top of page

Asphalt Anthropology

"The street-smart way of knowing, enjoying L.A."
- The L.A. Times

Asphalt Anthropology self-defense is an effective, principles-based class that decodes the human and social patterns in the urban landscape. Students gain knowledge and practical tools that they can effectively apply to meet the unique circumstances of their own lives.  Developed by an avid urban explorer and self-defense instructor, this course explores the dynamics of conflict and violence allowing students to manage their own safety with greater ease and less anxiety.

This class will also address the problems unique to city life. We will review current events to understand how even unprovoked violence can be spotted and avoided when seconds count.

There are no physical techniques practiced in this class. This class is accessible to all and ideal for students regardless of fitness level or self-defense experience.

Learning Objectives
By the end of the class, participants will be able to:
    •    Identify pre-event indicators and cues that predict violence

    •    Identify their own victim profile and ways to lower rewards, maximize risk to the Threat

    •    Differentiate social vs predatory violence and apply the appropriate tactics for avoidance and de-escalation

    •    Identify predator tactics and recognize when they are being set up by a Threat

    •    Threat assessment – identify the indicators of: Dangerous Relationships, Places, Situations and Being Targeted

    •    Identify pre-attack cues: physical, behavioral, effects of adrenaline

    •    Apply early interventions/street-smart dodges for when they’ve been targeted

    •    The class is generally 90 minutes.

    •    Content and length can be customized to meet your group's needs

    •    Optional: People Watching field trip

Small groups only in a public space. From this vantage point students will discover the principles discussed in class "at work in the wild" while sharpening their powers of observation. The field trip will incorporate a game and a sense of play enabling you to joyfully absorb the information. This ensures they can quickly and automatically apply their new skills under pressure.

Sidewalk Sociology

Prerequisite: Asphalt Anthropology

Topics Include:

  • Pre-Attack Cues

  • Identifying Risky Places & People

  • How to Lose a Tail

  • Using Your Environment to Your Advantage

  • Moving Tactically Through Public Spaces


1 hour discussion of violence principles followed by a 1 hour field trip on Los Angeles Metro's Red Line. As you move through public spaces you will identify high risk areas and develop your own personal safety plan. You will leave the course with a new mastery of public spaces and heightened confidence to explore the world around you. 

The Un-Finishing Class

This nine-week course is for womxn only

Prerequisite: None

Womxn are socially conditioned to be nice, placate and "get along". That's great when life is running smoothly. But from the streets to the boardroom, that is what  bad guys count on when they test your boundaries.  Unlike a "finishing school", this "un-finishing" class challenges students to explore their strengths underneath those artificial layers. 


This comprehensive course explores more deeply the concepts from Asphalt Anthropology while incorporating physical self-defense skills. It is designed to allow each student to safely explore their physical, mental and social boundaries to more effectively manage various levels of conflict and maintain control in their everyday life. 


Course Components

  1. Physical self-defense

  2. Mental/Emotional self-defense

  3. Street Skills

  4. Fitness


The course is taught in two alternating parts: one hour each week taught by Beverly Baker covering course components 1, 2 and 3. Component 4 is a separate one hour weekly class. This component focuses on getting into fighting shape and embodying the empowering principles of the course. 

Initially developed for women living in Los Angeles' Skid Row, this class is now available to the general public.​

bottom of page