Corporate Clients Testimonials

Nomura International plc

A colleague had attended A Premier Self Defence course and recommended highly for us to consider as an employee network event. The company are a pleasure to deal with and everyone is thoroughly professional in their approach. A fantastic course, the feedback from those who attended was simply outstanding; with particular focus on the different techniques learned and the practical nature of the content. Sincere thanks to Debi and her excellent team.

Event Organiser

Click here to read their article about Debi Steven

The Self-Defence Federation (UK)

Web site:

This is what Dave Turton 8th Dan, Founder and Head of The Self-Defence Federation and highest graded Real Self-Defence Instructor in the UK, has to say about the Founder and Chief Instructor of Premier Self-Defence, Debi Steven:
As head of the Federation, I am delighted to be able to supply this letter in support of Debi Steven, and to acknowledge the following points:

1. Debi Steven is registered and fully recognised by the Federation, as a fully qualified 4th Dan Black Belt in Shotokan Karate
2. She is also recognised and registered by the Federation as an Advanced Level Self-Defence Instructor.
3. In our opinion, she is an excellent Instructor, highly intelligent and dedicated to her teachings, and is well respected throughout the Federation.
4. She is highly knowledgeable on all matters relating to both the traditional teachings of Karate, and the modern requirements of correctly taught self-defence.

Debi has proven to be an excellent member of the S.D.F., and a very valuable representative in the arts of both Karate and Self-Defence. She has attended a great many Workshops, seminars, and training courses organised by the Federation, showing great interest.

I have absolutely no hesitation in fully recommending Debi for any teaching or instructional positions in the Arts of Karate and Self-Defence, and in this she has both my fullest support, and that of the Federation.




Too nice for self defence? No you’re not

Posted on March 9, 2013 by jessmccabe

Have you ever been followed home? Have you ever been shouted at on the street? Attacked? Raped?

I would have to say yes to some of these questions, and so would many women reading this, as the statistics show*. In all these cases, what happens is always the aggressor’s fault. That, I hope, goes without saying. There is no secret key which victims can turn to avoid these things happening.

Today’s session on self defence at the Women of the World festival was, however, a revelation.

It was led by Debi Steven – if you saw her walking down the street, the shortish South African might seem unassuming. You would be wrong – she’s an experienced martial artist, and fluent in what she calls ‘the dance of pain’. She runs an organisation called Premier SelfDefence in London. As it quickly turns out, that’s very apt – many of her techniques are about seeming unthreatening at first, but being able to tap into aggression and violence if necessary.

She asks us near to the start of the session, ‘Could you pick a brick up and smash it into another human’s face?’ Some in the audience are visibly shocked.

Most of the attendees of this session are younger women – that is no surprise. Even though women of all ages are harassed and attacked on the street and in their own home, there is a cluster of awfulness that young women tend to experience more, mostly from men. (Although, Steven says, it’s not impossible that you might be attacked on the streets by a teenage girl or a woman.)

Steven says that her aim is to ‘teach nice people to have no respect and go flat out’ – obviously, only in the worst scenario, if you can’t escape!

She has a number of practical tips: trust your intuition; if a situation feels threatening, it probably is so get away.

In a threatening confrontation on the street, don’t be confrontational back, don’t issue a command like ’go away’ – stroke the ego of the aggressor instead. If someone comes at you saying, ‘you looking at me?’, rather than say no, you might pretend you thought you recognised them from some realistic situation, like, for example, the gym. Say anything to get away and de-escalate the situation.

We ‘get to’ experience the trainers getting in our face, shouting at us, trying to intimidate us – it was actually quite scary, even though we knew it was an act.

Then we move on to a physical demonstration: as in trying out Debi’s defence techniques on four male volunteers. We do not, as a whole, really put much welly into, for example, slapping the volunteers on their carotid artery.

By the time we’ve worked through slapping, kicking, elbowing and screaming, however, it has changed. There’s no ladylike holding back – we are, as a group, unrecognisable. Seeing an elegantly dressed woman enthusiastically kneeing one of the trainers (he was holding a padded block!), I feel a little bit liberated. And that’s only after a taster session – the usual classes are about four hours long.

Feminists, many of us, are pretty pacifist. Women, all of us, are socialised to think of ourselves as weak and men as overwhelmingly strong.

One story that Debbie told stands out for me; she teaches a self defence class in a girls’ school to a group of 13 year olds. Every year, some of her make volunteers come away with broken ribs.

*I’m blogging this live so I trust you’ll Google if you’re not familiar with the dreadful numbers.

Posted in FeaturedWomen of the World Festival | Tagged Domestic AbuseEqualityFeminism,HarassmentRapeSelf DefenceSouth Banksouthbanksouthbank centreViolence Against WomenWomenWomen of the World FestivalWOW 2013



According to Hampton Youth Project Worker Charmaine Farrugia, the teenage girls she has come to know have a genuine fear of being attacked.

She said: “They are at the age when they are starting to go out with friends and they are frightened by stories in the local papers about rapes and assaults.”

Once she realised the extent of the of their fears Miss Farrugia called on Kew based self-defence instructor Debi Steven to take the girls on a workshop. Debi explained: “I think it is wrong for anybody to be physically terrorised. There is no reason why anybody can’t learn to defend themselves. If they know the correct techniques they will at least have a chance of fighting off an attacker.”

