In The News: Sensei Jaye Spiro

25 09 2012

This article announces two women’s self-defense classes held on the same day:

One of these September 29th classes will be taught by Sensei Jaye Spiro.  Those of us who’ve been around for a while know that Sensei Jaye is one of the founders of the National Women’s Martial Arts Federation, one of the originators of our Self-Defense Certification Program, and was recognized at our 2012 Women’s Martial Arts Conference with the Founders Honors Award. A pioneer in women’s self-defense, Sensei Jaye has remained at the cutting edge of empowering women and girls.

Her school, Mejishi Martial Arts, offers a full range of martial arts, self-defense, and violence prevention programming. If I were in the Detroit area on Sept 29th, I know where I would go.


In The News: Defend Yourself and Lauren Taylor

25 09 2012

This is a really good article written by a reporter who took the class!

Women from Discovery Fit and Health HQ took a Defend Yourself class, and one summarized four really cool new facts she learned as she practiced her new-found techniques.

Lauren’s classes at Defend Yourself are all over the DC area — be sure to check one out when you’re there.

SDIC 2012: CEU’s, and Clara Porter!

2 05 2012

For the first time in our history, the National Women’s Martial Arts Federation will be able to offer CEUs (continuing education) for many of our Self-Defense Instructors’ Conference classes, in partnership with Ohio National Association of Social Workers (NASW). This is very exciting news! Our thanks to Diane Long for organizing this effort, and to Clara Porter and Darla Bolon for collaborating with her and reviewing class objectives and presenter resumes for our SDIC workshops! Thanks also to our many presenters who are making the extra effort to provide us with the information required to insure their classes will qualify for CEU’s. We value all of your efforts!

One of our 2012 SDIC classes, Field and Office Safety Training for Social Service and Healthcare Providers, taught by Clara Porter, will be geared towards social service and healthcare providers and will provide a model for reaching out to these groups to address workplace violence. Go to the NWMAF website to register for Women’s Martial Arts Conference 2012, including SDIC-ST, and we’ll see you in Oberlin in July!

Clara Porter, MSW, is the founder and program director of Prevention. Action. Change. in Portland Maine and the Interpersonal Violence Prevention Coordinator at the University of Southern Maine. The USM Campus Safety Project promotes healthy relationships and works to prevent and respond to interpersonal violence. Clara has extensive training in violence prevention programming for children, youth, and adults and has been teaching in the field since 1994. She trained in both Karate and self-defense instruction at the Center for Anti-Violence Education in Brooklyn, NY and is a NWMAF certified self-defense instructor. Clara is also certified in Advanced Trauma First Aide, a crisis intervention and healing approach she uses frequently in her classes.

“Field and Office Safety Training for Social Service and Healthcare Providers,” with Clara Porter

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OHSA) ranks health care (including social work) as the third most violent profession in terms of workplace violence. Participants will explore their responses to perceived threats and address how role, age, gender, trauma history, and others factors influence interactions with staff, clients, and program participants. We will discuss barriers to safety and day-to-day safety skills for use in the field, office and on home visits. SDIC participants will learn to translate self-defense teaching to meet the needs of this growing class of professionals.

In The News: Sensei Jaye Spiro Honored by NWMAF

22 04 2012

Sensei Jaye Spiro

The recipient of the NWMAF’s Founders’ Honors this year is a woman who has been part of NWMAF since before NWMAF formally existed. She hosted the women’s martial arts Special Training in 1979, was instrumental in establishing the foundations of our current self-defense program, and in 2011 joined with another woman to run the youth program at Special Training. She has been teaching karate for over 28 years, and is the Director of Mejishi Martial Arts. Please join us this year at the Women’s Martial Arts Conference as we pay tribute to none other than Sensei Jaye Spiro, a woman upon whose shoulders we all continue to stand.

And if that wasn’t enough, Sensei Jaye is in the news: De-escalate then defend: Lessons from Mejishi Martial Arts, published in on April 19, 2012. Congrats to Sensei Jaye on both receiving Founders’ Honors and for being the subject of a well-done news article!

Katy Mattingly to teach at NWMAF SDIC-ST 2012!

18 04 2012

If you haven’t registered yet for this year’s NWMAF Self Defense Instructors’ Conference – Special Training 2012, our outstanding trainer and presenter lineup is sure to put you over the edge.  Our Self-Defense Instructors’ Conference starts with our Early Program (10 AM on Wednesday, July 25, through Thursday, July 26 lunch), and continues with offerings open to all camp participants until noon on Sunday, July 29.  We are delighted to announce that Katy Mattingly has will be presenting a workshop on Self Care, and another on Intimate Partner Violence.  In addition, she’ll be moderating a panel of esteemed colleagues to be announced on the topic of Teaching Self Defense in Higher Education Communities.  Please see more information about Katy and her workshops, below, and we’ll see you at Oberlin College in July! 

