Monday, July 9, 2012

Julie Curtis, Director-in-Training, IMPACT Chicago

Julie is honored and excited to be in training as the new Executive Director for IMPACT Chicago.  She is busy learning everything she can from Martha Thompson, the current Director.  They have mutually declared that her title is “Director-in-Training” until December when Martha will redefine her role with IMPACT Chicago.  She and Martha agree: Martha won’t be going away, but will continue on with our organization working for social justice!
In the late 90’s, Julie’s interest in self defense and understanding the issues around making it available to every woman, not just martial artists, led her to move to Washington, DC to complete an IMPACT BASICS class. Since then, she has been involved as a volunteer, class assistant, operations staff, and more recently as a Female Instructor-in-Training with DC IMPACT.  She looks to complete her certification with IMPACT Chicago.
In 2009, she went with Carol Middleton, Director of DC IMPACT, to Nairobi, Kenya to assist her with teaching other self-defense instructors.  The primary purpose was to teach them to teach weapons defense including defense against knives, guns, clubs, and panga (machete), but what she took most from that experience was a literal “Ah-hah!” moment as one of the instructors realized the value and applicability of verbal de-escalation skills. This moved Julie to explore the nuances and translation of verbal strategies for de-escalation and how they can be effective across cultures.
Julie is a second degree black belt in Shorin Ryu Karate and Kobudo and has studied other martial arts systems including Tae Kwon Do and Seido karate. She continues training for her weapons certification and 3rd degree with Doug Yates Karate in Xenia, Ohio and she recently re-joined Thousand Waves in Chicago for the camaraderie and daily conditioning.  She is a member of the National Women’s Martial Arts Federation (NWMAF) and this summer will be attending her 2nd Self Defense Instructors Conference and Special Training.

She is also the sole proprietor of her own consulting practice, Process and Quality Solutions, helping small businesses define their quality management systems and achieve industry benchmarks. She is a Certified Scrum Master (CSM) for agile software development projects and has 20+ years working in information technology.
Julie wants to express her gratitude for the experience and training so many extraordinary members of the self-defense community have shared with her already.  These women and men, and members of their organizations have been invaluable to her growth as a self defense instructor: Carol Middleton, Kevin Hipps, Tim Salisbury, and the team of instructors and assistants she has trained with at DC IMPACT; Doug Yates, Scott Vance, and Tim Wilson of Doug Yates Karate; Lauren Taylor, Defend Yourself; Cathie Reid; Lee Sinclair and the instructors of I’m Worth Defending; Irene van der Zande, Kidpower; Nancy Lanoue, Sarrah Ludden, Marie O’Brien, Kate Webster, and Michelle Curley of Thousand Waves; and the members of the NWMAF.  She’d also like to thank her former housemates, Dana, Bronwyn and Becca for inviting her to teach that first Antioch College’s women’s self defense workshop that ignited her interest in making self defense accessible to everyone and someday, hopefully, unnecessary.

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