Self-Defense Instructor's Conference

Oberlin College

Oberlin, OH

July 25-29, 2012


CEUS Available for Social Workers


Building a Sustainable Movement

Violence Prevention, Social Justice, and Self Care

Back to SDIC 2012 Conference Schedule


National Women's Martial Arts Federation Self-Defense Director
Anne Kuzminsky, 6th degree black belt in Zujitsu, has studied various martial arts and self-defense systems since 1976. She is an NWMAF certified self-defense instructor and an inductee as Master Instructor of the Year - Self-Defense, in the World Head of Family Sokeship Council Hall of Fame. Anne teaches self-defense and martial arts in Rhode Island, and served on the 2007 – 2009 NWMAF Self Defense Instructors' Conference (SDIC) Coordinating Committees. She has been NWMAF’s Director-at-Large for Self Defense since 2010, and continues to help plan this conference and enjoy the remarkable women who co-create and attend it each year. She holds a BS in Psychobiology from Yale University and lives with her husband, her growing son and daughter, and a variety of furry pets.
National Women's Martial Arts Federation Events Coordinator
April Miller has been a member of NWMAF since 1996 and an active volunteer since 1997. She has watched and supported the self-defense program as it has grown from a track in ST, to a Pre-ST event serving women interested in NWMAF Self Defense Certification, to a two-day conference, and now to a conference that spans five days and brings together women with diverse professional backgrounds. She envisions even bigger things coming for the group in future years - best of luck!
Conference Coordinators
Diane Long has taught sex-positive self-defense for over 20 years. A Nationally Certified Massage Therapist, she has trained in a variety of modalities, including: Healing Touch, Chakra Therapy, Somatic Experiencing®, Trauma First Aide™ and Body Memory Recall. She is passionate about promoting sensory literacy and trauma-informed models of teaching across disciplines and offers workshops for schools, support groups, and shelters. Diane believes self-defense and other somatic approaches play an essential role in helping people increase a sense of safety and control, regulate emotions and build resiliency, with the potential to not only prevent violence but to help renegotiate and heal from past abuses. She has taught workshops on Boundaries, Self-Care and Trust-Building for the MN Holistic Nurses Association and the AASWG (American Association of Social Workers who work with Groups) and has presented on related topics at SDIC. Diane currently provides Integrative Health therapies and training as staff at a shelter for homeless youth and works part-time as a French interpreter at a torture treatment center in Minnesota. She is serving on NWMAF's Self Defense Leadership Committee.
Kate Webster Ph.D., Director of Violence Prevention Programs at Thousand Waves Martial Arts & Self-Defense Center, has been teaching self–defense since 1997 and is the head instructor for Thousand Waves’ violence prevention programs. She oversees the Thousand Waves instructor corps to provide self–defense trainings to non–profit organizations, schools, and businesses throughout the city. She has developed specialized curricula for LGBTQ self–defense, which Thousand Waves has used in workshops throughout the Midwest. In 2009, Kate became a NWMAF certified self-defense instructor and serves on the the Self–Defense Leadership Committee. She is a certified Sexual Assault Crisis Counselor through the YWCA of Chicago. Before joining Thousand Waves, Kate was an instructor with Chimera Self–Defense for Women for four years. Kate holds the rank of sandan, or third degree black belt in Seido karate. Before studying Seido, she practiced Shotokan karate for three years. She is also an Adjunct Professor at DePaul University in Sociology, Women’s Studies, and the School of Education.
Joyce Mende Wong is Co-Director of the Self-Defense Program at Hand to Hand Kajukenbo Self Defense Center in Oakland, CA. Before joining the martial arts program at Hand to Hand in1993, Joyce completed a 10-week self-defense course taught by the late Professor Coleen Gragen. The impact of that experience was profound in many ways. She had the great honor of assisting Professor Gragen at many women's self-defense classes over the years. Hand to Hand, under the leadership of Sifu Sonya Richardson, continues to expand its self-defense programming and to mentor students interested in teaching self defense. Joyce is a member of NWMAF, PAWMA and a lifetime member of the Kajukenbo Association of America. She received NWMAF certification as a self-defense instructor in 2009 and was a member of the Conference Coordinating Committee for SDIC that year. Joyce has been serving as a member of the Self Defense Leadership Committee for the past two years. If you have questions about certification or recertification you can reach her at
