This week we are for the very fist time exploring the intersection between self-defense and personal development where Jennifer Cassetta joins me on the podcast! Right when I saw her on social media I was immediately drawn to her work, have since saved all of her videos on self-defense, and watch them periodically, on repeat. 

Jenn is the author of The Art of Badassery: Unleash Your Mojo With Wisdom of the Dojo (love the title!), where she talks about the lessons learned in martial arts and applies them to leveling up your mind, body and spirit. In her book and during our conversation, she teaches how to turn your setbacks into secret weapons.

She is also a nationally recognized speaker, empowerment coach and self defense expert. Equipped with her 3rd degree black belt in HapKiDo, Master’s degree in Nutrition, and health coaching certification, she develops programming that helps people feel strong, safe and powerful from the streets to the boardroom. 

We cover:

  • Whether or not the popularity of true crime has helped or hurt us in terms of safety in our lives (7:09)
  • Walking with power and purpose is one of the most important features of safety (8:45)
  • What women should look for when they sign up for a self-defense class (13:54)
  • Jennifer walks us through the chapters of her latest book including learning how to embrace the suck, bounce back, and find your roar (17:37)

Jenn’s website
Jenn’s on Instagram
Jenn’s on TikTok
Andrea on Instagram
Andrea on TikTok
Episode 434: When you lose a very good dog

Book recommendations:
You know how I love a good personal development book, right? I’ve compiled a list of book recommendations, as mentioned in past episodes. Check out these amazing book recommendations here. Happy reading!


Based in Los Angeles, Jennifer Cassetta is a nationally recognized speaker, empowerment coach and self defense expert. Equipped with her 3rd degree black belt in HapKiDo, Master’s degree in Nutrition, and health coaching certification, she develops programming that helps people feel strong, safe and powerful from the streets to the boardroom. With clients that include: American Airlines, British Airways, Del Monte, Nike, Uber and UBS, Jennifer has rocked over one hundred stages across the country with her super power combination of engaging content and contagious enthusiasm.

Her skills have been featured on The Today Show, The Doctors, Rachael Ray and she was a featured expert on ABC-TV’s My Diet is Better Than Yours. Her new book, The Art of Badassery: Unleash Your Mojo With Wisdom of the Dojo, will be found on bookshelves everywhere in August, 2022.

Right-click to download the .mp3



Jennifer  01:44
So everyone that's listening, my reminder to you is that all the power that you need is already within you and we just have to remember that it's there and tap into it.

Andrea  01:54
You're listening to Make Some Noise Podcast episode number 472 with guest Jen Cassetta. Welcome to Make Some Noise Podcast your guide for strategies, tools and insight to empower yourself. I'm your host, Andrea Owen, global speaker, entrepreneur, life coach since 2007, and author of three books that have been translated into 18 languages and are available in 22 countries. Each week, I'll bring you a guest or a lesson that will help you maximize unshakable confidence, master resilience and make some noise in your life. You ready? Let's go.

Hey, everyone, welcome to another episode of the podcast. I am so glad that you're here. I don't know if you follow me on Instagram or any of the socials. I'm mostly on Instagram and TikTok. But I actually took the summer off it just completely unplugged. And you may remember me mentioning, in past episodes that we got a puppy, our beloved Giselle, or German Shorthaired Pointer that we had for a very long time she passed away. If you missed the episode of where I did a minisode where I talked about the grief of losing a pet, my experience, and the grief of losing a pet. I'll drop that in the show notes if you're if you missed it, and you're interested. But we got a puppy who was born the day after Giselle passed and she's a German Shepherd. I've been drawn to this breed since I was a small child. I've never owned one, just been around them a lot. And I've also never had a puppy. So I'm sure you're laughing. Why I decided that it would be a good idea to have my first puppy be a German Shepherd was beyond me. I had little girl stars in my eyes. And this is not to say we are going to give her up. No ma'am. No, ma'am. But I was grossly unprepared for her strength and her spirit. That's what I call her. She's my spirited girl. She split my lip open this morning begins the spirited. She weighs 65 pounds and she just turned six months old. Which I am a little worried. She's not fat. She's not an overweight dog. She's just growing very rapidly and I need to ask the vet about that. I'm like, uh, just to kind of off the charts. And it's just you know, there can be health issues. And I don't I don't want that because she's so much. That was one of the reasons I took the summer off and now that I back that my kids are back in school and we have a routine and I take her for a long walk in the morning and then I put her into her crate so she can take a much needed nap and then that's when I get to come up here and record these intros for you. But my lip hurts and it's starting to swell and like I've got to get this intro recorded before my lip is swollen and it's not too bad. It was bleeding kind of a lot and she didn't bite me. She just was excited because I got on the ground to stretch after our long walk because if I don't stretch right away it's a whole thing. It's a middle-aged thing. But she was excited that I was on the ground and she was rolling around and jumping around as I'm trying to stretch and we collided. So no blame to her. It was an accident. My spirited my spirited girl. Her name is Astrid. Did I mention that? Her name is Astrid. Anyway, speaking, speaking of self-defense, that was not as not the transition that I had planned out.