ImageKaty Mattingly is the author of Self-Defense: Steps to Survival (Human Kinetics, 2007) and was the director of WAMM Self-Defense in Ann Arbor, Michigan from 1996-2005. She was trained in the IMPACT system, which emphasizes physical and emotional realism, full-force practice against padded instructors, and individualized instruction designed for and by survivors of violence. Katy currently serves as the Chair of the Self-Defense Subcommittee of the Student Safety Work Group at the University of Michigan, a pilot program exploring student safety from a broad lens, which will make recommendations for programming to the Dean of Students, the Ann Arbor Chief of Police, and the UM Department of Public Safety in the summer of 2012.  As a survivor of sexual assault, Katy knows firsthand the challenges that survivors face learning self-defense and deeply honors each student’s path to healing and freedom. Her teaching includes defenses against physical, verbal and emotional attacks by friends, family, and strangers. She has been teaching for more than 15 years in a variety of venues, including corporations, universities, community centers, and domestic violence shelters. Katy recently completed a field placement at the University of Michigan’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center as part of her work toward a Masters of Social Work. She can be reached at

Building a Sustainable Movement: Violence Prevention, Social Justice, & Self-Care…..  So When Am I Supposed to Sleep?  Many women, survivors of violence, teachers, social workers and people who identify with oppressed communities find long-term, sustainable self-care to be a challenge.  And for good reasons!  Whether you are a seasoned self-care practitioner, or someone who hasn’t taken a day off in a decade, this presentation will help you to assess the current state of your self-care skills and strategies, as well as to explore any changes you would like to make.  We will be looking deeply into broad and meaningful definitions of care for ourselves (hint: it’s not pampering!) and the connection of self-care to sustainable social and community change.

Intimate Partner Violence: Recognizing & Responding, Teaching & Healing.  Intimate partner violence (other terms include domestic violence, battering, abusive relationships, and dating violence) is present in all communities and affects all people.  As self-defense instructors, we must assume that many of our students, friends, colleagues, and partners have witnessed or experienced intimate relationships that are physically, sexually, economically and/or emotionally abusive, coercive and controlling.  This session will enhance our ability to recognize and respond to the tactics of perpetrators and the needs of survivors from a variety of social identity communities.  We’ll explore resources for teaching healthy relationship skills and discuss the challenges and opportunities of working with students who are being hurt.

Panel: Teaching Self-Defense in Higher Education Communities.  This panel presentation will feature self-defense instructors who have taught a variety of self-defense workshops, classes, and programs in higher education, including colleges, universities, and community colleges.  Some issues of interest for those who teach in or wish to teach in higher education include:

  • Gender – How do we think about limitations on gender-restricted classes, as well as specified outreach to women and men, and to LGBT communities)?
  • Stakeholders – Challenges of community organizing with diverse sponsors, departments, and funders; the worlds of for-credit and non-credited classes.
  • Hook-up Culture – In some schools and for some students there has been a recent dramatic transformation from “dating” to “hook-up” culture; how do we assure our teaching strategies remain relevant and accessible?
  • Responding to Incidents – How can we be nimble and responsive when high profile crimes raise interest in self-defense, while also prioritizing long-term planning and realistic understanding of the dynamics of violence?
  • Policies – How might the Clery Act, the new Title IX guidance, and school specific Sexual Assault policies affect our work as self-defense instructors?

Panelists will share about their work in higher education and welcome questions from attendees.  Moderated by Katy Mattingly.  Katy currently serves as the Chair of the Self-Defense Subcommittee of the Student Safety Work Group at the University of Michigan. 

Seeking Super Sheros: The Contest

1 02 2012

If you could have one self-defense super power, what would it be? When would you use it, and who would you save?

Strategic Living needs to know!

This is a contest, and there be prizes (first prize is an iPod shuffle). Check out this video for more info.

Now go to the Strategic Living site for how to submit your AWESOME entry!

Self-defense instructors, please share this with your colleagues and students. Or start your own contest.

PS – Deadline is April 15th, 2012.

Amy Cuddy – powerful body language video

21 11 2011

This video from Harvard’s Amy Cuddy shows how powerful body language is effective. How, in just TWO MINUTES a day, you can change how you are perceived and treated by others.

Amy Cuddy: Power Poses from PopTech on Vimeo.

I’ve been teaching some of this for a while, and it’s good to see this as a resource. AND it can also influence how we are seen as self-defense teachers. Even though Cuddy’s work is more about business, it is easy to translate into a self-defense and personal safety context.