One of the reasons IMPACT is such a powerful experience is that women who take the Core Program incorporate the tools and strategies they learn into their bodies. We hear from many graduates how they used their verbal and physical skills years later without taking an additional self-defense course.
Margit Cox Henderson and Jeanne Albright, along with assistance from Martha Thompson, Lisa Amoroso, and Theo Pintzuk, conducted a study comparing IMPACT graduates the day of graduation and graduates who had completed the course 2-4 years earlier who were taking a review course. Using videotaped scenarios from the graduation and from the follow-up program, raters assessed each participant for her use of self-defense skills (target selection, technique selection, strike accuracy, and technique quality). In addition, participants completed a survey self-assessing their confidence in their current abilities to use specific skills in real-life situations. For the follow-up course, graduates completed the confidence survey at the beginning of the course and other grads after they completed the course.
The researchers found that whether a recent graduate or not, participants’ self-defense skills were strong and, further the skills of graduates who had taken the course 2-4 years earlier and those who had just completed the course were equivalent—that is, there was no reduction in skills years after completing the course. Although their skills were as strong as recent graduates, women who had taken IMPACT 2 or more years earlier had less confidence in their ability to use their skills in a real-life situation.
So, yes the skills last but confidence is slightly reduced over time. Since confidence is key to using the skills, consider taking a review course to invigorate your confidence in the strong tools that you have and in your ability to apply these skills to new situations.
Henderson, Margit Cox and Jeanne Albright with Martha Thompson, Lisa Amoroso, and Theo Pintzuk. 1994. "Women's Self-Defense Training: Do the Effects Last?" Paper presented at the Midwestern Psychological Association. May, Chicago IL.