• Yehudit Zicklin-Sidikman

When The Light Goes On



Here’s part of a WhatsApp conversation I had with somebody who was going through some videos from El Halev:


Him: “You talk about choice, and how everybody has their own way of dealing with things.

It’s a paradox. El HaLev is a place where you’re giving instruction. Like, ‘If somebody comes up behind you, you do this.


And if somebody attacks you, you do that.’


But I guess what you’re trying to say here is that while you want to give people a Swiss Army knife of a million and one tools, they get to pick which tool to pull out when they need it. You’re not saying, ‘This is what happens when.’”


But I guess what you’re trying to say here is that while you want to give people a Swiss Army knife of a million and one tools, they get to pick which tool to pull out when they need it. You’re not saying, ‘This is what happens when.

Me: “Actually, the flagship course at El HaLev is called, ‘The Freedom to Choose.’ We as teachers at El HaLev actually never say, ‘If this happens, do this.’

We say, ‘If this happens, here are your options.’


And the options are taught through an understanding of, ‘THINK, YELL, RUN, FIGHT, TELL.’ All of those are options. I can deescalate. I can knee the attacker in the groin. Those are choices.


So there is no one answer.”


Him: “Aaaaaah. Right - the options as your emphasis. I guess I'm thinking that once you DO choose to get physical, the nature of self-defense training, to most people, has an air of ‘best practice’ ... and until it's all second nature and practiced enough, there's a chance you'll look back and wonder how, after a year of Tae Kwon Do, why you didn't launch that uppercut...”


Me: “Doubting ourselves is part of our DNA, no?”


Doubting ourselves is part of our DNA, no?

Him: “For sure...and that's really the magic here. You're not giving instructions that are 1-0 binary, but a spectrum...a quiver to draw whichever arrow you need. But that's the trick - it's hard. It's much simpler to learn one approach, one technique, and hope it's relevant. Your way is actually to demand more of the person - to learn a broader set of skills and inner power, so in the critical moment, it's not about ‘where/how hard do I punch/kick.’ It's 'do I get violent at all, and if not, do I yell at him, or yell for help, or do something else.' That flexibility is serious heavy lifting... more intense than a weekly karate class.”


Wow! That light is not only on, it's shining bright!


Have you had any lightbulb moments in your Empowerment Self Defense training?


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