By the time a girl starts high school, she will know to swim between the flags and how to protect her skin from the sun, dial emergency services and even dress a snakebite. But will she know what to do to stay safe when a situation doesn’t feel right? Wouldn’t it be great if kids could protect themselves as easily as slip, slop, slap?


KYUP! workshops are fun, safe, hands-on classes that teach personal safety tips and simple self-defence techniques any girl can use, no matter her size or skill level.

Using examples of real-life scenarios that girls relate to – such as public transport, public places and parties – girls learn to:

  • Replace fear with confidence
  • Trust their instincts and make smart choices
  • Use the power of their voice to defuse dangerous situations
  • Get away from a situation that doesn’t feel right
  • Fight back when needed
  • Break the cycle of bullying or violence by reporting it


MELANIE THOMAS is a self-defence educator who has trained in Hapkido, the Korean art of self-defence, since 2000. She held the title of Australian Hapkido Woman of the Year 2005 and is actively involved in the martial arts community. A mother of two young girls, she is a proud recipient of a 2013 Layne Beachley Aim for the Stars Foundation grant to help bring KYUP! to girls around Australia. Girls respond to Melanie because of her positive, down-to-earth approach to personal safety and her compelling story. As a teen, Melanie was herself bullied and bullied other girls. As a young girl she experienced domestic abuse – before going on to be an advocate for self-defence and personal safety awareness.


“Mel embodies passion and strength and shares my goal to assist all girls and women to fulfill their potential. Her approach towards self-defence is real, enormous fun, accessible and empowering. I am absolutely thrilled to see Enlighten Education bring KYUP! to the wide audience it deserves.”  Layne Beachley – 7 times World Surfing Champion