Jen Cassetta is here. And I'm really really excited to have her on. She came across me for you page on TikTok, of course she did. And I loved her lessons. I save all of her videos so I can watch them and learn. I think self-defense is one of those things that unfortunately women should know. All people should know, I guess. And I am excited for you to meet her because she has a new book out and I just it she's one of those people where immediately when I saw her like I have to have her on and she and I just clicked so much. If you like me, I know you're just going to absolutely love Jen.

So for those of you that are unfamiliar with her, let me tell you a little bit about her. based in Los Angeles, Jennifer Cassetta is a nationally recognized speaker empowerment coach and self-defense expert. Equipped with her third-degree black belt in hapkido, master's degree in nutrition and health, coaching certification, she develops programming that helps people feel strong, safe and powerful from the streets to the boardroom. Jennifer has rocked over 100 stages across the country with her superpower combination of engaging content and contagious enthusiasm. Her skills have been featured on The Today Show, The Doctors and the Rachael Ray Show. Her new book The Art of Badassery: Unleash Your Mojo with Wisdom of the Dojo will be found on bookshelves anywhere in August 2022. So without further ado, here is Jen.

Jen, thank you so much for being here.

Jennifer  07:07
Thank you, Andrea.

Andrea  07:09
I am so excited to I cannot wait to jump into this. And as most of my guests in 2022, I found you on TikTok. You showed up on my FYP page. And I started following you immediately. And you know, it was about self-defense things which I love always and I have a 13 year old daughter now. By the time this comes out, she'll be 13. And of course, you know, I'm going to teach her all of those things and encourage her to follow people like you and you have a book out and it's called The Art of Badassery: Unleash Your Mojo with Wisdom of the Dojo. Okay, first of all, first of all, I'm sure everyone knows how much I love that title. The Art of Badassery and your subtitle rhymes. So like, I wish I had like, you know, like a pop or something to celebrate. I want to I want to ask you first, before we jump into the book, I want to ask you about self-defense kind of in and of itself. And I'm dying of curiosity about your opinion regarding this. I don't think that you made any TikToks about it. But in your opinion, do you think that the popularity of true crime, especially among women, has helped us or hurt us in terms of our safety and our lives in general?

Jennifer  08:27
Very good question. I am not a true crimer…

Andrea  08:31
Nor am I. I do watch some of the documentaries like on Netflix, but I don't listen to any of the podcasts. I'm not a murderino. My best friend is though, but I'm sure a lot of people listening to this show are true crime junkies. I'm curious what your thoughts are?

Jennifer  08:45
Well, I would love to hear from them. Actually, why don't they respond somehow to Andrea. But how many people actually feel empowered by watching true crime or do you feel more scared in your life? So I feel like self-defense in general, will help you feel more empowered when you're walking through the world, right? Just walking down the street to living your life, you will feel more empowered. Watching true crime, again, it could go it could go both ways. You think, oh my god, this stuff happens out there. That's Knowledge is power right? So knowing that, I don't know there are serial killers…

Andrea  09:26
That would be helpful, right?

Jennifer  09:29
You just can't let it get in your head where it starts to make you paranoid and scared all the time. And that's the biggest difference. When I'm teaching I always say like, knowledge is empowering and not to make you paranoid.

