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It is our hope to find and bring together every ESD professional around the world. 

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Empowering us all


Membership will give you access to benefits and features that will support and empower you as an ESD professional.

By joining the Association, you won’t only strengthen your own ESD practice, you will also be helping to build a cohesive global community where ideas are shared and collaborations thrive. And through all of our work, we will aspire to broaden the diversity and inclusiveness of ESD.


If you’d rather not spend your time searching for liability coverage for your practice, maybe the Association can help!

Membership to the Association of ESD Professionals provides access to insurance coverage for self-defense instructors in an effort to free up your time to do what you do best—teach empowerment self-defense.

A message from Executive Director Samantha Waterman


Welcome to the Association of ESD Professionals! The Association was created to support and represent you, the professionals who work in ESD. We are here to elevate and fortify this young profession of empowerment self-defense (ESD) and to dramatically broaden the reach of ESD worldwide. While the ESD profession is always evolving, its mission has not changed in 40 years—to empower individuals and prevent violence. The Association is here to support you in fulfilling that mission.


It is the vision of the Association to provide support to ESD professionals as we elevate and fortify the ESD profession, expand the reach of ESD, and grow public awareness of ESD’s healing benefits. The Association aims to standardize the practice of ESD with credentialing, continuing education, accreditations, and ethical & procedural guidelines to ensure safety and engender public trust. We will provide career & business resources. Through our outreach and advocacy work, we will influence public policy and increase government funding. To bolster its real-world impact, we will sponsor and share research. We will host events and publish a magazine, blog, and podcast. Through all of our work, we will aspire to build community and broaden the diversity and inclusiveness of ESD.


It is our mission to support Empowerment Self-Defense professionals, elevate and fortify the ESD profession, expand the reach of ESD to millions of people around the world, and establish ESD as an indispensable tool for preventing and reducing violence.

By teaching people how to empower themselves and shed their fears, the individuals and organizations doing this noble work can change the world.


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(Coming Soon)

Code of Ethics

Credentialing & Accreditation

Continuing Education

Collaborative Advocacy & Lobbying 


Business How To's:




ESD Directories


Publications & Podcast

Sponsor & Spotlight ESD Research

Recognition, Features & Awards              for ESD Professionals

Career Center with Jobs Board




About Us

We are just getting started! The Association of ESD Professionals is a brand new professional membership association created to elevate and fortify the Empowerment Self-Defense (ESD) profession, expand the reach of ESD, engage the community, and support ESD instructors, instructor-trainers, researchers, writers, volunteers, advocates, and other violence-prevention professionals who adhere to the principles of ESD. Whether you live in the U.S. or elsewhere in the world, please consider joining us as we work together toward shared violence-prevention goals.

We are a 501(c)(6) nonprofit, mutual benefit organization incorporated in Virginia. Unlike a 501(c)(3) organization, the Association does not engage in fundraising and instead must generate revenue. Membership dues may be tax deductible as business expenses and membership does not require participation in the credentialing program.

Empowering Us All


We would love to have your ideas

Submit your suggestions, proposals, ideas, and recommendations to our Suggestion Box!

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