The Power of Self-Defense and Consent: A Conversation with Miyo Strong
The Power of Self-Defense and Consent: A Conversation with Miyo Strong

The Power of Self-Defense and Consent: A Conversation with Miyo Strong

In a recent episode of the Gnar Stool podcast, hosts Shannon O'Grady and John Perry sat down with Miyo Strong, a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt and the Smart Defense Program Director for the Elizabeth Smart Foundation. The conversation covered a range of topics, from the importance of self-defense and gratitude journaling to the growth of women in jiu-jitsu and the power of consent. Here are some highlights:

Empowering Women through Self-Defense
Miyo Strong is passionate about empowering women through self-defense. As a survivor of childhood sexual abuse and a stalker in college, she turned to martial arts, specifically jiu-jitsu, as a way to regain her strength and confidence. Miyo believes that self-defense is not just about physical techniques but also about building self-worth and setting healthy boundaries. Through the Smart Defense Program at the Elizabeth Smart Foundation, Miyo and her team provide a holistic approach to self-defense, incorporating mindfulness, breath work, and positive affirmations alongside physical training.

The Growth of Women in Jiu-Jitsu
Miyo has witnessed the growth of women in the sport of jiu-jitsu over the years. She attributes this growth to a shift in the culture of the sport, particularly the acceptance of cross-training and the creation of a supportive community for female practitioners. Miyo herself has been a trailblazer in the sport, competing and winning at various levels. She believes that competing is a valuable experience that helps her understand her strengths and weaknesses and pushes her to improve her skills.

The Importance of Consent
One of the key topics discussed in the episode was the importance of consent, both in martial arts and in everyday life. Miyo emphasized the need for enthusiastic consent and the importance of clear communication and boundaries. She shared how the Smart Defense Program teaches participants to use their voice to create a healthy atmosphere and to physically enforce their boundaries when necessary. Miyo also highlighted the significance of teaching consent to children from a young age, ensuring they understand the concept and can advocate for themselves.


This conversation with Miyo Strong shed light on the power of self-defense, the growth of women in jiu-jitsu, and the importance of consent. By empowering individuals with the tools and knowledge to protect themselves and create a safe environment, we can work towards a society where everyone feels respected and valued. Tune in now wherever you listen to podcasts

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