In August 2017 Yudit Sidikman, co-founder of El Halev, and instructors Chana Weinberger, and Gali Sagi ventured to upstate NY to run a training camp for women from all corners of the world, in an initiative to spear-head a global movement to use empowerment self-defense as a tool to reduce violence against women, girls, and vulnerable populations.

Women came from: Belize, the Netherlands, the Dominican Republic, Chile, Costa Rica, England, Canada the US, and Israel. Within the Unites States: New York, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Virginia, North Dakota, Maine, Rhode Island, Ohio, Washington, and California

So what IS Empowerment Self Defense?

We'll let Yudit herself answer that for you.

The women get acquainted with each other and the camp.

And then the training begins! Yudit recruited young female martial artists from across the world to train to be Empowerment Self Defense instructors. Part of the training was teaching effective techniques that specifically utilize the strengths of the female body, and that any average woman can learn easily, and access in an emergency without having to think about details.

Training new instructors included more than just physical techniques. This exercise teaches women how to gently redirect movement. It serves as an introduction to becoming acquainted with reaction time and defending personal space.

Chana and Gali from Israel, introduce new concepts to the trainees.

Empowerment Self Defense topics include body language, use of voice, identifying danger, determining a boundary, intuition, de-escalation, and more.

The women also practiced self-empowerment in order to become top-notch instructors. Workshops urged women to choose and acknowledge unique personal strengths, and help touch on what fears and doubts hold them back.

This culminated in a board breaking exercise. Participants were asked to write a word or concept on their boards that they wish to break through. The boards are then used as metaphors for inner barriers that seem impossible to overcome. The women both see and feel themselves using the power of their bodies and minds to achieve something they may have doubted was possible.

You did it!
Forming a lasting sisterhood

Participants quickly formed a strong sisterhood due partly to a shared vision: wanting to make positive change in the world through belief in inner power.

"Having women from a range of cultures and countries made it even clearer. Women from all around the world experience similar things and want similar things: freedom, security, acknowledgment, choice, and happiness."

"It was a transformational experience."

“I feel like I'm still riding on the high of such an amazing experience with so many incredible women." -Deb Meir, Chicago, IL

While the trainees were working hard to gain new skills, veteran Empowerment Self Defense instructors put their heads together to create a road map for a global movement.

Veteran instructors: Dr. Julie Harmon – IMPACT Ohio, Amy Jones – Thousand Waves, NWMA, Anne Kuzminsky – Empowerment Self-Defense Alliance, Corinne Lagermasini – Women in Transition, Arlene Limas – PowerKix, Mona McDonald – Lioness Martial Arts, Clara Porter - Prevention. Action. Change. (PAC), Annie Rossi – London Centre for Personal Safety, Meg Stone – IMPACT Boston Triangle, Dr. Martha Thompson – IMPACT Chicago, Sheila Watson – Sandalwood Martial Arts, S. Renee Wentz – S.H.E. Thing

Being far from home and away from day to day life, we managed to fully concentrate on ESD. It was an amazing and empowering experience. We came wanting to pass on the El Halev way of teaching, share our knowledge, and give tools to women to influence their surroundings and communities. However, we left with so much more- a feeling of a real movement, of a global group of powerful women who all speak the same language. Who want to influence, support, share, and develop an international movement. Thank you all for being so open to learn, to share, to communicate, and to make our world a better place.
Created By
Jackie Hyman

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