Empowerment Self Defence (ESD) is spreading its wings as a growing teaching and self-defence philosophy for women around the world.
The methodology is based around five principles (think, yell, run, fight, tell) has a comprehensive response to many situations, understanding that the responses are effective in different situations. ESD is built on a foundation of responding to a spectrum of violence, from violence to verbal harassment by trusting instincts, asserting boundaries and utilising a range of physical, verbal and mental responses.
The rise of the #MeToo movement in 2017 led to a rise in the popularity of ESD as a self-defence technique, and instructor certification rates increased as ESD training centres and programs grew rapidly as the empowerment movement spread. ESD Global is estimated to have trained more than 70,000 women and more than 100 instructors across the world to respond to violent threats against them.
At the forefront of ESD is Yudit Sidikman, an Israeli grandmother who pioneered the initial methodology, and has been teaching since the late 1990s. ESD Global has based their methodologies on Sidikman’s training as a psychologist and judo instructor, and begins training with a practice of boundaries, refusal and defusal of situations by verbal assertion, before physical training begins.
One former ESD instructor, Timna Nelson Levy, who has since become a gold-medallist at the World Judo Grand Prix in January 2018. Levy credits ESD for inspiring her to begin training as a judoka, and kickstarting her professional career. ESD Global has launched an international campaign against gender-based violence that begins 25 November (International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women) and ends 10 December (International Human Rights Day), which is aiming to bring awareness to the methodology as a response to gender-based violence.