Monday, February 23, 2015

Packing a Charge of Primal Power

"Tradition is not the worship of ashes, but the preservation of fire.”
Gustav Mahler-

Mahler's quote reflects my own urging for the preservation of fire, it's utility as a self-defense weapon, and WHY we need to turn this flame up a notch.

Here's the deal: If confronted or frightened you want to keep a cool head, yes. (De-escalate. Lower an aggressor's arousal. Extricate yourself.) But if a female has to go physical to escape a larger, stronger, pumped up creature intent on harm ...she best be packing a charge of primal power and heat, armed with the know-how to explode into a target, with the ability to source this power from her loin and her limbs, from her sex and her soul-- and to bring it in a heartbeat. It's a power that must be kindled from the inside out. A knowing to be kept aglow in the heart, ON at all times.

Here's the other reason to turn this flame up a notch:

When any discipline, practice or "movement" (for example Yoga) crosses over from grassroots to mainstream and becomes commercialized, something inevitably gets lost or diminished in that process. So too, as women’s self-defense has become mainstreamed, has become Big Business -- with franchises and licenses, daylong, weekend and online instructor certifications-- and as it's been exposed to the dampening winds of political correctness, some of its ORIGINAL fire has dimmed, fallen by the wayside in favor of “ten easy steps" or reduced to mere exercise (don't even get me started) or subsumed by the ubiquitous language of personal safety — a term I fiercely resist. Not because it isn't an accurate umbrella (who among us doesn’t want to be safer?), but because it distances from the primal heart and martial bloodline of self-defense, dispatching what belongs in the realm of the senses to a higher headier mount; to a more sanitized mindset of cautionary tips, do’s and don’ts, whereby female FEROCITY-- the very spear of its ire and might - is easily deemed irrelevant, a mere PS in the equation of "what works."

Put another way, self defense "lite" subjugates the need to cultivate FORCE, to nurture our will and authority for applied violence, and to redeem women's own dangerous capacities and animal instincts.

And honestly now, what a lustless term. ("personal safety" that is.)

Bottom line as I've written before:

"As long as men are the principle agents of aggression and women are the casualties of their actions, the victims on the pointy end of male aggression, there will NEVER be a balance of power between the sexes. Women will remain relegated to a subordinate status, too powerless or simply too fearful to resist the dominance and brutalities of others, limited by social contract and constraint in the ways in which we can express our own ferocities, yearnings, and fighting spirit.

The gig is up. Its time: Women can no longer outsource their protection to men-- to fathers, husbands, brothers, boyfriends or saviors in khaki or uniform blue. It's time to bring this power home. To refasten it to our womanly roots, to reap its fruits, harvest its furies and acquire the essential skill and will to SELF-DEFEND. It's time to turn up the flame, burn down apocryphal myths and to lionize ourselves. It's time to make the tipping point happen.

Each and together we must become outposts of courage."

Melissa Soalt


Monday, February 16, 2015

Is self-defense training cost effective?

Yes. Sexual assault is very expensive, in terms of post-assault medical service, legal services, and human suffering. Self-defense training, in contrast, is quite inexpensive. A recent Nairobi-based study found that comprehensive self-defense training cost US $1.75 for every assault prevented, compared with an average of US $86 for post-assault hospital services. Given the higher cost of medical services, it is likely that the savings would be even greater in the United States.


Sarnquist,Clea et al. 2014. “Rape prevention through empowerment of adolescent girls.” Pediatrics peds. 2013-3414. 

From Women’s Self-Defense Frequently Asked Questions. Jocelyn A. Hollander, Ph.D. University of Oregon, September 15, 2014.

Monday, February 9, 2015

I Took Action Instead of Gawking

While I was waiting at the train platform this morning, I noticed a man further down who was shouting and cursing loudly. At first, I dismissed him. But then, he began spouting racial slurs and directly addressing other people. At that point, everyone was staring, and one man even engaged with him. It could have quickly escalated into violence, since he was verbally threatening people, and getting close to them or the edge of the platform. I pushed the customer assistance button so someone could help or at least be aware of the situation. The point of this story is that Thousand Waves' self-defense teaching (and being a karateka in general) has enabled me to identify potentially unsafe situations and spring into action instead of remaining a gawking bystander.

Jane Kollmer

Monday, February 2, 2015

Donors Make an IMPACT!

Tuition covers about 65% of the costs of the Core Program and IMPACT for Girls. Donors cover the rest. It is not too late to donate. Please send a check to IMPACT Chicago contact Tara to donate through Paypal. Unless otherwise noted below, the donation was to the IMPACT Chicago General Fund.

Thank you to all who supported the IMPACT Chicago 2014 Fund Drive!

Jeanne Adams – in honor of Ainsley Jeanne Anderson, 6 years old and already spunky!
David Altman
Laney Amoroso – in honor of Lisa Amoroso and all the people who help at IMPACT
Lisa Amoroso – in honor of our tireless and hard-working staff!
Susan Atchinson – Dianne Costanzo Scholarship Fund and General Fund
Rob Babcock
Arlene Benzinger
Fidelity Charitable Gift
Glenn and Dolores Bjorkman
Jill Britton – Dianne Costanzo Scholarship Fund
Kim Clifton – Dianne Costanzo Scholarship Fund
Ira and Nancy Cohen
Dori Conn
Jenny Coomes
Dianne Costanzo – in memory of Adrian Costanzo
Maureen Dunn
Cheri Erdman – Dianne Costanzo Scholarship Fund
Laurie Fuller
Eileen Gelblat
Cheryl Goldstein
Grainger Matching Fund
Robyn Stellman Gray
Katie Gumpertz
Vesna Havran-Miller
Margit Henderson
Victoria Herbert
HP Matching Fund
IBM Matching Fund
Valerie Jenkins
Melanie Wilson Kelley – in honor of Katie Kramer
June Kirk – in honor of Martha Thompson
Kasey Klipsch
Mary Komparda – in honor of Dee Costanzo
Katie Kramer – Dianne Costanzo Scholarship Fund
Susan Landwer – Dianne Costanzo Scholarship Fund and General Fund
Ruth Lipschutz – Dianne Costanzo Scholarship Fund
Dorothy Meyer
Terry and Jan Mostrom
Mary Mrowicki
Teresa Neurator
Shiyu and Anthony Nitsos – Dianne Costanzo Scholarship Fund
Clara Orban
Lauren Perez
Rachel Pildis
Lisa Pines
Roger and Loriann Safian – Dianne Costanzo Scholarship Fund
Beth Saks
Laura Sanders
Gail Davis Shubert
Katie Skibbe
Stawicki Charitable Fund
Margaret J. Tomasik Living Trust
Nicole Vanderberg – in honor of Catherine "Grandma" Keller
Iris Waichler
Donna Wilkens