Volume IX

Winter 2024



and Support

Teachers' Lounge

Sunday, January 14, 2024

1 pm Pacific

2 pm Mountain

3 pm Central

4 pm Eastern

10 pm Central Europe

8 am Australia Central

Please check start times for your time zone.

Members will receive an email

with the Zoom link to join.

from Executive Director

Jennie Trower

Happy New Year, everyone! 

I certainly hope it is starting off well for you.  I am excited and optimistic for what the future holds for this organization – this year and beyond. 

As Executive Director of AWMAI, I have the privilege and honor of helping to carry forward the organization's long tradition of making martial arts/self-defense spaces more inclusive and in providing support and community for women (including trans, non-binary and those who self-identify as women) instructors.

Our flagship event – the AWMAI Teaching the Teacher Conference – is like nothing I've ever experienced in any other martial arts space. 

We offer sessions on teaching modalities, issues and special programming.

We have courses about business ownership, marketing and legal issues.

We have classes where folks can learn and train in special techniques and styles including groundwork, sparring and weapon defenses.

... And we have a lot of fun in the process.

We are changing the game and affecting real change in the industry. If that sounds like something that is a good fit for you, I'd love to see you in Columbus in April.  It’s a brand-new location for us, and we’re so excited to experience this great city. 

You can find all the info at, including the list of 2024 presenters and courses. 

As we eagerly anticipate being together again at the conference, I invite you to join us for our next Teachers’ Lounge session on Sunday, January 14, at 1pm PT/3pm CT/4pm ET.  We always have a great group of folks willing to share and discuss a variety of topics while offering support and helpful suggestions.  This event is for members only and there’s no need to register.  Watch your email on Friday for the Zoom link and topics for this month’s session. 

Finally, January 15 is the Early Bird pricing deadline to register for the conference.  Save money and Register today.  If you need financial assistance to attend the conference, we invite you to apply for a scholarship

If you are reading this newsletter but not yet a member of AWMAI, we welcome you to check us out and see if our organization is a good fit for you.

Be safe, be well and hope to see you soon. 

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from Events Director

Sijeh Sarah Sponzo


These last couple of months prior to our conference are busy and exciting (and, kind of my favorite).  We have a great venue, an amazing faculty and a growing list of attendees.  It’s sure to be a fun weekend in Columbus!

Columbus is a new city for me.  But, when I visited I was impressed!  It’s a smaller city with some very distinct neighborhoods.  It’s easy to get around.  Everyone was very welcoming and ready to show off all the city has to offer.  In my brief visit, I had some tasty drinks, ate some delicious food, saw some great sights...  And, that was in only 2 days!  I am pretty excited to heading back in April.  I’m really looking forward to some more nice meals and more time to explore.  I’m especially looking forward to welcoming everyone to the lovely Renaissance Columbus Downtown. This hotel is the perfect setting for AWMAI.  It’s has comfortable and thoughtfully laid out guest rooms and great meeting space.  There is an on-site restaurant and cozy places to gather with friends.  It’s conveniently located - to get everywhere you want to be in your free time.  The team at the Renaissance is one of the best I’ve met and they are ready for AWMAI’s conference.

As you do your own planning for the 2024 Conference, I offer a few things to keep in mind:

  • Our room block is waiting for you, so book yours today.
  • When you register don’t forget to indicate any dietary needs or requests.  We want the menus to be right for everyone.
  • Book your flights early to secure a good schedule and price.
  • Bring friends – there is a benefit when a group of you attend.
  • Don't forget that the conference weekend is for you.  The connections and classes will inspire and rejuvenate you.  You work hard for your students, colleagues and schools.

Take some time for yourself; it’s important!

Once you are registered, you can start thinking about the fun stuff like what you will pack, which class sessions you will attend and all the new and old friends you can look forward to seeing.

Oh, and remember to start thinking about raffle items. We always have a great variety of fun things to win. Bring something cool to contribute and plan to buy lots of tickets to support the scholarship fund!

I look forward to seeing everyone in April for a GREAT conference! If you have any questions, concerns, comments, please reach out to me,!

