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The "Kryptonite" of Inclusion

As you’ve probably heard me explain before, there are five principles of self-defense: “think, yell, fun, fight, tell,” Empowerment Self-Defense courses cover all of those, and “tell” is no less important than any of the rest.

When you tell the story of what happened to you and the response is, “Well, why did you go there? Why didn’t you leave when your friends left?” not only are you not getting the support you need, you’ll likely be less willing to share your story again. And sharing is such a vital part of the healing process.

The goal of ESD is to build communities of people who understand what it means to be supportive of people’s stories and experiences, with no shaming and with no judgment.

I was recently asked the following question, and am wondering how people really feel about this issue:

“Is having the support of women who are not also going through divorce or DV, in class with you a benefit or a challenge? How might being in a mixed group affect your feeling of well being?”

As someone who began my adult career life working for the inclusion of people with different abilities into workplaces and professions that, in general, were closed to them, I believe that diversity has superpowers.

That being said, those superpowers only work in systems without kryptonite. What is the Kryptonite of inclusion?


When we judge people for what they can’t do, haven’t done, didn’t notice, or didn’t react, we shoot down the superpowers of community.

In my tradition, Judaism, we are taught that all humans are made up of 50% G-dliness and 50% individuality.

What we do with our individuality certainly affects how our G-dliness shines. And that is our work in this world. Accepting that we have this amazing potential and doing everything we can to help it shine.

The power of community is to bring out the superpower of supporting each other, without judgment, along with each individual’s path so that we all grow and thrive.

So here is a similar question I have been asked. “How do you know if a Judo (or any MA club) is a good one to train with?”

My answer is this.

IMHO, it is not the number of champions, it is the combined distance all the members have come in their training. If they leave anyone behind, they have failed. If they only take the best to even better, they are failing.

But if their doors are open to all and they find a way to encourage personal greatness, then you know you have found a truly good club.

Be that club member in the club of humanity. Be that club member in the club of humanity.

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