About Three Rivers Defense

Three Rivers Defense is a holistic self-defense program founded by Brigitte Schulze in 2009.

We are based in Montana, USA.

Brigitte's self-defense training is trauma-informed, realistic, and research-based.

She uses training methods, building on your instinctive reactions. 

Brigitte teaches situational awareness based on increased or re-awakened self-awareness and self-confidence. 

She teaches physical self-defense in a supportive environment, progressing from fundamentals of striking and releasing yourself from grabs and holds to full-force counter-attacks against a padded aggressor. 

Her courses take into account that most women and girls are harassed or attacked by men they know in places generally considered safe, rather than by strangers in scary places.  

She uses realistic scenarios including boundary violations and attacks by known aggressors such as teachers, clergy, coaches, supervisors at work, and other people in authority. 

Brigitte trains people to communicate assertively, set boundaries, defend against larger and stronger attackers, and counter-attack as necessary.

Her training includes de-escalation, risk awareness, reduction, recognition, and avoidance.

Every class integrates training of the mind, body, and spirit.  



Our mission is to train, inspire, and empower.

We train people in personal safety, self-defense, and functional fitness.

We inspire people to realize their full mental, emotional, and physical potential.

We empower people to have fun, enjoy life, and maximize their safety and well-being.


Training Goals

Our training goals for every class are to learn, realize our power, and have fun.


Training Principles

We value diversity. Everyone who wants to train with us is welcome.

Our courses are for people age 13 and up. Our oldest participant was in her late 70's. 

No particular physical fitness or ability is required.

We train people of every shape and fitness level, from marathon runners to those who prefer a more sedentary lifestyle. Many of our trainees would not call themselves "athletes."  

We use trauma-informed and research-based training.

We respect reality. Violence can be ugly and we won't whitewash the potential brutality of physical attacks. We train with compassion and sensitivity. We also realize that you need to train realistically to program yourself to overcome the body's natural freeze reaction and counter-attack decisively and effectively when such a response is necessary for your safety.

We want you to realize your mental, emotional, and physical strengths and the powers of your natural weapons.

We provide you with options, but realize that the decision whether and how to de-escalate or resist are always yours.

We don’t believe in “do or don’t lists.” We teach safety concepts instead.

We respect your autonomy. You are in control of your training participation. At times, you may want to observe rather than participate, and that’s ok.

We realize that many of our participants have suffered trauma, including sexual assault, rape, domestic or partner violence, and other non-stranger or stranger violence. We believe that violence is the aggressor’s fault, not the target’s.

We also strongly believe that everyone has the ability to increase their safety and well-being through self-defense education and training.

Our training emphasizes increasing awareness and providing safety options in a respectful and compassionate environment.

Everyone is different and has different backgrounds and physical and mental abilities. We respect what you already know and bring to the training. We tailor each training to our participants' needs.   

We look forward to collaborate with you in violence prevention. 

Holistic Self-Defense

Holistic self-defense is intended to increase personal safety, happiness, and wellbeing.

Self-defense is so much more than learning how to fight off physical attackers. It is an attitude towards life that celebrates our self-determination as well as our connectedness with others.

It starts with self-awareness. It requires determining our emotional, mental, and physical needs - in our families, with our life partners and friends, in our work, and in our other environments.

Empowerment self-defense is rooted in and nurtures autonomy. It includes permission and encouragement for us to explore our essential needs and seek a life that allows us to flourish.  

Effective training can equip you to live your life more authentically.

Transformation through self-defense training isn’t about having you change into a new person; it’s about realizing and uncovering your mental, emotional, and physical potential - “tapping your inner thug” as one of our trainees put it, or your “inner warrior” to use a more noble identity.

Ultimately, self-defense training creates awareness of what we already are and can do.