Empowerment Self-Defense for Women and Girls

IMPACT is a unique self-defense training program developed to combat and prevent sexual violence. Many graduates have defined it as a life-changing and powerful experience that positively influenced all areas of their lives.

The intensive training involves simulated fights with instructors in full-body protective gear.

IMPACT is one of two types of empowerment self-defense programs for women and girls. It is an opportunity to fully experience the hidden power of your voice and your body.

It’s the best gift you could possibly give yourself!

During the course, you will learn:

  • Verbal boundary-setting and assertiveness skills that can serve you in all areas of life

  • Effective physical techniques that fully harness the natural power of the female body

  • Full-contact role-playing experience with an instructor who simulates an encounter with an assailant—either familiar or stranger 

  • De-escalation skills for a wide variety of situations—from street harassment to sexual assault

  • Confident body language and effective vocal skills to increase deterrence and support getting help

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What is IMPACT?

IMPACT is a unique workshop created over 40 years ago and brought to Israel by El HaLev in 2005. It teaches techniques against emotional and physical boundary-crossing, sexual violence, and other types of gendered interpersonal violence.

As the Israeli representatives of this program, we understand the weight of this responsibility and commit ourselves to maintaining the best standards for our students by investing in the most rigorous training for our teaching teams, training that is on-going as new situations and knowledge is created.

What is unique about IMPACT?

Many women try to imagine how they might respond if they were sexually attacked. Some are convinced that they would freeze and become unable to respond.

This workshop allows the participants to experience physical and non-physical boundary-crossing and how to respond once triggered ie. adrenalized. Within this safe environment of simulated situations, and coaching by the lead instructor, each participant is given an opportunity to feel the reactions of her body and to learn how to respond as needed.

This type of learning has been shown to greatly improve our graduates’ chances of handling an array of unwanted situations, while also enhancing their sense of confidence and freedom as they navigate life.

In addition, IMPACT is committed to female leadership and the men who join the program to train, as padded-instructors, are fully committed to women and girls living safe and empowered lives.

Similar to learning how to drive a car, there is no better way to learn how to defend yourself than “getting behind the wheel.” Completing a live scenario with a human being (highly and professional protected) who is not behaving in appropriate or safe ways, and is making it clear that they mean you harm, leaves a life-long impression on our graduates. And even though they (and we) hope they never need to use these skills, they know that they are theirs to use if they have to.

We have had hundreds of our Israeli alumni come back and tell us, many times years later, that the workshop was an intensive experience that moved and empowered them greatly and inspired fundamental changes in their lives.

Who may participate in this course?

11-year-old girls and older and women under 65, depending on their physical condition (so far, our record-setting participant was 81 years old,) who seek effective tools for self-defense. Instead of aspiring to replace former knowledge or tools, the course enhances existing toolboxes and allows each participant to choose her best strategy for her specific situation.

Do I need to be in good physical shape to participate?

Every woman has the power to protect herself and can participate in the IMPACT workshop, regardless of her physical shape.

In order to determine if you can participate in the workshop, ask yourself three questions:

Can I shift from sitting on the floor to standing without assistance?

Can I walk up a staircase without using the handrail? Can I move quickly enough to pick up a ringing telephone on the far side of a large room? If you answered “Yes” to all these questions, you can participate in the IMPACT workshop.

If these tasks are difficult for you, El HaLev has other programs available. In any event, we are committed to helping all people who want to learn how to defend themselves do so. Talk to us.

Is the course suitable for survivors of sexual violence?

Many participants who were survivors of domestic violence, sexual violence, or other trauma, find the course contents and practice uniquely healing and empowering. Furthermore, the team is especially sensitive to all matters relating to abuse and all types of violence. El HaLev instructors undergo lengthy and intense training and they provide the participants with a safe and supportive environment, both emotionally and physically. This helps the participants to boost their confidence, improve their skills, and enhance their personal sense of power.

Only small groups may participate in the workshop, to make sure that each participant receives the required amount of attention and answers.

There are circumstances where this course might not be appropriate. If there is any question feel free to talk to us.

Which course should I choose: IMPACT or The Freedom to Choose?

Both tracks of El HaLev’s self-defense programs are run by well trained and highly professional staff who provide excellent courses. Either track could meet your needs and provide you with a toolbox to help you cope with all types of boundary-crossing.

The choice between the courses is very personal. We suggest that you read about the two courses and assess which would be more suitable for you at this point in your life. If needed, you may consult with one of us, and we will help you think through this decision.

That being said, we do recommend that people experience both courses. Each provides a different toolbox and emphasize different tactics. Together, the courses will expand your freedom of choice and ability to cope with a wide array of situations, while boosting your confidence within your relationships or when you are alone.

El HaLev offers a special discount to those who enroll in both courses.

You are a non profit organization. Why is there a participation fee?

El HaLev is a nonprofit organization and the participation fee results from the cost of the production of the course. The teaching staff are professionals who are paid to teach, rather than volunteers as seen in many other nonprofits. In addition, the production of IMPACT workshops are especially expensive, due to the intensive training. the costs of equipment, and the fact that it is a large teaching (team 3-5 members) working with a small group of women (up to 15 participants.)

However, El Halev’s vision is that every woman has the right to acquire the tools and techniques to stay as safe as possible. Therefore, we do everything within our power to turn no one away due to financial restraints.

We work very hard to obtain donations that allow us to subsidize our activities. Many of our donors are provided by those who have graduated from our courses and understand their significance for every woman and girl.

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