Andrea  09:45
Okay. Yeah. That's interesting. I just I know one person who you know her life is, it kind of revolves around her pepper spray and her stabby kitty and I'm like, oh my gosh. But then I wonder because my husband has made this comment to me. And I know that I am fairly oblivious to my surroundings. I feel like I hate to say it, but I would be an easy target, because they don't pay attention. I don't know if it's my ADHD, I don't know if it's my personality, or what. I just typically don't pay attention. And I have a history of not following my intuition. But I will say that I love… This part, I think of the genre of true crime and I know it's part of many women's empowerment experts out there, is that being nice can be dangerous, like being too polite can be dangerous. It can get us killed.

Jennifer  10:42
Yeah, that's so awful to hear that, but it's so true. And can I ask you, my question that came up for you was, when you're saying you're not paying attention, our attention is somewhere, right? So if it's not on your surroundings, what is your attention on?

Andrea  10:57
Daydreaming. I'm daydreaming. I'm thinking about, I'm like, in my own little world, thinking about whatever. Usually, like either anything from something completely innocuous to how is the world going to end? Big topics or nothing. And I just… There's been so many times where I just I haven't seen something or I have passed by something. My friends tease me and they say like, you walk with such confidence. And I think it's a combination of yes I am confident, but I just go like I'm just not paying attention. So I try to be better about it.

Jennifer  11:37
Okay, well, the go part is a deterrent. So it doesn't necessarily make you a target if you're walking with purpose power, confidence. That right there turns off predatory behavior so…

Andrea  11:48
So is that one of the tips that you give people?

Jennifer  11:51
Oh, yes, absolutely. The alertness definitely in the mindfulness, that’s the part you might be missing. But then definitely body language, alert, aware, shoulders back, head held high, walking the power, purpose. You know, your friend may have her pepper spray and or kitty keychain out. Not everyone has to do that in order to be prepared. But yeah, it's one of the most important pieces of safety.

Andrea  12:24
Okay, I'm curious about… So do you teach self-defense like in a in a class or dojo anymore or have you left that?

Jennifer  12:33
No, I'm teaching mostly just to corporations.

Andrea  12:37
Just to corporations. So what do you encourage women to look for, you know, maybe they're not near you in Southern California and they're thinking about taking a self-defense class, which I think I think everyone should, and probably regularly, right? Not just like, once. Because I took one in like 2010 and I mean, do I remember anything from it? Absolutely not.

Jennifer  12:58
Not nothing? I bet you do. I bet you remember something.

Andrea  13:01
You know what I remember? Let me tell you what I remember. I remember the teacher, it was a man and a woman and she said, ‘does anyone want to volunteer to see if they can get out of’ I don't know what they called it, but basically, like, a hold… John here is going to grab you and do you think you could get out of it? And my big mouth, like I bet I could. And a little bit confident over here. I think he grabbed me from behind and kind of you know, my arm is pinned down. And I tell you what, all of my might and I didn't even and it wasn't an enormous percent. He was like, maybe six feet tall. I don't know. 180. And then I started crying. So it was also it was so emotional, embarrassing, maybe a little ashamed. And that's what I remember. Unfortunately.

Jennifer  13:48
That's not the empowering piece.

Andrea  13:52
But not surprising that that's the thing that I remember.

Jennifer  13:54
Yeah, of course. Sorry. Yeah, sorry, you had to how to deal with that. What I would advise people to look for… A lot of times a martial art school will offer self-defense classes, programs to non-martial artists, right? So you have to decide, do I want to do the uniform, the bowing the whole thing and work my way up? Most people don't. And I'm very clear on that. So think about first of all, how much commitment you want to put towards this, a one-off class versus, you know, a four month series or whatever the place is offering. But really just go in and look at the vibe or feel the vibe anyway of the instructors. And you want to make sure that it's first of all female friendly and focused. The school that I wound up joining when I was so young, I just remember walking in and watching these fierce Black Belt women like with swords and all this wonderful techniques. And I was so inspired and I remember thinking like I want to be like that. Versus some of these dojos I've walked in like 99.9% male and all the energy that comes along with that is not always the most nurturing and helpful.

Andrea  15:07
Cobra Kai from Karate Kid.

Jennifer  15:10
Totally, exactly like Cobra Kai.

