Monday, February 25, 2013

I Feel Like I’m Even More Powerful Now

Courtney Childs, interviewed October 14, 2012, IMPACT Chicago 25th Anniversary

What brought you to IMPACT?
I was raped 4 years ago. I wanted to find a program that would help me encompass my own safety. I wanted to make myself feel safe rather than rely on other people to help me feel safe. I was looking for something very specific, I wasn’t even sure that it was out there. I wanted to practice self-defense as if it were a real scenario so that I’d have all the emotions that usually come with it. Luckily, I ran across IMPACT online. It was exactly what I was looking for.

What about IMPACT spoke to you, specifically?
I have a fear of not being able to inflict pain on other people. I liked that we got to practice hitting various muggers in IMPACT. I didn’t see any other programs that had the specialty of hitting full-force to different areas. I took the class in June 2012.

Tell me about the 3 months since your class.
I feel a lot better. I live downtown; I don’t have a car; I walk a lot. I couldn’t take public transit before.  I needed someone to ride it with me because when you’re on the train, you have to go down stairs and through dark tunnels and spaces. Sometimes you’re there with only one other person. When I walk home from work, it’s getting dark out. It made me uncomfortable. Since I graduated, I feel a lot more confident about what I can do if an attack does come at me. If someone is walking toward me and I feel like they might be a threat, I can practice it in my head, thinking of what I would do. Knowing that I’m prepared makes me feel more confident.
The experience of bonding with so many other females in class gives you this inspiration and makes you feel more confident about yourself as well.

Today was very different from class. What are your impressions?
It’s amazing. You’re not only working with other females who are new to the class, you get to see the IMPACT program in full. You’re meeting people from different graduation years who have been here since IMPACT started. You hear their stories about how it’s helped them throughout their life and what got them started. It’s truly inspiring. It encourages you to help out even more, to want to be part of it. After today, you’re hungry for more.
Today is an experience I will take with me always. Since, for some people, it’s been ten years since they’ve practiced it, hearing how they’ve kept it fresh in their minds is very helpful.

What is the most powerful moment so far today?
The first time I got back on the mat. I was nervous that I had forgotten or lost something. I got back out there and it’s all still with me. I feel like I’m even more powerful than when I first did it. My kicks are that much better in technique and my palm-heel strike is stronger. That was the best moment, the fear I had right before, then getting down on the mat and working it out. Courtney, you still have it, you’ll be able to do it if it ever happens in the future.
Courtney was interviewed by AC Racette

Monday, February 18, 2013

I Fight for the Better Good

by Patricia

I was abused as a child and became independent at the age of 16. Unfortunately, as an adult, I was a victim of assault; something I thought I had escaped forever. Through counseling and coaching and my own will, I have become a strong survivor and an advocate in my area for the homeless and women and children at risk. I have worked in outreach for over twenty years. I can relate to many stories that are shared with me at shelters and on the street and, as a result, share what helped me- with the hope that others may find their way through darkness.

I went into the IMPACT Core Program understanding that I fell victim to others’ violence and it was never my fault. I understood, soundly, that I was a survivor and that I was strong before I came to IMPACT; but, what I didn’t realize was, there was yet another threshold that I was about to face. I learned that there were times when I had fallen victim, then rose to become a survivor and became strong. Now I have risen, yet again, and have realized I am not only a survivor … I am a fighter. I fight for the better good- sometimes in a gentle way, sometimes in a fierce way- and I am very capable. That is very empowering for me to know and to understand about myself – for me to bring into a conscious awareness.

I broke through fears about my girls, one day, being harmed and now realize I cannot protect them by being fearful, but I can empower and teach them to protect themselves.

Two opportunities in March: Core Program, March 8, 9, 10 and IMPACT for Middle School Girls, March 16 and 17. Call 773-561-9000 or email

Monday, February 11, 2013

Oh my, that's much better than mace!

We got a call on the hotline from a mom who was worried for her daughter's safety, who teaches after-hours. The mom asked if we sold mace and that's all she was looking for. I explained that we do not sell mace and that we recommend that people, both women and men, rely on self-defense tools that they always have with them: our own palm heels, elbows and knees. "That's interesting...", she responded.

Then, I began to describe how we actually teach women and girls how to defend ourselves using our body, voice and spirit. She liked the idea of using hard parts of our body against soft, vulnerable parts of an attacker's body. She liked the description of our instructor teams and, especially, liked the role of the male instructor. The fact that the male instructor wears 40 lbs of protective armor, so that students can experience striking and kicking a real, live person and receive feedback on those techniques, was fascinating to her. "Oh my, that's much better than mace!" she concluded.

Leslie Eto, IMPACT Chicago Registration and Workshop Director

Monday, February 4, 2013


In IMPACT, we often hear adult women say "I wish I had taken IMPACT when I was a girl." While we can't go back in time, girls do have a chance to take IMPACT now.

Girls benefit from taking IMPACT
Jill says: “I'm more aware now and, although I still feel scared, I feel more in control. Taking IMPACT made me feel safer, in case someone decides to grab me....not just because I learned it (in my head), but because I actually got to practice and experience it.”

Sarah says: “I feel confident and IMPACT classes are always FUN!!! “

Parents benefit from their daughters taking IMPACT
Lisa says: “I have always known that I have wanted my girls to learn to defend themselves.  I wasn't sure how I was going to teach them, as none of the self-defense workshops and classes I took as a young adult seemed sufficient enough for me to feel fully empowered and confident. IMPACT changed my life. Knowing my girls are equipped, not only with knowledge but with experience, to defend themselves helps me sleep a little better at night. I know violence against girls and women is an issue that must also be dealt with at a societal level, but it is also deeply personal.”

Lili says: “I couldn’t wait for my daughter to be old enough to take the IMPACT course. I counted the days until she turned 16. Before her 16th birthday, she was already signed up and she was excited to take it.

There are two upcoming IMPACT programs for Girls
The Core Program is for women 16 years and older. It is IMPACT Chicago's most intensive program, allowing women and girls to gain the most self-defense training in the shortest amount of time (22 hours). Training progresses from verbal boundary-setting to responses to a physical assault, culminating in simulated attack scenarios where women and girls begin in both upright and prone positions. In these simulated attacks, the mock assailant, a male IMPACT instructor, wears heavily padded armor, thus allowing women to deliver their strikes and kicks with full force, just as they would need to in an actual attack. By the end of the course, women and girls have used their skills to assess danger, set boundaries, and respond effectively to a variety of verbal and physical attacks. 

In the 8-hour IMPACT for Middle-School Girls program (11-15 years old), participants learn how to handle situations that girls in middle-school are most likely to face and then have an opportunity to practice in simulated scenarios. In IMPACT for Middle-School Girls, young teens and pre-teens learn crucial skills for dealing with everyday life situations and potentially unsafe situations.

Core Program (16 and up)
March 8, 9, 10
Friday 5:30-9:30; Sat/Sun 9 am – 6 pm
Belle Plaine Studio, 2014 W. Belle Plaine, Chicago 60618

IMPACT for Middle School Girls (11-15)
March 16 and 17
11 am – 3 pm
Knapp Center, 3145 W. Pratt Blvd, Chicago 60645

Financial assistance and payment plans are available. To register or for more information,
773-561-9000, or