• Yehudit Zicklin-Sidikman

Magic and Balance

In writing and designing content for the MyPwr App, I have had to dig deep into why we at El HaLev have created our self-defense program the way we have. And yes, this means I am going to have to share a bit of a Jewish concept, because I truly believe this is what it was based on.

The most frequently taught program at El HaLev is called "The Freedom to Choose." That name was coined a bunch of years ago by the current CEO Adi Wimmer, my partner, and one of the people who has pushed me hardest to make everything I do and the decisions I make the best they can be. (Which I appreciate, but is sometimes infuriating, even though most of the time being pushed is exactly what is needed.)

And here is why teaching people how to teach the El HaLev way of delivering an ESD class is so complicated.

People like direction and structure.

But life laughs at direction and structure. I mean, think about the last two years?


This has got me thinking about Jewish model behind understanding the balance between an All Powerful, All Seeing, All Knowing God and the human condition of free choice. It's complicated. If God knows and sees everything, how do we have free choice?

This has got me thinking about Jewish model behind understanding the balance between an All Powerful, All Seeing, All Knowing God and the human condition of free choice. It's complicated. If God knows and sees everything, how do we have free choice?

What I was taught was that in order to create the world, God needed to pull back, to constrict God's power in order to leave room for human's to be able to have free choice. The choice to do good or do bad. Yes, we hope humans choose good. We try to educate our children to do good.

Doesn't always work.


As a Sensei, a martial arts instructor, I can stand on the mat as the all powerful one, the one with the knowledge, and I can use that to bully my students into compliance. "Do it this way or it is wrong!"

Or, I can learn from how God created the world and as needed, let my students figure it out on their own. Pull back a little. Know when to step in and when not to. A very intricate balance of support and freedom. Being there, and pulling back to allow them to figure things out on their own.

Yes, there are rules that need to be learned and followed. And, there needs to be room for making mistakes, taking responsibility, living with the consequences, and growing.

That is learned through practice, and different for every person.

An Empowerment Self Defense instructor at El HaLev learns how to facilitate the process of learning and practicing so that the tools and techniques they teach become a part of their students. Some students connect more with the verbal. Others, the physical. Others, the philosophical.

But all of them create the right balance of these skills for themselves.


It is not about what I, the teacher, give them. But what they, the student, finds relevant for themselves, and integrating it into their daily lives.

It is not about what I, the teacher, give them. But what they, the student, finds relevant for themselves, and integrating it into their daily lives.

That is the magic. And we are working hard to make sure that magic comes through in the app.

In my humble opinion, that is emulating God. Helping people to learn how to best navigate this world being safe, happy, and helpful.

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