Self-Defense Instructor's Conference

North Central College

Naperville, IL

July 17-21, 2013


CEUS Available for Social Workers


Back to SDIC 2013 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.

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.
Amy Jones is finishing an MSW degree in Springfield, Massachusetts under the supervision of NWMAF certified self-defense instructor and social worker Sally Johnson Van Wright. Before moving to Massachusetts to finish her education (for now), Amy was a student at Sun Dragon Martial Arts and Self Defense in Austin, Texas. She has taught self-defense to adult women, teen girls, children, and teens and adults who are blind and visually-impaired. After completing her MSW, Amy intends to move to Chicago and use her skills as both a self defense instructor and social worker to continue working to help all people to live more peacefully. Amy is passionate about working with all people to prevent violence, whether they have been victims or perpetrators. Amy is a member of the Self-Defense Leadership Committee.
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
Susan Barney has been an active training member in Seido karate since 1995 and is a lead self-defense instructor at Thousand Waves Martial Arts & Self-Defense Center in Chicago, Illinois. She is a student of Jun Shihans Nancy Lanoue and Sarah Ludden and earned her Sandan (third degree black belt) in 2010. Susan is an NWMAF certified self-defense instructor and a licensed massage therapist and Reiki practitioner in Illinois. She serves as the Career Services and Continuing Education Director at the Cortiva Institute - Chicago School of Massage Therapy, and enjoys singing, dancing, bicycling and reading books that you can't put down.
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.
Carmel Drewes is a self-defense instructor and clinical social worker. She has taught assertiveness and empowerment focused self-defense for over 10 years. Carmel has a black belt in Kyokushin karate and a brown belt in Seido karate, both from Sun Dragon Martial Arts in Austin, Texas. In 2008, she developed a peer-led self defense training program for college-age women which has been implemented through the Women's and Gender Studies Program at the College of Charleston in South Carolina. Carmel also works as a counselor, specializing in post-trauma work with women, immigrants, and LGBTQIA communities. She has worked specifically with international torture survivors since 2010, leading trauma-healing groups in Spanish and English in an immigration detention center for women and helping develop a support group for transgender immigrant Latinas seeking political asylum. Carmel continues to be impressed by how much her counseling practice informs her self-defense instruction and her self-defense practice informs her clinical work.
Michelle Dwyer began pursuing the knowledge of Qi Gong and Chinese Martial Arts in the middle 1970s. She studied Taoism and the way energy travels in the body and now teaches Chinese Martial Arts and Healing Arts. Michelle's main focus is good health in body, mind, spirit, and heart for balance inside and outside, head to feet. Michelle believes that If we are strong within, surely we can deal with the world in a calm and focused manner. She wants to help this world be a kind and safe place for all of us to flourish--one person at a time. Michelle has been teaching Tai Chi, Gung Fu, Hsing Yi and Qi Gong for 35 years and has received many testimonials from students on their improved health--these are her rewards on the path she travels. Michelle has taught many times at ST and PAWMA as well as internationally -- The Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Spain, and France. In 2012 she was awarded a PAWMA Life Time Achievement Award.
Shura Gat serves as Director of The Community Center Program at Cornell University, where she guides a staff of fifty undergraduate students through a model of leadership development that focuses on power and privilege. Students hone awareness of how their choices, both conscious and unconscious, impact others as they seek to create a welcoming, inclusive environment for fellow students. Shura has taught self-defense through her business, Strong Stance, and as a representative of the Cornell University Police Department. She tailors workshops to meet the needs of broad populations, from senior custodial staff to first-year sorority women. After studying martial arts such as judo, tae kwon do and jujitsu, energy medicine, including Healing Touch, Reiki and Eden Energy Medicine, came as an intuitive next step. Like self-defense, energy medicine works with energetic, emotional and physical vulnerabilities and draws from different spiritual and healing traditions. In her book, Fighting Women, Fighting Cultures, Shura explores ways in which contemporary Western cultures frame women’s ability to fight (back). Interviews with advanced martial artists, professional boxers and kickboxers highlight and challenge some of the most common discourses.
Zosia Gorbaty, 8th dan in Zujitsu-Ryu Martial Arts, began training in martial arts and self-defense in 1976. She earned a Masters of Physical Education and is celebrating thirty years teaching self-defense as an adjunct university faculty member, at Adelphi University and Queensborough Community College, CUNY. Zosia has presented seminars on safety/rape prevention, served as a certified ER rape crisis advocate at Mt. Sinai Hospital, and has appeared as a self-defense expert on media. NWMAF Self-Defense Certified, she also served as NWMAF Board Chair, and on the Self-Defense Instructor Certification Board. She has been serving as the Executive Director of the Association of Women Martial Arts Instructors (AWMAI) since 2009. Zosia has been a trainer at events for AWMAI, PAWMA, NWMAF, El Halev in Israel, Camp Danzan Ryu, Camp Suigetsu, Jujitsu America, People in Progress, Friendship Exchange Tour in China, and the Zujitsu Martial Arts Federation. In 2012 she received the World Head of Family Sokeship Council Silver Life Achievement Award and was inducted into the AWMAI Hall of Fame.
