At her newly opened martial arts studio near Metro Center, Luminous Warrior founder and owner Sara Salam (GRD ’01) is combining self-defense and healing practices to empower clients to push themselves beyond their physical limits.

The studio offers a range of classes for clients with varying levels of abilities and interests.

“This is an amazing place, you just have to step in and try it out,” Salam said.

Salam became interested in self-defense because of safety concerns that stemmed from her time living alone in D.C. as she completed her MBA on the Hilltop.

“Living alone, studying late at night and having to walk home, hearing about women being attacked, date rape, rape drugs and the like, I wanted to learn more about self-defense and how I could empower myself to stay safe and learn to fight back if I ever had to,” Salam said.

After experimenting with several styles of self-defense, she decided to learn Krav Maga, a self-defense system first developed in Israel that relies on participants’ leverage, instead of their strength or size.

Luminous Warrior’s clients include mostly young professionals and college students.

A typical class at Luminous Warrior includes a warm-up, combative-style punching and kicking techniques, and drills to practice the techniques such as headlocks in a co-ed class and breathing exercises.

Salam said that she wishes to empower her clients and help them believe that they can defend themselves in any situation.

“Kickboxing is more about a workout. [Self-defense] is more about confrontation and if you can knock [your opponent] out,” Salam said. “Choosing to fight is an option. Self-defense gives you that option.”

Salam also believes that college students can benefit from her classes.

“Many college students are out on their own for the very first time. Luminous Warrior … provides self-defense, safety and risk reduction training,” she said. “It also offers a community in which college students will be able to pursue their own paths, void of peer pressure or other people’s opinion.”

Encouraged by the success of Luminous Warrior, Salam hopes to expand her business and services in the future.

“I think big all the time. My goal is always to be a service. What we offer is a service enough to have a very large group and absolutely we will grow,” she said.

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