Given the positive benefits of self-defense training for women, it is important to understand how women come to enroll in self-defense classes. Using data from a longitudinal study of university women, I explore the reasons women give for taking a self-defense class. I find that friends' recommendations, visions of the "possible selves" they could become, and fear of violence were the most frequently reported reasons; having experienced a past assault was rarely cited as a reason for enrolling. In addition, many women who had never enrolled in a self-defense class reported having considered doing so. I explore barriers to learning self-defense and find that logistical issues such as time, money, and availability of classes were the most frequently reported reasons for not enrolling.