Why take a self-defense class?

There is nothing to do after the final day of a Core class – our longest, most intense weekend class in which we pack 20 hours of training in between Friday night and Sunday – but rest and ruminate. Like a coach after an important match, I find myself replaying...

Note from the ED: Think Critically About Safety Advice

Someone Tells You Not to “Walk Like a Victim”? When I started teaching self-defense more than 20 years ago, I was told about a study that supposedly explained how attackers choose their victims. Video tapes of people walking down a crowded street in New York City were...

Dispatch from a Suit

When asked what I do for work, people are often entertained or surprised by my answer, which ranges from “I am a self-defense instructor at IMPACT Boston– we work within the model of Empowerment Self Defense, a feminist framework through which we teach everyday...

Green Flags

A couple nurturing a plant together that symbolizes their relationship. The flower of the plant is a heart. Red flags are a popular topic in our classes. We teach self-defense for worst-case scenario situations, but just like in sports, your best defense is a strong...

The Calculations We Make

A woman walking at night. It’s nighttime, and the street is not quite as populated or well-lit as I thought it would be. Mostly I’m alone or there’s one other person, always a man. The walk to my car is only about 8 minutes, but I’m already starting to regret...

Taking Self-Defense Into a Time Machine

Photo credit: Daniele Franchi / Unsplash To protect herself from the assault, Y froze. Trauma was beginning to set in. But once she was ina safe space back at home, Y’s roommate L led her through movement therapy, and traumaultimately did not set in. The...

Girls–It’s Okay to be Rejected

It isn’t just boys who need to learn to hear the word “no.” I’m at a high school teaching our IMPACT:Ability program. We’re about 6 weeks into the program, so we’re starting to address some more uncomfortable topics. This week we’re doing dating scenarios, where...

Dethroning Microaggressions

“Where are you really from?”“Which one of your parents is stricter?”“But your English is so good!”“I bet you’re really good in bed.”“How come you don’t have an accent?”“You’re too Asian.”“You’re not Asian enough.”“You must be adopted.”“Well, you don’t look...