Posts Tagged ‘Martial Arts’

Circle Of Strength

In empowerment on November 18, 2009 at 17:51
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The Circle of Strength Celebrates 12 Great Years of Body-Mind-Spirit Empowerment

For the last 12 years,  El Halev has organized the Circle of Strength Martial Arts Seminar for Women. Circle of Strength, as its’ name implies, is a celebration of female power in a warm, exciting and supportive environment.

For this,  our “Bat Mitzvah” year, we are hosting a delegation of top female instructors from the United States and Europe. They will be joining us for

  • Big Happenings in Jerusalem and the North featuring a number of classes for different levels and open to everyone.
  • AND a series of self-defense seminars we are offering FREE-OF-CHARGE  to a number of groups of less fortunate populations all over the country

Just in case there remains  anyone out there who still wonders why the issue of violence prevention is so vital in today’s Israel, below you will find excepts from a recent article reporting that violence has become Israel’s number one social concern.

But right now, in honor of this special event, here the first in a series of GUEST POSTS from the people who are integral parts of The Circle of Strength.

P.S. Of course, as they say, “there are no free lunches” and , certainly, no free nationwide seminar tours. That is why we invite anyone who would like to join the Circle of Strength by helping make these seminars possible, to contribute what they can through our friends at www.israelgives.com.

Circle of Strength Guest Post

Yudit Sidikman

Judo: 3rd Degree Black Belt

Founder & Chairperson: El HaLev

So, my very first special training in the USA was a joint program with NWMAF and PAWMA in Olympia, Washington. I was a brand-new blue belt and I had never seen any other martial arts other than Judo and Karate. There were close to 500 women there! And I still remember them announcing, “…representing 89 different styles of martial arts!” That just blew my mind! Eighty-nine different styles of Martial Arts? Could that even be possible? My roommate and I were thrown together because we both had written “Kosher” on our applications and I guess they figured that it would be easier to let us work that one out together. It was love at first sight. Sensei Jill Shames and I began that weekend the beginning of an amazing friendship. Actually, it is so much more than that. We are family.

The following year, Jill e-mailed me that she was going to be making aliyah to Israel with her family. Before they even got on the plane, I said to her, “What do you think about organizing a Special Training for Women Martial Artists in Israel? We dragged Sensei Jaime Zimron into the threesome (who we also met in Olympia (who says there is no G-d?) and when Jill landed we went off to the Jerusalem Municipality where we met Raya Sonenfeld (then – Director of Sports for Women; now – El HaLev Board Member) and Amira Bar Shalom (then – Shotokan instructor; now – El Halev Director of Self- Defense Development (and Shotokan instructor)) and yes, they thought we were crazy! So, twelve years and thousands of women later, we can proudly celebrate our Bat Mitzvah year.

To me, the Bat Mitzvah celebration is not just about getting presents and the technicality of growing up (we know what real twelve year-olds are like). Rather, it is the time of transformation, the time at which we begin to learn about our social responsibility, our membership in the community of mankind and our need to think about others and share our skills, talents and resources. I have learned in training in the martial arts that you can become so self-centered and egotistical that it is hard to see what benefits there are in the “arts.” On the other hand, I have met some of the most humble and giving people I have ever seen, people whose lives have been dedicated to the spreading of knowledge, the sharing of skills, the encouragement and dedication to raising generations of good people through the true arts that they teach.

This year, El HaLev steps forward into its 12th year of sharing the excitement and beauty of strong women training together as equals and of making a social statement that we can and will defend ourselves if we need to. I bless the amazing women around me. May we share another 12 and another 12 until we reach 120 teaching, sharing, growing and raising generations of strong women together.


Poll: Violence more worrisome than corruption

Social Strength Index indicates concerns over growing violence, increasing worry about economic future…

Yael Branovsky
11.16.09 / Israel News

Growing violence worries Israelis more than corruption and poverty. The many murder cases and violent incidents over the past year have made violent crime the most worrisome subject for Israelis, according to the 2009 Social Strength Index that will be presented at the Sderot Conference for Society…

The poll taken this year shows that 81% of Israelis think violence in society is the most concerning issue as opposed to just 73% in 2008. This bumped corruption out of first on the list of most concerning issues, though it did see a slight increase from last year’s 79% to 80% this year.

