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  • Writer's pictureCait Donovan

Jennifer Cassetta: Martial Arts For Protecting Your Mind, Body and Energy

Updated: Sep 28, 2022

Jennifer Cassetta first experienced burnout after a near death experience on September 11, 2001. At the time, she worked as an event planner at a loft downtown, located only three blocks south of the World Trade Center. On 9/11, she spent the morning frantically searching for shelter amongst smoke and ash, and finally found safety at her local dojo. In the months following, this dojo became the place where Jennifer was able to find the physical, mental, and spiritual grounding she needed to help her cope with her PTSD. After beginning to experience the incredible, multifaceted benefits of her HapKiDo practice, Jennifer decided to make a career out of helping others find similar empowerment through self-defense.

Unfortunately, 9/11 was not Jennifer’s only burnout story. Several years later, Jennifer was still living in New York City and experienced an emotionally traumatic breakup. As a result, she ultimately ended up moving out of NYC to California in order to create the distance and space she needed to heal. It was during this time that Jennifer realized the powerful ability of her martial arts practice to defend her from internal wounds.

Now, Jennifer is a speaker, author and consultant, who empowers audiences around the country through keynotes, self-defense and success coaching. Equipped with her 3rd degree black belt in HapKiDo, Master’s degree in Nutrition and NLP certification, Jennifer helps women release their inner warrior and feel strong, safe and confident from the streets to the boardroom. Jennifer’s first book, Hear Me Roar: How to Defend Your Mind, Body, and Heart against People Who Suck, employs personal anecdotes from her own life to inspire others to take back their power for a lifetime of health and happiness.

Tune into this week’s episode of FRIED. The Burnout Podcast for a conversation with Jennifer Cassetta about burnout, boundaries, and badassery. Learn how to find comfort in confrontation, when to move on from toxic relationships, and how to find compassion for ALL people, even the sucky ones.


  • “It became like this metaphor. All I wanted to do was go to that dojo. I started to feel all of these amazing benefits. Physically, my body was getting stronger; mentally, I started to feel more confident again; spiritually, I started to feel grounded and not just like hyper- hyper-sensitive. And I know looking back that that really saved me from gosh knows what else. Obviously, then, the story continues to build an entire career out of wanting to share those benefits, those mental, physical, spiritual benefits with as many people as I could. And the story continues to get me to now where I am speaking about it all over the country.” (6:32-7:13)

  • “There’s a lot of principles in HapKiDo that are similar to an Aikido....which is more defensive strategies, basically taking on your opponent’s negative energy, not taking it on but blending with it and redirecting that energy either out into space or back at the attacker. Hapkido has those circular motions and also the ‘I’m gonna kick your ass afterwards.’ So there’s like a very nice balance of the soft and the hard.” (11:26-12:03)

  • Not everybody knows what your boundaries are. And to expect that is impossible, right? So sometimes a nice soft boundary, a nice reminder like, ‘Hey, what you just said, it makes me feel like this. Was that your intention?’ So a softer block can be a redirect of that energy, asking a question, bouncing back a question to the other person, holding their gaze, waiting for an answer, which holds them accountable is an interaction which is soft, yet powerful at the same time. And I think those types of interactions are really important.” (13:47-14:23)

  • “Now in my self-defense classes, I teach people if people are going to be overstepping your boundaries or a person, place or thing is sucking your energy dry from you, you have two strategies essentially: create distance and space or communicate what your boundaries are.” (26:55-27:13)

  • “How I teach people to (and how I do it myself obviously) set a state is to go back, think of a time when you were in that state. So let’s pick confidence. Think of a time where you felt like a total rockstar – confident, badass, whatever it was – and then look around, see what you’re seeing, hear what you’re hearing, feel what you’re feeling, and really embody that emotion, that state….really get into your body and anchor it there.” (37:25-38:03)

  • “When we’re headed for burnout, if we remain in our heads, you’re gonna spiral into the burnout. And the connecting of the mind, body and spirit is the only way out.” (50:35-50:47)




If you know that it’s time to actually DO something about the burnout cycle you’ve been in for too long - book your free consult today:


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