Andrea  15:15
Okay, so I can see how that would be important the by making sure that it's women friendly, not toxic and probably maybe like a referral. Yes, the basics. Look at Google reviews.

Jennifer  15:23
Yeah, yeah, exactly how you would choose anything, you know, even a restaurant, but get the reviews. But really, it's about feeling and making sure you feel safe in that environment. Because a lot of people have had bad experiences like yourself. I'm not saying the whole experience was bad. But what you remember is crying, right? I wouldn't want any my students to walk out and only remember that they cried in my class.

Andrea  15:49
I think I remember actually one more thing. So to redeem myself and the end the class, I think I remember them teaching us to, if we find ourselves and trigger warning for anyone who might get triggered easily talking about, you know, these types of situations. So if we are if you're on your back, and you're pinned down, and your assailant is like straddling you, to pull your…bend your knees, like pull your heels towards your butt so that way you have better leverage and lift your lift, you're like do like a bridge exercise, to try to tip that person over and off. And I'm probably not explaining it very well, it'd be much easier to like watch a YouTube video. But that's what I think I remember.

Jennifer  16:34
I know exactly what you're talking about. And to be fair, that is the probably most important move that you could ever remember. So kudos to your teacher. Kudos to the class. Like you got it.

Andrea  16:47
Yeah. And I think I remember trying… It was interesting to me how emotional it was to practice those moves and I don't know if this is just a me thing. Or if this is, I think, especially for someone who's experienced any kind of like physical assault, like that would be extremely hard. But I found it just difficult to do emotionally and mentally to practice it. And you have to. You have to practice.

Jennifer  17:12
Yeah, exactly. I mean, yeah, it's not comfortable. Step one of all, my programming is about embracing the suck, getting uncomfortable. And I learned that on the mat. It's sparring, and learning all these techniques with people twice my size was not fun getting kicked, getting punched, getting taken down, over and over and over again. And it's almost like the more you practice it, the easier it is to get back up.

Andrea  17:37
Just like anything, really. So that's a great segue into the book. So it's The Art of Badassery: Unleash Your Mojo With Wisdom of the Dojo. And can you take us through the belts? if you will. So are there, five of them? Six? Seven? That's right. Okay. Can you, and I should have asked you this before, I don't know if you haven't memorized. But to the very first one, the white belt is embrace the suck. And that's just like, kind of the getting comfortable being uncomfortable?

Jennifer  18:05
Exactly. Each chapter represents a different level, if you will. And I feel like life is kind of like martial arts in that way where you're moving from belt level to the next to the next. It's like self-development, right? But before you move from one belt level to the next, there's usually a very difficult test. Not just of the physical moves, but of your mind, body and spirit.

Andrea  18:27
Okay, so the white belt is embrace the suck. And then chapter… I like how they actually go to order. So I didn't I didn't know that before. I thought you could kind of like jump. But I guess that's just like in martial arts, like you can't just like… I really liked the green belt. It's my favorite color. You want people to start with the white belt, embrace the suck and then yellow belt is bounce back. Can you say more about that?

Jennifer  18:52
Yes. So like I was saying, you get taken down a lot right on when you're a white belt, you're just learning so you keep either failing but in life, obviously takedowns are more like failure, divorce, financial hardship, disease, pandemic, things like that. So yellow belt is three strategies that I learned on the mat that you can also use in life to help you get back up with velocity. So the first is the pivot, which we've all mastered, right during the pandemic. The second is just kind of like rolling with the punches and using momentum to help you get your feet back under you each time. So like, more like what I was saying, it happens so often, you just know how to get back up quicker each time. And then third is really about when life knocks you out for the count. I'm sure we've all been there in some way. And you know, there is no option to roll to pivot. It's really just about recreating yourself. You know having an ultimate comeback.

Andrea  19:51
Oh and love that. Yeah.

Jennifer  19:53
Have you had an ultimate comeback?

Andrea  19:55
I’m about to.

Jennifer  19:57
From the pandemic?

Andrea  20:00
Yeah. Well, you know, you and I were talking before we started recording, I was telling you how, and I talked about this on the show my audience, I think it was last year, I was really transparent and told them that my mental health took a shit. Took a giant shit in 2020. It was definitely like my top three worst mental health moments. Yeah, and thank goodness for supportive people and great therapists and the fact that I can even afford that I have immense privilege in that. And at that point, I think it is for antidepressants, but yes, I'm ready for my ultimate comeback. It's the big UC. That's what I'm gonna call it.

