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Born to Be a Badass

Aug 3, 2020

#500 Rising is a movement that stands on the strong shoulders of the women who have come before us. Our first mission is to train female instructors in essential self-defense, and to support them as they reach out to their communities and networks to make a difference in the stubborn statistics of violence against women. It was founded by Tammy Yard McCracken. The first instructor training was recently held in Minneapolis, MN, and today’s roundtable discussion features many of those who participated and who were certified as the first officially endorsed #500Rising instructors.

Tammy Yard McKracken is owner of Kore Self-Defense & Krav Maga and a globally certified expert level Krav Maga instructor. She is the third woman ever to earn an expert rank with Krav Maga Global (KMG) in North America. She is also one of the instructors for Violence Dynamics.

Allison DiRienzo Allison is co-founder of Wolf Dog Marketing, a full service digital design agency, an Executive Team member of the #500Rising and Violence Dynamics organizations, a Board Member on She's Local and the Metrowest Conference for Women, and is a kickboxing instructor. She lives and trains martial arts in the greater Boston area with her husband and two giant wolf dogs.

Kasey Keckeisen is a police officer in Minnesota and is an executive officer on the force’s tactical team. He has been training in martial arts for more than 25+ years and holds 6th degree black belts in Judo, Jujitsu, and Aikido and a black belt in Taiho Jutsu. Kasey is one of the founders of Violence Dynamics.

Liisa Carter is a civilian follower of Violence Dynamics and a participant of the 500 Rising training.

Sheena Williams experience is working in private security working hand in hand with law enforcement in an ER setting. She has since opened her own self-defense school and has been working there for 8+ years where she utilizes her skills in martial arts that she has been practicing for nearly a decade. 

Tia Keck along with her husband owns the Rock Hill Martial Arts gym. Tia is also an advocate of training for women to help them be safer not just feel safer.  

Kelly Sayre is the owner of Diamond Arrow Group where the training includes situational awareness, pre threat indicators, reading body language, while also making and reinforcing your boundaries. 

Amy Stewart Cooper is from Boise, Idaho, and has been training in martial arts for 8-10 years. She has been teaching women’s self-defense for a year and going to self-defense seminars for 3 years.

Maggy Rae (Emme) is a self-defense trainer who spent 14 years in the corrections field and was also an officer for 7 years. She believes it is OK to have the fighter mindset and still be feminine.

Lisa Abbott  is the owner of Subtle Warrior Self-Defense in northeastern Nevada and she spends her time traveling to teach at self-defense seminars.

In this episode, the Guests and I discuss:

  • The #500Rising movement and the recent Foundations Training for the first group of #500Rising instructors
  • What prevents women from attending a self-defense course?
  • Why have Women’s-only as opposed to mixed-gender self-defense and training courses?
  • Benefits and positive challenges within the 500 Rising Training.
  • The advice and corresponding resources to improve self and familial protection abilities. 


Key Takeaways:

  • Being understanding and making the training and self-defense environment comfortable for women that have been in negative and triggering past scenarios.
  • Distinguishing between the actions of being responsible for and responsible to a person.  
  • Utilizing teach-backs in training. While intimidating, it is also a useful teaching tool for constructive feedback, and to help you improve as an instructor and coach.
  • Trust your instinct and intuition that you can defend yourself. 



"Trust your intuition, always. When you get that feeling that something’s not quite right, listen to it." —  Amy Stewart Cooper


Mentioned: Be your Own Body Guard Training by Coach Blauer


Connect with Tammy Yard McKracken:




Connect with Alison DiRienzo:





Connect with Kasey Keckeisen:



Connect with Sheena Williams:






Connect with Tia Keck:



Connect with Kelly Sayre:





Connect with Amy Stewart Cooper:

Instagram: @streetshieldselfdefense


You Tube: Street Shield Self-Defense


Connect with Maggy (Emme):

Instagram:   @mheald10

Facebook: Maggy Rae


Connect with Lisa Abbott:







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