What Graduates Say: Testimonials

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Getting My Life Back

IMPACT has helped a lot with the anxiety problems I used to have.  I was terrified to jog in my neighborhood at night; I was terrified to leave my blinds open even an inch.  I was terrified of the world in general.  Years of therapy fixed nothing.  And ever since I started taking this class I’m not really afraid of much at all.  I know now that I have a plan of action.  And that makes me feel so much safer.
-Maura, Teen Basics Graduate

There are so many things I am looking forward to doing that I wouldn’t have dared to do before this class!  Traveling, and moonlight walks with my dogs, and walking in the desert alone!
-Rebecca, Basics Graduate

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Self-Esteem, Confidence, Empowerment

This class has been life-changing for me.  I knew that I should value myself, but I didn’t know how to go about it.  This class has helped me find my value and know that I can and should defend myself.  I can already feel greater self-confidence and am very excited that I have new verbal and physical skills.
-Jennifer, Basics Graduate

IMPACT did for me in 20 hours what 10 years of therapy could not…This is something every woman should do!
-Kristin, Basics Graduate

I signed up for this class because I thought that I couldn’t defend myself in an attack. What I learned reached far beyond that.  I learned that fear is the only thing that holds us back and while we learned how to physically defend ourselves, the confidence I gained from that helps me see that being a strong, confident, successful woman means defending not only my body but my dreams, hopes and life goals.
-Liza, Basics Graduate

This course is so powerful.  Of all the transformational work that I have done, IMPACT is the one that showed me my power and gave me my voice.  Thank you!
-Rhonda, Basics Graduate

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Class Environment

At first, I was terrified – but that’s the incredible part; you don’t think you could ever do what the instructor shows you and then you are out there doing it, and it’s so empowering.  You know that no matter what, you are ready, you are capable.  The instructors and atmosphere are ideal for teaching you your power, allowing you to realize there is no need to be afraid.
-Kiera, 16 years old, Basics Graduate

I have spent thousands of dollars taking dance lessons.  I have taken workshops and privates.  I have learned and mostly forgotten some great complicated patterns.  The great thing about IMPACT is that there are no patterns (mostly) to remember and forget.  Simple.  Effective.  I believe the science of IMPACT is correct: get the movements into body memory where it will be automatic.
Thanks to my instructors for their knowledge, skill, passion and dedication.  Thanks for a great couple of weekends.
-Ricardo, Basics Gradaute

I am still processing the effects of this class, but I was so impressed by the class and how it was structured.  I loved that every minute was focused and directed toward learning and understanding the concept and ACTUAL MOVES needed to defend myself.  The open activities focused me.  The group sharing raised my consciousness and empathy and the drills and teaching were effectively drilled into my body.
-Kathleen, Basics Graduate

This class really helped with my everyday communications. I’m more calm than ever in all situations. It uses situations that are tangible, not conceptual.
-Jeff, Basics Graduate

I found the three hours spent at the IMPACT workshop the most valuable of any time in my life.  The instructors could not have been better.  The lead instructor told us exactly what to do and then demonstrated.  The suited instructors – well padded with protective armor – allowed us and encouraged us to practice the verbal and physical techniques on them.
I learned how to knock an attacker unconscious in a few moves.  I loved the no-nonsesne of it, the reseach behind it and the chance to practice.  This workshop has given me a sense of power and security beyond anything I could have imagined.  I wish every woman in the world could attend this workshop.  The money could not be better spent.
-Kate Jewel, Workshop Participant

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Away from Home

IMPACT has turned me from a confident but unprepared girl to one that is confident, prepared, and ready to take on any situation that I find myself in.  I am going away to college next year and I feel fully prepared to be on my own and take care of myself.  The chance to feel and understand the power I have and how to use it has been so empowering!  I believe that every girl should take this class before she leaves for college!
-Mekena, Basics Graduate

I am grateful that IMPACT has taken the time to write grants, receive funding and ask for community donations so that no one is turned away due to lack of funds.  This made it possible for me to complete the course just 3 weeks prior my leave to Africa with the Peace Corps.  Truly, these skills are the most valuable items I shall pack with me for my new life.  Thank you IMPACT!
-Joanne, Basics Graduate

I now live in Bologna and receive a lot of unwanted attention as a foreign woman. Late one night I was walking with a friend past two men. We didn’t think anything of it until one of them grabbed me from behind. I hit him with my umbrella, broke free of his grip, and yelled at him to leave me alone. I’m happy to say the IMPACT training still works after almost ten years! Your classes really do change lives.
-L.M., Advanced Basics Graduate

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Saying What I Need / Boundaries

I want to thank all of the instructors for guiding me through this experience.  My boundaries are much more defined and that has been the toughest theme throughout my entire life.  I have been constantly talked into doing things I really don’t want to do!  Thank you all so much!
-Elizabeth, Teen Basics Graduate