Jennifer  20:38
We've all been there. And I've had to recreate myself through my career so many times. It is a privilege if you get to like, recreate and come back, like almost a new, better version of you.

Andrea  20:52
I'm interrupting this conversation to actually ask you a question. Do you work for a company or do you own a company or are you an event planner, where you might need a speaker that's me. So I speak on self-confidence for women, that's usually a an all women audience. I also speak on resilience that is a mixed audience and I also give a talk on corporate wellness, as well as have one more, that's very specific, I have a talk that is all around recovery. So it's very specific for recovery audience. If you need a very enthusiastic speaker, who gives really great content, than I might be your lady. You can head on over to AndreaOwen.com/speaking. There's an outline of all of my keynotes. And I also do the Daring Way training for corporations. If you're interested in that. It's, it's more like a workshop. So let me know, you can click on the button that's on that page. It's also on my homepage on that AndreaOwen.com/speaking, or the homepage, and it will take you to a short little form asks you a few questions about your event. And then we will get back to you to see if I am a good fit for your audience and your event.

Moving on to orange belt that is block the BS. I love that. Can you tell us more about that?

Jennifer  23:25
Yeah, absolutely. So on the mat obviously, we realize if we don't learn blocking very well, you wind up getting punched and kicked a lot more. So they're essentially, in martial arts, two different main styles, if you will, of blocking or fighting and one is hard and one is soft. So relating that into everyday life is you can either…when someone or something is overstepping your boundaries, you have a lot of choices on how to deal with that. And really, that's the main message. I want women especially, to remember that there are so many choices that you have. But what happens a lot of time is like we're frozen, we're left like what just happened? You know, in so many ways. So the harder styles of blocking is literally meeting the force, the opposing force, with an equal to or greater force. So on the street that could look like telling somebody off who's just, you know, cat called you or gotten your space. And the softer ways of using blocking is almost like blending with I know we're not on camera, so I'm doing the moves. It's like almost blending with the incoming assault in order to redirect it either out into space or back at the person.

Andrea  24:48
Okay. So what would that look like within like a personal setting?

Jennifer  24:53
So if someone kind of hands you a complisult, right, something where you're left scratching your head like Was that an insult?

Andrea  25:00
I have never heard that term before. That's amazing. I'm gonna use that from now often I love that. It was like a compliment, but it's an insult.

Jennifer  25:11
It's like, you look good for your age.

Andrea  25:14
Yeah. Fuck off.

Andrea  25:16
So Andrea's approach is fuck off, which would be a hard block.

Andrea  25:25
Or just an ew. That's another one.

Jennifer  25:27
Okay, softer style would be like, hey, did you feel like it was necessary to put that, you know, to say that at the end for your age? Or, hey, it made me feel like this. Was that your intention? So bouncing back a question to someone after they make these comments or even insults and, you know, if things are more escalated than just complisult, you can still use those types of redirects.

Andrea  25:52
So my husband and I… I just realized my husband and I do that to each other. Okay, we can both be passive aggressive. In his defense, I was gonna say he's, he's peeking be passive aggressive, do we call it out in the moment in the most kind way possible? And I think that the more genuinely kind it is, the more it makes it a person mad. I remember one time I was I was, you know, tidying up the kitchen or cooking or something and my husband and my kids were like, resting basically. And I was like, no, it's fine. You guys just like don't help like I have totally have it. It's good. Don't anybody get up when calls from the living room. He's like, are you being passive aggressive? And I'm like…

Jennifer  26:39

Andrea  26:41
Yeah, I don't get a free pass nor does he and he did end up helping but that's very that's a soft block, I guess.

Jennifer  26:46
Yeah. Yes, and super healthy. I think that's really wonderful that you have that practice, skewing and right. Call it out. Call it out in the moment. So yeah, in the chapter there's tons of examples and ways that you can redirect people's negative bullshit so it doesn't land on you and it definitely doesn't have to stick.

Andrea  27:13
And then the fourth one, the green belt, which again is my favorite color, is find your roar so tell us about that.

