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"So, I'd Better Behave, Then" and Other Responses to Our Career Choice

February 7, 2019

​​"So, what do you do?”


“I teach self-defense.”


More often than not, upon hearing our answer to a seemingly innocuous question about our choice of career, people respond by making fists and mimicking boxing motions, which are sometimes accompanied by an uncomfortable laugh.


Every profession sparks its fair share of comments, questions, and stereotypes.


When it comes to teaching self-defense, the picture most people have in their heads is of a male martial artist or police officer training a much smaller woman.


That may be true in some cases, but that’s not what empowerment self-defense looks like. And this misconception can lead to some pretty interesting (and sometimes maddening) conversations.


We recently polled a group of ESD practitioners and asked them about the most common responses they get when they say, “I’m a self-defense instructor.”


Here are the top 10.




10. Oh. So what martial art do you teach?


Our response:


“Traditional martial arts were designed by men, for men’s bodies, for the way men fight. ESD was designed by women, for women and is based on the strengths of women's bodies against the weaknesses of the male body. In empowerment self-defense classes, women learn verbal and mental techniques along with the physical.”


Some of us do teach at least one martial art. And while there is some overlap, we take the difference between the two forms of self-defense very seriously.


9. Why don’t you just buy pepper spray? Or download an app? Or carry a big bag you can hit people with?


Our response:


ESD Global’s president and founder, Yehudit Zicklin Sidikman, came up with what she refers to as the “shower test:”


“If I don’t take it with me into the shower, it can’t be my primary prevention protocol.”


She also likes to tell people that:


“Unless a ninja pops out of my phone and fights a battle for me right there and then, I have to put my trust in myself.”


ESD training empowers women to put their trust into their own bodies and not rely on phones that can go down to once percent battery power or gadgets that may or may not work, much less always be with them.