Session Facilitators and Panelists
Olivia Bernadel-Huey began practicing martial arts at Destiny Arts Center at age 4. She received her black belt from Destiny at 12. Since then, Olivia has traveled and performed with Destiny Arts Center and worked as an assistant martial arts instructor as well as a junior counselor for Destiny's camp DESTINY summer day camps. She currently attends Bishop O'Dowd High School in Oakland, California.
Giuliana Maria Stella Blasi brings a big heart to dancing and teaching, focusing on hip hop, house and Samba/Afro-Brazilian styles. Once a Bay Area youth herself, she strives to be a community-oriented artist, teaching dance and self defense skills in the Destiny Arts Center outreach after-school programs throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. This year she has also had the opportunity to collaborate with community partners to choreograph two different Flash mobs with messages of peace. Giuliana also works as a Physical Education and Dance teacher at St. Cornelius Catholic School, as well as a choreographer and dance instructor for Loco Bloco, a youth-centered Samba school in San Francisco's Mission District. Her students are also among her most valuable teachers. Giuliana is also a core dancer, performer and educator in the women's all-styles street dance company, Mix'd Ingrdnts. Giuliana holds a BA in Sociology, Dance, and Education from the University of California, Berkeley.
Wendi Dragonfire is 61 years old and has been training in martial arts since 1971. She holds a 9th degree Black Belt in Shuri-Ryu Karate and a 2nd degree Black Belt in Modern Arnis. Dragonfire is a direct student of the late Robert A. Trias and the late Professor Remy A. Presas. Among the founding members of NWMAF, she is one of the foremothers of the feminist self-defense movement. She has received many awards and has been inducted into several Halls of Fame, but her proudest award moment was when she received the NWMAF "Award of Excellence" in 2001. Wendi loves and lives to teach. Her classes are informative, practical, relaxed and fun. Her goal has always been to make Martial Arts and Self Defense accessible to everyone, regardless of ability, especially to people who have typically been marginalized. A resident of the Netherlands, she teaches locally, nationally and internationally. Combining the energy work of Martial Arts with that of Healing Touch has helped Wendi to be a better, more compassionate and proficient teacher, practitioner and friend.
Darlene DeFour, a native of Harlem, graduated from Fisk University and received her doctorate from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She is an Associate Professor of Psychology at Hunter College of the City University of New York, where her academic research has explored the various ways that violence in the form of racism, sexism, as well as physical violence, impact health and everyday life experiences. In addition to her work as a research psychologist, Darlene has been training in the martial arts for 30 years and was inducted into the AWMAI Hall of Fame this year. She is a 9th degree Black Belt in San Yama Bushi Ryu Ju-jutsu, the first and only woman in the system to hold this rank. She also holds a 4th degree black belt in Shotokan karate. She is the Chief Ju-jutsu instructor at the Harlem School of Ju-jutsu and Self Defense. Darlene co-founded the NWMAF Anti-Racism Council in 2008. At SDIC 2010 and 2011, she introduced a course on Applied Microaggressions Defense, designed to address the subtle forms of racism that often permeate classroom settings. She returns again this year to highlight the need for anti-oppression training as a core competency for all self-defense teachers and other professionals committed to social justice.
Joanne Factor is a mild-mannered budget wrangler by day, and dedicated to helping women and girls discover their strongest selves by evening and weekend. Joanne has been training at Seattle's Feminist Karate Union (FKU) for over 19 years, and has been owner of Strategic Living, LLC, Safety and Self-Defense since 2003. A nidan in both traditional Shito-ryu Kotaka-ha Karate and Kobudo, Joanne teaches karate for both adult women's and kids' classes, and has expanded FKU's children's program to local elementary schools. As owner and principal trainer of Strategic Living, Joanne has taught ages 5 to 75, students and sorority sisters, homeless women and business executives, and everyone in between. Joanne has taught at PAWMA Camp, the AWMAI Conference, NWMAF's SDIC and Special Training, and has served on the Boards of Directors of both PAWMA and NWMAF. She is an NWMAF certified Self-Defense Instructor. Originally from Brooklyn, New York, Joanne holds a BA from Cornell University, surrounds herself with many furry feline friends, and was named Seattle's Best Feminist Butt-Kicker in 2007 by the Seattle Weekly.
