• Yehudit Zicklin-Sidikman

On Choosing the Right Self-Defense Class for You



After hearing me advocate for Empowerment Self Defense, some of you may be thinking, “Well. I’m sold. But how do I know if a self-defense program is aligned with what you’ve been saying?”


That is a great question, and here are some of my guidelines:


1. ESD programs understand and address the social context of violence. There is not a

“one-size fits-all" mentality.


2. ESD programs have creative answers for all members of society, no matter their gender, intellectual or physical abilities, race, sexual orientation, religion or social class.


3. ESD programs do not point fingers at or define a “typical” perpetrator. They understand that the majority of violence is perpetrated by members of normative society. Anyone can commit violence. There is not a “type” more than others.


4. ESD programs help their students recognize their strengths and empower them to connect with their inner warriors.


5. ESD programs teach about a spectrum of violence, ranging from microaggressions and catcalling to life-threatening, or soul-destroying acts of violence.


Also keep in mind:


The techniques in an ESD program should be powerful, few in number, and accessible to all. The goal is not to train an army of Ninja warriors, but to help people get home safely.


Also, an ESD program is clear and unequivocal about the responsibility for the perpetration of violence. As we said earlier, the responsibility for violence is in the hands of the perpetrator.


Also, an ESD program is clear and unequivocal about the responsibility for the perpetration of violence. As we said earlier, the responsibility for violence is in the hands of the perpetrator.

And possibly most importantly, an ESD program should be trauma-informed, which means that it is a safe space for survivors, because based on current statistics, chances are high that at least for this current generation and those before them, there will be up to a third of the participants in any given class who have already experienced violence.


Their participation is an important step for them to reclaim and rebuild their power. Having the tools for running a trauma-informed, emotionally safe class is imperative for their safety.


Got other questions? Other suggestions? Share them here.