Terri Giamartino

Preferred Title:

Master Terri

Began training:1978

Cuong Nhu Martial Arts, Sichidan, Master, 7th degree black belt

Hall of Fame Award:

2013 - 30 years

Other Awards:

2019 PAWMA Lifetime Achievement Award

1999 PAWMA Martial Artist of the Year



Emeryville, CA


Emeryville Martial Arts


Terri Giamartino

I began my training in 1978. After a year of studying an eclectic martial arts/self defense program with Marti Meserli, I began to hone my studies in Shotokan Karate with Valeria Ramirez and Jujitsu with Nancy Grey, a former student of the late Wally Jay.

I continued my study of shotokan karate with Thomas White in Oakland until 1983. Eventually, I found my way to Cuong Nhu, an eclectic style which combined hard and soft martial arts together under the primary tutalege of John Burns. With a strong base in hard style, I expanded my study into the some of the softer influences of Judo and Aikido, adding Wing Chun and Tai Chi to the mix.

During this time, I was very involved with the women’s martial arts community. I spent almost a decade dedicated to the development of PAWMA, facilitating the incorporation of PAWMA as the non-profit we enjoy today. I served as PAWMA’s first president, organizing multiple camps, managing the database and produced the PAWMA News. In 1987 I began community work in the Berkeley public school systems running bully prevention workshops and teaching Cuong Nhu in after school enrichment programs. I spent much of the 90’s speaking and teaching self defense for women in corporate environments and community forums and provided radio and television interviews on KISS FM and SF Live.

In 1993 I opened my first school which is now known as Emeryville Martial Arts located in Emeryville California. EMA serves a student base from ages 4 through adult. Producing strong black belt teens and adults has been a joy for me and I am grateful that I have been able to make a living doing something that helps make people strong and the world around them a safer place.

Honors include the 2019 PAWMA Lifetime Achievement Award, Induction into the AWMAI Hall of Fame in 2013, voted PAWMA’s Martial Artist of the Year in 1999 and receiving a 7th dan, Master status from the Cuong Nhu Oriental Martial Arts Association in 2017. From 2014-2018 I served on the AWMAI Board as Certification Director.


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