Koré Grate is the Executive Director and Head Instructor of F.E.M.A.-Five Element Martial Arts & Healing Center (formerly Feminist Eclectic Martial Arts), a non-profit organization founded November of 1989 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. FEMA is dedicated to the empowerment of all people through martial arts, wellness, personal safety and self defense training so we may have a more peaceful community and planet. Originally, FEMA began its programming specifically for Women & Girls, and in the last few years has included all genders to train in a safe and supportive atmosphere. Koré served as Chair for NWMAF, is an NWMAF Certified Self Defense Instructor, and is currently serving on its Anti-Racism Council (ARC). She is one of the founding board members of the Pacific Association of Women Martial Artists (PAWMA), served as PAWMA Vice-President and Elder Council, received PAWMA's Martial Artist of the Year award in 2005 and the PAWMA Lifetime Achievement Award in 2010. In addition to having taught the "The Five Fingers of Self Defense and Empowerment" model for over 25 years, Koré holds a sixth degree black belt in Wu Chien Pai (Judo, Jujitsu, Gong Fu, Internal Arts) and two black belts in Iaido.
Karen Gray is co-founder of Goddess Martial Arts and brings over 18 years of martial arts practice and workplace application to her clients. Her strong client focus and interpersonal communication skills combine with her unique background in Sciences, Fine Arts, Health Care, and Information Technology and enable her to relate easily to a variety of corporate and non-profit audiences. Karen studies and teaches both Tai Chi Chuan (Yang Style) and Kempo Karate, in which she holds a third degree black belt. Volunteer management, mediation and conflict resolution are incorporated into the Personal Safety courses presented by Goddess Martial Arts as well as the bullying reduction and youth leadership programs Karen facilitates through 3 Fires Martial Arts Academy. Karen regularly conducts and participates in advanced training with the Black Belt Institute, NWMAF and The Association of Women Martial Arts Instructors and currently serves as Ombudsperson for The Black Belt Institute and Adviser to the Board of Directors of The Canadian Karate Kung Fu Association. Karen has also taught advanced First Aid and CPR courses for more than 20 years and has held leadership roles within the Canadian Ski Patrol System.
Susannah MacKaye has been teaching self-defense for 28 years. She is a member of the Hand to Hand Kajukenbo Self Defense Center's self-defense program in Oakland, California, and also teaches with Alive & Kicking Self-Defense. A licensed clinical social worker, Susannah works as a community case manager helping severely mentally ill individuals live successfully in the community. For Susannah, self-defense is about saying YES, expanding your life by establishing your boundaries where you want them to be. Protecting those boundaries means using the tools you have at hand, while taking into consideration your strengths and limitations, as well as the opportunities and barriers the specific circumstances present. Addressing this common need for safety and connection makes it possible to develop and teach self defense to diverse populations, and is at the heart of Susannah's social work practice, as well as her self-defense teaching. Susannah has trained in the martial arts for 17 years, first in Tae Kwon Do, and more recently in Kajukenbo at Hand to Hand under Sifu Sonya Richardson.
Mariana Martinez has been a part of the Destiny Arts Center family for fifteen years. A former dance and martial arts student at Destiny, and an alumna of the Destiny Arts Youth Performance Company, she now works with Destiny's youngest martial artists, the Teddy Bears. Mariana earned her black belt in 2006 and has been on the Destiny staff for over 5 years. She is a recent public health graduate from the University of California, Berkeley, and will be attending Medical School next fall.
Katy 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
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, New York 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.
Alicia Raquel is an Oakland native, dancer, teacher, and veteran of the Bay Area arts activism movement. She is inspired by and committed to youth empowerment, people's arts and social justice from the personal level to the global. She is an alumna of the Destiny Arts Youth Performance Company, is a skilled violence-prevention and self-defense instructor, and has taught and performed with Destiny Arts Center, United Roots, Youth Speaks, Diversity Works, University of Puerto Rico, June Jordan's Poetry for the People, Oakland Leaf and the Green Youth Media Arts Center, to name a few.
