Sunday, January 29, 2012

2012 IMPACT Chicago Schedule

Core Programs
February 18, 19, 25, 26
JCFS, 3145 W. Pratt Chicago 60645
Sat/Sun 11 am – 5 pm each day

May 18, 19, 20
Dominican, 7900 W. Division River Forest IL 60305
Fri, Sat, Sun 5:30-9:30 Fri 9 am – 6 pm Sat/Sun

June 29, 30, July 1
Belle Plaine, 2014 W. Belle Plaine Chicago IL 60618
Fri, Sat, Sun 5:30-9:30 Fri 9 am – 6 pm Sat/Sun

August 3, 4, 5
NEW LOCATION in the West Loop
CPA, 1133 W. Fulton Market Chicago 60607
Fri, Sat, Sun 5:30-9:30 Fri 9 am – 6 pm Sat/Sun

September 22, 23, 29, 30
Belle Plaine 2014 W. Belle Plain Chicago IL 60618
Sat/Sun 11 am – 5 pm each day

November 9, 10, 11
JCFS 3145 W. Pratt Chicago 60645
Sat/Sun 5:30-9:30 Fri 9 am – 6 pm Sat/Sun

Core Skills (register at Northeastern)
February 28, March 2, 9
Northeastern Illinois University Gym
Foster and Central Park Chicago 60625
Fridays 9 am – 1:15 pm

Middle School
March 24 and 25
JCFS, 3145 W. Pratt Chicago
Sat/Sun 11 am – 3 pm

All Gender Workshop April 29
Sun 11 am – 4 pm
Thousand Waves, 1220 W. Belmont, Chicago IL 60657

Boundary Setting March 5
Pre-requisite: completion of Core Program, Core Skills, or Teen IMPACT
Monday 6-9 pm
Motorcycle Riding's Cool, 1400 N. Halsted Street Chicago 60642

Defense against an armed rapist December 1 and 2
Pre-requisite: completion of Core Program or Teen IMPACT
Belle Plaine Studio, 2014 W. Belle Plaine Chicago 60618
Sat/Sun 11 am – 5 pm

25th Anniversary October 14 Save the Date
JCFS, 3145 W. Pratt Chicago 60645

For more information or to register,, 773-561-9000 or

Monday, January 23, 2012

My Friend, Adrenaline

My relationship to adrenaline – that hormone that gets the heart pumping and gives one the shakes – changed because of IMPACT. IMPACT’s adrenaline-based classes teach students (including me, years ago) how to function when their nerves are jangled and they’re having trouble thinking clearly. This comes from the behavior modification that instructors do in the moment of adrenaline that trains students in behaviors that lead to successful outcomes. Through this training, our brains learn that we can function in spite of this hormone flowing through our bodies.

Since my first class, my relationship to adrenaline has become more conscious. I’ve noticed adrenaline when I: had a grant deadline to meet and experienced technical difficulties minutes before the cut-off, drove a stick shift in traffic for the first time, talked in front of important groups, had difficult conversations, had a near-miss while driving... and probably lots more.

Each time, I noticed my response was to grumble amusedly, “My friend, adrenaline” in recognition of its sudden presence. I may have not been altogether pleased to see my friend, but I understood what I was feeling. In the past before my first class, I might have labeled it “panic”, “anxiety”, or “irritation” and gotten more “stressed out.” After the class, I was able to identify it as a natural, physical reaction to what was going on and have a different, more productive relationship to it.

While these more everyday adrenaline experiences do not have a direct relationship to staying safe, I realize that this changed relationship to adrenaline is one of the ways IMPACT can improve one’s quality of life. Adrenaline (and conflict) are natural parts of life; we will never change that, but we can change our responses to them.

Alena Schaim
Executive Director & Instructor
IMPACT Personal Safety
New Mexico

Monday, January 16, 2012

The Power of Social Media

IMPACT Chicago social media connections have become an increasingly important avenue for maintaining contact with graduates, networking with other organizations, and widening our influence in framing self-defense as a positive and empowering experience. We do daily (Monday-Friday) posts on Facebook and Twitter, weekly blogs, and monthly e-newsletters.

On Facebook, we have over 400 friends (over 100 new friends since 1 year ago), had over 175,000 viewings of our posts and over 1,500 people posting feedback. We have over 160 Followers on Twitter and a re-tweet rate of .66 (industry average is .33).

There were over 3,000 viewings of our blogs. The most viewed blogs: I Stopped a Thief (September, Joselyn Galvez), We Call It Self-Defense (August, Cathie Bazzon), Ten Things Every Woman Should Know (April, Margaret Vimont), I Resisted Taking IMPACT (May, Shira Zisook) and IMPACT May Have Saved My Life (January, Megan). Our monthly e-newsletter about upcoming events and IMPACT activities is sent to over 500 people.

Arden Schuman and Martha Thompson are the organizers behind the IMPACT Chicago social media presence. Arden provides some editing and all the technical support and Martha is the content person—either writing or editing the content or recruiting people to provide the content.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Who is The Mugger?

I think of the act of creating the Mugger as Method Teaching. For the Mugger to be believable there has to be enough real feeling behind him to create a truly threatening experience. We refer to it as “selling” the character. This is where “method teaching” comes in. If I were to watch a suspense film before class, and then try to act like, or channel, the bad guy in the film, that’s not going to sell. Every suited instructor has to figure out how they themselves would do what the Mugger is doing in order for this to work.
I don’t ever “become” the Mugger, but the Mugger overlays my teaching self as a mask. Behind the mask, I’m observing the student and gauging her reaction to the Mugger. Whatever I’m saying to her is superficially genuine in the same way a good stage actor is being true to his or her character. And just like an actor on stage, I’m not the role, I’m playing the role. While I’m playing it I’m paying attention to all sorts of other things specific to the class. Of course, over the years, I’ve developed, as have other suited instructors, a repertoire of stock characters that I can go to for different purposes. The key is that we use them deliberately, and the point of the interaction is always what will help this student in this fight to learn something and get better. It’s never about the character itself.

Mark Nessel 

Monday, January 2, 2012

I Trust Myself More Than Ever

Nine months ago, I vacationed in another country. One night, I went for a walk on the beach with several friends after dark, within sight of and in the light from the resort. We thought our awareness and our numbers would be enough to keep us protected. This was not the case. We were attacked by two men. One came right at me.

In the moment, I felt anger—not fear—at being attacked and fought back fiercely. I wasn’t surprised I fought back; during IMPACT training I found my “fighting spirit” easy to access. I had clarity and precision, and acted in a logical, effective manner.

I had the presence of mind to realize that the silence around me meant that I was not using my voice! I reminded myself to breathe and yell – and I found my reserve of strength. My assailant—shocked at my loud, powerful resistance—backed off. My frozen friends responded to my instructions and we ran to safety.

This experience, far from making me fearful of travel, has instead left me with a sense of empowerment. I trust myself more than ever before. I have realistic confidence in my own ability to keep myself safe. Because of skills I learned and practiced at IMPACT, I navigate and engage with the world in a way that is healthier, safer and, ultimately, more joyful!

Greta, IMPACT Personal Safety, New Mexico