Personal Testimonials Model Mugging Graduates

Model Mugging Self-Defense Course Testimonials


“This Self-Defense Course Will Change Your Life!”


NANCY – (Self Defense Course Graduate – 1990’s) – “Model Mugging was a turning point in my life, and I am profoundly grateful for the experience. The value this class delivered, and continues to deliver decades later for me. Model Mugging was the best value out there for delivering meaningful life skills and undoing some of the horrific damage delivered on my life by cycles of abuse. Against all odds, I have a kind, gentle husband and a smart, loving daughter. I doubt my life would have had this outcome without all the work I did during that tumultuous period of my life, and Model Mugging was the cornerstone of it all. Thanks for the important work you do.”

SANDRA – (Munich Self-Defense Course Graduate) – “What a great experience! One day ago I am still totally overwhelmed.

I can’t believe what’s happened during the last 2 days (course). I have never felt such a physical power. I will keep it deeply in my mind. It’s a part of myself now and I’m sure it will strengthen me during my life. As Peter Pan said “To live will be an awfully big adventure” – Yes, it is – but now I have a better feeling to say “YES” to new adventures. I have a new friend on my side. She is my companion on this journey and she will guide me. Thank you for introducing her to me!

Thank you for your passion! Thank you for your power! Thank you for spreading your spirit to Germany now!

LEAH – (Seattle Powerful Choices Women’s Self-Defense Course Graduate) – “I am now 78. I took the class in Seattle in 1989. It was a profound experience. Although I had never been attacked prior to taking the course, I did move through the world with a lot of fear. The class allowed me to release the fears around my physical safety which I have since carried throughout my life. What I learned in Model Mugging is a part of me and still gives me the confidence to believe that if a physical threat does happen I stand a pretty good chance of defending myself. My granddaughter will be graduating high school next year and the best gift I can give her is a course before she graduates.”

JESSICA – (Orange County Self-Defense Course Graduate) – “It was a wonderful experience that I will never forget. I had just told my therapist about it and she can also see the change in me that occurred during the course. She wanted to know more about Model Mugging so that she could recommend it to her friends and other patients who are still having an unbearable amount of trouble dealing with their experience of sexual assault. My boyfriend has told me recently that ever since I took the class I’ve been a happier person, even compared to before my encounter with sexual assault and I am more confident in myself. Thank you so much for showing me how strong I REALLY am!”

ROBBIE – (Seattle Powerful Choices Women’s Self-Defense Course Graduate)  – “A month after class, I am still living in the afterglow of empowerment! I thank you for such a life changing program! I really liked the format of class time and drills. And of course, the fights were a rush of emotion, energy, adrenaline and empowerment!!!

I hope I never have to use it but am happy I have a can of whoop-ass in my back pocket!
I so appreciate all of your time and effort in teaching such a powerful course! Thank you again!”


TOM and AMIDEI – (Parents of Denver Self-Defense Women’s Self-Defense Course Graduate) – “As parents, one of the worst feelings in the world is knowing your child is being hurt or is in a dangerous situation. The feeling of helplessness is overwhelming. So when this happened to our family, it became a huge priority as parents to do anything and everything we could to help protect our daughter.

Step in Model Mugging! As a graduate of this program over 25 years ago, I knew the impact and life altering changes this class could make. Our daughter had been in an abusive, controlling and manipulative relationship for over three years. We could see her struggle to break free from this, but honestly I don’t believe she knew how. Our advice and guidance were not providing the direction and help she needed to move out of this situation. We were beyond thrilled when she agreed and was excited to enroll in the Model Mugging class.

She will tell you it was the hardest, most rewarding and difficult weekend she’s ever been through, and the changes in her life have been amazing to watch. Within only a month or so of completing the course, she was forced to use some of the training she learned to get herself out of an aggressive situation. Within several months she had gained the strength to walk away from the abusive relationship and never look back. She has blossomed and her confidence grows with each day. She is finally our happy and content daughter again. She is empowered to make smart choices and looking for all the right things in her relationships, not settling for anything less than she deserves. It was truly a life changing event in her life!

