Want A Program That'll Help Your Teen Gain Confidence, Be More Assertive, More Extroverted, and Be Self-Defense Ready?

Plus, teach them the benefits of leadership, character development, and fitness? Our teen's martial arts program is designed to give them self-defense skills, build their confidence, show them how to focus, and build self-discipline. 

This results in a positive mindset, better attitude, more respect, getting things done, and improved grades in school. 

Thousands of satisfied customers since 1998

Hear what Mr. Deaver's has to say about this program

It's hard raising teens. All the changes they are going through is difficult for them and challenging for you.

Trying to find the right fit for your teen while looking for a program that will facilitate their growth and learning is just as tough.

But, I've got you on this one. 

You've probably discovered that your teenager will listen to someone else even though you've said it to them a thousand times. 

I get it. 

That's why we make sure to pass the same message about personal safety, confidence, focus, discipline, and all the other leadership and character traits along that you'd be trying to teach them.

We build them and do our best to set them on a positive and powerful path.  

Over the last 25+ years I have been refining, tweaking, and perfecting my program to help teens:

1. Gain a confidence boost from being shy, timid, or locked in their shell.
2. Get self-defense and personal safety skill that work. 
3. Improve their self-esteem and self-image.
4. Develop stronger self-discipline

Here's the ONE thing we do BEST in our Teen Program:

We build confidence. Is this what you've see or heard from others about your teen?

They are shy around others, especially if it is a new situation, place, or people. 
They are timid and have a hard time trying new things. Holding back even though they are capable of so much.
They just need to come out of their shell. It is like they are stuck and can't break free. 
There seems to be something going on at school. Or, they've told you someone is picking on them, calling them names, or being a bully. 
They don't speak up for themselves. They just follow others even if they know it isn't the right thing.

If you are resonating with any of these, then let's do a deeper dive into them. 

This most likely comes down to confidence. 

When we see our shy, timid, in-their-shell students beam with confidence, most all these problems go away. Yes, even the bullying part. They are no longer a target.

So, let me walk you through the approach I (and my instructors) take, how we build them, and the way it all comes together for your teen.

Our step-by-step proven confidence building system that works


This might sound like a ridiculously simple thing, but I assure you the magic is hidden in the approach. In most "activities" and primarily in our schools, the purpose is to find the problems and then work effortlessly to improve the weak spots. It sounds logical, but in reality it is a confidence-killer. Your teen (and all the rest) are indoctrinated into this thinking until there is someone who can show them a better way. The good news is we have the system, the process, and the program that reverses all this and builds confidence. You see, we uncover your teen's strengths. Once they know them, and their confidence, no one can take it away from them. 


Think of this like building a house. It starts with a foundation. But, you need a solid foundation before you can build on it. That is what validation is. It is the foundation that begins to build confidence in your teenager. Again, not simple, but not easy either. Do it right and the foundation hardens to the point of being unbreakable. Do it wrong, and you risk cracking and making it weak. We measure and mix the ingredients of encouragement and validation in the right amount so your teen creates the unbreakable foundation they need to keep building their confidence from day one. 


Once the foundation has begun to harden, we then begin to construct the rest of your teen's confidence-house. This is where we begin to teach them about process and progress rather than perfection. We show them what "doing your best" means, how to manage their mindset with challenges or obstacles they face, and finally they get to practice so it becomes part of their DNA.  

Earning and Learning

Anything worth value has been earned. You've had to earn everything your family has, so teaching this to them can be difficult. Especially, when they see all that is available around them. This is one of our most important steps in our system. Every student here has to earn their way to the next level. Nothing is given. We teach them about the Black Belt Mindset: Desire, Dedication, Determination, Discipline. When they learn how this fits together, they become the leader in their life and confidently keep moving forward.  

Taking Responsibility

The outcomes we get in life are in direct correlation with the actions we take. To take action, you have to first take responsibility for yourself. In this step, we start to show them how they are the "Captain of Their Ship, and The Commander of Their Life." We use the classroom as a training grounds for them to discover how they are in control of success and learning.   

What I like about training here is everyone is super helpful and I get to grow at my pace.

Brandon J

I like how martial arts training has helped me feel strong and improved my confidence. 

Megan D

Choose your path. Just click the button, fill in the details, and schedule online, no call needed.

This is a beginner-friendly teen program. No previous training or experience needed. No uniform ever, no need for gear or any equipment to try.

What I love the most is that the students get to learn character skills they can use everywhere in their daily life. 

Marina B

I love that the program helps them learn how to focus and concentrate on the moment. It helps them learn and be better.

Jack M

My absolute passion is teaching self-defense and building confidence.

Ankeny Martial Arts - Ankeny, IA

Kevin Deaver

Self-Defense and bullyproofing skills.

Is any of this happening?

They seem to let other push them around. 
They get talked into doing things because they didn't know how to stand up for themselves.
They are getting teased for being who they are and don't know how to feel comfortable with being themselves. 
They seem to be the last picked, not making a lot of friends, or find they don't fit in.