Johanna Hattendorf has studied Tai Chi since 1999 and also holds a 2nd degree Black Belt in Kung Fu. She has been teaching tai chi, primarily to seniors, since 2005. An NWMAF-Certified Self-Defense Instructor, she worked at IMPACT Boston from 2005-2012. She taught classes for kids, teens, adults and designed curriculum for trauma survivors that incorporated Tai Chi. She co-wrote the groundbreaking program - IMPACT: Ability: Comprehensive Abuse Prevention- a safety and self-advocacy curriculum for people with physical and cognitive disabilities. Johanna is the founder of The Spiral Path on the North Shore of Boston, MA. In addition to teaching tai chi and self-defense, Johanna is as Nationally Certified Massage Therapist whose modalities include Craniosacral Therapy, Massage and Reiki. She specializes in working with trauma survivors and people with chronic medical conditions that have not been resolved by other means. Ordained as a UCC Pastor in 1984, she served churches in New Hampshire and Massachusetts for 21 years. In her life and practice she seeks to embody her guiding principles of Balance, Healing and Power.
Jennifer Keller obtained her doctorate in clinical psychology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. After internship at the Palo Alto VA Medical Center, she completed her post-doctoral training at Stanford University Department of Psychiatry. She is currently a Senior Research Scholar at Stanford University School of Medicine in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and at the Kozmetsky Global Collaboratory ( In addition, she is a licensed clinical psychologist with a small private practice and has worked extensively with women who experience depression and anxiety. Her interests focus on healing from and the prevention of interpersonal violence. Jennifer began her martial arts training during college and continued for over 10 years, earning a black belt in Tae Kwon Do. She has taught Tae Kwon Do, and she currently teaches self-defense seminars for women and girls. Her recent work focuses on healing from interpersonal violence and the prevention of such violence with the goal of improving lives through education, life skill building, and physical empowerment.
Nancy Lanoue is a student and teacher of Seido Karate, holding a 6th degree black belt in this beautiful Japanese art. Her second major art is Kajukenbo, which she learned from her life partner, Sifu Sarah Ludden, who is part of Professor Coleen Gragen's lineage. Since 1985, Nancy has co-directed Thousand Waves Martial Arts & Self-Defense Center in Chicago. For its first five years, Thousand Waves served women only. In 1990 the dojo began teaching children, and since 1995, it has welcomed people of all genders. Currently 375 people train at Thousand Waves. The adult program is 2/3 women, while the kids program is 2/3 boys. The instructor corps includes 15 dedicated teachers, most of whom are at NWMAF camp this year, and Nancy notes that "it is such a treat to share a piece of ST with our Thousand Waves brothers. I have been fortunate to study with many great teachers over the years at ST and SDIC, PAWMA camps, and AWMAI gatherings, and have been honored to share my skills in these settings as a trainer more than a dozen times."
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
Carol Middleton, 7th degree Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do, has studied various martial arts and self defense systems since 1968. She has run the D.C. Self Defense Karate Association since 1976, Krav Maga DC since 2001, D.C. IMPACT since 1989, and was the first President of IMPACT International. She has also been a tactical master in CDT (low force compliance and control techniques), and is a certified KIDPOWER instructor. In addition, Carol is an NWMAF Certified Self-Defense Instructor, and taught the Self-Defense Empowerment Model Course at Special Training in 2008. A co-founder of NWMAF and its first Member of the Year, Carol has been to most of the Self-Defense Instructor Conferences and Special Trainings and looks forward to yet another great training camp, and to seeing all of you!
Cyndie O'bleness is the founder and lead trainer of Elements Martial Arts, a 501(c)3 charitable empowerment initiative for women and children in Kansas City, Missouri. The goal of all programs and services at Elements is to promote resiliency and preserve safety for those healing from, and at risk of, violence in all its forms. Although Cyndie holds a degree in behavioral psychology and has studied extensively in the areas of trauma and positive psychology, she believes her greatest asset as a self-defense instructor is her life experience as both victim and survivor of violence from the age of three. Her distinctive holistic safety classes for women and children have been implemented in family violence shelters, and offered as outreach to girl scout groups, women’s organizations and clubs, as well as private, public, charter and homeschool groups. Cyndie is also the Women’s Liaison for the Kom Do Kwan Martial Arts Association
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.
Sonya Richardson, Head Instructor of Hand to Hand Kajukenbo Self Defense Center, Oakland, CA, is “inspired by witnessing and contributing to positive transformation in its many configurations.” She received her 3rd degree Black Belt in Kajukenbo under Professor Coleen Gragen, was promoted to 5th degree Black Belt by her current teacher Professor Barbara Bones, and holds a Sandan in Kenpo Karate under Professor Gloria Boldizar. Off the training floor, Sonya is a Doctor of Physical Therapy who has been practicing for 25 years. She has taught at PAWMA, NWMAF, and AWMAI national camps, the Kajukenbo Association of America, and at local and out-of-state martial arts and academic schools. She is the co-director of NWMAF's Anti-Racism Council (ARC) working to bring and honor diversity within our organization and annual camps. Among Sonya’s recent awards are: PAWMA's Martial Artist of the Year and recognition from “The 10 Women Campaign” (a biennial celebration of women who promote community building and social justice throughout the greater Bay Area).
