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A teenage girl lies on the ground, curled on her side with one leg
bent and raised. A creature with huge red eyes and shoulders wider
than a mutant football player's looms threateningly over her. He
smacks his fist to his palm in reply, inching closer to the small
figure on the ground.

"GO… AWAY… NOW!" she bellows. Her raised knee jerks slightly further
back towards her ear.

He laughs, backing up for just a moment, and then suddenly lunges forward.

What happens now?

If you were watching a TV program, the scene would cut to commercials
right there and never return to it. We must assume the worst for the
young woman lying on the ground. After all, she was down, wasn’t she?
And he was much taller and obviously much stronger. Centuries of
"common knowledge" in our society lay it down for us bright and clear:
there is nothing a woman in such a position can do to defend herself.

But if you were watching a fight taking place in an IMPACT
self-defense course, you’d be applauding and cheering for the girl in
a matter of seconds--and the "mugger" would be lying on the ground

IMPACT (International
Movement Promoting Assault Contravention Training) Personal Safety

offers the most advanced, realistic, and effective women’s
self-defense course offered today. Developed specifically to set the
strengths of the female body against the weaknesses of the male, the
course turns the myth that women are defenseless against men on its
head. The physical requirements for taking the course are minimal: if
you are able to carry an object up a flight of stairs, walk quickly
across the room to answer a ringing phone, and sit down and get up
again, you are physically fit enough to participate in the course. But
the techniques used in the program are just as effective, if not more,
than those offered by mainstream self-defense courses against
attackers of any size.

IMPACT was designed to build on the woman’s natural strengths: her
intuition, her emotions, and the power in her hips and legs. In the
duration of the course, she learns how to defend herself against any
possible position of attack, from passing a mugger on the street, to
waking up and finding one on top of her. Students also learn to deal
with the emotional stress of such a situation, and set clear
boundaries to try to prevent physical skills becoming necessary.
Advanced courses are available in some chapters for defense against
armed or multiple assailants as well. The course is relatively short
(about 20 hours) and intense (usually taught over two weekends or just
four or five classes). It builds on itself gradually, easing the
participants into more and more emotionally difficult situations, all
with immense encouragement and support from the staff and fellow
students. During the fights, as the "victim" defends herself against
her attacker, the participants on the sidelines yell support and
applaud loudly when she returns safely to the line.

Another advantage of IMPACT is the fact that it is full-contact. At
least one instructor wears a full-body padded suit and plays the
"mugger" in simulated fights. This allows women to safely hit him full
force and fend off an actual attack as realistically as possible. In
her book written specifically about the course, Real Knockouts, Martha
McCaughey writes: "Padded attacker courses offer women a chance to
experience full-force fighting, as these self-defense instructors
believe that most successful assaults occur not because women aren’t
strong enough to fight men but because women facing an assailant often
freeze up rather than fight. Because the ‘muggers’ attack the students
at full force...women...learn their defense techniques while their
adrenaline level is high and their fine motor skills low, thus
committing the skills to 'bodily memory,' which will automatically be
triggered in the course of an attack."

But to describe IMPACT solely as a method of physical defense would be
to miss the point entirely. Self defense is more about boundaries than
anything else. Women learn to stand their ground and say "No" firmly
when their comfort zones are crossed. Many women report that just
learning to face an attacker in a simulated fight and say "No" helps
them face more subtle and complicated situations of boundary-crossing
in all aspects of life assertively. Not to mention that knowing that
you can defend yourself against an attacker gives you the kind of
confidence from which real muggers will instinctively steer clear.
Many times a potential attacker will be put off merely by sensing that
you are willing to fight for yourself.

This isn’t just a lot of fluff, either. IMPACT works. Women have
successfully defended themselves against an attacker after as long as
eight years after taking the course. One woman reported that when
assaulted, she could still hear the voices of the women encouraging
her in her head, and she was able to fight back and defeat her
attacker, knowing that she wasn’t alone.

IMPACT is more than a course. It’s a life-changing experience.
Participants learn deeply about their own red lines, their strengths
and their assertiveness. They face their darkest fears--or some,
traumas from their own pasts--in the most supportive environment
possible, and overcome.

IMPACT’s mission is to "end violence and build a non-violent world in
which all people can live safely and with dignity". By teaching more
and more women how to fight back against attackers, they are slowly
spreading the word: those centuries of “common knowledge” are wrong.
Women can fight for themselves.

You can learn more and find courses in your area through

Date: 2009-07-26 05:43 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
My alma mater has similar training, but not as indepth as IMPACT. I think I would like to take the course sometime. Thank you!


auraesque: Mad Men (Default)

January 2011

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