Find your courage and use it to make the world around you safer.
At IMPACT we believe everyone has the right to be safe and the ability to protect themselves. Our self-defense programs give people the skills to stay calm and focused in unsafe situations. Our abuse prevention programs give schools, disability service organizations, and communities the tools to develop policies and expectations that keep everyone safe.
IMPACT classes offer supportive spaces for women, LGBTQ+ people, people with disabilities, kids and teens of all genders, women of color, survivors of abuse and trauma, and more. Information about classes that are open to the public can be found in the “Public Classes” tab.
- Self-defense classes that are open to the public. Check out our In Person Class Schedule for what’s coming up, or go to Class Descriptions for details about the many classes we offer throughout the year.
- Customized workshops for schools, disability service organizations, community groups, businesses, human service agencies, and domestic violence and sexual assault survivors that cover topics in:
- Abuse prevention
- Assertive communication
- Conflict de-escalation
How the training works:
Instructors demonstrate realistic scenarios and model strategies for responding. These strategies could include de-escalation skills, assertiveness and boundary-setting, verbal self-defense strategies, or physical self-defense skills, depending on the scenario and the class. Participants then have the opportunity to practice the skills in the scenario with an instructor who plays the role of an aggressor, an escalated person, a familiar person who is crossing a boundary, etc. This experiential practice helps participants think on their feet and learn to manage their own stress response in order to respond effectively in the moment of confrontation.
Scenarios are based on the unique situations of each group—our public classes are designed to address the kinds of harm likely faced by students in the class, whether they are women, LGBTQ+ folks, young people, etc. Our customized workshops are designed specifically for your program. We have designed programs for libraries, performance venues, emergency shelters, domestic violence programs, retail environments, private groups of kids/teens, and many others.
Why choose IMPACT?
We teach Empowerment Self-Defense, which means our goal is not to fear-monger but to help you build confidence in your skills and your intuition so you can live the life you want to live.
- We teach skills that are practical – You don’t need to be an athlete or have extensive training to be able to execute them.
- Our training is scenario-based – You will practice each skill in a realistic scenario in which you might use it. This helps prepare your body and voice to be able to react appropriately in a real-life situation.
- Our instructors are highly trained and trauma-informed – Instructors receive up to 200 hours of training in IMPACT and in working with students of various backgrounds and life experiences.
- The IMPACT program is included in the book The Body Keeps the Score (referred to by our old name, “Model Mugging”) as one of several body-based programs that can have therapeutic benefits to those who have experienced trauma.
- Graduates of our program feel more confident, less afraid, more capable, and less willing to compromise their safety and boundaries for the sake of others. Here is what some of them have to say about our programs:
“IMPACT has changed my life. It has been over a month since the program ended, but I’ve noticed that I now stand a little taller — less afraid.”
“I have taken several self-defense courses in the past, but none of them was as effective as IMPACT… Rarely can one program address so many needs and allow so much growth as this one.”
“My therapist introduced me to IMPACT back in 1989 and I went through the course back then. Gratefully, I have never been in a situation where I have had to use the physical skills I learned during that time. (Although I still feel like they are within me). However, the course was as much mental as physical, and I think it gave me my “voice” which I have confidently used over the years. In the last 5 years, I have encouraged both of my young adult daughters to take the class at Impact Boston and they both have come back out of it with a similar feeling of being more confident in setting boundaries for themselves with respect to situations where they may be uncomfortable. As a mom, I feel so much better knowing that my girls have gone through the weekend program and have developed a skill set which will serve them if/when it is needed.”
“I feel safer & stronger in my body every day because of IMPACT.”
“I can’t recommend them enough.”
“I came into the class thinking I was going to learn basic self-defense kicks and punches and be on my way… I was very wrong. After completing the 20-Hour Women’s Core class, I feel empowered and prepared to deal with the realities of being a woman. When I had been in vulnerable situations in the past, my innate response was to freeze no matter how much I wanted to fight back on the inside. IMPACT has developed a realistic program that encompasses both verbal and physical self-defense for various situations… I would recommend this course to anyone who wants to feel empowered, strong, and a little badass.”
“Last weekend my daughter took the Middle School Self-Defense course at IMPACT. She really enjoyed the course – in fact on Sunday evening she started to cry and said that she was sad it was over! She particularly appreciated the way the instructors helped the students and created a supportive community. It is very rare for her to express such positive feelings about any course or class that she takes… I am an educator myself and I really appreciate the way all the instructors made her feel safe and known – in such a short time!”