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Wind (Withdrawn)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

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

Elemental gives people helpful, but basic communication skills in these situations. I also like that it teaches you that there are steps to take before heading to the more physical ones.

2014 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

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

My favorite part of the seminar was the video. So many times, I hear about these situations, but never really have any idea what goes on in these scenarios. Although I am not involved in any type of party scene, I do think it is really helpful to see these situations in context so I know how to react in an unexpected situation.

2012 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

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 also appreciated that we were given the opportunity to try things that we might actually experience in real life with the couches and the beds.

2012 Participant

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

2013 Participant