With the warmest appreciation!”

MARTA – (Mother of Seattle Self-Defense Course Graduate and Graduate herself) – “Thank you and your team for all that you are doing and how well you do it.  I do believe it was a transformative experience for my daughter.”

ANITA – (Mother of San Francisco Bay Area Self-Defense Course Graduate and Graduate herself) – “You gave our young women a powerful gift. They came away changed by the experience.”

KATHRYN & BELINDA – (Seattle Self-Defense Course Graduates) –  “We can’t thank you enough for the class and for being awesome instructors. We learned so much and feel empowered in real ways. It was a very grounding experience to learn the skills you taught us. Much appreciated!!”

BROOKE – (Mother of San Francisco Bay Area Self-defense Course Graduates) – “Thank You for your excellent instruction. Both of my girls were dragging their heels before the class but came home revved up and inspired after the first day.  My oldest daughter (age 20) reported she was VERY glad that she took the class and felt more prepared to depart for Europe for a Semester abroad, which she did the day after class. My younger daughter (age 18), too, is feeling more knowledgeable about protecting herself as she steps out into the bigger world.”

In addition to teaching our young women how to protect themselves and be aware of their environment you demonstrated a passionate commitment to teaching. I know they were all favorably impacted by your personal life force and effort that went into your class. You gave our young women a powerful gift. They came away changed by the experience. Thank you so much.”

REBECCA – (Seattle Self-Defense Graduate) –  “I am so grateful I took it way back when. It’s intense, it’s empowering, it’s healing, and it builds preventive street smarts. You can find self-defense courses that are less expensive, but you can’t find one any cheaper that focuses so thoroughly and supportively on building automatic muscle-memory in the midst of an adrenalin attack. It is a wonderful gift you can give yourself.”

eye strike self-defense technique

Eye strike self-defense technique performed during Model Mugging Los Angeles women self-defense course.

STEPHANIE (San Francisco Bay Area Self-defense Course Graduate) – “As I shared during our closing circle, I’m thriving in a way that I haven’t thrived in a very, very long time. Not only is there weightlessness in my body, there’s also lightness in my heart and head. What’s even more poignant is that my spirit has been touched and reignited in an incredibly powerful and moving way, and I’m confident that nothing or no one will be able to diminish that.”

ANNIE (Psychotherapist and Denver Self-defense Course Graduate) “Of all the many courses I’ve taken, Model Mugging was the most powerful and supportive. Every woman should take this course to support their emotional and physical well being.”

TONY (Father of Denver Self-defense Course Graduate) “I attended the graduation event on the final night of class and I’ll summarized by saying I was intellectually and emotionally blown away. My 16 yr. old daughter attended the course and my wife retook the course (she completed the class about 6 years ago). I witnessed my daughter get attacked (by a trained instructor)  and then proceed to watch her use what she just learned in the previous 3 days to bring the 200 pounds plus attacker ‘to his knees’ three separate times! She will be a senior in high school this year and soon off to the craziness of college, and as a father, I feel incredibly better about her ability to “take care herself. My deepest thanks to ‘Model Mugging’ and your instructors’ passion for doing this work.”

ALEC (Los Angeles Self-defense Course Graduate)  –  “I’ve taken a number of different self-defense courses throughout the years. Model Mugging was the only course that stayed with me both in physical and emotional content.  It was also the only course that I walked away feeling empowered and confident that I could trust myself during an assault. The difference probably lies with the course’s ability to stimulate the emotional response to an assault.  I worked through the ‘freeze’ response, leaving me with a huge sense of accomplishment and strength. The course was the best therapy any survivor could ask for. If I could, I’d set up a fund so that every woman could have the opportunity to take the course.”

