Who We Are
Culture of Safety is a Chicago-based (Rogers Park, to be exact) small business. We are women and queer-owned, and were founded in May 2019 to offer empowerment-based violence prevention trainings. Examples of the trainings we offer for adults are empowerment self-defense, bystander intervention, and workplace safety. We also offer classes for young people, such as self-defense & bullying prevention for kids, youth, and teens in Chicago and surrounding suburbs.
In June of 2020, during a global pandemic, we created Jin Sei Ryu Chicago to offer karate training, offering classes first online and then outdoors in nearby Warren Park.
We serve individuals in public classes in the Rogers Park neighborhood of Chicago. We also work with organizations such as small businesses, large corporations, schools and educational facilities (K – 12 and higher education), nonprofit organizations, and private groups. Culture of Safety strives to live up to its name and help our clients create a culture of safety and mutual respect in their environments, and to help people know that they are strong and capable of keeping themselves safe in whatever environment they find themselves in.
To find out more about our next public self-defense class, check out the Take a Self-Defense Class page. For more information on the kinds of trainings we offer, see Jin Sei Ryu Karate, CoS for Kids & Teens and CoS for Adults. If you’d like to bring us to your office, school, or community group, drop us a line using the form below!
About the Founders
Kyren E. Epperson, PhD (they/them pronouns) has been teaching empowerment-based violence prevention since 2012, and has been training in karate since 2011. In addition, Dr. Epperson has been practicing meditation and mindfulness since they were a child, and has been teaching it in various forms for many years. They often introduce short guided meditations into their self-defense teaching as a way of helping their students re-regulate their nervous systems. Kyren is especially skilled in working with children, youth, and teens, and with the trans community. Senpai Kyren is a third-degree black belt in Jin Sei Ryu Karate-Do, and has also practiced Aikido, Tai Chi, Kickboxing, and fencing. They currently train in Jin Sei Ryu karate-do under the instruction of Kancho Ino Maquirang and Sei Shihan Mel Ramsey. They teach meditation as part of the Samatha Foundation of North America.
Amy L. E. Jones, LSW (she & they pronouns) has been teaching empowerment-based violence prevention since 2003. Amy has taught workshops for people with cognitive, sensory, and mobility impairments; social workers and other helping professionals, older adults, and college students. Sensei Amy is a licensed social worker in the state of Illinois, a fourth-degree black belt in Jin Sei Ryu karate, and a first-degree black belt in Kyokushin karate. She currently trains in Jin Sei Ryu karate-do under the instruction of Kancho Ino Maquirang and Shuseki Shihan Mel Ramsey. She serves as Self-Defense Certification Coordinator for the National Women’s Martial Arts Federation (NWMAF).
Our certifications and experience
Amy and Kyren collectively have over 20 years of experience in the field of Empowerment-based self-defense. They have extensive experience working in healthcare and social service settings, both with clients and staff. All of our trainings are trauma-informed and strive to be culturally humble. Kyren and Amy are happy to tailor trainings to the specific needs of the clients they serve.
Both Amy and Kyren have current nationally-recognized certifications in the following areas:
- Self-Defense Instruction (Empowerment-based model) through the National Women’s Martial Arts Federation (NWMAF)
- Adult and Pediatric First Aid/CPR/AED through the American Red Cross
- Mental Health First Aid USA (Adult and Youth ages 12-18) through the National Council for Behavioral Health
Call or Text: (847) 790-4226