Diane Wallander

Preferred Title:


Began training:


Kaiden Black Belt, Miyama Ryu Jujutsu
Black Belt, 3rd Dan, Korean Traditional Hapkido Federation
Black Belt, 2nd Dan, World Taekwondo Federation

Hall of Fame Award:

2023 - 40 years

Other Awards:

Woman of the Year, Universal Martial Arts Hall of Fame, 2009






Diane WallanderWhen she was asked, “When are you going to stop practicing this martial art stuff?’—by a well-intentioned relative concerned about her ‘advancing’ age--Shihan Diane Wallander’s response was, “NEVER”. Completely hooked on martial arts at the age of 18, and having passed the half-century mark only a few years ago, there is no stopping, resting or end in sight for Shihan Diane’s martial arts career.

A large part of that is because of her love for martial arts itself---the training, the discipline, the striving towards perfection, the life-enriching connections with fellow martial artists. However, from the moment she stepped on the mat in 1983 to her promotion to the rank of Kaiden in May 2016, which earned her the title Shihan, Diane has practiced and taught martial arts with one goal in mind---to train and prepare as many students as possible in an effort to combat the stain of sexual assault in our world.

It was sexual assault that first brought Diane to the mat in 1983. Within a few months of beginning college, several women on her campus were sexually assaulted. Spurred on by a desire to learn self-defense herself, Diane sought out a martial arts program that emphasized practical, effective defenses to real-life assault scenarios. She found what she was looking for in the Miyama Ryu Jujutsu program at Northwestern University.

By 1986, when Diane graduated from college with a degree in Biology, she was a brown belt in JuJutsu, and was also teaching the women’s self defense course at Northwestern University. She continued teaching self-defense to men and women while serving for two years as a science teacher in the Peace Corps program in the Tongan Islands. Returning to the U.S. in 1988, Diane began training for her JuJutsu black belt test, earning the rank Okuiri in 1989. The rank of Mokuroku, the second level black belt in Miyama Ryu, followed in 1993. Both of these black belt ranks were awarded to Diane by the founder of Miyama Ryu JuJutsu, Shinan Antonio Periera. In 2009, Dai-Shihan D’Arcy Rahming awarded Diane the rank of Menkyo (equivalent to 6th dan) in JuJutsu.

In 2000, Diane had begun to expand her expertise in martial arts by training in Hapkido and TaekwonDo, and by 2015, she had earned the ranks of 3rd dan in Hapkido and 2nd dan in TaeKwonDo. Cross training in multiple martial art styles benefitted Diane in a number of ways, most especially, in making her a better practitioner and a more effective teacher. Exposure to multiple styles of martial arts has also allowed her to develop a novel program of self defense techniques that work for women.

In addition to her undergraduate degree in Biology, Diane also holds Masters and Doctorate degrees from Northwestern University in Anthropology, having studied animal behavior under the direction of Dr. Donald Stone Sade, a world expert in aggressive behavior in primates. Dr Wallander’s research in primate behavior focused on understanding the development of behavior, and linking patterns in the behavioral signals of aggressive, play, parental and feeding behavior.

It is the unique combination of her expertise in practical, effective self defense skills, paired with a deep understanding of the behavioral signals in primates that allows Shihan Diane to teach her students a self defense program rooted in reality-based scenarios of sexual assault.

Shihan Diane’s Never The Victim seminar program offers a proactive approach to self defense. With over 30 years of experience training in the martial arts and teaching self defense to students of all ages, Shihan Diane understands what it takes to defend oneself.

12 photo(s) Updated on: 24 Apr 2023


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