• Yehudit Zicklin-Sidikman

The Value of Assessment


It is so important to begin every self-defense class with assessment.

How’s everybody feeling today? Who showed up today?


What are their relationships to each other?


I remember once teaching a class right after a terrorist attack. Class wasn’t cancelled. I showed up to teach.

Some students came. Some students didn’t.

What was my responsibility?


Clearly, these were not the same people I was with the week before. Clearly, these were not the same people I was going to see the following week.


We were all living with the reality of having a traumatic event in our community, and I had to run a class.

We were all living with the reality of having a traumatic event in our community, and I had to run a class.


Without anybody talking, we all reached an agreement that we needed a class where we were not discussing, analyzing, and learning verbal boundary setting.

We needed to hit things.


We needed to just move, and do whatever we could to sweat and be energized and forget everything that had happened that day.


We needed that hour off from sitting in our trauma.


Did my students learn less self-defense that day?


No. Everything I taught that night was appropriate for a self-defense class. It was just a lot more physical than usual. That’s what was necessary. Sometimes, you just need to push the pain away.


Sometimes, you just need to push the pain away.

That night, we figured out what we needed to do.


And then we did it. That is self-defense.

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