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Hear from some IMPACT Graduates

This year, students at a local LA high school resumed in-person learning. IMPACT Personal Safety’s self-defense course is offered as an extracurricular activity. Some of the students decided to share their experience from the class.

Posts edited for clarity

1) Tell me about your experience in your self-defense class. Was it positive? Negative? Neutral? Explain your response.

Student 1:

I had an incredibly positive experience in my self-defense class. Not only did I feel supported by my fellow peers and instructors, but I felt incredibly empowered coming out of this experience. This course taught me that self-defense does not necessarily mean violence. I now feel much safer and more confident in my ability to read certain scenarios and catch suspicious behavior early on. I was quite nervous coming into this class since I didn’t know how a teenage girl like me would be able to handle an attack. I was continuously supported by my instructors in order to give me a better sense of confidence in my skills. I believe breaking down the stigma that self-defense does not simply mean a physical fight was the most effective for me. I feel not only prepared but simply more aware when going into the real world now. As I approach college, I could not be more grateful to have the knowledge that I have gained from this class. I know that there are other ways to defend myself using a simple awareness or ready stance or verbal strategies if it gets to that point. I highly recommend a self-defense class to people of any gender or age.

Student 2:

My experience in my self-defense class has been positive. Taking a self-defense class has made me much more confident in my ability to protect myself from immediate threats of violence. I have often felt myself to be an extremely vulnerable individual when it comes to physical violence, and because of this uncertainty, I tend to be hostile and overly violent. As a result of the IMPACT self-defense class I have taken, I feel significantly more assertive and know that aimlessly fighting serves no purpose for my well-being and safety. Finding out that physical acts of defense aren’t the only means to resist threats was very eye-opening, as I know now that I can use my voice as protection. Because I am always anxiety-ridden, defending myself seemed something completely out of my control, but the self-defense class has boosted both my self-esteem and confidence. I am not only more confident in finding efficient ways to protect myself, but I now have a greater awareness of my capabilities. Not only was the self-defense course an invaluable resource in encouraging me to become more self-sufficient and collected, my instructor was extremely helpful in relieving the many insecurities I had about my body’s capabilities.

2) What common myth or misconception has been demystified for you because of your self-defense class. Be specific and tell me how it was demystified.

Student 1:

Oftentimes, many assume that an assailant would be armed, incredibly large, or looking for violence. Each of these misconceptions have been demystified within this course. Knowing that only a small percentage of assailants are armed has made me feel much safer going out into the real world. This way, I know that through the physical skills I have learned throughout this course I will be able to defend myself. Furthermore, I grew up with this notion that an assailant would be substantially larger than me and I would stand almost no chance in a fight against them. In this class, I learned I am actually the same height as the average assailant. Lastly, an assailant is not necessarily looking for violence. They are looking for a scenario that will be quick and quiet in order to ensure they will get away with it. The verbal tactics we learned have made me feel much more comfortable with getting out of suspicious situations early on. These misconceptions had all been demystified through genuine statistics and stories from actual survivors. Overall, learning the difference between myth and fact has made me feel much more secure with my own personal skills.

Student 2:

A common myth that was demystified for me because of the self-defense class I have taken is that attacks are primarily at the hands of strangers. It’s often expected that attacks are usually in public areas from random people, but I learned that statistics show it is quite the opposite. Attacks are actually caused by people we know at substantially larger rates as opposed to attacks by strangers that jump out of dark alleys and bushes at night. What I found most interesting about this is the role that boundaries have and that attacks are mostly done by acquaintances because our boundaries are less rigid. We do not expect people that we are more intimate with to inflict harm on us. As a result, it is harder to set certain boundaries when you already know someone as it affects the relationship you have with the offender because those close to you see you as a vulnerable target. The self-defense class taught me efficient ways to set boundaries with both strangers and acquaintances.

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