Deborah Schipper has been working in the field of sexual violence prevention and crisis intervention for over 25 years. Most recently, she coordinated the Sexual Violence Education and Support program at Ohio State University, and instructed women's self-defense in the College of Education. She was instrumental in the development of Ohio State's community course, offered since 1983, and argued successfully on several occasions for gender specific self-defense training for academic credit. Deborah's workshops and programs focus on the prevention of sexual violence and address situations of sexual assault, intimate partner abuse, sexual harassment and stalking. She is an NWMAF certified self-defense instructor, and has taught thousands of women, girls, children, and other vulnerable people in the community, in K-12 classrooms, and on college campuses. Deborah is also particularly interested in the phenomenon of "victim blame" that exists in situations of sexual violence, and her work addresses connections between what are traditional "avoidance" sexual assault prevention strategies and victim blaming attitudes that can and do inhibit reporting and disclosure of sexual violence.
Christine Schoefer has actively been training in Kajukenbo since 1993 and is the Co-Director of the Self-Defense program at Hand to Hand Kajukenbo Self Defense Center in Oakland, California. She is both a first degree black belt and an NWMAF Certified Self-Defense instructor. Before training in the martial arts, she enrolled in a self-defense class taught by the late Coleen Gragen and began teaching self defense in 2002. She has developed and taught classes in many settings, in Germany as well as California, and feels privileged to continue teaching the self-defense program at Mills College begun by Coleen Gragen. Christine has raised three daughters and considers her close relationships to her daughters' girlfriends a bonus of motherhood. She has learned as much about self defense and empowerment from the girls as she has taught them. Christine is also a writer and a spiritual counselor.
Rhonda Singer, CMF is a compelling, trusted resource for senior leaders seeking to optimize their investment in managing multi-cultural talent. She has 20+ years of senior leadership success in corporate, entrepreneurial and non-profit environments, and is one of the first in Canada to be recognized as a certified Cultural Intelligence (CQ) facilitator. She holds a Master of Science in Career and HR Development, certification in Advanced Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), and for many years maintained a Canadian Occupational Health Nurse certificate and RN license. As President of Toronto-based Noanda Enterprises Ltd. and the Culture Chemistry Division, Rhonda's innovative consulting and facilitation solutions help businesses achieve bottom line results through identifying, leveraging and engaging global talent. Rhonda is also an Associate of Coaching for Action, Inc.
Heather F. Turnbull, Partner, co-founder of Goddess Martial Arts Inc., has fashioned a successful career informing her business consulting practice with martial arts philosophy and techniques. As President of the Turnbull Consulting Group, she helps organizations achieve high-quality decisions and implement them effectively through the use of proven facilitation techniques. Her approach draws upon the discipline of the martial arts; Heather is a world-champion gold medalist and 4th Degree Black Belt. Very active in non-profit organizations, she frequently speaks on leadership and the role of volunteers in shaping the new landscape of commitment, engagement and change for good.
Sally Johnson Van Wright, is a Karateka and Modern Arnisadora, actively training since 1987 (5th degree and 3rd degrees black belts, respectively), and a grateful student and teacher at Valley Women's Martial Arts / Institute for Healing and Violence-Prevention Strategies in Easthampton, Massachusetts. She is a Certified Self Defense Instructor, a lifetime member of NWMAF, and former Chair of its Board of Directors 2004-2007. Sally has been honored to serve as a Trainer at both NWMAF and PAWMA camps. Raised in working class de-segregated South Carolina in the 70's, Sally has held a lifelong stance against racism. She enjoys shared leadership and currently Co-Chairs the Anti-Racism Council/All Races Count/Active Respectful Communication group, with Sonya Richardson. A licensed clinical social worker, Sally is second in command of a regional women's correctional center, where she helped develop and now directs an empowerment-based program model. She serves as Adjunct Faculty for Springfield College's graduate School of Social Work and nurtures a fierce passion for the intersection between theory and practice. Sally added a pink ribbon to her wardrobe in 2010 when she had the heart-opening experience of breast cancer. Life is precious.

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