent situations, and use physical defense techniques as a last resort. Some include written materials, while others feature images and videos for visual learning.

Learning self-defense offers many benefits. Not only does it empower people, but it may prevent sexual assault1, improve confidence, and promote a safer lifestyle, according to research.

Who should take an online self-defense class?

An online self-defense class is a good idea for anyone interested in learning how to avoid dangerous situations and protect themselves should an attack or violent situation occur. While in-person classes are helpful for hands-on instruction, online classes are ideal for those with busy schedules who want to educate themselves about self-defense even if they don't have the flexibility to attend classes in person.

"Self-defense is very important for everyone to know even if only at a beginner level with basic training," says Jagdip Mann, a Muay Thai fighter and the head coach at Lioness Pride, which offers online self-defense coaching for women.

If you have certain injuries or are new to physical activities, you may want to speak with your physician before signing up for a class to make sure it's safe for you.

How to choose an online self-defense class

Cost: Not all online self-defense classes are free, so keep your budget in mind when researching the best online self-defense classes for you.

Class format: Consider whether or not having video aids is important to you or if you prefer to read written educational materials about self-defense. Some courses lean heavily on written information, while others are more visual, offering images and videos you can follow along with at home. You'll also want to ensure the classes are at your level, according to Mann. "If they're too high level for you or too low, [it] can be demotivating and cause you to stop learning," she says. "They need to be enjoyable sessions."

Instructors: Check out the credentials of the instructors who created the online self-defense course you're looking into. "Coaches should have the necessary skills and train themselves," says Mann. You might also consider if you're more comfortable learning techniques from a man or a woman. Teaching style is also something to think about.

Duration: Some online self-defense classes don't require much of your time, while others involve a weeks-long commitment. Keep in mind how much time you're able to give to learning about self-defense when selecting the best course for you.

How we picked:


Our list of the best online self-defense classes varies from free options to courses that cost up to nearly $200. This way, there are options for a wide range of personal budgets.


Not all of the self-defense classes on this list had reviews posted online, but we considered user feedback on those that did. Reviews were helpful in determining if classes are easy to follow and worth the cost. They also offer insights into an instructor's teaching style.

Class type

This list includes courses built around written material, images, short videos, and long-form videos. All of these resources are valuable, but one might be best for you based on your individual learning style. We also considered whether classes are suitable for beginners or more experienced students.

Additional resources

Some online self-defense classes include additional resources, such as extra fitness classes and the opportunity to earn a certification after completing the coursework. We kept these in mind when picking the best classes.

Our picks for the best online self-defense classes of 2023:

Best for people with little time: ProTrainings Self-Defense Online Training Course


  • Affordable
  • Easy to understand
  • Not time-consuming


  • Video access eventually expires

Class length:

1 hour and 8 minutes

ProTrainings offers an online self-defense course that’s great for people without a lot of spare time to dedicate to training. It includes 22 videos for a total run time of just over an hour. You’ll have access to the videos on-demand and will earn a certification card after completing the class.

The training covers the basics of self defense, including practical skills for defending yourself from an attack, using pepper pray, and phsyical techniques.

This course has garnered a 4.4 average rating from 91 reviewers who say it’s easy to understand and convenient to use. “My daughter and I watched this video series and found it extremely edifying,” one reviewer writes. “We will be practicing techniques at home so they become ingrained in our memory.”

Best free: SEPS Women's Self-Defense


  • Free
  • In-depth
  • Research-based


  • Time-consuming
  • Involves a lot of reading

Class length:

9 modules designed to study one per week

SEPS (situation effective protection system) classes are designed to educate individuals on how to use personal safety and self-defense techniques. The free online course is made up of nine modules that are each divided into two parts to address each of these facets.

The course provides background information about why predators may behave the way they do to help users understand how and why to respond to threats in a certain way. When it comes to actual self-defense techniques, the modules present a few common attack styles and demonstrate how to deal with them. The goal of the two-part modules is to teach you how to predict, identify, and avoid violence so that self defense only has to be used as a last resort.

The SEPS Women’s Self-Defense Program was created by Gershon Ben Keren, one of the co-founders of SEPS. He is a 5th degree black belt who is trained in Krav Maga, an Israeli martial art.

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Best for beginners: She Warrior Self Defense: The Complete Beginner Training


  • Woman-taught
  • Permanent access
  • Bonus videos


  • Not for more advanced students

Class length:

24 short video lessons

Taught by Jennifer Cassetta, a self-defense expert with a 3rd degree black belt in HapKiDo and more than 15 years of teaching experience, this empowering course is ideal for those who are new to self-defense. It’s comprised of 24 short video lessons that you can follow along with in a small space at home.

If you’ve felt intimidated by martial arts studios or male instructors, Cassetta’s course may be the best option for you. She’s all about fostering empowerment and harnessing your inner strength. Once you purchase the training course, you’ll have permanent access to the materials as well as three bonus videos on meditation and more advanced workouts.

"Jenn's self defense class illustrated the need to be prepared,” said one reviewer. “I leave the training feeling more confident to kick butt, get big, and fight off any potential attackers in the future! I recommend this online self-defense course to anyone and everyone!"

Best for women: Gracie University Women Empowered 2.0


  • Long-standing program
  • Includes additional resources
  • Opportunity become a certified instructor


  • Pricier than other options
  • Time-consuming

Class length:

20 lessons with an 80-day training schedule

Gracie Academy was established in 1925 by Carlos Gracie to teach Jiu-Jitsu in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It has evolved over time into Gracie University and has a long-standing tradition of teaching martial arts.

Its Women Empowered 2.0 class is one of the best self-defense classes for women to take online. It is a comprehensive program that covers how to defend yourself against the most common threats to women, including the physical and psychological aspects of assault. Plus, it includes a bonus 42-minute full-body jiu-jitsu-based exercise class.

After working your way through 20 lessons that include 63 unique techniques, you can virtually test your skills to earn your pink belt. There are also opportunities to become a certified instructor for those who score 95 or higher on the pink belt test.

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What is the No. 1 rule of self-defense?

The No. 1 rule of self-defense is "to be willing to learn," according to Mann. "If you fail at something, keep trying until it becomes easier and it becomes a part of your muscle memory."

What is the best self-defense class for a woman?

The best self-defense class for a woman based on our criteria is Gracie University Women Empowered 2.0. It teaches techniques for avoiding and escaping common threats to women and is taught by qualified professionals.

Are self-defense classes worth it?

Self-defense classes are worth it, confirms Mann. "It's a skill that everyone should know because the world is not a safe place." Classes can help you feel safe in your daily life and potentially protect yourself in a dangerous situation in the future. "To be confident enough to protect yourself if you need to whilst changing your behaviors towards your health and fitness gives you the confidence you can’t get from anywhere else," she adds. There's practically no downside to learning at least the basics of safety and self-defense.

What is the best age to learn self-defense?

There's a benefit to learning self-defense at any age, according to Mann, however, "it's better to start children young so that they grow up with the skill," she says. "I have taught children from the ages of 3 onwards. It's also a great way for parents to bond with children."

The takeaway

Learning self-defense can help you feel empowered and avoid potentially dangerous situations. It also gives you physical techniques to use in case of an emergency. You can learn self-defense through online courses that vary in price and time needed to complete the lesson. There are options for just about everyone, but the best online self-defense class for you depends on your budget, schedule, and learning style. "You don't need to be fit or strong; you just need to be willing to learn," says Mann.

Meet The Experts

Christie is a writer, editor, and content strategist whose work has appeared in Shape, Real Simple, Southern Living, InStyle, People, Travel + Leisure, and more.