Honestly, at this point in the history of the world, it is clear to me that if we do not stand up to violence, there will be no peace. And standing up to violence includes teaching everyone how to defend themselves."
Many people dream of making the world a better place. As a leader and activist in the Empowerment Self Defense movement, Yehudit (Yudit) Zicklin-Sidikman has been creating a safer world for over three decades.
Yehudit is a philanthropist and social entrepreneur who goes beyond vision, implementing solutions through action. She has founded both non-profit organizations and private companies dedicated to teaching Empowerment Self Defense (ESD), violence prevention, and personal safety strategies to all who want and need them.
Yudit is the founder and CEO of MyPwr Ltd - a social tech startup whose mission is to create a smartphone app that brings Empowerment Self Defense (ESD) to everyone. MyPwr App teaches ESD's multi-dimensional physical and mental techniques to counter and prevent violence. It provides a mentored, online support community.
Intrinsic to the DNA of MyPwr App is customization and versioning -- providing adaptability to any culture -- be it corporate, educational, specific populations, or geopolitical locations.
Yudit is the Founder and President of ESD Global Inc., a US-based non-profit that makes in-person ESD training accessible worldwide.
Since its inception in 2017, ESD Global has held nine international ESD instructor trainings and certified 164 women and men from over 40 countries on six continents to provide Empowerment Self Defense instruction to the members of their communities.
Yehudit is a senior advisor of El HaLev, an Israeli NGO that provides ESD and martial arts instruction to women, children, and other vulnerable populations. She is also its founder and former CEO.
El HaLev holds Consultative Status with UN ECOSOC (United Nations Economic and Social Council) and is considered to be an expert resource. In addition, El Halev is the recipient of the Midot Seal of Effectiveness for non-profit organizations, an award that attests to El HaLev’s success in stimulating significant social change.
In addition to founding MyPwr Ltd, El HaLev, ESD Global, Yudit is an angel investor in three ESD-based companies: Power of XYZ – a media solutions company that caters to ESD and violence education prevention initiatives worldwide, PAVE Prevention – a violence prevention educational solutions consultant and service provider, and IMPACT Global - an enterprise that builds and supports international branches to train IMPACT Violence Prevention Instructors. IMPACT is a specialized adrenaline-based ESD workshop.
She advises and contributes to three more ESD nonprofits: The Association of ESD Professionals -- whose aims are to standardize the practice of ESD with credentialing, continuing education, accreditations, and ethical & procedural guidelines to ensure safety and engender public trust, The ESD College Certification Committee, which aims to create a college-level ESD certification and the International Violence Prevention Education Conference (VPEC) -- this conference is an opportunity for experts in a variety of fields to collaborate on developing methods of primary prevention in which education is key.
Yehudit is an inspiring public speaker. Highlights include an ESD workshop at the Girl Up Leadership Summit and a talk entitled “The Role of Empowerment Self Defense as a Method of Sexual and Domestic Violence Prevention,” delivered at the 3rd Annual Conference on Domestic Violence in Oslo, Norway.
Yehudit has given presentations on the importance of Empowerment Self Defense training at Women Moving Millions Summits. Through her work with The Lions of Judah Association, she has spearheaded projects that generate social justice, aid the vulnerable, and preserve human dignity.
Learning to defend ourselves isn’t about gender or taking sides. It’s not about being violent. It’s about defending our right to set and enforce the boundaries that keep us emotionally and physically safe."
As executive producer, Yehudit partnered with author and director Ellen Snortland in the creation of the documentary “Beauty Bites Beast," a provocative film calling for women to take charge of their safety and learn Empowerment Self Defense.
Yehudit’s awards include the Israeli Ministry of Social Equality’s Honor Award for prevention of violence against women, the Colleen Gragen Award of Inspiration by the National Women’s Martial Arts Federation, the Jerusalem Woman of the Year (WIZO) award, and the Woman of Valor Award from the Ambassadors' Club of Israel. Nashim Magazine (Top 50 Women in Israel).
Yudit is also an author, currently writing a memoir about her experience as a survivor and leader in the ESD Movement.