Feminine And Powerful: This Self-Defense Instructor Is Showing People Femininity Is Not A Weakness

Self-defense instructor Jewel Cadet is out to show students everywhere that a person can be both feminine and powerful.

Jewel is the Program Manager for Youth & Community Empowerment at The Center for Anti-Violence Education. According to her profile, she is “a passionate social justice organizer for the rights of Women, Girls, Femmes and for the Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming Community.”

“Femininity is so powerful,” she told Mic. “You can have a five-inch stiletto, your long hair, and like your lashes and your long nails, and still be a super bad ass femme.”

Cadet talked about how, when she walks into class, people usually don’t realize she’s the teacher — and she likes that:

“I’m very intentional about that because it’s really important to embody that femininity,” she said.

“Feminine” of course, is not something that refers entirely to cisgender women.

According to a statistic cited in the video, 28 transgender people were fatally shot or killed in 2017.  It should therefore come as no surprise that some of her students are transgender women.

However, while I admire what Jewel Cadet is trying to do, I have two questions for her:

1) What are her credentials? What ranks does she hold, and in what martial arts?

2) Does her class feature any type of sparring? While drilling against a cooperative opponent is certainly necessary, you can’t learn to defend yourself unless you are doing so up against a person who is actually trying to hurt you (to a limited degree, of course).

There are unfortunately many fake martial arts classes out there. In fact, Tech Insider’s fake “self-defense” classes recently made headlines inside and outside the martial arts media.

For that reason, I would encourage anyone thinking about taking Jewel’s classes to inquire into her knowledge of martial arts and her classes before taking them.

Of course, this is a good idea with all martial arts classes.

Walking While Trans: weaponizing femininity

The Center for Anti-Violence Education (CAE) in Brooklyn teaches women to champion their femininity for their own safety — which is especially important for trans women, who risk violence every time they navigate public spaces. #WalkingWhileTrans

Posted by Mic on Saturday, December 30, 2017


  1. If someone learns self-defence they will never need to know a martial art or touch (spar) another person, genuine self-defence is about avoiding conflict first and foremost, who are you to question her methods? Different people respond to different approaches. There are many qualified black belts out there who’s sole intent is to break others, being a black belt in any martial art doesn’t constitute being an empowering person, there are many people out here empowering other through compassion and genuine will to be of service, having a martial art is not paramount to supporting people in their growth and self preservation. This article is arrogant and because of people who feel like you let there be many more like her out there right now and in the making. In case you wonder about my credentials, I have army training, JJJ, BJJ, and I am therapist. I thank you for bringing people like her to my attention, knowing she’s out there made my day.

  2. Self defense and martial art training is not the same thing. To me, I picture self defense training as kick him in the balls and run, or kick him in the face and run if your both on the ground. Remember that woman in Washington state who was asasulted by the homeless guy, that was in a nutshell what she did. Self defense class are for people who have no interest in learning a martial art, they just want to take a handful of classes, pick up something useful and go on about their lives.

    Martial arts are for people training long term and they want to learn the system of fighting. They put more time, training and effort into their chosen art. Martial artists are normally superior in their training but I don’t expect everyone to become a martial artist. My sister has no interest in Brazilian jiu jitsu or any martial arts but I do think she SHOULD take self defense classes just to have some idea of how to defend herself in case she ever gets attacked.


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