Tasha Church got her instructor certification for Empowerment Self-Defense Training in Upstate New York this last summer -- a 40 year, research-based curriculum which is utilized globally. Additionally this summer, she completed a 16 hr. introduction to IMPACT Training -- This was adrenaline-based assimilation. Despite students knowing it is an assimilation and not a "real attack," our bodies respond to the scenario as though it were a high-risk, high-stress situations. The padded attackers use their skills to assimilate a real sexually violent attack and as student we are to utilize techniques we have learned. The techniques taught are quick to learn and easy to execute.
Tasha grew up with two teachers for parents, who instilled in her the belief in life-long learning. Each studied martial arts and taught. The style they studied was Gōjū-ryū. This is Japanese for "hard-soft style". It is one of the main traditional Okinawan styles of karate, featuring a combination of hard and soft techniques. Gōjū-ryū incorporates both circular and linear movements into its curriculum, combining hard striking attacks such as kicks and close hand punches with softer open hand circular techniques for attacking, blocking, and controlling the opponent, including joint locks, grappling, takedowns, and throws. While Tasha was not a practitioner in this discipline, it was that spark which stuck with her to ignite a flame. She was given basics. While many people start martial arts for the love of the style and art, Tasha's journey into the actual martial arts arena was initiated by a tragedy. She dealt with a stalker in her early years and was able to verbally deflect any escalation of interaction but it was that event which brought her to the steps of her first actually dojo.
Outside of her most recent training, Ms. Church studying multiple styles of Japanese martial arts but loved her main style Aikido (Studying under Sensai Venus Coburn). Aikido is a modern Japanese martial art developed by Morihei Ueshiba as a synthesis of his martial studies, philosophy, and religious beliefs. Ueshiba's goal was to create an art that practitioners could use to defend themselves while also protecting their attacker from injury. Aikido is often translated as "the way of harmonious spirit." Additionally, she has gone through Warrior Spirit Training with Jeff Alexander who was the trainer for Rocky Balboa for the movies. Outside of this, she has studied in Tai Chi and taken boxing lessons. All of these added together compliment her newest certifications.
Tasha received a Bachelor of Arts in Clinical Psychology focused on Multiculturalism and Feminine Studies, Reframing Conflict Training through Youth Program Quality Initiative (YPQI) through SchoolsOutWA (Helping with De-Escalation Tactics), Crisis Prevention Intervention at Hawaii Behavioral Health while working with special needs children throughout the island of Maui. Church has an MBA in Leadership with a focus on Global Change and graduated Summa Cum Laude in 2016. She has 18 years of experience serving communities and gaining as much knowledge from different sources to combine into a curriculum focused on best practices for self-defense (Self-Preservation Training. Not to be confused with Self-Perfection Training (Martial Arts). Noted: to learn the difference between Martial Arts and Self-Defense, please check out her Facebook Live, reading an article by Instructor and founder of ASSERT Self-Defense, Lissette Fitzgerald).
Three years into teaching at a dojo, Tasha came to the realization that several of the moves she was teaching were ineffective when dealing with an attacker while wearing three inch heels and a dress. So, with the help of her long-time self-defense partner Lee Vilaysane, she was able to identify which moves were effective while wearing that type of attire, going over all the different attacks and counters they knew. Now she teaches synthesized classes with past knowledge and training, combined with the Empowerment Self-Defense curriculum and formatting, sharing best practices, safety tips, and awareness based tools to make those learning and those around them feel safe and secure!
It is important for her to stress utilizing moves and wearing clothes that are realistic when walking through your everyday life and just living. We cannot ask an attacker to wait while we change. So often, Tasha shows up to self-defense demonstrations wearing dresses, high heels, shorts, pants, suits, you name it -- any other basic everyday clothing for women. Her new initiative is I.M.Power = I Am Powerful & I Empower Others. Everyone deserves to feel safe, no matter their age, gender, weight, fitness level, or attire, they just need the tools, so if you are reading this, Empower YOU!
I look forward to hearing from you and working to elevate your self defense knowledge.