She Helps Others Find Their Strength


Strength in mind, body and spirit. Those are traits that many need in daily life and in Jodi Harrison-Lee’s new book those traits are more than just a saying on a poster – in practice, this philosophy can save lives.

Harrison-Lee has dedicated 25 years of her life to training and teaching taekwondo and hapkido, the Korean art form of self-defense. During those years she earned an advanced black belt degree, received teaching credentials and a masters in education. She taught fourth and fifth grade for 10 years in La Cañada Flintridge. In 1994, she and her husband, Grandmaster Jung Yul Lee, opened The Martial Way in La Crescenta. She also is a mother of three.

Harrison-Lee had been thinking about writing a book for some time. The first rendition of her current book “Find Your Strength ¬– The Essential Self-Defense Handbook For Every College Woman” was available online but she wanted to expand its teachings to focus on young college-bound women.

“I wrote the e-book in 2015,” Harrison-Lee said. “It had the seven keys at first but it didn’t go into [sexual abuse or] rape.”

Then Brock Turner’s case went viral. Turner is the former Stanford University student who in 2016 was found guilty on three charges, including intent to commit rape of an intoxicated or unconscious person. A friend and fellow mom sent Harrison-Lee articles of college women who had been sexually assaulted. The friend believed that what Harrison-Lee had to teach would help women and give them strength.

Harrison-Lee learned how prevalent these types of attacks were and began looking inward to the choices she made when she was younger. She realized some of her choices had put her in dangerous situations.

At first it was difficult for her to focus on writing for just one section of the community – young college women – because she wanted to help everyone gain their strength.

“But I decided to target this audience,” she said. “I knew the biggest need was the college-bound girl, so I started there.”

Her future plans include writing for all ages and genders.

“Martial arts is a paradox in itself because we are trained to fight and to fight hard but in the course of training you become someone who never has to fight,” she said.

Harrison-Lee understands that not everyone has the time, or the patience, to go through martial arts training, so she has written her book and developed a series of seminars to help those who only have a short amount of time to dedicate to gaining their strength. Her approach has seven keys: Smart Decisions, Take Away Distractions, Realize Your Weapons and Their Weakness, Exercise Your Weapons, No! How to Communicate, Gain Respect For Yourself and Your Personal Space, and Trust Your Inner Voice. These keys are laid out in the book in easy to understand and logical patterns. Her goal is not to just create someone who can fight back but someone who would not find themself in a position where s/he has to fight. It is a philosophy of being aware of one’s surroundings, building a strong body and exercising inner strength.

“I think so much of academics is stressful. I feel sorry for kids in high school who are pushing themselves so hard just to get into their [dream] school,” she said. “They are focused on academics but they forget there is a whole other part of themselves.”

She said her book and seminars are finding success and now she wants to expand to include young men going to college, adding that the stereotype of strong men and weak women is at an end, that young men need the confidence of the seven keys as much as women. She would also like to include seminars and books directed toward a younger audience.

“I realize I need to start with a younger audience,” she said.

She would adjust the message to be age appropriate, depending on the audience, saying the philosophy of strength of mind, body and spirit works for all ages, from those attending elementary school to adults in the working world.

“It is about the empowerment you get from strengthening all three parts of yourself,” she said.

“Find Your Strength” can be found at bookstores and online. Jodi Harrison-Lee has a three-day seminar on Aug. 10-12 at The Martial Way. For information, email or call (818) 531-8886. Discounted fees available by referencing CV Weekly. The seminar includes a free copy of her book.