Arista Van Rooyen

 HEIDELBERG, Gauteng, South Africa 


Arista began her Krav Maga self-defence journey after experiencing crime and violence first-hand. After stepping off an Ambulance after a very traumatic shift, she decided it was time to take matters into her own hands. 

…”I had heard about this thing called Krav Maga and it piqued my interest. I searched for 3 years to find a suitable place to learn Krav Maga, to no avail. In 2017 an Elite Defence Academy club opened up right on my doorstep and I decided now is the time. I have never looked back and never regretted walking through those doors, even when I was completely uncertain as to whether I could actually do it. 

I realised that as women, we tend to severely underestimate ourselves and yet we have so much innate power.  I was one of those people that thought at the start of my Krav Maga training that I can’t imagine becoming skilled at this.  This is why I’m a Warrior Women Trainer – I LOVE showing women that they are capable and so much stronger than they think – and that they are worth it. 

I can’t express in words what passion I have to teach women what they thought they could not do. 

It’s an incredible privilege to be able to make a positive difference in someone’s life. The skills, confidence and belief in themselves is something that will stay with them forever. My favourite part of training women how to defend themselves is the light bulb moment – when a student realises what she is capable of and how things start to come together for her. That –and watching her confidence grow. 

Arista and Ellie present self-defence workshops for women in Heidelberg and travel to venues where we do not yet have permanent Warrior Women Trainers to share our simple, yet devastatingly effective self-defence techniques and tips for women. What can you expect from a Warrior Women workshop? Fun, laughter and Krav Maga self defence in a respectful, supportive environment. 

When Arista isn’t presenting Warrior Women Self Defence Workshops, she’s giving her skill and time to those in need of emergency medical assistance with Heidelberg Volunteer Medics NPO. She still finds time to indulge in her love of shoes, binge watch series, play Xbox, ride motocross, go horse-riding, abseiling and the occasional camping trip. 

Contact Arista for  classes and workshops in Heidelberg and surrounds. 

Arista Van Rooyen

076 863 5968 


Ellie Van Rooyen

HEIDELBERG, Gauteng, South Africa


Ellie assists Arista on a volunteer basis as she present Warrior Women Self Defence Workshops for Women both in Heidelberg, Gauteng as well as around the country. Ellie was introduced to the idea of Krav Maga a few years before she had the opportunity to attend her first class. 

…”At first, I was intrigued by the idea - what soft, chubby girl doesn't dream of being her own version of Lara Croft?  However, when the opportunity did arise I was scared; surely someone with zero athletic background couldn't possibly succeed in a hard core activity like Krav Maga? Wasn't it only for big strong aggressive men?

Thankfully, my partner dragged me - with some inner kicking and screaming, to our first class. I was introduced to a bunch of people just like myself and from then on I never looked back.

Learning Krav Maga gave me the inner strength to pause, and consciously choose my reactions in situations otherwise outside of my control. Not simply in the case of a physical confrontation but more so in everyday social situations. Before Krav Maga I was emotionally driven, I responded to every situation according to how I felt, which as an empath, meant the emotions I was reacting to were quite often not my own.

My self-discipline grew alongside my confidence and this is definitely something which has spilled into all areas of my life.  I am a Warrior Woman Trainer so I can show women how simple it is to take control of their own path through life. I chose EDA Warrior Women because I believe the workshop format of women teaching women is a fantastic way of reaching out to those who might otherwise have shied away, as I myself would have done without my partner's endless encouragement. 

I truly believe laughter and learning go hand in hand and I bring this philosophy into our workshops. Arista and I are a very strong team, we complement each other's strengths and we excel in different areas of Krav Maga and teaching techniques. Our workshops are a lot of fun, our aim is to have each of our students walk away from the workshop feeling informed, energetic, and as if they can conquer the world – with some devastatingly effective self-defence techniques, which can literally save their lives.

When Ellie isn’t teaching women just how powerful they are, you’ll find her with her nose in a book, or painting, singing off key, writing, immersing and rejuvenating herself with walks in nature, playing with puppies or whipping up a delicious meal. 

Contact Ellie for  classes and workshops in Heidelberg and surrounds. 

Ellie Van Rooyen

076 863 5968 


Marianne Dryden

JHB WEST, Gauteng, South Africa 

Marianne is super passionate about personal growth and development – both her own and that of other women. Every year her goal is to learn at least one new skill. 

…”I remembered my days as a single mom when thugs broke into my home, fortunately we were not at home at the time, but I felt extremely vulnerable. What if they had to come back? My daughter was 6 months old at the time. I also did a lot of driving by myself and at night. My biggest fear was to be hijacked while my daughter was in the car with me, strapped in her baby seat. I never wanted to feel that helpless again. 

I started with Krav Maga self-defence training and totally fell in love with the way it made me feel. It was so simple, yet super effective and I didn’t need years of martial arts experience to master some super-efficient life saving techniques.

I loved the level of confidence I gained. I also know there are many women in unfortunate situations and believe that if they could just learn one skill that could potentially save their lives, they will already have a 100% greater chance of survival than what they had before they attend self defence training. There’s seems to be a great misconception as to what self-defence for women is all about.

I think many women picture super fit MMA fighters with big muscles or martial artists of some sort which doesn’t fit with their lifestyles or needs. I don’t fit that mould. I wanted to share the message of being an ordinary woman, being able to change the lives of other women who might be in the exact same space as I once used to be.

I love what I do, and believe there’s an inner warrior within each of us. My favourite part of running Warrior Women Self Defence Workshops and classes is the moment a woman opens her eyes to her own capabilities and realising that she is a force to be reckoned with.

Marianne’s super power is her quirky sense of humour. She adores her kids and husband, and when she’s not teaching, enjoys the occasional whiskey date night and lazy Sunday mornings with coffee in bed.

Contact Marianne for classes and workshops in Johannesburg West and surrounds.

Marianne Dryden

082 096 8558


Rachael Sandford

BENONI, Gauteng, South Africa  

Rachael was introduced to Krav Maga by her mother, who wanted a training partner. She soon found she quickly developed and mastered new skills and wanted to share this with other women. 

…”I found that through learning Krav Maga I felt a lot more confident and empowered. I find that I’m not constantly worrying about my safety and should I need to, I know that I can get myself out of a potentially dangerous situation. Empowering women and helping them develop confidence through self-defence training is something I feel strongly about and it’s something I love being able to share. 

I’m friendly and approachable and ensure that the women learning self-defence do so in a supportive environment. I’m also small in stature and I think that many smaller women may feel that they don’t stand a chance against a big, intimidating, aggressive and physically stronger assailant – but we work smart. We focus on what works for you and the possibilities open to you. There is SO much that you can do. – take the first step, join me. You’ll have a lot of fun, learn a lifesaving new skill and meet interesting people.

I love interacting with different women, and the different personalities and approaches they bring to learning Krav Maga”…

When Rachael isn’t presenting Krav Maga self-defence workshops for women , she loves spending time with her sisters, playing with her dogs, video games, playing bass guitar, enjoying time with family and seeing new places.

Contact Rachael for Warrior Women Workshops in Edenvale, Benoni and surrounds.

Rachael Sandford

073 025 1988