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About Us

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IMPACT is a personal safety, assertiveness and self-defense training program. It is part of a comprehensive effort to prevent sexual assault and other acts of interpersonal violence and boundary violations.

We teach full-force self-defense against a padded assailant using realistic scenarios in an adrenalized state so that participants will retain the training in their muscle memory. They will react even if their minds freeze in a future attack.


Preventing violence and promoting healing by teaching full-force self-defense, personal safety, rape prevention and empowerment throughout the San Francisco Bay area.


In 1971, a woman with a black belt in karate, was raped and beaten. Following the assault, she questioned why a trained martial artist was not physically or emotionally prepared to handle such an attack. Over the next 14 years, an increasing group of individuals nationwide developed a new form of self-defense by researching police records, speaking to survivors and perpetrators, as well as experts in education, psychology, sociology, martial arts, rape prevention, etc. This resulted in a unique form of self-defense that better prepares women for real-life attack situations. This method of self-defense came to be known as "model mugging".

In 1985, a group of N. California instructors incorporated to form Bay Area Model Mugging. In 1989, instructors nationwide agreed to change the name of the style from "model mugging" to "Impact" self-defense. We became a nonprofit in 1995 to bring courses to those who could not otherwise afford them. We changed our name in 2003 to Impact Bay Area, aligning ourselves with Impact International.


Impact coursework has grown out of two decades of first-hand experience teaching personal safety and rape prevention. Our self-defense programs are typically taught by specially-trained teams of female and male instructors and can address situations ranging from the day-to-day levels of boundary violation to the worst-case scenario of physical actual assault. We offer programs to the public and schedule private courses for organizations, schools and corporations.

Our courses include: Women's Basics (23+ training hours); Young Adult "On Her Own" Basics (20 training hours); Teen "Kick Like a Girl" Class (10 training hours); Boundary Setting/Verbal Self-Defense Workshop (4 training hours); Intro to Personal Safety (2-3 hrs); Intro to Full-Force, Padded Assailant Self-Defense (2-6 hrs).


Since 1985, Impact Bay Area has given more than 9,000 women and girls of all abilities the verbal and physical skills needed to defend themselves against verbal, physical and sexual assault (we also provide co-ed and Men's self-defense classes).


1. Expand our self-defense program to more course offerings to maximize our reach.

2. Train and certify at least 5 new instructors.

3. Provide over $20K in scholarships to low-income individuals and organizations.

4. Partner with other violence prevention organizations to include our training in their programmatic efforts.


Erica Neuman came to Impact Bay Area in March of 2006 as the new Executive Director. She brings to her role over 15 years of non-profit and corporate management experience with a focus on women's empowerment and health. She has run a statewide sexual assault organization, been a professional trainer for Planned Parenthood and served as the senior sexual health producer for the Oxygen TV Network. Erica holds a BA degree in political science and women's studies from Michigan State University and a Masters degree in School and College Health Education from Indiana University. She is also a volunteer white water rafting guide for Friends of the River, a California river conservation nonprofit. As the Executive Director, Erica's main responsibilities include: operational and staff management, fundraising and grant writing, marketing and promotion, and strategic/vision planning. She is thrilled to be working for an organization with its primary mission being to prevent violence by empowering and healing women (and men) with real life self-defense trainings. Erica completed her 150+ hours of training and supervision and became a certified Impact instructor in February of 2008.


Les Addison
Tara Cohen
Eiko Itoh
Ariane Smith
Naomi Sultana Young
Kris Wedding


United States





OAKLAND, CA 94607-2050

Phone: (510) 208-0474

EIN: 94-3123451

A Gift Card


Stop Teen Violence

Full Teen Scholarship

Your gift of a Teen "Kick Like a Girl" full scholarship is the gift of safety for a young woman who will go into the world more confident, more courageous and without fear holding her back from achieving her dreams. With the practical Impact self-defense techniques she learns in her 10-hr training class with a padded mock assailant, she will learn that she is worth...