If any of this sounds familiar, then I know how hard it is to watch your child go through this. To them, they feel all alone. You are heartbroken and feeling helpless - the school doesn't help, other just give advice that doesn't work, and then you are left wondering what to do. 

Most of this boils down to confidence. When we know who we are and understand that we are not different from others, then we realize how much we have to offer - just like anyone else. But, realizing it takes a very unique process to uncover it. 

So, let me walk you through the approach I (and my instructors) take, how we build them, and the way it all comes together for your teenager.

Here's how I breakdown our self-defense and bullyproofing system so it works for your teen

First: Mindset

First thing is mindset. Self-defense is 90% mindset and 10% physical. 

If you believe in yourself, you abilities, and what is needed to neutralize or end a situation, then you've already got most of your job completed. The rest will come down to the second and third ingredients I talk about on this simple, effective defensive system. Doing this builds confidence and creates the bullyproofing skills to stand up for themselves and squash the problem. 

This first part requires these three things:


Awareness is about what going on inside and outside of you. If you are attacked, you'll either be interviewed or ambushed. The more you are aware, the less likely an attacker will get away with accomplishing either of these options. I have built in drills to help your teen gain more awareness as they gain more skills.


Don't misunderstand confidence with cockiness. Confidence is knowing yourself and what you are capable of without having to shout about it or create a big commotion. Your teenager will be gaining skills and the knowledge of how to use the skills. That is true confidence, something they can count on in any situation. 


Being assertive is important. If they need to protect themselves, then zero hesitation is required. Nevertheless, you can't be aggressive either. Having the knowledge of knowing the level of force they should use if they need to neutralize a threat is vital to saying out of trouble, jail, or the hospital. We teach them self-control. 

Second: Fight Knowledge

The second thing needed is fight knowledge. I understand most parents never want their child to fight, but if they have to defend themselves, let me assure you they need to know how to fight. Without this knowledge, defending themselves against an attack would prove to be a failure. So, I am going to teach them about fighting, and only to fight when it's right. 

There are only three major elements you have to understand when it comes to fighting that translates into defending yourself from an attack. 

Get these down well and your teen will know how to protect themselves in any violent situation.

Here are the three things they'll learn:


This is the distance between them and the threat they face. What means does an attacker have to harm them. And, what they need to do to prevent that from happening. That distance only they will know if they are in the situation. How they manage the space will determine if they are in harms way or not.


The timing it takes for someone to be able to cover the distance needed to harm them is decided by what means they are trying to attack them with. This is where split-seconds comes into play. It takes time to attack, and it takes time to defend. Training your timing and use of that time gets you in and out of harms way.


Think of this like a car crash. If you see someone going to slam into you and you don't move, then you get hit. As a driver, you know how to avoid the crash. When it comes to being attacked, you have to know how to avoid, and how to create the collision. The more effective you are, the faster you can end it.

These three components look and sound simple, but they aren't easy. 

This isn't about style of martial arts or anything like that. This is about getting the fundamental elements of fighting down so your teenage never has to worry about a fight or any other personal safety situation. 

How long will it take to get good at this?

That depends on the person. But, for the most part, I have seen most students take between four to six months to have a really good understanding of these elements. With that knowledge alone, someone can defend themself against most all attacks they'd find on the street. 

It doesn't mean they'll be a master of them, but they'll have a good working understanding and can apply it safely and effectively. 

Third: Physical Action

As your teenager builds the foundation to avoid being in harms way, while simultaneously getting in the right spot to create a collision, there comes the third part of neutralizing an attack. 

They will have to launch an attack of some sorts. How effective and accurate they do it will determine how quickly they can neutralize or end the situation. 

That requires learning these three things:


You might be thinking they need to be Bruce Lee fast to effectively launch an attack. That isn't the case. Speed comes down to a set of principles and the ingredients that need to be in an attack to get the job done. We teach them the timing of it all so they can efficiently neutralize a threat with the right response.


Power is NOT about strength or muscle mass. Yes, a larger person does have the potential to have more power, but a smaller person can generate the same amount of power if they know the mechanics of movement. This is where we teach the mechanics and how to generate power. 


Without accuracy, there is wasted motion. This robs you of endurance and stamina. That is why accurately attacking the right areas on the human body will give you the best chance of stopping an attack with the most amount of efficiency. We will teach you where and how to attack the human structure. 

Knowing that I can protect myself and stand up for myself is the best feeling. I feel more confident.

Josh K

I started here when I was 4, and now I help coach self-defense. This has been the best skill I've learned.

Mason Inman

Just click the button, fill in the details, and schedule online, no call needed.

This is a beginner-friendly teen program. No previous training or experience needed. No uniform ever, no need for gear or any equipment to try.

What Makes Our Program Different

Character Building

Our program isn't just an 'activity'. Sports are an activity and many martial arts school are like sports. We teach martial arts, but we use it only as the vehicle to instill leadership, character, and empowerment.


Your teen doesn't have to have previous training. They don't have to be athletic. They don't have to have coordination. We provide them with all the skills they need to learn and grow with from day one. 