Jennifer  28:57
Yeah, so again, if anyone has walked by a dojo ever or had kids in the dojo or is a martial artist, you will hear these weird noises coming from it like yep, or huh or something. We are taught to use a inquiry and it's called kiai which translates to a spirit and yell, or you can use the word kiai you can use any you know sound you essentially choose your own style of kiai can use hiya like Miss Piggy right? That would be…

Andrea  29:34
My daughter… There we have like a family joke about that. Yeah.

Jennifer  29:39
I love this piggy. She's like my ultimate icon. She's the best. Yes. Around Greenbelt is when you start to really get comfortable in that because at first it's very awkward right? You're wheezes and… But the idea is to accentuate every punch and kick every move that you make. It can also intimidate an opponent, right? That's what it was probably designed for back in the day. So in life, right, it's just really about powerful communication style. And how do we do that? We all know body language tone, and the words that we use both outwardly and our inner vocabulary is probably the most important thing that I really touch on in in the chapter. I was thinking of a question to ask you.

Andrea  30:24
Were you going to ask about do I have a roar?

Jennifer  30:26
Yeah, let's do that.

Andrea  30:28
No, I don't. Mine is more. You know, it's funny is after my dad died in 2016…

Jennifer  30:31
Mine too.

Andrea  30:33
Did he really? Yes. Wait. October.

Jennifer  30:39
Oh, my gosh, I'm so sorry.

Andrea  30:41
Thank you, and how weird. I know. And how are we not friends?

Jennifer  30:48

Andrea  30:50
My dad played all kinds of sports and he actually when I was very little, taught me how to box and taught me really mostly like how to protect your face, like in a boxing match. Like always keep your always keep your gloves up. And that's one thing I remember from him. There's all these like, weird, like sports things. And I was never really big into sports but I played with him a lot. And but one thing that we always did together was we played a lot of tennis. I grew up on the tennis court. After he died, I started to remember all of these things that he had taught me, especially when I was out playing tennis, I would be on the court and I would remember something that he would tell me. And one of the things he would say, when he would yell at me from across the court to rush the net. And I when I was younger, I didn't have enough confidence at the net, especially playing singles, like, you know, because it's a risk when you're up there. And he would tell me, he's like, even if you don't think that you can get the shot it will intimidate your opponent. If you keep rushing the net, especially in the beginning, they're going to be nervous. It's just that like physical energy. So I don't know if I have an actual like, you know, a roar, just loud in general. But I think that stuck with me. And I think that that may have something to do with how I walk with confidence and how at such a young age, he told me to do that. And it's just stuck.

Jennifer  32:14
Oh, I love that story so so much. It makes me want to cry because I can relate. My dad didn't teach me boxing, but he started martial arts in his 50s. I was still probably in high school at the time. So I wasn't interested. But it wasn't until I was 22 that I actually was like, hmm, let me try this out. So I followed in his footsteps. And wow, that's awesome.

Andrea  32:37
Yeah. So you have we have a couple more. And I want to ask you to tell the story too of how you how you started your September 11th story too, because it's super powerful. So we get now we're at Blue and elevate your energy. So this could that can be interpreted a lot of different ways. How do you like to talk about it?

Jennifer  32:55
So I like to talk to talk about it like this. At that level is when I started to learn about chi and qi and your lifeforce energy. And it was also the point where I started to become so… I like I mean, it's like almost addiction. I was addicted to martial arts. Like that's how I felt.

Andrea  33:11
I've heard that happens to a lot of people. And they get…

Jennifer  33:15
In the best way. Like it's not a bad addiction to have. I was just gaining so much from it mentally, spiritually, physically, that I just kept going. So I was going to class every day and then I wanted to stay for two classes in a row. And I was like, okay, if I don't start taking care of my lifeforce energy through nutrition, through hydration, through sleep and recovery, and lifestyle, I'm gonna burn out. And I feel like, you know, right now, a lot of people are experiencing that. Burnout can happen, but we don't have to be passive about it. There are so many things that we can that we do have control of, like the things I mentioned, that can really help elevate our lifeforce energy.

