the return of guest post thursday.

by Janetha on April 21, 2011

in moves

hey guys! remember when i was really busy planning my wedding and i introduced a weekly feature called “guest post thursday”? well, i am at it again, because today consists of an insanity workout, 8 hours at the office, 2.5 hours of yoga (that is including the commute), a husband to make dinner for and a bed to sleep in.

SO.. guest post thursday it is! this one comes from a reader, jenna w, who came to me and asked if i would want her trainer, jennifer cassetta, to write up a guest post regarding women’s self defense. i am ALL about learning more moves (especially regarding self defense!) and i know you guys are, too, so i happily agreed.

here’s jenna.. followed by jennifer!


Hey meals & moves readers, I’m Jenna. I train with a fantastic trainer and self defense coach in Los Angeles named Jennifer Cassetta and she has a great women’s self defense DVD series called, “Stilettos and Self Defense” that teaches women how to defend themselves and stay out of harms way. You can see a preview of the DVD series here. I think that many women have no idea about how to defend themselves and often don’t take the time to even consider the possibility that they could fall into harms way.

Jennifer has written up a post showing us all how to do several moves that not only give us a kick butt workout, but also teach us how to kick butt.

Here’s Jennifer!


This is a workout with meaning! This workout ensures to get your heart rate on the rise to maximize calorie burn while learning life-saving skills. I have designed this workout especially for you to increase your awareness as well as your metabolism! Over the last 12 years I have attained my 3rd degree black belt in HapKiDo, a fierce Korean martial art. I was grabbed by an attacker on the street in NYC about 10 years ago and got away because of my new found skills. Years later, I created Stilettos and Self Defense™ women’s empowerment and self defense workshops and DVD series, to help women increase their awareness, confidence and teach them some butt-kicking moves.

Here are some of the basics:

Fighting Stance:

Fighting Stance

Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Take one step backward with your right foot and bend both knees slightly. Raise clenched fists to your chin. This is your “fighting stance”.

Switch Stance Jump:

Fighting Stance
Works calves, hamstrings, and quads. Gets heart rate up quickly.

Start in fighting stance and switch legs. Jump up, switching your legs in the air so you land with your right foot forward. Repeat 20 times without pausing between jumps. To amp up your workout, include these jumps in between each set of kicks.

Knee Strike:
Knee Strike

Works core and increases heart rate.

Start in fighting stance with your leg forward. Lift your right knee to hip level, slightly aiming it forward. Put it back to fighting stance. Repeat 20 times and switch legs.

Self-defense application: A knee strike is a short range weapon, meaning when an attacker is very close to you, you can knee them in the groin to stun the attacker long enough for you to get away. If one knee strike doesn’t take your attacker down, keep delivering them rapidly for added pain.

Front Kick:

Front Kick1 Front Kick2

Works calves, core, hamstrings, quads and foot muscles while getting your heart rate up.

Start in fighting stance with your left leg forward. Lift your right knee to about hip level, then kick/extend your foot straight out. Lower it back to the knee then down to where it started. That’s one rep. Do 20 on each leg.

Self-defense application: A front kick can literally stop an attacker in his tracks. If fast and deliberate enough this strike will make a man hover over in pain and hopefully take him to his knees! Make sure to practice your kicks quickly and aim this kick to the groin.

Back Kick:

Back Kick1 Back Kick 2
Works calves, core, glutes, hamstrings, quads and muscles in your feet, too.

Start in a fighting stance with your left leg forward. Lift your left knee to about hip level, then immediately kick your heel straight back with a flexed foot. Bring your leg back in and down. Do this 20 times on each leg.

Self-defense application: Picture someone chasing you up a flight of stairs or creeping up behind you on a subway platform. Glance behind you, aim and fire! Aim for the groin or the attacker’s knees to buckle them and get him off of balance while you take off for safety.

Once you have the basics, try these combinations:

  1. Knee, Front kick
  2. Knee, Back kick
  3. Front Kick, Back kick
  4. Knee, Front kick, Back kick

Do each combination 10 times on each leg to lengthen this workout, increase core strength and more calorie burning. Have fun and visualize what your new moves represent!

Jennifer teaches Stilettos and Self Defense™, her brand of women’s self defense workshops and DVD’s from NYC to LA. She is also a clinical nutritionist and certified personal trainer with celebrity clients in Los Angeles. You can purchase her DVD’s to learn more life-saving skills or download them to watch on your computer at For more info on Jennifer’s other fitness programs,
go to


are you concerned about self defense?

have you ever taken a self defense class?

how safe do you consider the area you live in?

