Wendo, developed by Ned and Anne Paige a married couple of Toronto, Ontario is a form of self defense for women. Ned and Anne were practitioners of jujutsu, Karate and Judo. However, through the years as many more women took up Wen-Do, various techniques were shared and added to the system.

Though the base and concepts of Wen-Do come from martial arts, Wen-Do is not considered one by its adherents. Wen-Do classes focus on scenarios that often confront women, such as rape and domestic attacks. Classes do not involve any physical contact unless a student is ready and wants to. The system also encompasses feminist and empowering discussion around issues that face women and violence in contemporary society.

WEN-DO is an organization dedicated to holding self-defence courses by and for women. These courses are based on a variety of martial arts techniques which accommodate women’s and girls’ size and strength differences. Basic courses also cover avoidance and verbal self-defence strategies. Courses are taught year round by certified Wen-Do instructors.

Although we are based primarily in Toronto and Vancouver, our courses have been taught throughout Canada as well as internationally. Our instructors will come to your workplace, school, or community to lead courses or workshops.

Wendo believes that in a male-dominated society, women’s commonality of experience of violence and the fear of violence is typically different from men’s and it is therefore vital for women to have access to self-defence courses taught by and for women.

Wendo GOAL is to build on women’s prior knowledge and increase their self-confidence by teaching a variety of awareness, avoidance and verbal self-defence stategies, and simple, practical physical techniques that are designed to be effective even against a larger and stronger attacker.

Wendo BELIEVE that women can use their bodies effectively, as they are  older or younger, athletic or not, disabled or non-disabled to resist or defuse violent situations.


Wen-Do is a feminist organization which believes that:

  • everybody has the right to live free from violence and the threat of violence;
  • a woman’s experience of violence, and her access to related services, may be affected by her age, race, sexual orientation, cultural background, physical and mental ability, economic situation, and many other aspects of her experience;
  • women and girls already have a wealth of experience in protecting their own safety;
  • any approach that tries to blame women and girls for having “provoked” or “failed to prevent” violent attempts to dominate and control them ought to be emphatically rejected;
  • in order for self-defence teaching to be most effective, the violence to which it responds must be placed in a social context, and participants should be encouraged to re-examine commonly held beliefs and stereotypes in our society that promote violence against women and girls, as well as their own histories, experiences and feelings which may help or hinder their ability to defend themselves;
  • all participants should be treated with respect and consideration, both by the instructor and by one another;

Our organizational goals are:

  • to enable women and girls to access resources on violence against women in their own communities;
  • to increase awareness of Wen-Do by the general public and by organizations involved with issues of violence against women and girls;
  • to strive to make our classes as relevant and as accessible as possible to a diversity of women and girls, and to incorporate an anti-oppression analysis into our teaching;
  • to strive to make instructor training, membership in Wen-Do, and seats on Wen-Do’s Board of Directors available to a diversity of women;
  • to strive to provide both specialized classes geared to the needs of particular groups of marginalised women (eg. disabled women, lesbians, women of colour, older women,non-english speaking women) and general classes open to all women which have integrated the needs of marginalised women into the curriculum;
  • to strive to build relationships with a diversity of community groups;
  • to make our classes as safe as possible for the participants both in terms of physical safety and in terms of respectful treatment by the instructor and each other, while recognizing that absolute safety is an impossibility;
  • to provide a consistently high standard in women’s self defence instruction, and train instructors extensively, both in physical and teaching skills;
  • to encourage instructors to continually hone their teaching skills by incorporating feedback from their students, sharing ideas with other instructors, and participating in instructor workshops and further training provided by Wen-Do;
  • to provide women with opportunities for continued training and attainment of proficiency through Wen-Do’s Continuing Training Classes;
  • to strive to create, within our organization, an environment where members will:
    • value their own and one another’s well-being;
    • share power, knowledge, and skills;
    • be willing to make, and hear, constructive challenges to the status quo, while respecting the fundamental principles upon which the organization is founded;
    • be open to taking risks;
    • honour their history;
    • celebrate survival and resistance to injustice;
    • have fun;
  • to strive towards making the world a place where it is safe to be a woman or a girl.