Staff

It takes someone special to be an IMPACT instructor and yet our instructors are ordinary everyday people. Teachers, executives, salespeople, scientists and artists – all our instructors felt the need to give back.

All instructors work for us whenever they can and would like to. Most classes are on weekends so for most of our staff, teaching for IMPACT is a sideline. Between our Lead Instructors, our Padded Assailant Instructors and our Assistants, we have a teaching roster of over fifty people.

Our Lead Instructors

Most of our lead instructors came to take a class and fell in love with the work. They typically assist in various classes and learn the mechanics of the class behind the scenes while developing their fighting skills. Some express an interest in being an LI early on and some assistants stand out and are asked to join our training program.

Once an instructor is identified, she/he goes through an extensive instructor training program while shadowing a senior instructor in ongoing classes. In training, she/he learns how to convey all of our valuable information, demo the fights and techniques, and manage each student to success.

Graduates interested in becoming instructors should contact Lisa Gaeta.

Our Padded Assailant Instructors

Many of our Padded Assailant Instructors (in LA, they are all men, but there are female padded assailants in other IMPACT chapters) have martial arts backgrounds but it’s not a requirement. In almost every case, they had a female in their lives take the Basics course and they were hooked by the amazing transformation they saw at her graduation.

Our PAs go through a lengthy process to get kicked in the head for a living. First they are vetted by our senior staff to see if they have the temperament and heart for this work. No shifty or selfish characters allowed. After passing a full background check by our colleagues at Gavin De Becker, Inc., they take the Men’s Basics Course so they see what it feels like from outside the suit. Then they go through an extensive instructor training course where they learn how to wear the suit of extensive padding, absorb blows and react realistically, fight to different levels of different classes, and give constructive feedback to female, male and child students. During this time, they also develop their mugger persona – the bad guy they become when they put their helmets on, and shadow senior PAs in ongoing classes.

The Suit

One thing that makes IMPACT unique is “the suit.” Perhaps you’ve seen them on TV or at a local event.

Our padded assailants wear specially designed, protective armor so that our students can strike full-force and find out what it really takes to confront a larger person or to deliver a knockout blow to an aggressor. They are protected from head to toe, providing students with the unique opportunity to fight back using all of their strength and without hesitation.

The helmets are designed and built by Johnny Albano, IMPACT Lead Instructor, Instructor Trainer. One instructor described wearing the suit like “being in a bumper car; you can feel the impact but not the force.”

Our suits are in constant development incorporating the latest materials and research. Each mugger instructor’s suit is custom-made for him.

Our Teaching Staff:

JENNIFER BUNTING – Lead Instructor

Jennifer took her first Basics class in October, 2002. She went on to take all of the courses IMPACT offered in quick succession. Jennifer began assisting classes in 2003, and honed her skills for six years before starting Instructor Training in 2009. She now teaches all levels of IMPACT classes.

Jennifer grew up in Louisville, Kentucky. In the late 80’s, she went to Centre College, a small liberal arts college in Kentucky and then on to film school at Columbia College in Chicago, Illinois. She began working in music management in Nashville, Tennessee in 1993, then moved to Los Angeles in 1994 to work in music licensing for film and TV.

Jennifer comes to IMPACT with a specific perspective, as she has been mugged twice. She thought that she could mentally handle the aftermath of her assaults, but after a man who was having a normal exchange with her said, “I’m not going to hurt you…” she realized she looked like a victim. She thought she was doing a good job of covering up fear, but people could literally read the fear on her face and in her body language.

Not long after the second mugging, she took a self-defense class provided by a local police department in Kentucky. Jennifer knew she needed to do something to keep herself safe and to lower her fear and anxiety, but she didn’t really remember what she learned in that workshop. Jennifer was in Los Angeles when an employer of hers encouraged her to take IMPACT and even paid for her class. Once she took her first Basics course, Jennifer had a complete paradigm shift, a completely new understanding of just how powerful she really is. Once she felt that shift, she knew she had to become involved and spread the empowerment to other women.

Jennifer says her level of ability to fight and her body awareness, once she was shown how to do it, was like a fish to water. “Lisa Gaeta always says  ‘we don’t so much teach students what to do as introduce them to what they are designed to do and what comes naturally…’ I was athletic but what I had to get over was the fear that comes with wondering if it will happen again.” She no longer carries that fear. She knows she will defend herself at all cost and without hesitation.

There is something so fulfilling for Jennifer in teaching at the high schools where we help develop a culture of girls standing up for themselves and becoming powerful. She laments – as do many of us – at how much she would have loved to learn IMPACT in her early teens.