EMILY (Aspen, Colorado Self-defense Course Graduate) “Your program was one of the most life changing and positive things I have ever experienced and I thank you kindly for bringing it to this area. I think all men and women should have access to the knowledge you gave me in this class to help stop violence against all humans and make this world a safer, kinder place to live and love.”

Eye Strike Self Defense Technique - Model Mugging LA Women Self DefenseNATHALIE (San Francisco Self-defense Course Graduate) “The Model Mugging Course is one of the most empowering experiences you will ever go through, and its effects will trickle down to every area of your life. The teachers are professional, knowledgeable and kind, and go out of their way to make sure you have an amazingly transformative experience. I came to the class because I was tired of walking the nighttime streets afraid. I left after a weekend, with not only much less fear about that, but also an increased confidence to do anything else I set my mind to. A couple of weeks after Model Mugging, I enrolled in school, overcame my fear of public speaking, and felt much calmer and at peace, knowing that I could deal with whatever came my way. Every woman should take this course, no matter what their age or life circumstances. It really is the best money you will ever spend!”

MARCELLINA (So Cal – Los Angeles Self-defense Course Graduate) “I took this class at age 13 in Southern California and am now 26 living alone in Manhattan, New York. Thanks to this class I’ve always been empowered, confident, aware of my surroundings and my fears of being attacked have never disabled me from living my life. I’ve never been assaulted or in situations I was not in control of and I continue to use the knowledge from this course every single day.”

RENEE SUNDARAM (Seattle Self-defense Course Graduate) “Before I took Model Mugging self-defense, I feared being alone at night. I felt vulnerable and always on guard. Afterwards I still feel vulnerable, but I have knowledge of how I can defend myself. This knowledge is not in my brain, it’s in my body. My body memorized the motions of how to react to an attack. Drilling these options many times during the course, they became automatic. No need to think, only react. I discovered I am not helpless or defenseless. I do not need my father or my brother to defend me; I do not need a weapon. I am capable of defending myself. My body is my weapon, and a powerful weapon at that.”

TINA FORBUS (Self-defense Course Graduate who successfully defended herself against an emotionally disturbed, 6 feet, 250 pounds, assailant armed with a knife, even though she had only taken the basics course. She is 5 feet 4 inches and weighs less than 115 pounds). ”I am thoroughly convinced that it was Matt Thomas’ Model Mugging training that saved my life.”

CLARE MONTEER (Executive Director, Monterrey Rape Crisis Center)
“Model Mugging is not just a highly effective self-defense course, but it has also helped former victims to become strong and regain confidence in their ability to look after themselves.”

GENEEN ROTH (Author and Seminar Leader – Breaking Free, The Courage to Heal’)
“Most of the women I see professionally have spent years wanting their thighs to disappear, their hips to melt away. They feel nothing for their bodies but contempt and disgust. Model Mugging teaches us something we all need to learn: Women’s bodies are not decorations; they are strong, they are powerful and when they are violated, they can be deadly.”

SHARON RIPPNER, Ph.D. (Clinical Psychologist)
“The healing which Model Mugging provides involves a body healing, an ability to change the body memory to create a positive outcome by recreating an earlier outcome and winning. The release and healing that I see from this process cannot be duplicated in any amount of psychotherapy.”

DENNIS EVANS, MD (Psychiatrist)
“The course provides a very powerful psychodrama which, in a supportive environment, facilitates emergence of issues and then mastery of them. This takes therapy out of the oft times abstract armchair into a very real and practical experience.”

CAPTAIN DONALD FUSELIER (Carmel Police Department, Police Academy Instructor on Officer Response to Victims of Sexual Assaults)
“The sense of personal empowerment that this training brings to its graduates is beyond value. The program gives women a strong sense of their own power and the ability to protect themselves from harm. Model Mugging is the only self-defense course I would ever have my wife or daughter take.”

