Juli Brown is the owner and lead instructor of Empowered Strategies. She has been teaching self-defense since 2009 and has been dedicated to women’s empowerment for over 20 years. She is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW), 4th degree black belt in karate, and has been one of only a few Certified Empowerment Self-Defense Instructors in Illinois since 2016. In 2019 she founded Empowered Strategies to help empower women to feel more confident and less vulnerable, and to work in our communities to end violence.
Juli has a unique perspective as both an LCSW and martial artist. She has worked as a counselor and advocate for sexual assault and domestic violence survivors for over 10 years. When she began taking martial arts classes, she recognized the empowering effects of learning self-defense – and the practical benefits to help women live free from violence. In addition to training in karate, she has trained in Krav Maga and helped to develop a successful Krav Maga self-defense program in her karate school. Krav Maga, originally an Israeli military self-defense system, uses techniques which are perfect for women’s self-defense due to their simplicity and effectiveness against larger and stronger attackers.
In 2014 Juli began studying Empowerment Self Defense. She knew that an empowerment-based approach would be the best way to help students feel more confident and thus less vulnerable in their daily lives. Her clinical background and experience working with survivors of assault has also enabled her to use a trauma-focused approach in her teaching. This approach creates physical and emotional safety for all participants, in particular for survivors of previous assault or abuse.
She also continues to compete on the regional, national, and world levels in sport karate competitions in sparring and forms; and was a 2-time Gold Medal winner at the WKC World Championships in 2019.