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Register Now for

Teaching the Teacher '24


Monday, January 15, 2024


has been extended to

Thursday, February 1, 2024

Apply Here!

April 12-14

Columbus, OH

from Financial Director

Sensei Katie Murphy Stevens

  Legends, teachers, mentors, colleagues, allies, peers... 

All of these are vital in one's martial arts life.  Each plays a different role.  Each advances a different type of information and inspiration. AWMAI Conference 2024 is exactly the place where you can discover people who play all of those roles.  The annual Teaching the Teacher conference is filled with martial arts instructors who are explicitly reaching out to network with others.  There is a full schedule of excellent classes taught by an elite group of instructors too!  Whether you are just starting out as a martial arts instructor or have been an instructor for years, this conference is a place to learn, refresh and energize.  Register for the conference today!  If you aren't quite sure if you can swing the finances, apply for a scholarship!  Let us know what will help and we'll do our best to support you.   Join us in Columbus, Ohio in April to meet legends, teachers, mentors, colleagues, allies, peers, and to share in the AWMAI experience.

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from the Editor

Sensei Parnee Poet  

Before I attended AWMAI and NWMAF, I didn't know what I was missing and after studying martial arts for over twenty years, and only attending three AWMAI gatherings and one NWMAF special training, I realized I was missing out on A LOT!  I'm so thankful Master Didi Goodman persisted in her invites to attend and I can't stop attending now.

So, if you're debating on whether to attend, stop!  Join us and let's have fun learning together!

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"The conference was more than I expected.  Everyone was very welcoming and kind.  It was full of very supportive individuals willing to share and who had a genuine interest in hearing one another, celebrating one another and encouraging one another.  I was impressed with how approachable everyone was and how much was openly shared.  I have a huge amount of respect and admiration for everyone that I met at the conference.  Can you imagine the things that can be accomplished as a supportive united force?  Very empowering...  I was just so honored and humbled to be able to attend.  I left inspired and balanced to return home.  I feel refreshed and reconnected with my martial arts vision and myself.  I literally cannot say enough great things about my conference experience."

- Nicole Welsh, 2023 First Time Attendee

Teaching the Teacher 2024: Instructors and Classes

AWMAI is proud to announce our very highly qualified teaching staff, and the timely and useful topics that will be presented at Teaching the Teacher 2024. Read below, and register now to ensure you don't miss any of this event!

Master Wasentha Young, a practitioner since 1968, Master Young lectures and educates in Ann Arbor, MI and nationally on Tai Chi, Qigong, Meditation, and self-care practices as it relates to the human emotional, spiritual, and physical well-being.  She is a founding board member of the Association of Women Martial Arts Instructors and has taught at such places as: Omega Institute, Institute for Transpersonal Psychology, CA., National Qigong Association, National Institute for the Clinical Application of Behavioral Medicine, University of Michigan, UAW, Kaiser Wellness Foundation, CA., and the National Women’s Martial Artists Federation.

  • Invoking Imagery Into Your Teaching Of Movement (MC)

Martial art movement, in any style, is a direct transmission of an image into a physical shape, the speed of which at times can be mind-boggling. As in a handshake a movement has gone from understanding the shape and meaning to a direct response and recognizable posture. During this session, Master Young will use a few Tai Chi Chuan movements and lead participants into exploring the intersections of using imagery and body mechanics within their style; the place where you feel/see the image and move it into the substrate of movement patterns.

  • For-Profit vs Non-Profit School – Building, Sustaining, And The Pros And Cons (LD)

For those who aim to open or reconfigure a martial arts or self-defense school, one key decision is what kind of legal organization structure will best support your program(s) and allow your business to grow and thrive.  Is being a social entrepreneur and starting a for-profit company or would you benefit more by creating a 501c3 organization which can receive gifts that are tax-deductible for donors but which you don’t actually own and have much less control over?  Master Wasentha Young and Shihan Nancy Lanoue faced these questions many years ago in the early days of their careers as professional martial arts teachers.  In this workshop, they will share why they chose the path they did and what their perspectives are now about the pros and cons of each type of organizational structure.