Jennifer lives and teaches in Los Angeles. “In this particular climate, it feels as if we are moving toward the age of women. A shift in society, being on the cusp of the future, and being in the place where I can contribute by teaching IMPACT is what I leave as my legacy.”

 

JOHNNY ALBANO – Lead Instructor, Instructor Trainer, Protective Gear Engineer

Johnny Albano joined IMPACT Personal Safety in 1989. He was certified as a Mugger Instructor in 1990 and has taught all of the classes and workshops IMPACT offers. Johnny retired as a Mugger Instructor in 2011, but still functions as a Lead Instructor in many of the workshops and classes.

Besides teaching, Johnny also trains and supervises instructors and assistants and advises on curriculum. He was instrumental in developing specialty classes and workshops such as IMPACT’s Kids Class, Parents and Tots Workshops, Workshops for the Physically Challenged, and Workshops for the Blind.

Johnny also builds protective body armor for Mugger Instructors. As president of Rhino Armor, Inc., he continues to build safer products, and created a helmet that eliminates head concussions. With this new helmet, several “older” muggers left retirement and returned to the world of instructing/fighting.

Through IMPACT, Johnny has worked with some of the most notable and knowledgeable safety experts and martial artists. Johnny enjoys teaching IMPACT because he loves seeing women and children gain confidence in their ability to be safe.

Johnny holds a BS in Aeronautical Engineering and an MS in Computer Sciences from California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo. As an Aerospace Engineer, he worked on the Apollo missions. As a Software Engineer, he designed and implemented programs that tested the Space Shuttle Avionics System. He also designed and implemented programs that monitored Energy Management Systems, automated Wind Tunnel Data Acquisition and Control Systems, and provided Computer Aided Design and Manufacturing applications.

Johnny served in the United States Army as First Lieutenant, Field Artillery. He studied Turkish at the Defense Language Institute and was stationed in Turkey as a Field Unit Commander, Security Officer, and Liaison with the Turkish forces.

Johnny trained in Taekwondo, Tang Soo Do, and IMPACT. He stays fit by teaching classes and workshops, taking 10,000 steps daily, and keeping up with his young children.

Johnny’s sources of pride, joy, and love are his wife Joan, kids Bernadette (Bernie), Tobias (Toby), and Nicole, and Nicole’s boys, Jacob and Ethan (grandkids!) and Paul (son-in-law!). All but Nicole’s boys are IMPACT-trained.

 

CARLA YOUNG – Lead Instructor

Carla took her first IMPACT Personal Safety class in 1996. As a woman socialized to be a people-pleaser, she found it a life-changingand empowering experience. In 1997, she began assisting IMPACT classes and in 2004 she began instructing. In 2014, Carla’s own spinal and joint issues forced her to quit teaching IMPACT’s Basics courses and set her on a mission to find a niche for her continuing desire to teach personal safety.

Carla now heads up IMPACT’s firearms training courses, Pistol Basics Intro, Pistol Basic I, and Pistol Basics II, with Gus Themaras. IMPACT’s instruction style of positive reinforcement and layering techniques is also used in these courses. Carla’s goal is to make the class a safe, supportive environment and help each student reach his or her potential. She would like her students to walk away with an increased sense of personal safety and empowerment.

Carla keeps herself physically fit with circuit training, Zumba, Pilates, and yoga. She enjoys hiking, camping, mountain biking, target and sporting clay shooting. She is here to help her students overcome challenges, help them feel safe, and hopefully have some fun!

Her training and experience include:

  • Special Agent, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of the Inspector General. She specializes in white collar crime, government fraud, employee threats, assaults, misconduct, workplace violence, animal fighting, and agricultural smuggling. (2001-present)
  • Certified by the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center as: Defensive Tactics Instructor, Non-Lethal Training Ammunition Instructor, Chemical Weapons Instructor, Use of Force Instructor, and Active Threat Response Instructor
  • Certified by Force Science Institute Ltd. in Force Science Analysis
  • NRA Certified Pistol Instructor
  • NRA Certified Rifle Instructor
  • NRA Certified Personal Protection in the Home Instructor
  • NRA Certified Personal Protection Outside the Home (CCW) Instructor
  • NRA Certified Refuse to Be Victim Instructor
  • NRA Certified Range Safety Officer and Chief Range Safety Officer
  • Trained by Senshido International in Reality Based Self-Defense and in Tony Blauer’s S.P.E.A.R technique
  • Trained at Inosanto Academy of Marital Arts in Filipino Martial Arts, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, American and French Style Kick Boxing, Boxing, Kali, and Escrima. (1994-2006)
  • Received training certified by Peace Officer Standards and Training Commission in Interviewing Sexually Motivated Offenders
  • Certified in Adult/Infant CPR/AED/First Aid
  • Trained in Tactical First Aid