Teaching Self Defense in Nepal

I spent a week certifying self defense instructors in Nepal — here’s how I did it

Susie Kahlich
8 min readDec 12, 2021


© Pretty Deadly Self Defense 2021

Two weeks ago, I was in Lalitpur, a sprawling suburb of Kathmandu in Nepal that essentially morphs into the capital city itself. I was working with my cohort of 16 facilitators, putting the final touches on a series of self defense workshops to be delivered throughout the day for the International Day to Eliminate Violence Against Women.

I was working with our nonprofit partner, the Sambhavya Foundation, an initiative supporting the mental health of high school students in Nepal, and with whom I had been in touch thanks to a continuing professional development online workshop I had taken in Spring 2021. Executive Director Ashish Shrestha had invited Pretty Deadly Self Defense to Nepal to provide instructor training in our program as a fundamental element of mental health, which culminated in developing and delivering workshops to local communities.

Pretty Deadly Trainers Manual

Our week-long certification course was hosted at the Machhapuchchhre School in Lalitpur, a progressive K-12 school focused on fostering creative education to shape Nepal’s future leaders. Principal Sampurna Dewapatey was a strong supporter of our initiative from the start, and made sure that our training included two of his staff teachers, and 8 student leaders. The remaining 6 participants were facilitators from The Sambhavya Foundation, all recent or upcoming university graduates, with Masters degrees in psychology and social education.

Facilitators from Sambhavya Foundation © 2021

Daily Training

Every morning at 9am, I headed out from my hotel to the school, where our courses ran from 10am to 3pm in a dedicated training space. We kicked off the week in the school’s enclosed football (soccer) and sports field, a massive outdoor space that was perfect for prepping our participants for a week of self defense, methodology and leadership skills training. We enjoyed an opening ceremony, and a visit…



Susie Kahlich

CEO of SINGE | Founder of Pretty Deadly Self Defense @ prettydeadlyselfdefense.com | Former producer of art podcast Artipoeus: art you can hear @ artipoeus.com