My Prague ESD Global Level 1 Experience By Leah Moses Wittmer

Empowerment Self Defense changed my life.

At my first “Freedom to Choose Workshop” in 2015 I learned to set physical and emotional boundaries I never knew I had a right to.

In 2018 I did IMPACT. It was one of the most difficult things I have ever done: physically confronting an attacker and saying “No!” Discovering that I am not a victim; I have a right to be safe; learning to use physical, verbal, and emotional techniques to stay secure.

“No!” is addictive. Over the years, slowly but surely, I have set boundary after boundary: On the street with people who bother me, with my family, my friends, in business situations. The energy that was being sucked out of me, keeping me from doing and being what I want to see in the world, is slowly returning.

I started writing and working on various ESD projects which developed into a job as a content writer at MyPwr. Doing these things, I learned the history, research, and theory behind ESD.

Going to The ESDG Level 1 Instructors training in Prague was the next logical step.

The training was awesome and inspiring. The instructors, Arlene Limas and Yaron Schwartz were learned, patient, and brought to life the “toolbox” of Empowerment Self Defense, its theory and how to teach it.

My classmates at the training, from all over the globe, are individuals who are committed to violence prevention. Martial artists, public policy makers, government officials, Executive Directors of NGO, and lots of other bright, kind people were there to learn how to make the world a better place. It is an honor to be part of their community

But one thing made me sad. I felt like I’ll never be a “real” ESD instructor.

I may never do very much face to face ESD teaching. I’m not the spryest of chickens, and some of the physical techniques are a challenge for me. And, in Israel, where I live, I need more training to be certified, which could take years.

The training in Prague itself helped me move past these fears and inspired me to tackle the challenges that lie ahead.

Every day, in training, Yaron repeated, “The most important way to teach ESD is to be an example of ESD. Is to live ESD.”

Hearing it over and over, I realized “I can do that.” (I mean, not perfectly or anything, but I can do it.) I practice ESD principles in my life as much as I can. And I thought about the people in my life who have told me they find the changes I’ve made inspiring.

ESD is all about choices – there is no one solution to interpersonal violence and setting boundaries. That’s why we teach a toolbox of techniques and practice scenarios, so students can find what works for them.

So, who says being an ESD Instructor must be practiced in one way? As a content writer for MyPwr App I have the opportunity bring ESD to millions of people virtually. Research shows that there are many people who want and need ESD who either don’t have it available in their area, or it’s too expensive. MyPwr App is all about bringing ESD into the hands of those who want and need it, and I’m a part of that. I have my own way to be an instructor.


Leah Moses Wittmer is a content writer for MyPwr Ltd. She holds an MA in English and Creative Writing from Bar Ilan University. Leah recently completed a Level 1 Empowerment Self Defense Instructors Training in Prague. Leah lives with her husband, two cats, the neighbor’s dog, and her adult children who show up now and then.

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