    Shifu/Sensei Koré Grate, Executive Director and Head Instructor of FEMA-Five Element Martial Arts & Healing Center (formerly Feminist Eclectic Martial Arts) founded in 1989 in Minneapolis, MN.  Koré is a founding PAWMA Board Member, past Vice President, and creator of the Elder Council. Koré was honored as PAWMA’s 2005 Martial Artist of the Year, received PAWMA’s esteemed Lifetime Achievement Award in 2011.  She served as Chair of NWMAF and was a a founding member of A.R.C. (Anti-Racism, All Races Count, Active- Respectful- Communication).  She was AWMAI’s Executive Director from 2013-2023, and was inducted into the 50 year Hall of Fame February 2022.  “I support what I believe in-I love teaching and learning!”

        • Black Belt Principles For Kids (MC)

        Teaching young folk, 4 to 7-year-old boys/girls, about the deeper principles of our martial arts is something Shifu/Sensei Koré Grate has been developing for a decade.  With specific drills and games, they learn the deeper principles of:

        MIND:  How to go from excited to calm and focused.

        BODY:  How to work out safely, where all their organs live, the connections, the colors, and the animal movements to help support and heal using Five Element Principles.

        SPIRIT:  How to develop leadership qualities and learn to create challenges that help us grow stronger.

          • Liangong (EMW)

          Each Liangong Section of 18 moves has a specific focus: Series One is for bigger muscle groups, Series Two for deeper connections, tendons and connective tissues, Series Three for Internal energies. It takes a bit of time to learn all 54 movements. Shifu/Sensei Koré Grate will share a selection of her favorites for a taste of each section.

            Grandmaster Laura Armstrong, has been teaching/training for over 30 years in the Filipino Martial Arts.  She specializes in impact and edged weapons and hand to hand combat.  The traditional cultural Filipino influence in her training keeps her in a beginner mindset as she is always looking to learn and grow.  She teaches traditional FMA in many styles and systems and keeps connected to the roots of her teachers in the Philippines where she visits and trains with her students every few years.  As a three time world champion, leadership & communication coach for high performing individuals and organizations she brings her expertise on all levels; physical, mental, emotional and spiritual to create a holistic and customized approach to creating success for her clients, students and instructors in life and in the dojo.

            • Masterful Communication (LD)

            Learn to communicate more effectively with your martial arts students/instructors using a values based methodology, it's crucial to understand and adapt to their individual personality types.  Begin by understanding what's important to you and learn to adapt to "speak their language" to tailor your communication accordingly.  Adapting your teaching style can significantly enhance your students' learning experience and strengthen the connections within your martial arts classes.  Recognizing that each student possesses a unique personality type is key.  By incorporating this skill into your teaching approach, you not only improve the learning experience for each student but also strengthen the bonds within your martial arts community.  Recognizing and respecting the diversity of personality types ensures that everyone can thrive and find fulfillment in their martial arts practice, fostering a supportive and inclusive environment where students can grow and connect on a deeper level.

            Shihan Nancy Lanoue began teaching Empowerment Self-Defense (ESD) in 1979 when she co-founded a storefront ESD training center called the Safety and Fitness Exchange (SAFE) in NYC.  In 1985 she moved to Chicago and founded the Women’s Gym, the Midwest’s first feminist fitness center, which in 1990 became Thousand Waves, offering ongoing training in Seido Karate as well as ESD workshops and courses.  With her spouse, Sarah Ludden, she co-directed Thousand Waves’ martial arts and self- defense programs for 33 years.  At this time, she teaches karate at her dojo just once a week; serves on the Council of Senior Leaders, a volunteer advisory body.  She is also part of Thousand Waves’ ESD Teacher Corps, with a focus on training the next generation of ESD teachers.  Her ranks and certifications include 7th dan in Seido Karate, 2nd dan in Kajukenbo and ESD Teacher Certifications from the Association of ESD Professionals and the National Women’s Martial Arts Association.