I knew I needed the class for the awareness and defense skills, and I was expecting a confidence boost based on what graduates had told me, but I was surprised by how much the community and empowerment aspects of the course meant to me.  I feel more able to be myself in ways I didn’t know were missing, because I now feel confident that I can not only protect myself physically, but also say what I mean and stand up for what I believe in.
-Molly, Basics Graduate

IMPACT has given me a level of decisiveness that I did not previously have in my life.  I now make choices based on my wants and needs instead of constantly putting myself last.
-S.G., Basics Graduate

I am a very nice person.  There have been times where people will make me uncomfortable, but I didn’t know what else to do but smile and nod. I feel like this course gave me the gift of telling people to back off and how to protect myself if they don’t listen.
-Dara, 18 years old, 8-hr Workshop Graduate

About two week after taking IMPACT’s Basics Course, I had my first IMPACT moment. I was at the skate park near downtown Santa Fe one afternoon. The park was very busy with skaters of all ages. I was there eating my lunch while watching a friend skate when a “shady” character approached me (the only female around) and asked to use my phone. Without hesitation or apology I said, “No, I’m waiting for a call.” As he stood there looking at my phone on the bench I got my phone and put it in my pocket. He ended up walking away and I felt so empowered by that interaction.
-Arlene, Basics Graduate

I had a wild encounter with a weird guy on my block. He kept walking towards me (after turning around). I had my daughter’s dog with me who was barking his head off. The guy would pause and would continue walking. He got  a few yards from me but was on my side of the sidewalk still coming towards me when out of my mouth came, “You need to leave now.” I said it in a calm but firm voice. And you know what happened? He left. So thank you, thank you, thank you. I totally attribute that to the training I received through IMPACT.
-Maya, Basics Graduate

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As a Survivor

I was sexually assaulted multiple times by a friend when I was young.  I didn’t know I could say ‘No’ and I didn’t know how to say ‘No’.  This program gave me the tools to prevent anything like that happening again.  And if it did, I know I could defend myself.  Thank you!
-Julia, Basics Graduate

I was raped as a young girl.  The experience became stuck in my body and ruled my life in a powerful undercurrent.  Through therapy, I was able to access these memories and work with them.  I signed up for this class knowing that this was the next step for me, yet also very scared of what would come up for me.  Yes, memories came up.  Yes, tears and anger and grief came up.  But the container of the class was so powerful and supportive that I fought through it.  I have remembered my fighting spirit.  I have awakened the lioness within me and looked her in the face.  I walk with her now in me without fear of that power that is mine.  It is my birthright.  And I have reclaimed it.
-A.F., Basics Graduate

Before I took this class, I was convinced the world would walk all over me, and it did because I let it.  Years of therapy fixed nothing.  I was in an abusive relationship and afraid of everything.  During the class, I dumped the boyfriend who treated me so badly and started jogging at night, something I thought I could never do.
-T.M., Teen Basics Graduate

I grew up in Santa Fe and for whatever reason my group of friends that I knew my whole life ended up being a group that got in a lot of trouble.  I dated a really bad guy and I turned into a heavy user that dropped out of high school.  Two of my supposed friends at the time raped me.  I was then sent to a juvenile detention center for two years.  I got out clean and went to college.  I have always loved Santa Fe but had some really hard feelings towards it because of those tough years in my teens.  I really and truly feel free from those feelings because of IMPACT.  I have tried so many methods to try and rid myself of the anxiety and pain those years caused me.  This is IT, this is what worked for me.  THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!
-Annonymous, Basics Graduate

As a survivor of both an attempted murder and a verbally abusive relationship.  I can positively say that nothing has helped me more than the 20-hour Women’s IMPACT course.  I no longer live in fear of attack and I have much more confidence in setting and defending my personal boundaries.  I would recommend this class to any woman.
-Laurie, Basics Graduate

I’ve known my life is worth fighting for but I never believed I could win.  I grew up in a verbally/physically abusive home and this course has changed my thinking and reduced my fear.
-Millie Gross, Basics Graduate

This class has given me so much confidence not only in my defensive ability, but in myself and my power to make my own decisions.  I was raped over the summer and I don’t feel intimidated anymore.  I feel that I can now be in full control and never be violated again thanks to this class.
-Eliza, 14 years old, Basics Graduate

This class really helped me forgive people who had hurt me in the past. I’ve really been able to move into my current life more and just remember my history more rather than identify with it so strongly.  Thanks!
-A.S., Basics Graduate

