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Wind (Withdrawn)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 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

It is an empowering program that really shows people they aren't helpless in situations like this. Granted, you can't be prepared for everything, but I personally feel much more confident in my abilities after taking this program. It was educational; it was hands-on; and it was ultimately a really fun day.

2013 Participant

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

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 think this is a great seminar and I would highly recommend it to anyone, especially freshmen girls. So often we expect that these assaults would never happen to us, so we find it lame to go and learn defense tactics. But assault is a very real and scary thing, and I now feel much more prepared if ever faced with a situation like this.

2012 Participant

I enjoyed the environment itself, which felt safe and free...It was so hands on, so as a visual and exploratory learner, I was able to retain the information so well because I had practiced the techniques and saw where I made mistakes and how to fix my form and execution. I also enjoyed how easy it became to speak so freely about such sensitive topics like sexual assault.

2015 Participant

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

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

I really liked the earth, water, fire, and wind aspect to the seminar. I think it really helped by giving us four options for each scenario.

2012 Participant