            • Challenges And Opportunities Before, During And After Major Leadership Changes (LD)

            Changes in leadership are hard on everyone including those teachers moving on or stepping up, and those members directly affected by the changes. In this workshop, we will discuss issues that must be considered when planning for a major transition and options for what to do if it doesn't go at all as planned.

            • (co-teaching) For-Profit vs Non-Profit School – Building, Sustaining, and the Pros and Cons (LD)

            For those who aim to open or reconfigure a martial arts or self-defense school, one key decision is what kind of legal organization structure will best support your program(s) and allow your business to grow and thrive.  Is being a social entrepreneur and starting a for-profit company or would you benefit more by creating a 501c3 organization which can receive gifts that are tax-deductible for donors but which you don’t actually own and have much less control over?  Master Wasentha Young and Shihan Nancy Lanoue faced these questions many years ago in the early days of their careers as professional martial arts teachers. In this workshop, they will share why they chose the path they did and what their perspectives are now about the pros and cons of each type of organizational structure.

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            Soke Nahid Farzinzad, is one of a handful of women that passed a 30-man fight as part of her 3rd Dan test, at the IKO Honbu under Sosai Mas Oyama on May 22nd, 1993.  Of significance to her career in the Kyokushin world, is her role as the co-founder of IKU and her duties as Chief Instructor of the IKU Honbu.  Her expertise and exemplary discipline in the Kyokushin Way, have served to attract many women to practice and teach traditional Kyokushin Karate.

            • Kyokushin (MWO)

            The class focus on fundamental of kyokushin, also basic blocks and variety of basic kicks.  One of the highlights of my class introduction of the basic 2x2 technique.  This technique focuses on combinations of strikes. introduce to basic forms also known as kata.  Practicing forms will enhance focus, discipline, and overall understanding of Kyokushin.


            Sensei Jaye Spiro has been recognized as a 10th degree black belt.  Her early training was with Shihan Bobby Peeler in Ai Mute Shoto-kan.  Then she studied Modern Arnis with the late Grandmaster Remy Presas and was an original student of Manong Ted Buot in Balintawak Escrima.  She was a founding member and first chair of the National Women's Martial Arts Federation. In the early 1970s, she was one of the first women Karate-ka in this country.  She has taught martial arts and self-defense classes not only in the Detroit area but in many parts of the United States from California to New York and also in Central America and Europe.  She has won numerous awards, including the Member of the Year Award from NWMAF twice, the NWMAF Founders Award, and induction into the Michigan Karate Hall of Fame, the Modern Arnis Halls of Fame, the Association of Women Martial Arts Instructors’ Hall of Fame, and the Midwest Women’s Hall of Fame. Mejishi Martial Arts was founded by Sensei Jaye in 1979 as Mejishi Karate Dojo.  The first training space was a small store front on Six Mile near Woodward.  In 1981, the dojo moved to the basement of the Emmanuel Episcopal church on John R between Six and Seven Mile.  In 1993, Sensei Jaye bought a rundown store in Ferndale, Michigan, and, with help from her students and friends, turned it into a beautiful spacious training dojo with a traditional wooden floor.  As a teacher, and sensei, Jaye Spiro has taught thousands of people karate and self-defense.  In the late 1970s and early 1980s, recognizing the need for self-defense instruction for non-martial artists as well as self-defense instruction that works on the street for women coming up against attackers often larger and more muscular than they, Jaye developed a self-defense program that is part of the Mejishi Martial Arts curriculum as well as being a standalone self-defense class.  For a time she specialized in teaching people with disabilities, especially the blind. She also has taught self-defense classes for gay men, lesbians and the transgender community.  Of the thousands of women, men, and children who have benefited from training under Sensei Spiro, over 50 have achieved multiple black belt rankings in Ai Mute Shotokan Karate and/or Modern Arnis.

