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Sunday, May 13, 2012

Three Generations of IMPACT Graduates

Lili Betancourt, IMPACT Grad 1990

I guess every woman has worried about what she could, would do if attacked. At one time this was the scary stuff of a recurring nightmare. It was the kind of concern that lives mostly under the level of consciousness, like a sleeping monster keeping me tip-toeing through life.

Twenty-three years ago I came across a flyer for a unique self-defense course and I was intrigued by more than it’s name. Then called Model Mugging it promised empowerment. When I witnessed a graduating class of women in action, I was sold. I signed up for the next class along with my mother. There were times I worried about her living on her own and having to travel for her job. Her best friend, my sister, a cousin, friends and acquaintances have since joined the ranks of IMPACT graduates. Each of us exhilarated by the release of worrying and wondering- Will I, can I be safe?

Now I believe I really turned into a worry-wart when I became a mom. What took me by surprise was the feeling of vulnerability that accompanied the joy of my daughter’s birth. I had two small sons but this was “a man’s world”, wasn’t it? They’d never be shamed, embarrassed or angered by an assault of ugly catcalls and rude comments. How do you prepare your little girl for that?

Her dad had a few ideas but ninja warrior training wasn’t a real life option. So I drilled my little ones in setting boundaries and we practiced using our voices just as I’d learned to do in IMPACT. Years later my daughter was excited to turn 16 and get her license. I was excited for her to take IMPACT. I got to see that familiar look of exhilaration on her beaming face. Her dad likes to tease and calls us ‘triple threat’ when we walk down the street, three generations of IMPACT graduates.

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