Nat Wilson, IMPACT Chicago Suited Instructor
Photo: Maple Joy
“Elbow”! “Knee”! “Kick”! These were the words Nat Wilson heard yelled from the line for the last time. For the past 13 years, Nat has helped women with physical and verbal techniques, along with playing the role of an assailant during Core, IMPACT for girls, workshops, and advanced
IMPACT programs. The goal is to leave women with the necessary tools to defend themselves during uncomfortable or dangerous situations.
Nat began his IMPACT journey in 2006. When a Chicago serial rapist was running rampant years earlier, his sister and friends asked how they could protect themselves and it left Nat lost, without a good answer.
A former colleague was an IMPACT board member and encouraged him to get involved. Nat contacted IMPACT and was invited to attend the final scenarios of an upcoming program to see if it was a good fit.
“I couldn’t believe it,'' Nat said. “These women...were more equipped to defend themselves than people who had been taking traditional martial arts for like four years.”
From that point forward, Nat made it through the nearly two year training and interview process - never looking back, even when he moved seven hours away.
About four years after becoming a suited instructor, Nat relocated to Northfield, MN for his full-time job. Despite the seven hour commute, Nat felt it was still worth traveling four to five times a year to train participants taking IMPACT programs.
“[Driving] It’s a bit of a drag. To me, it’s so worth it. If it were just a job, job I couldn't do it and it wouldn’t even matter if it was a lot of money. It’s the fact that the results of the work are so rewarding again, again, again, and again,” Nat said.
Over the years, Nat has seen so many powerful transformations. Women have shared countless personal stories that brought them to a seat on the mat in the IMPACT circle.
“We try to tap into something that’s maybe already there, inside, maybe they weren’t aware of. But also just give them the license to explore. Maybe looking at things a different way or trying things they’ve never done before.”
Through all the wonderful memories, Nat has decided it’s time to throw in the towel - realizing he’s getting older, the commute has become a lot, and family work schedules have become more intense.
Mixed with many emotions, Nat reflected on how he felt after his last class. “Now that it is over, I have a mix of melancholy that it is over but also pride in the quality of the work I was able to do with IMPACT,” Nat said.
Nat hopes that other men will get involved with IMPACT. There are several roles men can take advantage of behind the scenes, instead of being a suited instructor.
“There are a bunch of things that go on behind the scenes at IMPACT that are essential to keeping our classes running and keeping the organization strong. We need people to help plan class logistics, write grants, do PR work, web development, photography, solicit donations – these are just a few,” Nat said.
IMPACT Chicago thanks Nat Wilson for his many years of service.
There’s still time to sign-up for the Core Program held on December 6 - 8.
IMPACT Chicago grad
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