            • Filipino Flow Drills And Creations (MWO)

            When confronted with an action, we can attempt to stop the attack, or we can skillfully slip to the side and blend our response with the directional energy of the movement.  In Modern Arnis, this type of response is called "the flow".  We will explore a simple drill that we learned originally from Grand master Remy Presas. (but universally studied by many physical artists).  Spending time working with partners and flowing with the actions they make will result in a fun exploration of slipping and locking and even off-balancing and throwing.

            Instrutora Schelsea Jones, the director and head instructor of the Capoeira Detroit academy, has been training Capoeira for over 16 years and teaching for 12 years. Sabiá started her journey with Capoeira Detroit in 2007 and in 2013, she took over leadership of her academy. In 2019, she was promoted to the rank of Instrutora. Capoeira is a mirror to life and the roda is the self-reflection.  It has allowed me to grow as a human being and an energetic presence. Capoeira helps one to learn and know self. It teaches awareness beyond what our 5 senses can share with us and is a path to our internal (ancestral) knowledge.  Capoeira is direct connection to our ancestors.  Her classes emphasize the significant throughway of music to movement to the history of capoeira; recognizing that there is no separation of the three. Sabiá leads workshops at martial arts events and hosts master classes at universities.  She also works with community organizations and outreach programs to teach movement and music seminars for children and adults across the country.

            • Introduction to Capoeira (MWO)

            Capoeira is an Afro-Brazilian martial art that combines movement and music to create an exhilarating experience. Students will learn basic capoeira movements, simple attacks and escapes, and a little bit of music as well.  At the end, we will put it all together for an exciting roda, the circle where we test our skills!

              more instructors and classes continued in next column

              Grandmaster Sunny Graff has trained self-defense and martial arts for over 50 years, is a Senior Grandmaster in Taekwondo and Lapunti Arnis, a posture/alignment specialist, produced more than 360 feminist anti-racist self-defense instructors, 200 Black belts and authored self-defense books in English and German.  She co-founded NWMAF, served on the first steering committee, Self-defense Certification Board, AWMAI Rank Committee. Sunny Graff was a Gold medalist in the World Games and Pan-American Games and a 4x National Taekwondo Champion with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Taekwondo Hall of Fame.  In 1984 she founded Women in Movement in Frankfurt, which has won multiple awards for the protection of children.  Grandmaster Sunny teaches all levels, ages, abilities and ethnicities, in multiple arts and weapons in her school and at national and international conferences.  She is eternally grateful for the training and guidance of many wonderful Grandmasters and Masters worldwide.  Her home is in the women’s martial arts community which has been a constant source of support and inspiration.

              • Start Off Right With "Move and Smile!" (Opening Session)

              There is no better way to make new friends than to move and laugh together.  Laughter breaks down barriers and overcomes hesitation and fear.  In this class, we explore new ways to get to know each other, learn each other’s names, be assertive, enhance reactions, train our minds as well as bodies, be successful coaches, work with a partner, build team spirit, develop group mind and have great fun while doing it all.  I borrow heavily from the Improv Comedy community which has just awesome games and exercises to build group cohesiveness.

              • Flowing Footwork In Stickfighting (MWO)

              Lapunti Arnis de Abanico stands out among the thousands of Philippine stick fighting systems not only for its flowing abanico striking combinations, but especially for its unique integration of Kung Fu footwork.  In comparison to essentially static styles like modern arnis, Lapunti makes use of flowing footwork to gain maximum advantage in a street fight.  Using distance, angle and pressure, the Lapunti fighter positions herself optimally to block or parry an attack, monitor the second hand and deliver a flow of counter attacks.  In this class we will pair striking and abanicos with kung fu cross-leg footwork to create dynamic, flowing striking patterns for defense and counter attacks. We will work in two ranges:  Lapunti long range Streetfighting and Lapunti Middle range streetfighting.  The Kung Fu footwork enables us to move quickly from one range to the next.  Grab a stick and get ready to move!

