When You Are In A Bad Situation, The Best Person To Rely On Is... You.

If you're struggling to make ends meet and want to help yourself and your family develop the skills, discipline, and mindset you need to take control of your lives, your bodies, and your futures, The Self-Reliance Scholarship Program offers a way forward.

We provide scholarships to help cover the costs of self-defense and fitness training at hand-selected self-defense and martial arts schools and gyms, so you can feel confident that you and your loved ones will receive some of the best instruction available in your area.

Does that sound like something you could use?


Learning to rely on yourself begins with a simple truth: You already have what you need to take control.

If you've experienced a major trauma, have witnessed violence, or have been a victim of violence from a partner, a stranger, or someone from your family or community, it can be so easy to lose faith in yourself or stop caring about your future.

Maybe you or a loved one has experienced some of this:

  • Feeling in over your head.
  • A sense that you're stuck and don’t know how you ended up where you are in life, and you're not sure how to find your way out of a difficult situation.
  • Sometimes it seems like bad memories keep following you around, showing up unannounced at inconvenient moments, and stealing the joy from your life.
  • Sometimes you avoid certain places, people, or situations that never used to be a problem for you. Maybe you've stopped trusting your own instincts, decisions, or reactions.
  • You are ready for something bad to happen at any moment.
  • Sometimes your physical health has suffered, and you may have developed chronic health problems. 
  • Maybe you feel like you are always ready for a fight, or you're frequently sad, angry, anxious, or emotional.

When you are just trying to survive your day and it seems like you just can't get past the negative parts of your life, it's easy to let yourself think that there is no hope, no way out, and little possibility that your life can change.

In those moments, it's even easier to stop believing in yourself or even caring about your future.

We created the Zelig-Banys Foundation's Self-Reliance Scholarship Program because we've seen this first hand.

No matter who you are or where you come from, you are not alone. We see you.

And if you're ready for a change–to regain your power and take back control of your life, your body, and your future, we can help.


Unfortunately, many of us have not found the right place to learn them... yet.

One of the most harmful effects that violence can have on a person is that a survivor tends to blame themselves for their situation - for not sticking up for themselves, for being in the wrong place at the wrong time, for being intoxicated, for hanging around the wrong people, for antagonizing their attacker(s), or for not leaving a harmful relationship sooner.

Our world is full of people who tell us that if we find ourselves in a terrible situation, it’s our fault, that if we weren't so stupid or careless, we wouldn't have found ourselves in such a bad place. 

They tell us that we are not suffering because our education and community support systems are failing to help us learn the skills we need to persevere, but because we ourselves have failed.

As teachers and practitioners of self defense for over 20 years, we've seen first hand how self-defense skills and a "take-action/take-control" mindset has helped hundreds of students from all walks of life develop a stronger sense of self-reliance.

Self-defense and fitness training has increased their physical and mental strength, grown their confidence and motivation and radically improved their health. 

We believe that everyone deserves an opportunity to make the most of themselves, and we are unwilling to watch as members of our community fall through the cracks. 

We believe that personal safety fitness, and well-being should not be too expensive for the people and communities who need it the most.

The Self-Reliance Scholarship Program offers the benefits of self-defense and fitness training to the people and communities who need it most.

We provide self-defense scholarships to low-income members of our community who have lived through violence or trauma.

Specifically, Foundation will cover approximately 80% of the costs of membership to a qualified, hand-selected self-defense or fitness program, starting here in the San Francisco Bay Area.

No matter what the cost of the program, all you will pay is $30/month per family member. If you are in extreme need and cannot afford the $30/month, we want to help.

Reach out to us and a Foundation staff member be in touch to help you determine if you are eligible for waived fees. ​

For more information, click the big button below and fill out the form, and visit the page: "4 Steps to Apply for a Self-Reliance Scholarship" to learn more about the application process!