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About SISU

Sisu is a unique Finnish concept that has been roughly interpreted to mean “guts” or inner strength. More than that, SISU stands for the philosophy that “What Must Be Done, Will Be Done”. It is the strength, courage and determination to continue and overcome in the moment of adversity. The idea for the business name was inspired by owner Joan Helson's Finnish grandmother, who embodied the spirit of SISU. Sisu Women's Self Defence was established in 2006, and since then hundreds of women of all ages have joined us for workshops, classes and interactive presentations.

We understand that women tend to perceive and respond to verbal threats, intimidation and violent confrontation differently than men, and our programs are designed to work with those differences. All of our classes provide both mental and physical tools and options to help detect, avoid, defuse and escape potentially violent confrontation. Our empowerment-based self defence programs are centred on the knowledge that you are worth defending, that you are important and valued, that you have the legal right to self defence and that you can take action on your own behalf. To us, the concept of SISU is the heart of self defence, and it is this spirit we try to help women find in themselves through our workshops, courses and speaking engagements. 


Our Logo

A logo should reflect the heart of your business, and that's what we've tried to establish with our yellow, blue and white emblem. The mountain lion in our logo reflects the ferocious spirit and inner strength that is the core of Sisu Women’s Self Defence. She is gentle but possesses great strength, and she lives in a balance between these two traits. She is comfortable and confident in her own power, never looking for a fight, but she will defend herself and those in her care unapologetically if the need arises. The yin/yang symbol in our logo represents the harmony of light and dark, good and bad. The balance between light and dark in our logo also symbolizes the full circle we may travel as a survivor of abuse, violence or trauma. This is a journey from victim to victor, where we continue to grow and overcome whatever challenges or struggles try to hold us back. This is represented by the white mountain lion with her mouth open, swallowing the darkness.