Monday, February 24, 2014

When is the best time for a middle school girl to take a self-defense course?

Thinking back to middle school for most of us is an entertaining, if not painful, exercise. Being in that age group, some feel like they don’t belong…anywhere. The social pressures and norms are enormous, confusing, and frustrating. Some of the childhood friends we had have grown and joined different cliques. Even the idea of cliques themselves can seem foreign. Yet, we all try and manage the best we can, and as we grow and develop and mature, we can look back at that time as a necessary, if sometimes embarrassing, time in our lives.

For many middle school children, it also becomes the first time when they are confronting sexual identities, developing bodies, and higher risk social situations. Knowing this, IMPACT Chicago has created an age-appropriate self-defense program for middle school girls. Emphasizing strong verbal boundaries and developing confidence, as well as powerful and easy-to-learn techniques, we have been teaching this class for several years, with great success.

When is the best time for a girl/woman to learn self-defense, particularly against sexual predation? “Earlier is better than later, later is better than never.” Please consider this and encourage friends and family with middle school girls to consider taking this class.

Rob Babcock, IMPACT Chicago Suited Instructor

Monday, February 17, 2014

We are all mechanics

We Are All Mechanics is an organization in Madison, WI that for over ten years has been teaching women-focused classes in bicycle maintenance. They believe that women can learn the technical skills required to maintain and repair a bicycle, despite the fact that such work is traditionally the province of men. If you’re going to own and ride a bicycle, knowing how to change tires and adjust gears and grease bearings is a good idea[1].

IMPACT Chicago feels the same way about the body that you walk around with every day. For women, simply walking around in the world involves a degree of unavoidable risk; just as it’s not possible to ride a bicycle without risking the occasional flat tire. While self-defense skills are traditionally thought of as men’s skills, women can learn those skills just as they can learn to change a bicycle tire. Graduates of our Core class report that IMPACT’s state-dependent learning approach to self-defense training makes the skills something that they remember when they need them, regardless of when they took the class – Just like riding a bicycle.

Mark Nessel, IMPACT Chicago Suited Instructor

[1] Learn more about We Are All Mechanics at

Monday, February 10, 2014

So you took self defense

You’ve taken a self-defense course, are a self-defense instructor or a martial artist. It is not uncommon for others to challenge you.

Joanne Factor of Strategic Living shares a story she heard from Jan Parker, a martial artist, about being challenged and using “disarming” self-defense.

. . . [A] young man heard from someone else that I was a martial artist. Boldly, he came up to me to make sure what he heard was true. “So, you’re a martial artist?” I nodded, noticing the drink in his hand. He continued, “Soooooo . . . What would you do if I just hauled off and hit you in the face?”

Jan responded:

“I would charge you with assault. What do you think I would do?” “For crying out loud,” I said, “we’re at a party, why in the world would you hit me in the face?”

Surprised, at my answer, he walked away.

Joanne says: “She assessed his intent, decided this silliness was not a situation to escalate, and gave a response he was so totally not expecting. Perfectly disarming self-defense.”

For more from Joanne Factor, check out For more from Jan Parker, visit her blog at

Monday, February 3, 2014

Donors make an IMPACT!

Tuition covers about 65% of the costs of the Core Program and IMPACT for Middle School Girls. Volunteers and donors cover the rest. It is not too late to donate. Please send a check to IMPACT Chicago, 4770 N. Lincoln Ave #6, Chicago IL 60625 or contact Tara at if you would prefer to pay by credit card. 

Thank you to all those who financially supported IMPACT Chicago in 2013!

Jeanne Adams in honor of 5-year old Ainsley Jeanne
Susan Alberts
Janet and David Altman
Lisa Amoroso and Phil Tracy
Anonymous (5)
Anonymous (3) in honor of Molly Norris and Kelly Van Eaton
Robert Babcock
Dolores and Glenn Bjorkman
Jill Britton and Henry Borcyk in honor of Hannah Thompson
Bruce Brio
Patricia Broughton in honor of Martha Thompson
Nancy and Ira Cohen
Christina Collins
Maury Collins
Dianna Costanzo in memory of Adrian Costanzo
Tammy and James DeBoer
Cheri Erdman
Carol Ference
Tamurla J. Fletcher
Laurie Fuller
David Lieb and Anne Gendler
Therese Given
Katherine Gumpertz
Milca Gunderson in honor of David Gunderson
Margit and John Henderson
Hewlett Packard
Naomi Love
Deb Mier and Sheila Hickey in honor of IMPACT’s amazing instructor team
Loretta Jackson
Jim and Valerie Jenkins
Carol Jennings
Pam Jurkowski
Julia Kaminski
Melanie and Stephen Kelley in honor of Margaret Vimont's mother
June Kirk
Mary Komparda in honor of Dee Costanzo
Susan Landwer
Ruth Lipschutz in honor of Peggy Lipschutz
Susan McConnell
Margaret McGrath
Marianne Merola
Dorothy Meyer
Teresa Neurauter
Mark Nessel
Molly Norris
Northwestern University’s Panhellenic Association
Clara Orban
Lauren Perez
Liz Pfau
Rachel Pildis
Ben Ruiz
Theo Pintzuk in honor of Elaine Stocker
Donald and Judith Rosedale in honor of Katie Skibbe
Loriann and Roger Safian
Tess Schmieg
Katie Skibbe
Linda Stawicki in honor of Jill Britton and Henry Borcyk
Lou Sutton
Kathy Tank in honor of IMPACT grad Alissa Tank
Martha Thompson
Margaret Vimont
Mary Ann Wilkens
Nat Wilson