About Us

Our Mission, Vision, and Values

The Association of Women Martial Arts Instructors was founded to empower advanced women martial artists via paths of learning, training, and ranking. The AWMAI believes that passing on our knowledge from teacher to teacher adds to the power of the individual and the entire world of martial arts.

Our Motto

 "Teaching the Teacher"

Marietta DelaCruz

Our Mission

We provide high-quality education, training, and support, as well as opportunities for networking, advancement, and professional recognition, to women instructors and business owners in the fields of martial arts and self-defense.

Our Vision

We strive to be leaders in the communities we serve; to be partners in helping each other achieve recognition and excellence in our respective pursuits; and to take pride in elevating the performance and reputation of all our members’ schools and classes.

Our Values

These values are at the heart of our organization.

Integrity - We maintain the highest standards of personal and business ethics in all our interactions, continually strengthening relationships through honesty, trustworthiness and reliability.

Respect - We respect the unique contributions of every teacher and student, valuing the diversity of their experiences, ideas and initiatives. We ensure that everyone has the opportunity to learn and contribute in a way that enriches their personal development.

Inclusivity - We welcome all women, including individuals who are transgender, non-binary or self-identify as women and who believe a space reserved for women martial artists is a home.

The Association of Women Martial Arts Instructors welcomes female martial arts instructors, assistant instructors, and aspiring instructors of all martial arts styles hard and soft to become Members. As a Member you will have the opportunity to meet and collaborate with other women who have trail-blazed the path you are now pursuing. Tangible membership benefits include an Association patch for new members, an E-Link for your school to our website plus posting of your upcoming events, E-Newsletter, and unlimited networking possibilities.


Sonya Richardson and Melinda Johnson, 2007

Sonya Richardson and Melinda Johnson, 2007

We are a non-profit organization and depend upon our membership fees and donations to support our general operations, growth and outreach.

Consider making a contribution to our general fund or the Barbara Feldman Memorial Scholarship Fund, created in 2013 and dedicated specifically to providing opportunities for women to attend the conference who would otherwise be unable to attend.

Make a donation.

Our History

AWMAI Founders Masi Zimron Pinette Young Dickens

Left to Right: Dara Masi, Jamie Zimron, Suzanne Pinnette, Barbara Dickens. Front: Wasentha Young

The Association of Women Martial Arts Instructors was inspired and co-founded by Dara Masi Shihan. A long-time member and former Treasurer of the National Women’s Martial Arts Federation, she recognized that the NWMAF, while succeeding in its mission to promote the participation of women and girls in the martial arts, could not simultaneously meet the needs of the growing number of women martial arts professionals – school owners, head instructors, and master practitioners – who increasingly sought venues and mechanisms through which they could acquire the specific business, teaching, and advanced technical skills necessary to succeed as school owners and instructors. In 1998, she literally had a dream – and began the next day to build the foundations of a new organization, sister to the NWMAF and PAWMA (the Pacific Association of Women Martial Artists), that would focus specifically on supporting current and/or aspiring instructors and school owners. Besides Masi, the initial Board of Directors included Master Wasentha Young, Jamie Zimron Sensei, Grand Master Barbara Dickens, and Sensei Suzanne Pinette. The first annual conference was held in 2000, in Austin, TX.


The Association of Women Martial Arts Instructors is a non-profit organization. ©2020 All rights reserved.
Mail: AWMAI, PO Box 4309, Davis CA 95617
Email: admin@awmai.org
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