My Silent Revolution

My Silent Revolution

Yesterday I completed a 25-hour intensive IMPACT self-defense course. And that means that I now know how to battle an attacker until he is lying flat on his back, and ruing the day who chose to pick on this JewishMOM.

The intention of IMPACT is not only to give women the skills to defend themselves in case they are assaulted; the intention of IMPACT is to bring about a silent revolution, educating and empowering women so that we will never be victims of violence or abuse ever again.

And I expected that. I knew that this course would make me stronger. But what I hadn’t expected was that this course designed to empower me would often make me feel so terribly weak.

Week after week I would compare myself to the fellow travelers on my self-defense journey: my 12 classmates.

I was such a scaredy-cat compared to that one. And I couldn’t yell at an attacker nearly as loud as that one. And I couldn’t kick nearly as hard as that one. And I weighed at least 50 more roly- poly pounds than that one.

At many points I thought of dropping out of the course. It was just too tough, just too scary. I felt like I’m a sensitive, gentle JewishMOM who was just not built for this kind of thing.

But the root of my self-defense inferiority complex was Tali. She was a chainsaw to my disposable knife. A tiger to my frightened pussy cat. A riot-hose to my drippy faucet.

I watched Tali fight attackers with fierce determination, and I felt awe and admiration and an intense awareness of my own meek weakness.

Yesterday was our final day. At our final circle we talked about our feelings as we finished the course.

Many women thanked our dedicated and excellent instructors and talked about the silent revolution we were making in the world, one empowered woman at a time.

When Tali’s turn to speak arrived, my heart jumped when she looked directly at me.

“Jenny,” she said, “ you are so innocent. So gentle. So maternal. I would have never believed that you could learn to fight and defend yourself. This has been an amazing thing to witness.”

“For me,” she continued, “you are the symbol of the revolution.”

Tears gathered in my eyes. Because I realized that Hashem doesn’t compare me with others. Only I do that. Hashem only compares me with myself and instead of kicking me, like I kick myself, He loves me for every teensy step I climb higher and higher towards Him.

Learn more about my self-defense course at El HaLev


  1. Jill Shames

    Don’t anyone believe a word of what JewishMOM says about herself. I was there. I saw her. Sure, she is content to present her Purring Kitten to the world– and she does it well. However, if you threaten her or her family, she lets her Lioness out of the bag, and, Baby, you’d better turn and run!

    Just sayin’.

  2. I am so impressed. My husband has been urging me and my daughter to take a self defense class- thanks for the wake up call!

  3. Well done! I’m going to look into this for myself. I didn’t see an IMPACT chapter in my area but I’m sure there’s something available.

  4. Well done and may you never have to use your training! It is important to keep in mind that training does not make one invincible – we always need to avoid obviously dangerous situations and rely on the best protector -Hashem!

  5. I second what Jill said! Well done, Jenni!

  6. I’m so glad you did the course!!! Yishar koach!


    I seem to remember, but can’t be 100% sure, that when Mrs. Pesha Leah Lapine was murdered in Crown Heights in 1992, they said that she had a black belt in karate.

    May we never need to defend ourselves under such dire circumstances or ever.

  8. I just finished the IMPACT course, too, and am feeling much of what you write here. It was a privilege to share it with so many women of varying ages and stages in life and watch the lioness emerge from each and every one of them.

    In response to the comment above, my understanding was that IMPACT came about because a female black belt in judo was raped, which made her realize that what she knew in judo was just not practical in real life. My daughter did taiwkando for 10 years, and says much the same thing. IMPACT is designed to make the most of a woman’s strengths while teaching women to target men’s weaknesses.

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