Self-Defense Armor for Full-Force Impact, Scenario-based Self-defense Training

Student Researchers

  • Cecilia Diehl '18
  • Alex Li '20

Research Objectives

The IMPACT approach to self-defense is rooted in experiential learning; students and instructors engage in realistic scenarios and students learn verbal and physical techniques to deescalate situations and protect themselves when needed. Some of that training involves learning how to use ones’ full physical power against another person, and to overcome inhibitions against hurting other people. A key aspect of this work is the suit of armor instructors wear that gives them freedom of movement but keeps them, and the students, safe. The armor has been designed and made by an individual for over 30 years and he would like to retire. IMPACT has tasked the Olin team with reverse engineering, updating and operationalizing fabrication of the suits of armor so that individual IMPACT chapters can make their own suits. 


This work will enable IMPACT, and a sister organization, Kid Power, to continue important, empowering self-defense trainings while keeping instructors and students safe.

This research project was made possible through a grant from the Olin College UROP Program.