Andrea  33:58
Yeah, well, especially with COVID. I think so many of us were not anticipating the toll that it would take on us mentally and emotionally, and even physically and spiritually, I think for many. But that can be something that gets put on the backburner and just not prioritized.

Jennifer  34:14
Right. Absolutely. Yeah.

Andrea  34:17
Okay, so second to last red belt, probably my second favorite color. Connect with your Warrior Within

Jennifer  34:26
Hmm, yes. So red belt level, in at least in my experience in martial art was all about preparation for black belts. And we started to learn like slower forms of movement. Think of like Tai Chi, or your connecting your breath to your movements. We started to meditate more. And as you can imagine, those practices really spill out into other parts of my life. I would become more mindful, and granted I'm not going to hype this up too much because back then I was my younger when I was actually a red belt, and I didn't take meditation as seriously, as I do now. See how much meditation actually affects my life and it's changed my life. Back then, you know, I was, I'll say I was more like dabbling in it. I used to sit there, you know, again, I was going, going, going training clients running around the city, from client to client and I would just have to, like, get to the dojo and lie on my back and pretend I was meditating. But I was really just napping. So anyway, yeah, it's just about connecting with that warrior within. That guide, our higher self, your soul, your spirit, whatever you want to call it. For guidance, really, truly believe that we all can listen more and the more we listen, the more information that we actually get, right? The pulling us towards people experiences, things that light us up and fill our cup, and feel the repulsion if we're really listening towards those people, places and things that drag us down.

Andrea  36:05
I love all of these. And every time like you talked about one, and I'm like, oh, that's really important, too. That's really like, none of them, I think are more important than the other. They all go together so beautifully. Thank you. So the last one, yeah, no, it's just it's really it's really brilliant. So Black Belt is take the lead. What's that about?

Jennifer  36:23
Black Belt was all about leadership. I'll just sum it up like that. Because what I thought black belt level would be about was about being able to take someone down twice my size and executing my sword form perfectly. But really what it's about is being a teacher, a leader, in that microcosm of the dojo, which again, started spilling out in other parts of my life. So you know, the chapter will talk about taking stances, how we drilled stances, but essentially, in life, that's about taking a stand for causes that are really important to you. I know right now our country is, gosh, like so divided.

Andrea  37:01
And I don't even know where to go there. It sure is, yeah.

Jennifer  37:05
It's really ugly out there. And at the same time, it's important to voice your stance on things that matter, right. And hopefully, we're coming about it, where we are caring for other people, we're caring for others that we can maybe help rise so we all rise together. That's the hope.

Andrea  37:27
Yeah. You know, what I love about this book is that, and people have told me this about so anyone listening who really liked my very first book, 52 Ways To Live A Kick Ass Life and for those of you that said, like, I love it, because it's so digestible and it's just like these bite sized pieces of wisdom that are so universally applicable to everyone's life. This is that book. It's just it's so…like, everyone can benefit from this. It's like no matter if you are seasoned in personal development, or you are just starting out, I think it's incredibly, incredibly helpful to everyone.

Jennifer  37:58
Also Make Some Noise. I mean, the first three chapters, I'm like, yeah, yeah, yeah, yes, that too. Yes, that's, we are, I think our messages are so aligned on so many different levels. That I was just so excited to hear you and everyone. I use the audible version of Andrea’s book, and it was just so fun to hear her voice like.

Andrea  38:17
Thank you. It's so much fun doing… Have you recorded the audiobook for this yet?

Jennifer  38:21

Andrea 38:22
Did you like doing it? Did you like the experience?

Jennifer  38:25
All the stomach gurgles that kept happening.

Andrea  38:29
That microphone picks up everything. And at least when you're when you're podcasting, I have found that you don't talk for such long lengths of time. So I mean, I guess some people do, who do really long form. I don't where I'm recording my podcast, I'm in a room
where it doesn't pick up… I have a great mic, but it doesn't, I don't know, maybe it does. People are gonna like DM me and they're like, I hear your stomach gurgles on your podcasts. So as I listened back and I'm like, oh, my breathing. But yeah, I found that too. Recording an audiobook picks up every single little spit that you do weird stomach gurgle, like the throat burps like that you don't intend to do.

Jennifer  39:15
Yep. funny little thing.

