Three weeks ago, we organized our very first ESD – Empowerment Self Defense – workshop in Koekelberg, Brussels. 8 fantastic women actively worked on the following principles of ESD: Think, Yell, Run, Fight, Tell. It was an intensive, moving and energizing day, that went by surprisingly fast! We wanted to share some of the great feedback we got from the participants, plus a little word from the instructor.

“I really enjoyed the workshop, it was very well structured and something totally different. I would definitely advice other women to follow this workshop at least once. The trainer was also very good, she answered to all of our questions and provided a great workshop.”

“Highly recommended to every woman! Nina conducted the workshop in a comfortable environment that facilitates a safe space to share your thoughts and learn from other’s experience. Everything shared and thought during the workshop is very useful and relevant.”

“A true insight within yourself designed to help you know your boundaries and finally dare saying NO.”

“Participating in this ESD workshop was a useful playground to confront my lack of awarness/ knowledges regarding protecting my person as a woman from toxic hurtful peoples, situations… specially regarding the bad conditioning we agreed to follow just to be “accepted” loved” “tolerated” that pushed us to ignore our needs/boundaries that were meant to be respected! Challenging drills. High Bienveillance from the instructor/ Cheerful atmosphere amongst each others. YOU HAVE TO JOIN THIS JOURNEY GIRLS/WOMENS.”

As a Krav Maga instructor I have always been used to approach self defense in a very physical way. ESD however, is a more holistic and complex approach towards violence, and highlights the grey areas and contexts in which violence often takes place. For example: training to punch a stranger who attacks or touches you inappropriately without your permission is relatively easy. Now how about telling your colleague or boss that his/her “well-meant” jokes or compliments are actually making you uncomfortable, and you would like him/her to stop doing so? Or telling a family member that he/she is too close or touchy with you? Or telling a date that you do not feel like having sex (no matter what you might have felt or said before, and regardless of whether they keep insisting)? This requires a different kind of strength and technique.

Another important aspect that is addressed: do you trust your intuition when it tells you that something feels “off”? We often find ourselves doing or saying nothing, afraid of hurting someone else’s feelings, telling ourselves we are overreacting. Interesting, because when we would make someone feel uncomfortable and our intentions are in the right place, wouldn’t we want to know? Talking openly about these situations, recognizing that it is ok to say NO and to set your boundaries both verbally and physically is key in self defense.

These are some of the topics that were worked on during the workshop, through exercise, discussion, games and role-play. I myself was inspired by the strength and power of the participants, and am convinced of the importance to make ESD training available for absolutely EVERYONE, so that “One may walk in peace“.

Follow our blog and our facebook page, to keep track of the upcoming workshops!



Want to know more about the concept of ESD (Empowerment Self Defense)? Have a look on the website http://www.esdglobalselfdefense.org

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