Monday, July 31, 2017

Rearranging Your Mental Furniture

IMPACT Instructor Emeritus Dianne (Dee) Costanzo was the first person I heard link IMPACT training to re-training the brain or as she would say "rearranging our mental furniture."

Neuroplasticity refers to the idea that our life experience can change our brains. As an example, a recent grad said: "I never thought I could defend myself physically against a man. Now I know I can. It is an amazing change in world view."

Synaptic pruning refers to the idea that the brain cleans out synapses that aren't working much to create space for the brain to build new and stronger connections. I think when grads talk about IMPACT being life-changing that it is possible that their experiences in IMPACT removed some old synapses that had been holding them back in some way. As one grad said: "IMPACT was truly life changing! Feel empowered and inspired. New world of possibilities of what my body can do!"

For more:
Will Store. 2015. The brain's miracle superpowers of self-improvement BBC.
Your Brain Has a Delete Button: Here's How to Use It. FastCompany.

Martha Thompson
IMPACT Chicago Instructor

Monday, July 24, 2017

Managing Adrenaline

IMPACT training is empowerment self-defense training for sure, but it is also managing adrenaline training. We are experiencing adrenaline when we are under stress and our heart starts beating faster and our breathing becomes more rapid. Part of IMPACT training is facing this stress in such a way that our adrenaline is working for us, not against us.

Here are some things we do in IMPACT that are examples of ways we learn to manage our adrenaline
  • Assess a situation
  • Breathe
  • Focus on what I can do next
  • Prioritize—what’s available on my body and what’s available on an aggressor’s body?
  • I’m worth fighting for
  • Focus on my strengths
  • Redefine emotions—fear is my ally, not an enemy
  • Be fully present in the moment
  • Keep on, keep on
  • Take care of myself—get to safety and get support
For more about managing adrenaline and staying calm under pressure, check out

Martha Thompson
IMPACT Chicago Instructor

Monday, July 17, 2017

Combat Anti-LGBT Acts with Self-Defense: Interview with Meg Stone

Meg Stone is the Director of IMPACT Boston, the President of IMPACT International, and a member of the Empowerment Self-Defense Alliance.  Gillian Kendall recently interviewed Meg for Curve Magazine "Combat Anti-LGBT Acts with Self-Defense." 

Meg talks about:

  • Her work and teaching self-defense
  • The effects of the 2016 Presidential election 
  • What keeps her energized
  • Words of hope and encouragement to offer long-lived lesbians.
Check it out here.

Monday, July 10, 2017

What to Say If Someone Claims Women Lie About Rape

The claim that women lie about rape can pop up anywhere—a court of law or a casual neighborhood gathering. Having something specific to say about false reporting can contribute to dispelling rape myths. National Sexual Violence Research Center False Reporting has a helpful overview.

Key Points
  • The majority of sexual assaults are never reported to the police.
  • False reporting is estimated to be between 2 and 10 percent of cases that are reported.
  • Rates of false reporting are often exaggerated because the definitions of what constitutes evidence is inconsistently defined or reflect a limited understanding of sexual assault.
  • Misconceptions about false reporting negatively affect victims, contributing to why the majority of sexual assaults are never reported.
  • To provide improved support for victims of sexual violence, law enforcement and service providers need an in depth understanding of sexual violence and to be consistent in their definitions, policies, and procedures. 

Monday, July 3, 2017

Supporting A Child to Find Her Voice

In "Helping Your Child Find Her Voice," parent Andrew Leonard recounts the experience of his middle-school daughter reporting harassment by boys at school--asking her if she knows "where the tampon goes." His daughter was very uncomfortable with the harassment. Although Andrew and his daughter Tiana were reluctant to make waves about it, Tiana's mother Jeni persuaded them that it was very important to report the incident and enlist the support of the principal Rebecca Cheung. When Andrew heard Cheung's approach, he was very resistant. Cheung recommended that Tiana and the boys meet in her office and Tiana tell the boys how she felt about what they said. Although reluctant, Tiana and her parents decided to give it a try. Upon reflection, Andrew believes that Tiana speaking up for herself, particularly in the middle school years, was extremely important in contributing to her confidence and self-advocacy.

Support your daughter (11-15 years old) in finding her voice, encourage her to take IMPACT for Girls, August 19 and 20, 10 am - 2 pm, Perpetual Motion Studio, 4057 N. Damen Ave Chicago IL 60618. For more information or to register, or

You can read the original article here.