When my daughter was 5-years-old she witnessed her father battering me. That incident shattered her sense of security and her trust in me. She saw me as being helpless and not protecting myself so she lost confidence in my capacity to protect her. It took me seven years to get myself in a financial and emotional position to leave the marriage. Since that time I have participated in many forms of therapy and empowerment to increase my self-confidence and improve my sense of self as a woman. The IMPACT program was the most profound of all the modalities I’ve experienced. Not only did it give me effective, practical strategies for self-defense, it helped me gain a positive view of my body and its inherent power and ability. My daughter and I took the training together and it helped us rework the twenty year old wound. She saw me being brave and effective! For that I am eternally grateful.
-C.J., Basics Graduate

I am a domestic violence survivor, and I didn’t realize how long I’d been carrying a sense of shame, anger, and fear from what had happened to me in my home.  IMPACT helped me begin to heal this. Now I feel much more confidence – and differently about myself.
-Kim Schiffbauer, Basics Graduate

I work with survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault, and knowing I’m trained balances out the fear that what happened to them could happen to me too.  It makes me a more effective advocate because I have faith in their strength and ability to survive, too.
-Sarah, Basics Graduate

I was 21. The chatty, pleasant young man I had allowed into my apartment turned frightening and aggressive. Through words, I managed to de-escalate the level of aggression, but I was unable to stop the rape. Emotionally and psychologically I left my body and was an observer. When he was done, he got up, hurling more hateful and threatening words at me before finally walked out the door. It was 1965.
Thirty-six years later, in 2001, I took my first IMPACT Women’s Basics Course.  I now know that I had in 1965 – and have always had – tools and weapons that are always with me. Among them are my voice, elbows, hips, knees and feet.  And I now know how to use them to defend myself.  I have changed that afternoon in 1965 because I have re-fought the fight. This time I know how to fight. I do not need to leave my body. I need it to fight. I wait for one of the many openings and opportunities that I had. And this time I win. He is the one who is out on the floor as I call the police.
I now believe that every woman and every child needs to take an IMPACT class. Just by learning the skills, they reduce their risk of assault. If they are assaulted, they have the fighting spirit in their bodies on a cellular level. For those who are already survivors of assault, they can re-fight their attacks and change the ending.
-Galila, Advanced Basics Graduate

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Kinder Now

I know that so many people fear that this class will increase their fear or that it teaches people to be violent- I have never felt so safe or so in love with the world as when I know how to protect myself.  Thanks.
-Renee, Basics Graduate

As an Already Assertive Person…

As an already assertive person, I wasn’t sure how helpful this course would be- who would attack me?  This course (IMPACT Personal Safety for people with disabilities) has opened my eyes and given me skills I never thought I’d master.  Thanks to the Christopher Reeves Foundation and to IMPACT for showing me just what a wheelchair user can do when under personal threat.
-Susan, Workshop Graduate

Not Invincible, But I Have the Tools

I have always felt “in control” and not afraid.  IMPACT showed me that I am always vulnerable but that I have tools to protect myself in any situation.
-Emily, Basics Graduate

I feel so much stronger and powerful as a young woman. I know I can stick up for myself and defend myself in most situations.  I can say no and hold my boundaries, but I’m not over confident.  IMPACT has helped me in so many ways!
-Claire, Teen Basics Graduate

After graduating from the teen women’s basic course I feel more confident when walking by myself.  I’m more aware and don’t feel intimidated.  I’m able to discern a safe situation from a potentially dangerous one.  If I was ever assaulted, I’m pretty sure that I would not become a victim.
-Lucie, Teen Basics Graduate

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Muscle Memory

IMPACT helped me be more confident with myself.  When I practiced some of my Aikido or Kung Fu moves, I felt that if someone were to attack, I might not execute them correctly.  Most of those moves also required both the attacker and the defender to be standing in a specific posture to be able to work.  One of the best things about IMPACT is that the moves are very simple and easy to remember.  You don’t need to be standing with your left foot just so when the assailant is grabbing your right wrist with his left hand, etc., to be able to defend yourself properly.
-Elliot, 14, Teen Basics Graduate

Very empowering course for any and all ages.  Helps break barriers of fear as they relate to being attacked.  Even if I don’t remember all the info presented, my body will.
-Kristin, Basics Graduate

Two days after completing the eight-hour basic training, I had an opportunity to put my newly learned skills to work.  Imagine my surprise when I experienced myself moving into a ready stance complete with verbal defense before I even realized it!  Bravo!  Thank you for helping me to feel more secure about my ability to take care of myself in this world.
-KC Quirk, former Executive Director, Esperanza Shelter for Battered Families

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After a School Shooting

I went through the traumatizing experience of being at Columbine High School during the now infamous shooting.  Since then I have been dealing with post traumatic stress disorder and anxiety attacks.  After classes with IMPACT, I find I have less anxiety about being in crowds, and I have the confidence that my awareness and communication skills will help me in dangerous situations.
I only wish that IMPACT had been available to my peers and I while still in school.  I believe the communication strategies that are such a large part of the IMPACT curriculum are an incredible tool for students to better deal with bullying and the very stressful social situations that occur in school. With the skills learned in IMPACT, students learn how to diffuse situations by reacting in more constructive ways.  I can only hope that someday IMPACT will be required curriculum in every school in the United States.
-K.H., Defense Against the Armed Assailant Graduate

