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The ABC's of Empowerment Self-Defense: The Letter H

Self-defense is more than just how hard you can hit. It is the full spectrum of tools that you can use to protect yourself every single day. We utilize skills from self-defense in our decision-making processes, such as when we communicate with people, when we drive or do activities, and more! Self-defense is really so expansive that we thought we would give you a better idea of what to expect when you take a self-defense class with IMPACT by breaking it down for you ABC-style.

The Letter H: Healing

“Healing doesn’t mean the damage never existed. It means the damage no longer controls our lives.” (Unknown)

IMPACT does self-defense differently. We address not just physical violence, but emotional, verbal, financial, and social violence. We understand that there is a multitude of strategies that range from physical strikes, to verbal de-escalation and boundaries, to self-care after something happens. We are trauma-informed, and we teach our skills through our unique role-play scenarios, which ensure that they are integrated into the body. We use self-defense as a tool to help empower people to live the life that they want to live. Because April was Sexual Assault Awareness Month and May is Mental Health Awareness Month, we felt it necessary to address the crossover between these two topics, and how IMPACT’s form of self-defense works to both help mental health and prevent sexual assault.

There are two sides that come into play when we discuss how to address assault: how do we prevent further assaults from happening, and how do we support survivors in their healing process. IMPACT classes address both sides of this coin. We serve to prevent assaults from happening by training people to respond to violence early on, set boundaries, and avoid violence if possible. We also know that survivors didn’t do anything wrong if they experienced violence. This is why we serve the other side of the coin by helping survivors heal from trauma.

When we think of traditional therapy, the most common practice is talk therapy. In this practice, therapists will talk with their clients to help them process trauma. This practice works. There is a reason why it is such a common practice. However, IMPACT uses a different model to facilitate healing. We use a ground-up methodology, meaning we work with the body to heal the brain. This works in the same way that yoga or horseback riding can be used as a therapeutic practice.

When we experience trauma, it gets stored in our body and can change the thought patterns in our brain. By moving the body through trauma, we can facilitate healing the ingrained trauma pathways. We encourage people to stay in the fight or scenario regardless of whatever emotions come up because, by showing our brain that our body can successfully do something challenging, and even scary, the trauma pathways that lead us to feel anxiety or shame, can be rewired towards feelings of empowerment and confidence. We begin to see ourselves in a new light and therefore can process our trauma in a new way.

Our trauma-informed curriculum offers enough challenges to facilitate empowerment without re-traumatizing our students, and our instructors are there to hold the space to allow transformation to happen while ensuring that our students are safe in the process. However, IMPACT instructors are not therapists, and because our work digs deep into our brains, we welcome a whole host of self-care techniques to help our students process the discoveries that they make during our classes.

We believe that everyone deserves to live a confident and empowering life in spite of what may have happened in the past or what could happen in the future. Our classes help students navigate the future with confidence.

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