Robyn, a pupil at Hampton, said the course has built her confidence adding before the course she did not know what to do if she was attacked. “The course was a wake up call,” she admitted. “Now I know what to do if someone grabs me from behind. Before I would have frozen.”

The course culminated in an attack with the girls practising moves on a man in protective clothing. Ms Steven said: “This builds up into a realistic attack ….It is important they practise the techniques and don’t crumble at the first hurdle”
Ms Farrugia could not believe the effect the course had on the group saying: “It has improved their confidence 100 percent.”


Dear Debi,

I wanted to write to thank you for leading on the Self Defence event as part of WOW at the weekend.  It was such an engaging workshop, and I hope you will be really pleased to hear that we had marvellous feedback from the women at the session.

Once again, I just wanted to tell you how grateful I am to you for agreeing to be part of it. Now that the weekend is over and we’re starting to slowly recover, we are already thinking about planning for WOW 2014.  I hope you’ll put the dates in your diary for next year, it will be 7-9 March 2014.

Warmest regards,

Jude Kelly

Artistic Director

* Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, London, SE1 8XX

Dear Debi

Just a quick note to say a really huge THANK YOU for being part of WOW 2013. I’ve had FANTASTIC anecdotal evidence from some of the women who were in your session and I’m delighted it was part of WOW. Debi of course you know this already but people said how much of an excellent teacher you are.

With all best wishes and congratulations on a fantastic event.


FTI Consulting

Hi Debbie & Co,
I just wanted to let you know how fantastic I thought your Level 1 course was yesterday. Enjoyable as well as empowering, it gave me the confidence to believe that I could now actually stand a fighting chance against a man in a threatening situation. And the fact that there were male instructors that we could practice our techniques on, rather than just learning the theory and the moves, was great. I can’t wait to do the Level 2 course.
Lisa, FTI Consulting


Brilliant instruction, tailored to our requirements, will definitely recommend for another roll out

Ali Mahdi   Centrica


I’m just writing to thank you and your team for a sterling job on Friday.
The course was informative yet fun. The trainers (Mark and Gabriel) level of enthusiasm was outstanding and was maintained thought out  the 4 hour course.
Everyone really benefited from all the information.
Please can you forward me some more specific details for level 2, as we might be able to book this for our 3rd quarter safety initiative
I have passed on your contact details to some of the other administrator in my department and they should be contacting you soon.
Thank you once again.
Lucy Frier
Administration Assistant to
Michael Smith, Project Manager
Gary Robertson, Project Manager
ExxonMobil International Limited

BP International

The course was very useful and the instructors were very competent  Maria

Absolutely Fantastic, will ensure I arrange another for my team  Dawn

Excellent course, gave very useful tips Muhammad

British Airways London Eye 

As part of our duty of care to employees, The London Eye decided to offer
staff the opportunity to participate in Personal Safety training.  Staff at
The Eye can leave work as late as 11.00 p.m. and we felt it was important
that we offered this training.

I found the details of Premier Self-Defence via the internet and I contacted
Debi to discuss the possibility of her company delivering this training for
us.  Debi was exceptionally helpful during this conversation, informing me
of the options and answering any queries I had.  As a result of this
conversation I attended a session that Debi ran for another company to
assess whether it would be suitable for The London Eye.

We have now run 2 sessions of the Level 1 course and I have received
exceptionally positive feedback from the staff who attended.  They loved the
practical element of the course and stated that they felt ‘empowered’ and
‘more confident’  The majority of the delegates would like to carry out
Level 2 training!

If you need any more information please do not hesitate to contact me.


Joady Frost
Human Resources & Training Manager

Great instructors – serious subject taught in a fun and accessible way. Feel much more empowered! Participant


The courses are fantastic and between the men and us ladies we have found them to be an invaluable & empowering experience.

EML Ltd (events management company)

Neil Cleaver


I would just like to say a big thank you for your assistance with our conference for ‘Transport for London’.

The participants’ feedback on the event was excellent and Premier Self-Defence were definitely the stars of the show!

Your office support was efficient and friendly and your event team were both professional and a pleasure to work with.

We would have no hesitation in using your services in the future and I look forward to working with you again.’

The Press Association

Realistic advice – a great confidence builder. Engaging & informative.

Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

Vista Editor

I found the course run by Debi was invaluable. She was able to impart many useful self defence tips. The physical nature of the course meant that we were able to practise safely on each other and improve in both our attitude and confidence. This course should be attended by everyone – Debi showed you in a very practical way how to empower yourself so that if, God forbid, you are ever in a vulnerable position there are a multitude of strategies you can call upon. Thanks for a fantastic evening, it was fun!

Bain & Company, Inc
Lynn Woods

Thank you very much again for the self-defence seminar that you  and Dino conducted last week for Bain & Company’s Women Consultant Group.

The discussion portion of the seminar, together with the real-life stories you shared throughout the evening, made all of us think seriously about safety issues and how vulnerable women can be in our everyday lives. With simple, practical techniques you taught us, and the opportunity to use them in a realistic role play situation, we all now have a much better sense of what we would need to do in a real situation to have a “fighting” chance.

In a quick survey that we conducted a few days after the event, the women who participated said that the seminar exceeded their expectations and made them feel safer. They also said that they would recommend it highly to friends and colleagues.

I would like to thank you also for your responsiveness and professionalism at every step of the planning process; it made the event very easy to organise from our side.

Please feel free to share my recommendation of Premier Self-Defence with any other organisation interested in running a similar event, or with anyone considering one of the workshops.