Is IMPACT Bay Area a martial art?


IMPACT’s curriculum is based on research into how women are attacked in the real world and how they can use their unique strengths against an assailant's weaknesses.

Our unique training differs from other self-defense style trainings in a number of ways.

For more about how IMPACT self-defense is different from martial arts, check out this comparison chart by the National Women's Martial Arts Federation.

Where are you located?


In order to serve the entire Bay Area, we hold classes at partner venues in San Francisco, the East Bay and the SF Peninsula. Our instructors can also come to you and teach private group classes.

What if I’m not in shape?


Participation does not rely on athletic ability or physical fitness. While our courses are physical in nature, they are designed to be accessible to a wide range of ages and abilities, and are designed to keep students safe. Our class sizes are intentionally small so that instructors can work with each student as they learn. Each student is unique, and our programs teach how to maximize the body's natural strengths to fight off an attacker.

What if I have a disability?


If you have any questions or need specific accommodations in order to take an IMPACT class, please contact us. We would be happy to talk with you about your needs and concerns.

In the future we hope to provide a similar curriculum our colleagues in Boston are offering through their IMPACT:Ability Course!

What if I have an injury?


If you're injured temporarily (such as a sprained ankle, knee surgery, etc.) it is generally a good idea to postpone your class.

If you have a long-standing injury or issues, like a "bad knee", back pain, or an old athletic injury, we can teach you how to fight in ways that protect those areas. During the course, we use a strip of tape on top of the student’s clothing to visually indicate the injured area(s). The instructors also review injuries before each practice fight and whether the student is "using" or "not using" the techniques that involve those areas. You will learn strategies to protect yourself despite having a long-term injury.

Can I take the class with no previous self-defense or martial arts experience?


Absolutely! We teach students of all levels of regular activity, from a more sedentary lifestyle to athletes and black belts.

What if I can’t afford it?


We believe that safety should be a right, and not a privilege. If you want to take an IMPACT class, we will help make it happen.

The first step is to fill out our scholarship application. We’ll work out a plan together, which can involve full or partial scholarship, flexible payment plans, or volunteering in exchange for attending a course. Money should not keep you from taking an IMPACT course. We are happy to work with you to figure out a plan that works for you.

What if I am afraid or feel anxious about taking a course?


If you feel nervous or a little anxious, you are perfectly normal! Most of our students are at least a little bit nervous when they show up for class the first day. Some of us are terrified. That's OK. We are dealing with scary stuff, and it's normal to be scared. You'll be in good company, and, the best part is that our training will teach you how to fight through your fears and experience your strength.

In our classes we teach boundary setting and believe in respecting the boundaries our students set. No one will ever pressure you to do something you don't want to do in an IMPACT class.

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, like setting healthy boundaries, that many grads find invaluable in their day-to-day lives. Landing full-force strikes and realizing that you can defend yourself, and that you are worth defending, can be a healing experience. During Women’s or Young Adult Basics, you will have the opportunity to design a "custom fight.” 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 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 the course if you are the survivor of assault or abuse.

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 there to make your course a positive, healing and empowering experience for you.

Do you offer classes for men?


IMPACT’s 1-Hour Intro to Personal Safety, 3-Hour Intro to Full Force Self-Defense and Bystander Intervention classes are open to adults of all genders! We hope to offer Men's Basics at some point in the future. We feel that each course should offer students the appropriate skills for situations they are most likely to face, and men are likely to face violence in different ways and need different skills. Gay, bisexual, queer, and trans* students are welcome in our LGBTQ Basics.

Do you offer classes for teen boys?


Unfortunately we do not currently have curriculum developed for teen boys. This is something we hope to offer in the future!