Self Defense ATX Mission
Self Defense ATX is a Traditional Martial Arts Academy program dedicated to teaching the skills of personal safety, empowerment and wellness. Our passion for our students and community can be expressed in the following principles:
- To cultivate a safe and welcoming community that encourages personal growth and resilience through physical self defense training.
- To emphasize non-violent strategies for solving conflict.
- To give back to our neighbors in the greater Austin area through volunteerism and fundraising.
An Austin native, Katie Villarreal has been a student of martial arts since 2010. She earned her 1st Dan Black belt and the title Jo Kyo Nim under Sa Bum Nim James Espy in 2017. Katie holds a B.S. in Kinesiology and B.A. in Women’s and Gender Studies from UT Austin, and she has been teaching martial arts full-time since she graduated in 2011. In her time at Traditional Martial Arts Academy, Katie has worked on developing and expanding several programs for kids and adults, including Wee Warriors, Pyon Moo Do Kids, women’s self defense, and fitness classes. Katie is also an A.C.T. certified self-defense instructor, and she teaches a course for students at St. Edward’s University. Katie is active in the community giving self-defense and empowerment workshops for organizations around the Austin area.
In addition to her work at Traditional Martial Arts Academy, Katie is affiliated with:
- Austin Jiu-Jitsu
- Austin Boxing Babes
- It’s On Us – St. Edward’s chapter
- Shannon Stallard’s Advanced Combative Tactics
- Girls’ Empowerment Network
- Texas Gay Straight Alliance Network – Austin HS chapter
- Girls Rock Austin
- INSPIRE: Empowering Texas Women Leaders
- Gender and Sexuality Center at UT Austin
- Sulsa Camp Combat School
Katie is an avid student of martial arts and continues her education in stand-up martial arts, boxing, and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.