Andrea  39:17
Well, just… Can you leave us with the story of sort of like the moment that changed your life? And because you were in Manhattan on September 11th. And can you kind of take us through that. It's a story that I think it opens the book.

Jennifer  39:33
Yes. It's a story that I found was the most pivotal experience of my life so far. But essentially that morning, I woke up, went down to work in the subway when I got out of the subway at Wall Street looked up and saw black smoke billowing out of the World Trade Center towers and I worked three blocks south of the World Trade Center, so not in it. And I made my way to the up to the building, wasn't allowed upstairs and the doorman said you can use the phone In the lobby. So I went to use the phone to call my mom and within seconds, the tower first tower fell. So all of a sudden the swarm of people bum rushed, you know, the lobby for shelter, and I got thrown into this big closet with them. And this was the first time in my life where my body shut down, I was in complete freeze mode, I thought I was gonna die. And this woman came over to me and grabbed me and said, what's your name, which caused me to breathe, right, through that freeze moment, answered her and she said, Jennifer, I'm Nancy, and the two of us are gonna get out of here today. And sure enough, we did, building the building the building, looking for shelter that day, until hours later, I was able to lead Nancy to the dojo. So for the first time, that day, I was able to feel safe, and wash my sweat off my body and drink water and, you know, start to regulate my nervous system. So it really became this symbol of safety. And that's all I wanted to do in the weeks and months, and then years afterwards. And that is also that… So in those months afterwards, is where I said, well, this is really all I want to do. All I like doing is coming here. I was bartending and pay the bills at night, so how can I create a career that helps people feel stronger, mentally and physically, safe, right from the streets to the boardroom, spiritually grounded, and more purposeful. So that's when I started with personal training, and then health coaching and blah, blah, blah, the rest is history.

Andrea  41:38
And here you are.

Jennifer  41:40
Here I am.

Andrea  41:42
22… How many years? Has it been? 22?

Jennifer  41:45
22. Yeah.

Andrea  41:47
And you were how old? 23?

Jennifer  41:49
I was about 22, 23. At the time yeah.

Andrea  41:52
And you still you have not been able to find Nancy since that day.

Jennifer  41:56

Andrea  41:58
Were you able to make a TikTok about it. Tick tock on Twitter, we'll find her you think a middle aged lady named Nancy. I mean, there's not very many of them. In New York. Right, things have happened, they might be able to find her. I think it's such a great story. And someone who's, and I and I want to preface this by saying this does not have to be everyone's experience, but it is possible to turn your trauma into a career, into just kind of like you said that pivotal moment that that changed your life, not just…and it didn't happen all at once. It really was something that you realized was inside of you and that you wanted to do. I'm sorry that it had to go in that direction for you. That is I mean, it was hard for us watching it on the other side of the country, but like to actually be there. I mean, my gosh, that's a lot of trauma for a lot of people that day.

Jennifer  42:50
A lot of people, and that's the other thing I always want to make clear is, I was so lucky, and so many people weren't. And that's why for many, many years, I didn't even I didn't even think of it. I was like I wasn't, I felt like I wasn't even allowed to feel anything about it because so many people lost their lives that day. So it wasn't until, you know, the last five, six years that I was able to say like, oh, no, this actually is my story. And this happened and, and it is part of my journey. And

Andrea  43:23
It was really difficult. Well, everyone, the link will be in the show notes, The Art of Badassert: Unleash Your Mojo With Wisdom of the Dojo. Thank you so much for being here. Before we go? Is there anything that you didn't say that you want to get a chance to say before we are complete.

Jennifer  43:39
Andrea, I'm just like really excited that we met, we got to connect that we're so aligned on our missions, I would say having, you know, a similar mission of wanting to help women feel more empowered. So everyone that's listening, my reminder to you is that all the power that you need is already within you. And we just have to remember that it's there and tap into it.

Andrea  44:04
I forget that sometimes too. So it's written on a Post-it a stack of this must be an ADHD. Do you think too, I have a stack of like 20 Post-it’s with notes written on them. They're like scattered. Sometimes they're piled up that's written over there. Everyone, thank you for being here. You know how grateful I am that you spend your time with me and my guests. And remember, it's our life's journey to make ourselves better people and our life's responsibility to make the world a better place. Bye for now.