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my little celebration April 21, 2011 at 4:03 pm

Great post! I think if I knew self defense moves I’d feel much more confident and safe when I’m out by myself. Thanks for sharing! Jennifer is pretty much awesome.

Rachel (Olalliberry) April 21, 2011 at 4:22 pm

This is a great post, it’s so important to be able to defend yourself. I took an awesome self defense class through our local police department a couple of years ago and it was incredibly helpful and empowering. If you’re in the Portland, Oregon area I would highly recommend the WomenStrength program.

Emily April 21, 2011 at 4:48 pm

I’ve never taken an actual self-defense class, although I feel that I should. I have done some boxing and fighting-inspired workouts before. Fighters always give me workout envy.

Jennifer’s working out at the park in my neighborhood in those pictures! I run around there every morning :)

Juliette April 21, 2011 at 4:58 pm

I have never taken a self defense class but always think about taking one. I live SLC, so I do feel generally safe, but I do carry pepper spray with me, just in case.
I do think it’s a great idea to have some self defense moves because it just gives more power to YOU!

Kelly April 21, 2011 at 5:52 pm

I am paranoid about being attacked/abducted. Seriously. It started when I was a little girl and got followed one day on my way home from school buy a man in a pickup truck. It was scary and I ended up running blindly into someone’s backyard where I frantically banged on theri back window….crazy. But it scared me. I started taking karate and my Dad (who is/was a black belt also helped me) and even now when I am out running alone I carry mace with me. I have my gun license too…what can I say I am not going down without a fight. ever.

Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) April 21, 2011 at 6:02 pm

thanks for the great post!

I have been the victim of violent crime (twice) and pretty much thought I was going to die both times. I have no idea why I didnt. Well, I know why but that’s more than I can write here. Anyway…awesome post. Women need to be more aware of self defense,their surroundings, etc..

lifttorun April 21, 2011 at 6:06 pm

At my school they required us to take self defense classes. I feel pretty tough though since I took kickboxing classes for years.

Pure2raw twins April 21, 2011 at 6:30 pm

We took a self-defense class about a year ago and it was great! One thing we learned is you cannot live in fear, but need to be aware of your surroundings at all times. Always be prepared. And if you are approach by a stranger look them straight in and the eyes and ask what time it is. The officer told us they do not want to be recognized or something like that.

Eden April 21, 2011 at 6:55 pm

Hey Jenna!
First off, congrats on your guest post! I love having readers do guest posts. I had my first reader guest post last week and it was so refreshing.

Second, you live in la? I taught yoga at a self defense studio in culver city. They mainly taught krav maga which is the farthest I’ve gotten as far as self defense training. I usually consider where I live in LA safe, but someone broke I’m to my apt last week in the middle of the night! Luckily, he seemed kinda drunk and I think he was scarred since my house is such a mess! He must have thought we had already been robbed!

LauraJayne April 21, 2011 at 7:06 pm

I love this post. I know I should be way more concerned about self-defense than I am. I used to date a guy who was always totally panicked about me running alone. I think I feel like I am “strong” so I don’t need self-defense tips – but I know that I really do! Great guest post!

Jenny @ Fitness Health and Food April 21, 2011 at 7:18 pm

Thanks so much for sharing!

I should take a self defense class. I’ve trained in boxing and kickboxing however I don’t know if my instincts are honed for self defense!

Kristie April 21, 2011 at 9:23 pm

I’d love to take some kind of self-defense training someday. I did take a judo class when I was younger but didn’t stick it out for very long. And in my Tae bo days a few years back, Billy Blanks gave me a pretty good run with the basic kick and punch moves. I definitely think a bit of self-defense knowledge is something every female should have.

Presley April 22, 2011 at 3:41 am

Self defense is one of those things I never think about unless I’m feeling particularly threatened (like walking alone at night… ahh!) And by then, it’s too late. I would love to take a class one day, I think that would be fun/educational!

Allison @ Runs A Latte April 22, 2011 at 8:19 am

Very cool – so bad ass! I like to think I could just defend myself if I ever needed to, but ya never know. It’s probably a good thing to know, both practically and to boost confidence in your own strength. Besides with all those kicks, my lower body would look awesome! Thanks for sharing your moves!

Jacob W. April 28, 2011 at 2:13 am

Hi Jennifer,
this is great and iv’e seen ur other posts as well. I’m just curious do you teach traditional HapKiDo in LA too? Greetings from New York.

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