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              Dr. Cheryl Rock is an Author, Musician, Martial Artist, Metaphysician and Professor as well as a Food Scientist who specializes in Nutritional Biochemistry.  Her areas of emphasis are the studies of (1) Ethnomedicine and (2) Phytonutrients and their effects on non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as cardiovascular disease (CVD), Colon Cancer and Type 2 Diabetes. Additionally, she specializes in martial science; an integration of internal Martial Arts from a dietary approach, with principles of Food Science, Martial Arts philosophy as well as Bagua Metaphysics.  Specifically, she utilizes the Bagua Energy Map and the Five-Element Theory as a framework to educate people of how Eastern (i.e., Bagua) and Western (i.e., Food Science – Nutritional Biochemistry) concepts intersect through diet. Her philosophy of life is to help others experience holistic health and wellness practices in their daily lives through transformation and self-mastery.  She seeks to help others achieve this goal as a result of her own personal experiences and principles as a practitioner of Korean Martial Arts (Hapkido) (1st Dan Black Belt) as well as Brazilian Jujitsu.

              • A Sensory Journey To Health And Wellness As A Martial Art (LD)

              Analogous to the Martial Arts, the journey of health and wellness is an ongoing practice that requires dedication, perseverance and focus. Additionally, our senses guide our choices and habits in life.  Therefore, participants will learn about how their 5 senses can play the role in fostering the focus and dedication to their health and wellness journey by doing the following:  1. Exploring the use of guided meditation to engage all 5 senses through sensory evaluation of a functional food (i.e., Dark Chocolate as an example) 2. Reflecting on the benefits of the chocolate meditation and examining on how it enhances the practice of awareness and focus through the 5 senses. 3. Applying practices of awareness and focus during meditative eating using the 5 senses as an on-going practice, to bring balance to the body.

              Shinshii Janet Aalfs, 8th degree black belt in Okinawan Karate and Modern Arnis, Branch Chief Instructor of Jian Mei Internal Martial Arts, poet laureate of Northampton, MA (2003-2005), and feminist social justice activist, enjoys helping to facilitate “sites for revelation.” Founder and director of Lotus Peace Arts at Heron's Bridge/VWMA in Easthampton, MA, Janet has been sharing her work locally, nationally, and internationally for 45+ years. A widely published writer, and performer of Poemotion©, her third full-length collection of poems, What the Dead Want Me to Know, appeared in 2022.  She has received awards for her writing, teaching, and community education work, and has been a presenter/performer at numerous conferences, festivals, and events.

              • Connecting Martial Arts Systems (MWO)

              We will explore joyful connections among all types of martial arts systems through one central movement that anyone can do, and that comes from and leads back to the heart.  In an encouraging atmosphere that the group creates together, participants will use this central technique to explore patterns within their own practice (martial arts has art in it twice), and to share in creative exchange with others. Practical applications of various movements will span the range from healing energy flow to self/collective protection.

              Helen Yee has been studying martial arts since 1978.  Her training in the external and internal martial arts led her to becoming a licensed massage therapist, and was inspired to pass on her skills by opening a holistic school in Columbus Ohio.  She is the Co-founder and Co-owner of the American Institute of Alternative Medicine. Helen has taught Tai Chi and Chi Gong to acupuncture and martial arts students as well as those who have been interested in holistic and alternative approaches to health.  She has studied various systems of internal martial arts in China as well as the United States, and incorporated much of her knowledge in teaching to students in the various holistic programs at The American Institute of Alternative Medicine (AIAM), martial arts camps and seminars nationally and abroad.

              • Chi Gong Where The Mind Goes The Chi Flows (MC)

              Come and learn how to cultivate, circulate, and store the life force energy, to strengthen your immune system, increase vitality, balance and rejuvenate the energies of the body!

              Shihan Darlene DeFour, PhD received the 2016 NWMAF Award of Excellence and has been inducted into the AWMAI Hall of Fame.  She holds a 9th degree black belt in San Yama Bushi Ryu Ju-Jutsu and a 6th degree black belt in Kushinda Ryu Shotokan karate.  She co-founded the National Women's Martial Arts Federation (NWMAF) Anti-Racism Council.  At SDIC starting in 2010, she introduced a course on Applied Microaggressions Defense to the martial arts and self-defense instructors communities, designed to address the subtle forms of racism that often permeate classroom settings.  This class as well as the classes that she has given over the last decade were designed to highlight the need for anti-oppression training as a core competency for all self- defense teachers and other professionals committed to social justice.  A social/community psychologist, she is an Associate Professor of Psychology at Hunter College. Her research explores violence, racism and sexism and their impact on everyday life experiences.

