About Empowered Today

We are a not-for-profit organisation based in NSW committed to reducing gender-based violence in Australia

about us - vision of Empowered Today

Our Vision

That every Australian feels safe and empowered to live a happy and healthy life.

about-us mission

Our Mission

To ensure every Australian has access to a toolkit of emotional, mental & physical skills in order to feel empowered and safe in any situation. Our nation-wide initiative called "Empowered Communities" will provide Facilitator Training to key community members all over Australia to help us reach this goal.

about-us values

Our Core Values

  • INTEGRITY – We model the values we teach with authenticity, compassion and mindfulness.
  • AVAILABILITY – Everyone deserves to feel safe; regardless of income, age, gender, race, sexual orientation, ability or circumstance.
  • BELIEF – We believe in the power and efficacy of ESD. It is proven, it is practical and it works.
  • SERVICE – We are of service to our local and greater community.

Empowered Communities Initiative

To help us reach our vision we are working on a Nation-wide initiative called “Empowered Communities”. The goal for this project is to reach as
many communities throughout Australia as possible with Empowerment Self Defence Facilitator Training to enable them to service their own
communities and help reduce gender-based violence

Help us create a safer tomorrow by becoming
Empowered Today

Our Story

The Initial Spark…
In 2016 my husband, Mark, finally let go of working in the stressful IT industry (after many years of ‘encouragement’ from me), in order to find something he was truly passionate about. He gave himself the following 6 months to just relax, heal & allow the next leg of his journey to reveal itself. During this time he read an article about how Martial Arts teachers were failing their female students. This article talked about the differences in gender-based violence and how most self defence classes teach women to look in all the wrong places for potential risk. It also shared the statistic “1 in 5 Australian women will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime” (Australian Bureau of Statistics). This figure was so startling, overwhelming and abhorrent that it started him down a path of research into the best options for female self defence.
Merging paths…​
At the same time I was also at a crossroads, having recently decided to move on from teaching (after 20 years in the school system). Personally I had always been very invested in the Mind-Body connection and it’s place in healing & overall wellbeing. I was preparing to open my own business offering stress consultancy & a new healing modality I developed called ShinShinRaku. We quickly realised that our shared passion for personal growth & wellbeing and the combination of skills & knowledge we embodied, seemed a perfect fit for co-facilitation. This ultimately lead to the formation of Empowered Today Inc. in 2019. We both have experience in Martial Arts (Aikido) & thought we understood self defence well. After researching more, we realised that there was a huge body of evidence for Empowerment & Self Defence (ESD) training, being the best and most effective way to both reduce gender-based violence & help people feel empowered in the process.

Through further research we discovered that the US had a long history in ESD and we were fortunate enough to find an organisation (ESD Global) offering instructor training. We travelled to New York in 2019 to complete the training and began co-facilitating workshops in our local community right away.

Access for all…

Since our vision is to help reduce gender-based violence, we wanted as many people as possible to have access to our training. For this reason we decided to establish a not-for-profit organisation where our course fees would be kept deliberately low and scholarships would be available for people who may not be able to afford to attend otherwise. More recently we have been focusing on our new initiative Empowered Communities that is designed to provide Facilitator Training to communities throughout Australia with the aim of all Australians having access to ESD training.

Lisa Evans
(President – Empowered Today)

Meet The Team

about-us Lisa Evans

Lisa Evans

Founder - President - Instructor
Networker Extraordinaire

Lisa has over 20 years of teaching experience and is one of only two fully certified ESD Global trainers in Australia. She is a 1st degree black belt in both Aikido and Goshindo and a qualified relaxation and stress management consultant. Lisa is passionate about the transformation that happens when women are taught Empowerment & Self Defence.

about-us Mark Evans

Mark Evans

Founder - Vice-President - Instructor
Researcher - Tech Wiz

Mark has been doing martial arts for over 30 years, is a 6th degree black belt in Aikido and has been running dojos and teaching self defence for the last 17 years. He has over 20 years of group facilitation experience and his goal is to affect positive change in people’s lives by providing training that empowers those at risk of sexual violence.

about-us simon

Simon Morrison

Volunteer - Padded Instructor

When our workshops include Adrenal Stress Training Simon volunteers to come and assist us by donning specially designed padded equipment so that our participants get to experience full-force striking as part of the real-life scenarios. His focus is, “providing the best training possible while keeping everyone safe”.

