RAD Self Defense Courses

The Department of Special Services within the Division of Public Safety offers free-of-charge RAD classes with the generous support of the Trustees' Council of Penn Women (TCPW), whose commitment and dedication to the safety and well-being of the Penn women's community enhances the quality of life for ALL members of the Penn community. Special Services provides separate courses for women and men. They also offer a special DPS Kids Safety Day to teach children important information about how to deal with strangers, how to call for help and how to stay out of dangerous situations, to name a few.

RAD for Women

The Rape Aggression Defense System for women is a program of realistic, self-defense tactics and techniques. The RAD System is a comprehensive course for women which begins with awareness, prevention, risk reduction and avoidance, and progresses to the basics of hands-on defense training. RAD is not a martial arts program. Our courses are taught by certified RAD instructors and provide you with a workbook/reference manual. This manual outlines the entire physical defense program for reference and continuous personal growth. The RAD system of physical defense is currently being taught at many colleges and universities across the nation. The growing, wide-spread acceptance of this system is primarily due to the ease, simplicity and effectiveness of our tactics, solid research, legal defensibility and unique teaching methodology. Our system of realistic defense will provide a woman with the knowledge to make an educated decision about resistance.

We operate on the premise that a spontaneous violent attack will stimulate a natural desire to resist, on the part of the victim (supported by research). We educate women about “The Flight or Fight Syndrome”, while showing them that enhancing their options of physical defense is not only prudent, but necessary, if natural resistance is to be effective. We provide these effective options by teaching women to take an active role in their own self-defense and psychological well-being.

Ten Reasons Why RAD System is on the Cutting Edge of Self-Defense Training

  • Has established the standard for female self-defense programs.
  • Offers no-nonsense, practical techniques of defense.
  • Researched the effects of “The Fight or Flight Syndrome”.
  • Offers advanced self-defense courses that build upon the physical defense system.
  • Provides realistic and dynamic hands-on training.
  • Provides students with a comprehensive Reference Manual.
  • Certified instructors from the community.
  • Has a litigation defense policy.
  • Offers state of the art programs at reasonable rates.
  • Every student receives a lifetime membership policy.

RAD For Men

Resisting Aggression with Defense was developed by RAD Systems in 2001. This course also has its foundations in education and awareness. The course includes lecture, discussion and self defense techniques, suitable for men of all ages and abilities. Classes range from nine to twelve hours in length, depending on the Instructor.

RAD classes for men are available be appointment only. Contact the Department of Special Services at 215.898.4481 or tcardella[at]publicsafety.upenn.edu to schedule a class or request more information.

For more information, contact Tracey Cardella, Support Specialist, Department of Special Services at 215.898.4481 or tcardella[at]publicsafety.upenn.edu.

DPS Kids Safety Day

The Division of Public Safety hosts several Kids Safety Day training sessions. This free course teaches kids important safety practices such as how to stay safe when confronted with strangers, what to do if they are lost and how to call 911 for help to name a few.

After completing the course each kid will receive a special certificate of completion.

Topics Include

  • Safety: What it means & how to stay safe inside and outside
  • Strangers: Good vs Bad Strangers
  • 911: What it is, how to use it and why to never use 911 for play.
  • Code Words: Words parents give to other people for child pick up. Words for emergencies.
  • Physical Defense
  • Touching:Good touching vs Bad Touching
  • Abuse:What it is & who to tell


Interested in attending a session? Register using the form below, call Tracey Cardella at 215-898-4481, or email at tcardella@publicsafety.upenn.edu

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4040 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104

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