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 place. As a leader and activist in the Empowerment Self Defense movement. Yehudit (Yudit) Zicklin-Sidikman has been realizing her vision of a safer world for over two decades.
Yehudit has founded two organizations, both of which are dedicated to teaching 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 and president, is a US-based non-profit that makes ESD training accessible worldwide.
Since its inception in 2017, ESD Global has held eight international trainings and certified 164 women and men from over 40 countries on six continents to provide Empowerment Self Defense instruction to the members of their communities.
Yehudit is also a founder, former CEO, and senior advisor of El HaLev, an Israeli NGO that provides 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 to be an expert resource. In addition, El Halev is the recipient of the Midot Seal of Effectiveness for non-profit organizations, an award which attests to El HaLev’s success in stimulating significant social change.
In 2020, ESD Global Inc. and El HaLev joined forces to sponsor the first International Violence Prevention Education Conference (VPEC).
At the conference, Yehudit delivered talks on the importance of making Empowerment Self Defense accessible worldwide and led a series of hands-on workshops for aspiring 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,” delivered at the 3rd Annual Conference on Domestic Violence in Oslo, Norway.
Yehudit has given presentations on the importance of Empowerment Self Defense training at Women Moving Millions Summits. Through her work with The Lions of Judah Association, she has spearheaded projects that generate social justice, aid the vulnerable, and preserve human dignity.
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 safety and learn Empowerment Self Defense.
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."
Since COVID-19, Yehudit has turned her production skills to developing a series of Empowerment Self Defense videos which enable viewers to learn the history, theory, and methodology of ESD from the safety of their homes.
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, the Jerusalem Woman of the Year (WIZO) award, and the Woman of Valor Award from the Ambassadors' Club of Israel. Nashim Magazine counted Yehudit as one of their Top 50 Women in Israel.
Currently, Yudit is preparing to further expand the reach and breadth of Empowerment Self Defense and violence prevention education. In early 2021, she will launch PowerXYZ, a media solutions company that caters to ESD and violence education prevention initiatives worldwide. PowerXYZ will provide consulting in ESD programming, social media marketing, and all things ESD.