Practicing Emotional Self-Care Throughout Your ESD Training

Signing up for an Empowerment Self-Defense course, particularly an adrenaline-based course like IMPACT, pretty much guarantees that you’ll be hearing or reading something like this before you even set foot in the door: “I've seen women approach the mat sobbing, trembling, hyperventilating, and looking like quivering antelopes ready to bolt. I've then seen them come off the mat mere moments later looking like lions—regal, radiant, and ready to roar.” ~ Matt O’Brien, IMPACT Safety, Ohio And the reason is, of course, is that these inspiring, powerful descriptions are absolutely true. Yes, ESD classes are fun and full of play. There will be plenty of days when you’ll leave class on a cloud of en

A New Family of Superheroes!

On May 10th, after months of anticipation, Anat Errel and Esti Lifschitz, two extremely talented instructors from El HaLev in Jerusalem, finally arrived in Lesvos, Greece to lead a group of thirteen women from around the globe on their journey into the world of Empowerment Self-Defense. Thanks to the enthusiasm of the trainees, the hard work of the instructors, and the support of The Starfish Foundation, the week-long training went more smoothly and more successfully than we could have dreamed. The women involved are now a family of superheroes, ready to put on their figurative, shiny new capes and spread their powers not only to female refugees on the island of Lesvos, but to communities in

A Response to "Kickboxing, Rape, and the Myth of Self-Defense"

In the article “Kickboxing, Rape, and the Myth of Self-Defense,” which appeared on Medium on April 10th, 2019, Lauren McKeon shared that: “Knowing how to hurt someone did not stop my assault. There is a movement that resurfaces every few years that advocates for women to learn self-defense to avoid being raped. It’s a divisive issue. Some women argue that every tool is worth having if it can stop a rape or sexual assault. Others say we should focus our energies on teaching men not to rape rather than teaching women how to not get raped.” Later in the article, she also made the point that “Healing is not linear,” which is probably the most profound statement in this article, and I would add t

ESD as a Tool for Trauma Healing

"Trauma victims cannot recover until they become familiar with and befriend the sensations in their bodies. (They) may live in a body that is always on guard. In order to change, people need to become aware of their sensations and the way that their bodies interact with the world around them. Physical self- awareness is the first step in releasing the tyranny of the past." - Bessel van der Kolk, author The Body Keeps the Score It’s no secret that ESD has been shown to increase self-confidence/self-efficacy, perceived control, and assertiveness. ESD does not restrict women’s behavior, and reduces self-blame and increases the likelihood of disclosure. All of these factors, combined with increa

Edith Bunker Fights Back

"‘How did you get away from the lousy bum?’ ‘Cake. I-I-I hit him with the cake I was baking.’” ~ Archie and Edith Bunker, All in the Family On October 16th, 1977, 40 million people sat in front of their televisions, riveted as a man in a grey suit and a blue and gold striped tie lied his way into the Bunker household. What they saw next was one of the most historic events in television history. Norman Lear spent over a year researching, writing, and producing the groundbreaking, hour-long “Edith’s 50th Birthday” episode of “All in the Family,” in which an intruder attempts to rape Edith while the rest of the family is next door getting ready for her surprise party. Though somewhat flawed by

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