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Staying Cool

Before IMPACT my impulse would have been to attack anybody, especially people who are close to me and cross boundaries.  Physically in extreme cases, verbally in more everyday cases.  My tendency now would be to breathe and be more diplomatic.
-I.B., Basics Graduate

This class was incredibly meaningful to me.  Adrenaline management is the biggest thing I needed to learn in the class, as well as how to speak up for myself and establish boundaries.  And I feel like I’ve gotten that.
-Eric, Basics Graduate

Years ago, I had a job as a security guard at a newspaper.  The newspaper had us go to training over one weekend.  The class was conducted by a cop and focused on the assailant with a gun.  We did gun drills.  After completing the IMPACT course, I now know the weakness in my security guard class.  That is, you must have the verbal skills and adrenaline management skills in order to deal with a bad situation.  I don’t remember the adrenaline factor in security guard class.  I don’t think it was there.  Perhaps it was missing because the assailant was a class mate who although she/he had a real unloaded pistol did not present a perceived danger.
I now understand that dealing with a situation is not all about muscle strength.  It’s about calming yourself physically and mentally.  BREATHING.  Hopefully calming your would-be assailant with your calming energy.  Looking and waiting for the right effective strike.
-Ricardo, Basics Graduate

Learning to manage my adrenaline has been important in my life.  After my Impact Class I had the confidence to attempt a climbing wall – and I’m afraid of heights!
-Cyndi, Basics Graduate

I took the class – even though I compete as a martial artist – because I wanted to learn to be defensive, not offensive.
-Teen Boy, 6-Hour Workshop Graduate

Challenging in terms of the male perspective.  It’s hard not to be a smart ass and let ‘em walk away.
-Nathan, Teen Workshop Participant

Due to this class, instructors, assailants, and students, I have learned to control my response to threatening situations, work through the initial freeze reaction and truly be aware of what my options are.
-Lisa McCormack, Advanced Basics Graduate

I attended a 4-hour IMPACT workshop this spring. A week or so afterwards, I heard my four dogs barking hard outdoors. I went to look and there was a man standing near our fence, throwing a big rock at the weakest part of the fence.  He would pick the rock up and throw it again, and was making a big hole in the fence.  The dogs were breaking that part of the fence even more, they were so mad at him.  When the man saw me standing in the door calling the dogs, he walked on.
I went out into the street and called to him, “What’s going on?” as we had been taught to do in the workshop.  He halfway turned around and said, “Your dogs were barking,” and walked on.
Our dogs are big and loud, I know that.  So I said, “I know our dogs can be loud.  I’m going to try harder to stop them if they start to bark.” He walked on. If I hadn’t taken the workshop, I wouldn’t have known how to talk to him in a civil, appropriate way.
-Susan Robinson, Basics Graduate

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Moms & Families

I first heard about IMPACT because my sister and her best friend were going away to college, and the moms decided it would be good for them to take a self-defense class.  I was shocked when I heard that my sister’s 90-pound friend was able to successfully defend herself against a big padded assailant.
When it came time for me to go to college, it was my turn.  I was surprised to find that it was about more than self-defense; it changed the way I thought about my life.  Before the course, I hadn’t made the distinction between being a kind, caring person and being someone who allows people to take advantage of her.  Until IMPACT, I thought that being scared was just a part of who I was.
After IMPACT I was able to say without guilt, “I don’t kiss on the first date;” “Thanks for the offer, but I’m not interested;” and I am able to say, “I don’t need someone else to protect me.”
My 86-year-old grandmother who took the course feels safe being independent.  My mom worries less.  My sister feels secure living away from home.  As a new mother, I breathe easier knowing that I can protect my daughter.  And my daughter will grow up knowing what a strong, confident woman is.
-Kari Meyer, Basics Graduate

I took the IMPACT 20-hour Women’s Basics course with my teenage daughter because I wanted to feel confident that she will be safe as she grows more independent.  What I got out of the course was so much more than that! Yesterday, I took a 12-mile bike ride all by myself.  Before taking IMPACT, I never would have been comfortable doing such a thing. With the sun on my back and the wind in my hair, I realized that among the many things IMPACT has given me, has been the liberty to do what I want in life, without constantly feeling fearful.  This sense of freedom is absolutely invaluable.
When I learned about the classes 2 years ago, I was ready to sign up until I heard what the cost was. Then when I sent my daughter out of town I realized that if anything should happen to her I would never forgive myself for not spending the equivalent of a few family dinners and movies out. I highly recommend this class for women of all ages.
-Mary Lou Jackson, Basics Graduate & Mother of a Graduate