Welcome to Self Defense America

Self Defense America of Virginia has been serving the Northern Virginia area since 1995.

Classes are well-suited for men and women of all sizes and ages (13 years old and up) — physical strength and athletic abilities are not essential.  The result is a practical and realistic self-defense system which is fun to learn and offers tangible solutions to realistic life situations.  Our approach to self-defense is both practical and highly scientific.

Our program is a self-defense system called Combat Hapkido. It is an internationally recognized system of self-defense training known for its extreme versatility and comprehsensive discipline of self protection.

The menu above provides links for more details and the class schedule.

Classes are held at the Gold’s Gym in Manassas, Virginia.


Benefits of Training

What are the Benefits to Learning Self Defense

Combat Hapkido is a modern, dynamic self defense system that offers all the benefits of classical martial arts but without rituals, rigidity, obsolete techniques, or unsafe exercises.

Benefits include:

Physical Benefits

  • Stamina and endurance
  • Muscle tone and strength
  • Weight loss
  • Flexibility
  • Balance and coordination
  • Stress Reduction

Character Development

  • Self Confidence
  • Self Discipline
  • Positive attitude
  • Patience
  • Perseverance
  • Respect

Cognitive Benefits

  • Self defense techniques
  • Increased awareness
  • Knowledge of human anatomy and pressure points
  • Survival Skills
  • Improved Concentration

Combat Hapkido

How is Combat Hapkido different from Traditional Hapkido

Combat Hapkido

Combat Hapkido is a new, modern style of Hapkido developed by Grandmaster John Pellegrini.  It differs from other Hapkido styles philosophically as well as technically.

The following are a few examples:

  • Combat Hapkido is 100% SELF DEFENSE.  There are no forms (Kata/Hyungs)
  • All Combat Hapkido kicks are directed to the lower part of the body
  • Combat Hapkido does not teach ‘acrobatic kicks.’
  • Combat Hapkido employs breakfalls and throws in a very limited manner
  • Combat Hapkido does NOT teach ‘traditional’ weapons like joot-do (bamboo sword) or fan.  We teach cane, belt and other self-defense tools
  • Combat Hapkido teaches special firearms disarming techniques
  • Combat Hapkido contains a complete Ground Grappling program
  • Combat Hapkido, because it is flexible, dynamic and eclectic, continues to evolve
  • Combat Hapkido is not a sport and cannot be modified nor regulated to be one.  There are no competitions, tournaments or championships


by Becky Barclay

I am so thankful I found this class; Combat Hapkido changed my life! I am a mother of 3 young children. 3 months after I had my 2nd child there was an earthquake in Northern VA, and I had a panic attack. My husband traveled often and after that panic attack, I developed anxiety and was afraid to be alone, especially at night. I knew this was no way for me to live and wanted to be back to the person I was before. I decided maybe if I learned how to defend myself it might help. Combat Hapkido changed everything for me. With this class, I have regained my confidence and am no longer afraid and no longer have anxiety. I have more confidence than I have ever had in my entire life and I know that I can protect myself and my children. Master Scali is such a great instructor, and I consider him and everyone in this class my family. It’s such a great group and class is so rewarding and so much fun!

by Andrea Borak

As a small sized woman, I have found Combat Hapkido to provide me with tools that increase my confidence in many situations in life. I not only feel safer because of the self-defense techniques I have learned, but I am also more aware of what’s going on around me when walking to my car or entering my building at night.
The Combat Hapkido workouts also provide increased flexibility, coordination and body control, and increased fitness level. All of these added benefits help me in my job as a personal trainer, and are valuable to me as a former athlete.
I would recommend Combat Hapkido to anyone who is interested in learning self-defense techniques and improving their overall fitness level.

by Wade Austin, Jr

Thanks to Ray Powers (a Combat Hapkido practitioner) I was introduced to a class taught by Master John Scali.  A class with dedicated students willing to share their knowledge.  I have practiced with the class for several months.  During this period I have gained in the following areas:

  • Confidence:  by achieving only one belt my confidence has grown to a level that I now feel better equipped to protect both myself and family in adverse conditions.
  • Flexibility:  I had forgotten how limber I ‘use to’ be in my early 20’s.  Today, my arms, wrists, and torso are nearly as flexible as they were then and I am close to completing a full split.  Something just a couple of months ago I thought I would never achieve again.
  • Respect:  My former, fellow Tae Kwon Do partners are proud to know that I am leading the way back into the martial arts.  All of them have stated their desire to take a similar type of self defense class in order to regain general conditioning and the ability to protect themselves and their families.

It is my intention with God’s help to dedicate myself to achieiving a black belt in Combat Hapkido.  The benefits to be gained out weight the time, energy, and practice I must do in order to accomplish this goal.

Thank you, Master Scali, for accepting me into your special world.  I do not take this honor lightly.


Staying Safe at College — Prepare Now

sdacollegeadAre you a parent of a high school senior? Or college-age student?

Is your child prepared for college — academically, mentally, and PHYSICALLY?

One minute you are changing their diapers and before you know it they are borrowing the family car. As a father of five children, I’ve been there. Now they are ready to enter into another phase of their life – college and young adulthood.

Are they ready? Are they prepared for the possible dangers they may face as they start planning to attend the college of their dreams? Can they defend themselves against any dangers at college?

This year we were fortunate to have several mothers join our program with their daughters to learn effective Self Defense skills as they prepared to go off to college. These parents were looking for a program that would provide their teens the ability and confidence to successfully confront the dangers that exists on today’s college campuses.

There is no time like today. Self Defense America offers what I call “Self Defense Life Skills.” We teach concepts and techniques that will take students well into their adulthood. The time to learn self defense is not when you are getting attacked.

So whether your son or daughter is a senior, someone who is being bullied, or you love your children enough to give them the gift of self confidence, focus, and empowerment come on in today for our back to school special.


Women’s Self Defense Program

Self Defense for Women in Virginia

Are you looking for a women’s self defense program that will give with you or your loved one the ability to defend themselves in a variety of situation? Self Defense America is ideal for all women looking for a self defense system that is extremely easy to learn; yet highly effective.

Based on the concepts of Combat Hapkido, our female students learn the concepts and techniques needed to exploit the weakness of the human anatomy. Don’t let the name, Combat Hapkido, intimidate you. It was the intent of John Pellegrini (the founder of the system) to distinguish this system from other martial arts systems that are more sports oriented.

At Self Defense America you will learn the concepts to defend yourself in a non-threatening environment that is focused on providing all students with the knowledge to empower them with the self defense skills that are ideal for today’s environment.

Over the years, our female students have been successful in readily applying the scientific concepts and techniques taught to defend themselves against any individual. Why?? The system is not based on personal strength, but on learning and exploiting the weaknesses of the human body. When you learn our system, you will have the self confidence to handle a variety of situations ranging from an obnoxious drunk to an armed attacker.

Take control of your personal safety now.