ROBERT BISHOP, Ph.D. (Program Director of Executive Security International, the world’s top private body-guarding academy)
“Model Mugging should be mandatory training for any martial artist or law enforcement officer who would benefit from facing their own fears. More than any other training, it gives one a realistic sense, emotionally, mentally and physically, as to what it is like to engage in mortal combat. It is taught with compassion, humor and skill. I am extremely grateful to Matt for teaching my daughter to protect herself.”

(Helped design new physical, mental and hand-to-hand combat courses for the U.S. Army Special Forces-Green Berets) “Transformation at the deepest level requires at least these events:

  • An experience of safety so as to allow great risking,
  • An experience of success so as to encourage more risking,
  • Acknowledgment that the success comes from one’s own power and nowhere else.

The Model Mugging program achieves these extraordinary events over and over again.”

JERRY ROBINSON (President of Health for Life)
”One hears that developing the Warrior Spirit requires years of martial arts training or at the very least, a pilgrimage to the Far East. Not so. Matt Thomas has found a way to develop it in a weekend. Poignant, uplifting, primal and above all empowering. Model Mugging confronts you with the reality of mortal combat and teaches you to survive.”

THERESA SALDANA (Actress, Founder of Victims for Victims)
“After my attack, I lived with so much fear. Model Mugging gave me a tremendous feeling of self-confidence and healing.”

“Model Mugging has been one of the most challenging and powerfully transformative experiences I have every voluntary undertaken. It taught me more than techniques. It reminded me that I am always capable of more than I had thought. It held up a mirror before me, gently forcing me to acknowledge my own courage.”

JESSICA (Los Angeles Women Self Defense Graduate) described several experiences while working in Philadelphia where Model Mugging Self Defense impacted her personal safety)

Prior to Model Mugging, my fear of being out in a big city at night would have me look down and look meek. After taking the course, I gained a confidence that translated into a real strength. The lessons in boundaries helped me better spot trouble situations that I would have naively tolerated in the past. A year after taking the course, I moved to a very rough neighborhood in Philadelphia.  With no car, and a low paying job working for a non-profit group, that had me out some nights, I was regularly traveling public transportation in sketchy areas.  Based on what I’d learned, I held my head high, walked with confidence, and would meet the eyes of anyone around me.

When I’d encounter a shady character, I’d look him straight in the eye and greet him confidently with a nod and move on. I’d learned in the class that criminals target specific kinds of people who present themselves as weak and unaware. It was obvious to me that this new level of strength I put out changed the dynamic. Far fewer creepy characters came up to me after the course, whereas I’d been a kind of a magnet for creeps prior to the course.

While moving about throughout Philadelphia I’d learned to survey my surroundings, and made it clear I was paying attention. Two separate occasions, I’d noticed someone casing me or a friend for a possible mugging. The individuals paced by us several times, eyeing our stuff. And both times I looked that person in the eye and greeted them with a stern but respectful and confident nod of my head to communicate, “I see you.”  In both situations, the suspicious person wandered off after that look.

The Model Mugging class helped me find my voice.  Prior to the course, I hated being loud and was terrible at speaking up for myself. And when I was scared, I’d get really quiet. After the course, that changed. One late night when walking with a couple girlfriends, we came upon some young drunk men.  One of them came straight at me with his hands out as if to reach for my waist. With the knowledge that I could protect myself, I very loudly and firmly began yelling at him, “Don’t touch me I don’t know you!” He immediately backed away with his hands in the air.

Learning to survey my surroundings and pay attention to criminal behavior was so helpful. Another day stands out when I was headed to the corner market.  I noticed a man also walking toward the market from the opposite direction on the street. He was walking very fast and had what appeared to be an empty backpack on and an intense angry look on his face. He was heading to my market. I decided to skip going to the market and sure enough, that guy held up the market at gun point.

Model Mugging Women’s Self Defense allowed me to apply crime prevention and personal safety skills where I would not have been able to do before the training.


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