Simple to Try a Class

No uniform is required to try the class. They don't have to feel awkward, and you don't have to invest in something that might not work out. All they have to do is wear a pair of athletic shorts and t-shirt. No uniforms ever. 

Sports not Working

Have you tried team sports or other activities that didn't work to help get the results you were hoping for? We get many parents that say nothing else worked until they tried this.

Girls Thrive Here

The young teen ladies in our class excel like strong warriors. They gain the skills to defend themselves, the focus to concentrate, and the confidence to believe in who they are. 


Our classes our designed and split to meet the needs of different age groups. We split the classes up to meet the needs of different age teens. Your teenager will excel here. 

3 Facts You Should Know Before Trying Any Martial Arts

Structured Classes

The classes should have some sort of structure to them. This develops the skill required for all levels and provides a challenge associated to it. Growth happens when you are taken out of your comfort zone and placed in an environment where you have to figure out how to excel and succeed. Here at Ankeny Martial Arts, we structure our classes to develop each student at all stages of their training.

Professionally Trained

We pride ourselves as having the BEST instructors for your teen. This means that I personally see to it that my instructors meet the requirements to be an instructor for each age group they are helping with. They go through weekly, monthly, and yearly instructor-training sessions where they learn how to develop a teen and make skills age-appropriate so you know your child will get the best.

Blueprint for Success

To get where you want to go in life, it is recommended to have a map or blueprint you can follow. We know success isn't an accident. To reach your goals, succeed, and come out a champion in the end, you need a roadmap. That is what we provide with our program. It is the roadmap that builds their confidence, improves their focus, and give them the self-defense skills to stand up for themselves.

Just click the button, fill in the details, and schedule online, no call needed.

No previous training or experience needed. No uniform ever, no need for gear or any equipment to try.

Here's What Some of Our Parents Have To Say


I started training when I was four here with Mr. Deaver. Training all the way through my teens and now coaching as an adult. This has been the best thing I've done. The skills, confidence, and leadership skills I've gained from training is amazing. I use the skills I've learned in everything I do now.

Mason Inman

I'm more confident

I not only feel more confident, I know I am. I stick up for myself. I raise my hand to answer questions in class. And, I don't have as hard of a time making new friends or talking to new people. I find that I am the one asking someone's name before they talk to me. 

Megan D


I've learned how invaluable it is to have earned something. When I finally achieved getting my black belt, I realized that all the work, effort, and time I invested was helping me realize something powerful inside me. I can do anything I set my mind to and spend the time putting the work in to earn.

Josh K

What's In Our Teen Self-Defense & Bullyproofing Program

When it comes to learning self-defense and anti-bullying skills, how you train matters. We take a four-style approach to teaching self-defense and bullyproofing. This makes for a well-rounded student who can handle any situation or circumstance they find themselves in. And, as crazy as times are getting today, we make sure to help your teen feel confident because they are competent. 

Boxing Ankeny Martial Arts


Boxers have some of the best hand skills and footwork. One of the things we see most is teens getting bullied is they get punched or pushed. It is a natural thing for humans to use their hands, so we incorporated Boxing into our teen program to make sure they know how to defend against someone punching or pushing them. This skill gives them stability, balance, and coordination. Something they can use even in other sports or physical activities. Plus, this is one of the most empowering styles for your child to gain confidence from. 

Kicking (Kickboxing/Muay Thai)

The second thing we see from students who get bullied is they get kicked. This is why we incorporate the skills from Kickboxing and Muay Thai. These two styles have their traditions steeped in using their legs to defend and attack with. When you know how someone is going to attack, it is much easier to defend. In addition to this, we've also added from other kicking styles like Karate, Tae Kwon Do, and Savate. This allows the student to get exposed to what attackers do and how to defend it. Again, it is about competence so they can be confident. 


Knowing how to defend yourself from being tackled, pushed to the ground, or taken down in other ways, is important for our students so the are well-rounded. In addition to this, they gain the knowledge of what to do when they are on the ground. How to defend, attack if they needed to, and how to get back to their feet. Groundwork starts to close the circle in our program while giving them the best skills possible.  


Our world is changing. Let's be honest. So, teaching teens about weapons defense can be tricky. We take a more traditional weapons training approach like the use of a staff(represents a bat), knife, and sticks. Having the right knowledge, respect, and understanding is vital to getting a full program. This introduction and continued training also makes it fun for them. They get to learn, reduce their fear, and feel comfortable they can defend themselves if a bully picks up a bat, stick, or some other weapon. 

Here's Where We Are Located

Our Teen Class Schedule

Morning Classes

All ages - Great for Home Schooling

Monday & Wednesday:
9:00am - 9:50am

Evening Classes

Teens: Ages 12-17 Years Old

Tuesdays & Thursdays:
7:15pm - 8:00pm


1928 SW 3rd St.
Ankeny, IA 50023

Questions? Call us:

Areas Covered









Polk City


Des Moines

Business Hours

Mon - Thurs: 
9:00am - 8:00pm


9:00am - 1:30pm


Ankeny Martial Arts - Ankeny, IA

Ankeny Martial Arts

© Copyright 2023-Present JJF Holding LLC.  All Rights Reserved.

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