Martial Artist

In 2000, Susie survived a violent attack by a stranger in her home in Los Angeles. As part of her recovery, she sought martial arts training to learn self defense basics. She enrolled in Ninpo Tai Jutsu with Sensei Chad Minge at Studio City Martial Arts in the San Fernando Valley. Eight years later, she became the first woman in the history of the school to reach the rank Shodan Menkyu under her teacher’s system, and earn her instructor’s license.

Based on her martial arts training, her experiences as a violent crime survivor, and her day-to-day encounters in the real world, Susie developed  Pretty Deadly Self Defense, a self defense program designed to make self defense accessible, effective and fun.

She continues to train and teach Ninjutsu, or Ninpo Tai Jutsu, while growing Pretty Deadly Self Defense into an international program and global community.

She draws on her experiences and research into trauma, PTSD, adaptive survival behaviors, cognitive behavioral theories, along with the lessons she’s learned from 20 years of martial arts training to continually enhance the Pretty Deadly Program, and share her learnings through private consultation, speaking engagements, workshops and interviews.

Established in 2009, Pretty Deadly Self Defense was developed as an answer to traditional self defense programs that often scare women away, or retraumatize them. Pretty Deadly uses martial arts movements universal to almost every style, incorporating techniques and training methods from Ninjutsu, BJJ, Kung Fu, Karate, Judo, Jujitsu, Krav Maga, Systema, Wing Chun and Bagua. Adapted for the way women learn, and women’s specific, realistic needs, Pretty Deadly Self Defense seeks to remove the stigma from self defense and make it part of self care. Originally designed as a tool to help martial arts schools reach a wider market with higher conversion potential, it has expanded into corporate programs, kids’ programs and community events and specialty workshops. Our trainers’ and coaches’ certification program helps female martial artists and fitness instructors enhance their native training programs with tools for immediate and effective positive social impact.

Susie uses her personal story, her motivations for social engagement and impact, and her experience over 20 years of martial arts to inspire and energize audiences to recognize the strength and beautiful will to thrive in every single one of us. She has motivated audiences as diverse as Berlin’s Burlesque professionals to bespoke handbag designers to women’s networking groups.

May 2018 : Keynote, Skirt Club, Berlin DE

May 2018: Keynote, Berlin Burlesque Week, Berlin DE

Nov 2018: Featured speaker, Betahaus, Berlin DE

Jan 2019: Keynote at Jenah St. Pop-up Store, Berlin DE

Apr 2019: Keynote at GoDaddy WIT, London UK

Mar 2020: Featured speaker, Rockhain / Techstars, Berlin DE

Mar 2020: Über den Tellerrand Kochen, Berlin DE

Mar 2020: Courage, e.V., Berlin DE

Apr 2019: Self Defense Workshop for Bumble BFF

May 2019: Ninjutsu Demo for House of Insight TV

Oct 2019: Self Defense Workshops for OECD Paris

Dec 2019: Self Defense Workshop WeWork Potsdamer Platz Berlin

Dec 2019: Sexual Harassment in the Workplace Talk for Lightcurve, Berlin

Jan 2020: Self Defense Workshop WeWork Friedrichshain Berlin

Pretty Deadly Outreach is the heart & soul of Pretty Deadly Self Defense. Our Outreach Programs are volunteer self defense workshops and courses that we provide free of charge to people who are refugees, homeless, victims of domestic violence, and sex workers.

Our paid programs allow us to provide our volunteer self defense training directly and immediately to the people who need it most, because stopping violence against women literally can’t wait for grants, governments, or bureaucracies. 

Pretty Deadly Self Defense has been putting our Outreach into practice since 2009. We’ve worked with Give Something Back to Berlin, J.A.C.K., Berlin’s Landes Jugendring e.V., and other non-profit organizations dedicated to helping empower vulnerable populations. We also offer a volunteer training program designed for social workers, NGOs and the people on the ground who can continue our work long after we wrap up our course.

Susie teaches Ninjutsu at 7 Circles Akademie in Berlin.

Sächsische Str. 39/7Circles, 10713 Berlin

A podcast about realistic self defense for women. Hosted by Pretty Deadly founder Susie Kahlich and journalist Kate Leismer, we’re addressing common misconceptions about self defense, why we think self defense should be part of self care, and sharing tips, tricks and stories.