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Monday, May 2, 2011

“I Love You Mom, Now Go Kick Butt.”

Forget the Cards and Roses. IMPACT Self-Defense Training Is a Mother’s Day Gift to Last a Lifetime.

Families in every town and city typically scramble to find a unique gift for Mom on Mother’s Day, a global tradition which was first cultivated in the U.S. nearly a century ago. With the big day approaching, time is running out to find the perfect way to honor the mothers in our lives.
While it may be tempting to pick up a trinket or box of chocolates again this year, loved ones can instead pack a punch—literally—with a gift of IMPACT self-defense training. “Giving your mother a self-defense course for a gift is unique because it is not something she can wear, eat or look at,” comments IMPACT Chicago Director Martha Thompson. “Instead she will enhance her verbal and physical safety tools, something she will carry with her the rest of her life.
More than ninety-five percent of women who experience IMPACT’s flagship 24-hour CORE training report a substantial increase in confidence and self-awareness. “IMPACT taught me that I am powerful!” exclaims Arden, a recent Core Program graduate. “I learned how to assess situations and set boundaries as well as how to defend myself. Basically I walked away feeling freed from a life of fear.” Arden felt so profoundly altered by the IMPACT course, in fact, that she convinced her mother Victoria to sign up. “I’m so glad I did it,” notes Victoria who took IMPACT Core Skills at Northeastern Illinois University.
Students of IMPACT develop their fighting spirit and skills in a safe, female-led environment. In a variety of realistic attack scenarios, participants use full-force strikes—such as the palm heel and ax kick—on padded attackers. In more intense scenarios, women may lay prone on a mat, pretending to sleep when a rapist intrudes. In order to process their emotions after such scenarios, women gather together in a circle to check in with one another and express their feelings, which range from fear and rage to relief and even elation.
Participants develop a greater sense of their own power. “Women are taught all their lives that they are weak, but that’s just not the case,” says instructor Rob Babcock, who celebrated 12 years with IMPACT in 2010. “Men generally have greater upper-body strength, but women’s legs and hips are incredibly strong.”
Evanston resident Jan still remembers those lessons well. She participated in IMPACT training 20 years ago, just two years after the program’s inception. To her great satisfaction, Jan was recently able to treat daughters Riley and Morgan to Teen IMPACT, a special course tailored specifically to the needs of that age group. “As a mother, I always knew I wanted them to take the class before they left for college,” Jan explains. And the girls are grateful for their mother’s resolve. “It’s just as important for teenagers to take the class as it is for mothers,” they note.
Usually held over three or more days, IMPACT’s 24-hour Core Program training runs $395 (or $16 an hour), all of which goes toward instructor fees and the organization’s high operating costs with regard to insurance coverage and equipment. Financial assistance is available to women who find the course fees prohibitive. “We will work with any woman or girl to figure out a way for her to take one of our programs,” assures Thompson, herself the mother of a 29-year-old daughter.
Cathie Bazzon
IMPACT Core Program grad
Rogers Park Community Council
Director, Senior Initiatives Program

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