Honestly, at this point in the history of the world, it is clear to me that if we do not stand up to violence, there will be no peace. And standing up to violence includes teaching everyone how to defend themselves.
Many people dream of making the world a better and safer place for everyone.
Yehudit (Yudit) Zicklin-Sidikman, beloved “Sensei” to her thousands of empowered students, has worked tirelessly to turn that dream into a reality.
The two organizations created by Yehudit serve one primary purpose: to teach Empowerment Self Defense (ESD) techniques, abuse-prevention skills, and personal safety strategies to all who want and need them.
ESD Global Inc., of which she is founder, president, and most recently the interim executive director, is a U.S.-based non-profit committed to making ESD training accessible worldwide.
She is also a founder, the former CEO, and senior advisor of El HaLev, an Israeli NGO dedicated to providing ESD and martial arts instruction to women, children, and other vulnerable populations.
El HaLev holds Consultative Status with UN ECOSOC (United Nations Economic and Social Council) and is considered an expert resource. In addition, El Halev is the recipient of the Midot Seal of Effectiveness for non-profit organizations; an award which is a testament to El HaLev’s success in making significant social change.
As an open survivor of sexual assault and abuse, Yehudit brings her experiences to her work as a motivational speaker and workshop facilitator. She has inspired hundreds to share their stories, heal from past trauma, and move on to live fuller, healthier lives.
In 2020, ESD Global Inc. and El HaLev joined forces to sponsor the very first International Violence Prevention Education Conference (VPEC). At the conference, Yehudit gave numerous lectures on the importance of making Empowerment Self Defense accessible worldwide and led a series of hands-on workshops for aspiring ESD instructors.
Other highlights of Yehudit’s speaking career include an ESD workshop at the Girl Up Leadership Summit and a talk entitled “The Role of Empowerment Self Defense as a Method of Sexual and Domestic Violence Prevention” at the 3rd Annual Conference on Domestic Violence in Oslo, Norway.
In 2018, Yehudit spoke about the importance of Empowerment Self Defense training at the Women Moving Millions Summit. Through her work with The Lions of Judah Association, she has worked to create social justice, aid the vulnerable, and preserve human dignity.
Learning to defend ourselves isn’t about gender or taking sides. It’s not about being violent. It’s about defending our right to set and enforce the boundaries that keep us emotionally and physically safe."
As executive producer, Yehudit partnered with author and director Ellen Snortland in the creation of the documentary “Beauty Bites Beast," a provocative call for women to take charge of their bodies and learn Empowerment Self Defense.
Yehudit’s awards include the Israeli Ministry of Social Equality’s Honor Award for prevention of violence against women, the Colleen Gragen Award of Inspiration by the National Women’s Martial Arts Federation, Jerusalem Woman of the Year (WIZO) award, and the Woman of Valour Award from the Ambassadors' Club of Israel. She was counted among Nashim Magazine’s Top 50 women in Israel.