Melissa Wyman developed RAOARworkshop to promote empowerment and creativity for people of all ages. The workshop can take on different forms to include individual and collaborative art projects, self-defense techniques, people awareness and spacial awareness training, and ROARing Practice.

The Programs:

The ROAR workshop for kids and their adults focuses on fun physical techniques for creating self-confidence and observational skills as well as tools for escaping or de-escalating unwanted or potentially dangerous situations. The after school art and empowerment program integrates exploratory individual and collaborative art projects to enhance curiosity and creative confidence.  Please contact us with questions or to schedule a workshop and follow the ROAR workshop on facebook.


Melissa Wyman a professional artist with a background in self-defense grounded in 21 years of martial arts (including Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Japanese Jiu-Jitsu, Aikido, Mixed Martial Arts – and parenting) and 16 years experience in education, working with children, teens and adults. She uses the ideas of animals, ninjas and superheroes to turn the serious subject of self-defense into and something fun and accessible for kids and their adults to practice together. She has two daughters (4 and 8 years old) who love animals, books and dancing.

“I have two children. I want them to be able to walk through the world empowered with awareness and curiosity. I want them to be interested and excited about people and places while being smart with their choices and safe in their surroundings.” – Melissa

Thank you to the help of fellow parents and educators Maria Brown, Viji Subramanian-Ambati, and all the young ninja artists for helping create the after school program.


Maria Brown moved to the Bay Area six years ago with her husband Tom, and now 7 ½ year old Annabel and 5 ½ year old Matthew. Maria grew up and studied in New York. After working in the advertising industry for several years, she decided to change her career path and went back to school to learn more about how children learn, first as a student at Bank Street (a Masters program founded on the ideals of progressive education) and then as an elementary school teacher. Although Maria hasn’t formally taught in a classroom setting since Annabel was born, she managed to keep in touch with teaching and learning: she just “graduated” from PreSchool Family’s (PSF) parent participation program, where she and her family spent five years connecting with a wonderful community and building lasting friendships. Maria also served as a Board Member there for two years. When not keeping busy with her two children, Maria carves out some time to read (which will often be children’s books!), photograph, try new recipes, travel and connect with friends and family.

40584480162_ad5392c0e4_kViji and her daughter Anjali at the ROARworkshop art show


“How on Earth do you design an effective self defense class for both young children and adults? Well, Melissa did it. My wife, two children and I attended a Sunday afternoon workshop. We left amazed at how well Melissa taught plausible self-defense moves, behavior and thinking in a way that was serious, yet not scary for young children. ROAR workshop is a rare opportunity for you and your children to learn personal safety from someone who is both a martial arts expert, and a loving mother. Melissa is the real deal.” – Dave (Parent of two daughters, 2nd grade and 5h grade)

“I loved Melissa’s workshop. It gave me tools to strike a balance I’ve been struggling to find for a while – how to help my children stay safe out in the world, without cultivating unnecessary fear. While doing the workshop with my 6-year old daughter, I got a very good sense of areas in which she has knowledge and confidence and others where more practice is needed. Melissa is a knowledgeable, fun and engaging teacher. Her years of experience with martial arts and motherhood make her the perfect guide for you and your child to find your roar.” – Krassimira (Parent of a son and a daughter, kindergarten and 3rd grade )

“I think Melissa’s class gives children a feeling of empowerment – ‘I have a voice and a body that I know how to use if I need to protect myself’ – instead of making them feel insecure and anxious. The use of animals works well with children…Roar like a lion! They get it!” – Maria (Parent of a son and a daughter, preschooler and 2nd grader)