Poverty and the gap between rich and poor was ranked third on the list of worrisome topics with 79%, up from 61% in 2008. The continued struggle with the Palestinians is fourth on 2009’s list with 71% in 2009 as opposed to 74% on the previous year’s index.

Some optimistic figures were also registered. Some 62% of Israelis are proud of the State of Israel, as opposed to just 52% in the 2008’s index. Fifty-three percent of Israelis believe that the State will always protect them, up from 42% last year…

The 2009 Social Strength Index was measured during the month of October and is based on polls taken in November in the past five year. The polls are identical save for small differences in the makeup of the questionnaire. This year’s poll was carried out via telephone interview of 555 respondents making up a representative sample of the adult population in Israel. The interviews were conducted in Hebrew, Russian, and Arabic.

To have and have not…

In Mind-Body Philosophy on June 19, 2009 at 17:53

One of the principles of self-defense, martial arts and just plain old healthy living is maintaining your focus on what you HAVE rather than on what you DON’T have. For example, Foul-mouthed Idiot reaches out and grabs my wrist. Now, I can spend the next five minutes playing tug-of-war over my wrist with a man 5 times my size…. or I can introduce his nose to the palm of my other hand or kick him in the nuts,   and be on my way. In the cold light of day, the choice seems abundantly clear. But won’t be, if I focus my energy on the limb that is NOT available, rather than to all the ones that are.

…which brings me to this past week, which I have ostensibly spent on the couch in my living room, my right arm bound in a sling . I took a spill on my electric scooter last week. It was a short ride that ended as a long story of barking dogs, concerned neighbors, x-rays and pain meds. I separated my AC joint.

On the one hand, it is amazing how many meetings, write-ups, reports and what-nots  I have managed to do pecking away with my left hand on my laptop while jabbering away via wireless Internet, Skype, two cellphones, and a land line.

Some of the lessons of this week are not surprising. After more than 20 years of  partaking in the martial arts and teaching self-defense, it is no great surprise that being  limited physically drives me crazy.  And not being able to drive is VERY inconvenient, especially when you live in Rehovot and your office is in Jerusalem… Duh.

I am continually amazed, however, at my ability to discover alternative strategies for  using my body to accomplish everyday tasks. Two decades of martial arts practice will do that for you. I am also continually amazed by the speed of  the healing process— the transformation of ‘road rash’ back to healthy, supple skin.  And I have done some pretty neat adaptions to my kata to enable me to continue my practice one-handed. Instructing twice a week is a great motivator.

I also allow myself a few minutes of mindful whining each day.  Despite my absence, things at  El HaLev are jumping. Everyone has been raving about RENT, the production being performed on our new rooftop deck. They tell me 200 people showed up for opening night! 200!!! And here I am forking down comfort foods with my left hand while my dog, cat and bird line up waiting for something to drop.

With any luck, I’ll be back in the saddle next week.

, מהשעה 17:30.

Nu? And Not So New…

In What we do on June 9, 2009 at 21:02


Sure, this blog is new. Yaddada-yaddada. But, the neat stuff we do at and through  El HaLev to empower women, kids, older adults and people from vulnerable populations through the Martial Arts and Self-Defense, well, that’s not ‘new’. We’ve been doing that since 2003.

Haven’t heard about us? Well, here we are.  And I’m going to be posting about all kinds of things connected to the special brand mind-body-spirit self-protection and self-defense life skills  that we at El HaLev share everyday with people of all ages and from all walks of life.

As you may know, Israel is a pretty political place. Politics seems to be the Israeli national pastime — next to eating falafel and driving obnoxiously.

But what we do is not about politics. And it’s not about violence— so put away those protest signs.  It’s about right of all people to feel safe and secure in their homes and on their streets. And it’s about the responsibility each of us has to take action to improve communities, our families and ourselves.

Nu? As we tell visitors to our El HaLev Training Center in Jerusalem, ‘take the chips off your shoulders and stay awhile’.

Welcome to our world…