Elemental is a sexual assault protection program that offers realistic training for realistic situations. This program:

  • Combines the best of classroom education and self-defense training in a program with peer-reviewed evidence of long-term effectiveness.
  • Offers an organized, cost-effective, and holistic curriculum that is grounded in social science research and is inclusive of a variety of participants, including gender and sexual minorities (GSM).
  • Assists your institution in filling the most recent requirements of the Violence Against Women Act (including the SaVE Act). Elemental combines some of the best elements of primary prevention and risk reduction programming. We offer face-to-face training and ongoing prevention through self-directed student review.
  • Provides program participants with choices in the way they respond to an assault, each based on the four elements of To-Shin Do. Our name comes from this element-based problem-solving paradigm.

What are the four elements?

Earth (Confident)
Hold your ground
Water (Surprised)
Step back momentarily, assess, then react
Fire (Connected)
Anticipate the threat and stop it before it grows
Wind (Withdrawn)
Exploit weaknesses within the threat that enable you to leave entirely

Latest News

Elemental at TEDx

Posted on Jan 9th, 2016

In November 2015 the nonviolent responses that are central to Elemental were featured in a TEDx talk. As is the case with TED talks in general, our goal was to transcend conventional thinking and reimagine a solution to a pressing problem.  To that end, Mellisa Holtzman talked about and demonstrated some of the nonviolent response options for sexual assault that are part of the Elemental curriculum. We were honored and thrilled to be invited to highlight this program in a TEDx talk!


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Testimonials

My daughter is signed up for an upcoming session. I just wanted to say that I think your program is a valuable service to the students!

Parent of a participant

I have recommended the seminar to other because it helped me a lot with confidence in uncomfortable situations, and made me feel like I could defend myself if necessary.

2013 Participant

I liked how the different techniques weren't gender specific, and I liked how you could use each of the elemental moves to cater to your specific personality. It made the techniques more approachable. I loved the seminar, it was really empowering!

2013 Participant

I really enjoyed your "no pressure" approach and it allowed me to actually try the techniques without feeling uncomfortable.

2013 Participant

I believe this seminar should be a requirement for every senior in high school! It would be an awesome investment.

Parent of a Participant 2015

Just wanted to let you know how awesome you are. You are making a huge difference! I think you are the only ones who get it.

M.W., PhD

I would 100% recommend this class to others; in fact, I already have. It flows really well, it's very informative, it doesn’t tiptoe around the subjects, and you can ask any question and you don’t feel stupid or like you're alone. Everyone was really helpful and nice (even the creepers), and now you get review materials so you can keep practicing so you don’t forget what you learned.

2014 Participant

First and foremost, I would like to congratulate you & your team on what a fantastic program Elemental is. I have been through several different types of programs, and I have to say that yours is one of the best I’ve attended.

2013 Assistant Residence Hall Director

I really liked that it was hands-on and that we had the opportunity to try all the moves you demonstrated. I loved testing the moves on the Creepers, because it gave me an idea of what it would be like in real life versus just seeing someone else do it or reading about the moves. The beds and couches were also a plus for me, because there is no other program that offers such realistic practice experiences. Additionally, you provided both verbal and physical solutions to all the problems which is a realistic approach. No two situations are alike, so it is best to know as many options as possible.

2013 Participant

As a volunteer for the Domestic Violence Network (DVN), I know the warning signs of an abusive relationship very well, and I know that statistically it's more than likely that two or three of the people in our class with be the victim of a sexual assault. Despite my experience with DVN, I don't think I fully understood how dangerous a situation can be if you don't know the first thing about defending yourself. Through this class I was able to build on that knowledge and learned even more than I honestly thought I could in only a three day period. I feel so lucky to have gotten the opportunity to work with you. Thank you!!

2015 Participant