Frequently Asked Questions

A: No. The physical techniques and scenarios we teach are a combination of tried and tested ‘street defence’ tactics developed over the last 40 years. There is a huge focus on preventing violence and aggression before it becomes physical through situational awareness, risk assessment, boundary setting and de-escalation as well as realistic survival strategies.

A: Our classes are designed to be fun and engaging even though we deal with serious topics. All the games, exercises, drills and discussions are voluntary and you will not be asked to do anything you are not comfortable with.

During the assertiveness / empowerment section there will be a combination of short lectures, interactive exercises, and group discussions that will help you to develop your verbal self-defence skills and boundary setting, your awareness and intuition, and your understanding of the underlying causes of violence against women.

During the physical skills section, you will practice physical self-defence skills alone and with a partner. We encourage you to wear clothes that are easy to move in, but no special preparation is necessary. You do not need any prior experience or special skills to take our classes.

A: No! The physical skills we teach are easy to learn and do not require a great deal of strength or skill. They can be used by anyone, from children to older people. If you have particular concerns (for example, a bad back or a chronic injury), consult with our staff about how to adapt the skills for your situation.
A: Yes! Research has shown that empowerment-based self-defence training can reduce women’s risk of violence by at least 50%.
    See the 
ESD page for more information.
A: A ‘Trauma-informed’ environment is one in which a feeling of safety is paramount. We create a safe place for you to do the training where we outline the days events and ensure that you feel comfortable participating in the events. All activities are voluntary. As a personal safety training we always attribute the responsibility for assault to perpetrators, not the injured party. We respect that every person has a different life story and there is never any judgement around the past or the choices made to get to this point in time. We create a supportive friendly environment where we work together to understand and learn the skills to deal with the spectre of violence.

A: Not at all! The perpetrator is ALWAYS to blame for the violence they commit and ESD classes explicitly attribute responsibility for assault to perpetrators. Empowerment Self Defence is simply one of the tools available to help combat violence against women and just because a woman is capable of defending herself, does not mean that she is responsible for doing so.

There are already other tools being employed such as violence education and bystander intervention programs. However, systemic changes such as these often take generations to become part of mainstream society and in the meantime perpetrators will still be committing sexual assault. We are committed to teaching people about the nature of violence and giving them the tools to navigate those situations successfully.

When we tell a driver to wear a seatbelt in case they are in an accident we are not victim blaming, we are simply trying to employ every means possible to keep them safe.

A: Yes. Research has shown that empowerment-based self-defence classes can be empowering and healing for sexual assault survivors. We aim to create a survivor-centred, trauma-informed classroom. However, we encourage you to be aware of where you are in your healing process, and to consult with a therapist or other advisor if you are not certain whether you are ready to take the class. None of the exercises in our courses are mandatory and you can opt-out of anything you are uncomfortable with.

A: Yes! As long as you identify as a woman (however you define it), you are welcome in this class. We are trans-friendly, queer-friendly, Greek-friendly, geek-friendly… We’re just friendly.

A: At this time, the women’s self-defence class is designed for people who identify as women. We are hoping to develop LGBTQI+ specific classes in the future.
A: All our instructors are committed to ending violence against women. They are passionate about helping women develop the tools to both Empower and Defend themselves, and have dedicated themselves to helping to build the most effective program possible. We believe that sexual assault is not just a women’s issue, and we value the contributions, expertise and experience of everyone who opposes sexual violence.

A: Yes. We never want money to be the reason a person doesn’t get this potentially life-saving training. We always make free scholarship places available for every training we do. Please contact us if you would like to apply for a scholarship for one of our workshops.

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