It's a pleasure and honor to have Beth Capotosto, ESD Global Camp 2017 participant and lead instructor at Tenacity Self-Defense, visiting the blog today!
Read on for Beth's stories about her journey into the world of empowerment self-defense, her experience at camp, and what she's up to now.
Q. Please tell us a bit about how you became involved in the self-defense field. Did you have any experience or training prior to camp?
A. My journey to discovering empowerment self-defense began when I turned thirty. I decided that it was the perfect time to start taking karate lessons. Seven years later, I have my black belt and work as an empowerment self-defense consultant and instructor.
It was during those years training in the dojo that I experienced some very negative interactions with male students. I firmly believed that there had to be a different way to teach women, rather than the “boy’s club” mentalities that most dojo’s offer. So, I decided I was going to figure out what that “way” was.
Eventually, I discovered the National Women’s Martial Arts Federation (NWMAF). I attended their Special Training Camp and experienced first hand how wonderful to be a part of a women-led martial arts training experience for women. I attended a number of ESD courses and was blown away!
This is what I was looking for. This is what’s missing in martial arts school. I decided then and there that this was where my martial arts focus was going to be. They offer a national certification, and I’ve been actively teaching, training and preparing to apply for the past 5 years.
Q. How did you find out about ESD Global, and what drew you to camp?
A. I am always looking for opportunities for professional development as an empowerment self-defense Instructor. I saw a posting for camp in a NWMAF social media group and when I saw that Yudit Sidikman
was hosting camp, I absolutely had to apply. I had attended a talk by her at the NWMAF Special Training camp the previous year, and she really opened my eyes as to what it truly means to teach empowerment self-defense. I decided at that conference that she is someone I can learn a lot from. So really, it was a no-brainer to apply. I had decided it a year before it was announced!
Q. What was one of the most valuable experiences you had a camp?
A. Looking back, I believe the most valuable part of camp is having a supportive network of ESD sisters. Being connected to other self-identified women from different backgrounds, who shared the same philosophy on empowerment and social justice and are 100% committed to this work, has been incredibly rewarding and necessary.
Before camp, I often felt like I was alone in my community, the lone ESD Instructor in a sea of martial arts Instructors. Attending camp and discovering that I am a part of a group of unashamedly powerful, highly skilled women is a game changer. I feel like I found my people and being a part of this sisterhood has helped carry me when times have been tough.
Q. What are some of the ways camp has impacted your professional life?
Since camp my work with ESD has been rejuvenated. I have completely changed how I present my ESD and martial arts classes. ESD Global Camp provided me with an array of tools to present more dynamic teaching and deeper connections with my students. I believe that it is one of the most comprehensive training opportunities available for empowerment self-defense.
Q. How are things going at Tenacity Self-Defense? Can you tell us about some of your current projects and goals?
A. Things are going great with Tenacity and I credit a lot of that to my ESD Global Camp experience. Because I am able to offer a more dynamic and holistic approach to my ESD courses, I’ve been able to get
multiple programs started in my community.
Right now, I am preparing to teach a bunch of workshops this summer and I am planning after school curriculums for a number of public and private schools in my area. I’m also working on a side project on how to introduce ESD training into early education settings as part of the curriculum. It’s mostly theoretical right now, but I am hoping to have a beta-test site set up for next year.
In addition to my teaching, I’ve also been assisting ESD Global in preparing for this years camp. It’s been incredibly rewarding to work alongside other women who are dedicated to this work and have a global vision for the accessibility of ESD training.
My long term goal is to work on ways to engage martial arts schools to offer empowerment self-defense training as part of their curriculums. There’s a big disconnect between the two worlds. Most martial arts schools believe that they already offer ESD through their martial arts training. Those of us who are ESD practitioners know that this is not the case. I want to bridge this gap and help school owners understand what ESD is and that offering ESD training makes their curriculums more engaging and comprehensive, as well as inclusive to populations of people who wouldn’t generally sign on for martial arts training due to the stereotypes that surround the lifestyle.
Q. Do you have a message, advice or words of wisdom for this year’s camp participants or any woman who is looking to train as an ESD practitioner?
A. If you’re a woman looking to train as an ESD practitioner then you absolutely NEED to apply to camp (if not this year, next year). You won’t be disappointed.
To this year's participants: Welcome to the cohort. Your sisters are waiting with open arms!
Thank you for visiting, Beth! You are certainly an inspiration. We wish you the best of luck, and are so looking forward to following all of