              • Yes, That Was A Microaggression, Now What? (LD)

              Using Sue et al.’s (2019) microintervention and empowerment self-defense frameworks we will discuss and practice strategies that targets, bystanders, and allies can use to respond to microaggressions.  In addition, participants will also discuss strategies that they already use.

              • They've Fallen! How To Keep Them From Getting Up! (MC)

              After an attacker has been thrown and hits the ground it is usually assumed that everything is over. This is frequently not the case. Adrenaline can keep the attacker moving. It is important to know how to control the attacker after they are thrown. In this class we will review the ground techniques utilized in San Yama Bushi Jujutsu’s system of ground controls. This class may be of interest to those who do not have locking techniques in their system.

              Sensei Nicole Welsh has been studying martial arts since 2002.  She is very passionate about her studies , From kickboxing, Kempo Karate & Brazilian Jujitsu, in the early years to I Liq Chuan, Ngo cho Kun and most recently FMA.  In 2018 she opened her school alongside Justin Bolton, sharing the love of Kempo Karate with students from the very young to those in their 60's.  In 2006 She created the Ladies Fan Team to connect the women in the dojo.  This team has evolved into a stand alone program for both children and adults.  Nicole has been working with young children for over 35 years.

              • When YOU Are Having Fun, They Are Having Fun! (LD)

              This session will open up a discussion of how to engage the youngest to the oldest children in your programs.  I will share how we run our children's programs instilling a love of learning through martial arts activities and practise.

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              Master MyTien Duong holds the rank of 5th Degree Black Belt in Moogong-Ryu (Guardians of Peace) Taekwondo.  She currently resides in Canada where she owns and operates Martial Arts 360°. Besides Taekwondo, she has trained in aikido, judo, iaido, qigong, kung fu, Brazilian jujitsu, and Kajukenbo. She enjoys training with people from diverse backgrounds, abilities, and gender expressions.  After over 30 years of observing, training, teaching, and learning from talented instructors, she looks forward to sharing this knowledge with other trainers.

              • Skills Swap (MC)

              As advanced martial arts practitioners, watching another person teach sparks connections to what we already know or how the movement relates to another move.  What is your favourite martial arts drill?  Let’s share, collaborate and create together different ways to teach basic movements and techniques!

              Clara Porter, MSW, has nearly 30 years of experience in the field of violence prevention. She is the founder of Prevention. Action. Change (PAC).  PAC in Portland, Maine working to counter harassment, assault, and abuse through safety strategies, verbal and physical skills, increased confidence and awareness, and promotion of healing and growth.  Porter holds a Masters of Social Work, is certified in Empowerment Self Defense with both the National Women’s Martial Arts Federation and Center for Antiviolence Education, as well as in Advanced Trauma First Aide.  Porter has extensive experience working with organizations and people of all ages with a focus on work with survivors of sexual violence. In recent years Porter has been engaged in translating ESD approaches to the work environment, engaging organizations in identifying the barriers that exist to a safe and fulfilling workplace and crafting health-promoting solutions.

              • Creating A Trauma-Competent Classroom (MC)

              All our students, whether survivors of gender-based violence or not, need a level of emotional safety to be able to learn.  In this skill-building, scenario-based workshop, you’ll learn:

              • How we as teachers can create a safer classroom that facilitates learning.
              • What you can do to help students – and yourself – stay present and grounded.
              • How to spot when student behavior is coming from a traumatic experience, and what you can do to help students who are upset or triggered.
              • How to weave trauma education into your classes.

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              Write something for us!

              Suggestion for Spring 2024 Newsletter:

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              Post-Conference Inspiration:  Write about something memorable you heard, learned, or shared during the upcoming conference.

              Send submissions to


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