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The ABC’s of Empowerment Self-Defense: The Letter N

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 N: No!

“No is a complete sentence. It does not require an explanation to follow. You can truly answer someone’s request with a simple no.” (Sharon E. Rainey)


In our classes, we teach people that our voices are incredibly powerful tools that we can use to help keep ourselves safe. When students are able to tap into the power of their voice, it can transform their lives. We specifically teach students to yell “No”. We teach this for several reasons:


  • “No” is a complete sentence and a firm boundary: When we yell the word “No”, we are communicating a complete, firm, and indisputable boundary with the harasser which could prevent them from trying anything further.


  • Affirms that you are defending yourself: “No” lets everyone around us know that we are not the aggressor in this situation. It strongly communicates to bystanders who may be witnessing that we are defending ourselves and might move them to go get help.


  • Increases our power: We teach our students to yell “No” with every strike. Similarly to how tennis players yell when they hit the ball, we yell with our strike to increase the power of our strike. Yelling helps us deliver our most powerful and effective strikes to help us end a fight as quickly as possible.


  • Yelling forces us to breathe: When we are in a stressful or adrenalizing situation, our bodies can forget to breathe, which can make it hard for us to take action to address our situation. By yelling “No”, we are forcing our bodies to exhale, meaning that we will automatically inhale afterward and start the breathing process again.


Our students learn to use their voices in many different ways, but yelling “No” is a fundamental strategy in our classes due to its effectiveness in connecting us back to our body and power, helping us set strong boundaries, and communicating with bystanders who may be able to help.


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