top of page

It’s my favorite moment when I’m working with somebody and I see the light go on. I see them get excited and realize their inner strength.

Stephanie Cyr

Stephanie is a practicing martial artist, with nearly thirty years of experience across more than 10 different martial arts.   She holds a 6th-degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do, in which she has been a coach, official, instructor, and competitor with State and National championships.  Stephanie is also a mother of four, including a 18 year-old daughter, who has assisted Stephanie's clinics for high school students.  Currently, Stephanie is a Faculty Lecturer of Self Defense at San Francisco State University, a consultant for the San Francisco Unified School District, a Senior Facilitator for PAVE Prevention and a Health Coach. Based on her years of experience and evidence-based studies, she has developed age-appropriate curriculums for students, from kindergarten through college.  She is also writing public policy to instill self-defense in physical education programs throughout the country.  Before she turned to teaching full-time, Stephanie was a practicing attorney.  This unique background and instruction in the relevant case law round out her comprehensive approach.

Strength Within Logo Medium.png

Training With The Best

Stephanie has trained with some of the world's most respected and accomplished martial artists.  Since 1991, she has studied Taekwondo under the school of Grandmaster Sihak Henry Cho  (bottom left) who is credited with opening the first commercial Tae Kwon Do studio in the United States and is the only martial artist to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award from the President’s Council on Sports, Fitness & Nutrition from President Obama. It was Cho who told Stephanie to always remain a student and encouraged her to pursue her interest in self defense and to share it with others. In San Francisco, she continued her studies with Grandmaster Bill Dewart and participated in the development of his self defense system called "Tiger Defeats the Bull" which was featured in Black Belt Magazine and The Wall Street Journal.  After competing for the last time at Cho’s All American Open tournament (the first mixed martial arts competition in the United States), Stephanie then turned to other martial arts including Brazilian Jiujitsu, American boxing, Muay Thai, Zen Budokai jujitsu, and Krav Maga to refine her self defense skills and deepen her understanding of different techniques and their effectiveness. 


Stephanie maintains and continues to grow her global network to leaders across the different martial arts.

Our Story

Strength Within Self Defense defines self-defense as anything you say, do, think, or believe that helps keep you or others safe.  Strength Within Self Defense is a holistic approach and believes that self-care is the foundation of self-defense. In a supportive and nurturing environment, students learn mental readiness, situational awareness, de-escalation strategies, and physical techniques.  Strength Within Self Defense offers online and in-person programs for communities, schools, and corporations.  Strength Within Self Defense also provides two free online resources - Move of the Day instructional videos on Instagram and The Weekly EDGE Newsletter.  Strength Within Self Defense is designed to give everyone, no matter gender, size or physical capabilities, the tools necessary to protect themselves from physical, mental, or emotional threats. 




6th Dan Blackbelt

(Kukkiwon, Jidokwan & AAU Certification)

5th Dan Blackbelt

Chang Moo Kwan


Krav Maga


Brazilian Jiujitsu


Zen Budokai Jiujitsu, 
Muay Thai, Boxing, MMA.

Juris Doctor with Honor

University of Maryland

Faculty Lecturer

Personal Defense,
San Francisco State University


San Francisco
Unified School District
Physical Education Program

Senior Facilitator

PAVE Prevention

Health Coach

Institute for Integrative Nutrition

Board Consultant

Interim Executive Director

ESD Global

Manager, Higher Education Curriculum Committee

ESD Global


Senior Instructor

Academy of Taekwondo
Firehorse Taekwondo
San Francisco


University of San Francisco
Taekwondo Club

Guest Instructor

Self Defense for
Downtown Streets Team
and Blooming Room Project


AAU Certification
State, National & Junior
Olympic Events

Founding Member

Wellness Board
Tamalpais Union
School District


San Francisco Committee
The Joyful Heart Foundation


National Women's
Martial Arts Federation


Credentialing Committee and Credentialed Member
Association of ESD Professionals


San Francisco 
State Women's Coalition


SFSU Sexual Violence
Prevention Collaborative


AAU Positive 
Coaching Alliance


Association of Women
Martial Arts Instructors


Girls Festival 2019
By WorldWideWomen
Get in Touch

Thanks for submitting!

bottom of page