What if I am a violence or abuse survivor?


Many of our students are survivors of violence and abuse. We provide a supportive environment to learn new skills and coping mechanisms for boundary-setting and personal safety that many survivors find very useful in their day-to-day lives. Landing full-force blows and realizing that you CAN defend yourself (and that you are worth defending) can be cathartic. During Basics, you have the opportunity to design a "custom fight" with the padded assailant-instructor, who will play the role of anyone you choose, and say or do what ever you choose. Some survivors choose to reenact a scene from their past - and end it differently.

Impact training is not therapy, but many survivors tell us that they feel a sense of healing or progress toward resolving painful past experiences as a result of taking Basics. Our trainings are intense, and the content itself or the simulated fights may trigger memories of previous abuse. We encourage you to consider seeking the support of a therapist before and/or after taking our class if you are violence or abuse survivor.

We welcome you to share as much or as little with our instructors about your history; if you share what happened, they can help you tailor your experience in the class to best meet your needs. For example, you can tell the instructors, "my abuser said this to me, so use that during the fights" or "my abuser said this to me, so DON'T say anything like that during the fights." Our instructor team is here to make your class positive, healing and empowering for you.

We have a lot of experience teaching self-defense to survivors of abuse and violence. Because many of our students are survivors who choose to share candidly about their experiences, you may connect with other survivors in your class. During the class, you can share anything (or nothing) about your past experiences with your classmates.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact our Executive Director, Lisa Scheff, at Lisa@ImpactBayArea.org or (510) 208-0474. We would be happy to talk with you about your needs, because we believe everyone who wants to take an Impact class CAN. We'll help you make it happen in a way that works for you.

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