 Sonya is thrilled to teach at camp this year and expresses gratitude to NWMAF's Board of Directors, camp organizers and participants.
Silke Schulz, fifth degree black belt in Taekwondo, owned and operated her own martial arts studio in southern California until 2006. She has worked as a rape prevention educator and court advocate for the Women’s Center High Desert and has taught numerous self-defense workshops. She recently graduated with her M.A. in Sociology after conducting her graduate research in women's self-defense and social interaction, and is currently part-time faculty at Solano Community College in Fairfield, California. Silke hopes to make teaching sociology her career in addition to continuing her martial arts and self-defense training and teaching.
Lee Sinclair is a writer, activist, and founder of No Means No Worldwide. She began organizing Self-Defense trainings in Nairobi, Kenya in 2007 to create the first full time, slum-based, Self-Defense team in Africa. The program has since grown from 8 instructors to a staff of 27 full-time female instructors and 19 male instructors. In 2011, Lee partnered with Edgework Consulting in Boston to create an official NMNW rape prevention class for boys. This new class, called ‘Your Moment of Truth’ (YMOT) was implemented in early January, 2013. Both male and female classes are currently being researched for impact by professors at Stanford University and United States International University in Nairobi. Lee will be sharing the results of the 2011 and 2012 Self-Defense research studies during at the 2013 NWMAF conference.
Su Strong met Andra Medea, co-author of Against Rape, in 1972 at University of Illinois at Chicago and decided that self-defense was her calling. This led to the formation of Chimera, Inc., Self-Defense for Women, and she spent 25 years as a senior instructor and curriculum developer. At the same time, she also discovered NWMAF Special Trainings, and learned new techniques and teaching methods to take back to Chimera. Many years later, she also affiliated with Power for Women, another Chicago women’s self-defense organization. After 15 years in TaeKwonDo, (and a couple of years of Judo) she was introduced to the practical and very self-defense oriented martial art of DanZanRyu Jujitsu when Sensei Maureen Browne came to one of Su’s self-defense classes. She loved what Browne could do, and knew she wanted to study with her next. After a twelve-year absence due to family illnesses, Su has returned to DanZanRyu Jujitsu with Sensei Monica Villanueva, in a class not far from home.
Martha Thompson is a senior instructor and director emeritus of IMPACT Chicago, a personal safety, assertiveness and self-defense training program where women have the opportunity to practice full-force self-defense techniques in simulated scenarios with a padded attacker and a personal coach. She is the IMPACT Chicago representative to IMPACT International, an affiliation of independent chapters. Martha is a 4th degree black belt in Seido karate and studies with Nancy Lanoue and Sarah Ludden at Thousand Waves Martial Arts and Self-Defense Center. She is a NWMAF certified self-defense instructor, served on the NWMAF Self-Defense Instructor Certification Board, co-organized two years of SDIC, and has presented numerous workshops at SDIC. She is also Professor Emeritus of Sociology and Women's Studies at Northeastern Illinois University. She has also written several articles on women's self-defense, most recently "Empowering Self-Defense Training" which will be published in a special issue on self-defense in "Violence Against Women."
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.
Margaret Vimont, 5th degree Black Belt with the Universal Taekwon Do Federation, began her martial arts career 25 years ago. Shortly after she took her first full force self-defense class with IMPACT Chicago and became an instructor in 1992. Since then, Margaret has taught IMPACT self-defense, developing classes in Chicago for teens and middle school girls. In Taekwon Do, Margaret began a small class when she earned her second degree black belt in 1994 for the youth who lived in residential group homes at Jewish Child and Family Services, the agency where she was a social worker. She is now the Chief Operating Officer at that agency and has grown that class into a fully grown inclusive community that specializes in teaching to a balanced mixed of children, youth and adults that is inclusive for people with special needs. Margaret focuses herself now on creating learning environments where a wide range of people can use the martial arts and self defense training as a path towards better living, the evolution of our best self and personal freedom.
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 both onsite and offsite programs, and works closely with the Thousand Waves instructor corps to provide self-defense trainings to non-profit organizations, schools, universities and businesses throughout the city. She has developed specialized curricula for self-defense within the LGBT community, which Thousand Waves has used in workshops throughout the Midwest. She is a NWMAF certified self-defense instructor and a third degree black belt in Seido Karate. Kate has been a presenter at and past organizer of NWMAF's annual Self-Defense Instructors' Conference. She is also a certified Sexual Assault Crisis Counselor through the YWCA of Chicago. In addition, she is an adjunct professor at Loyola and DePaul Universities in the fields of education, sociology, and gender studies.
Joy Williamson took her first self-defense class with Suzanne Pinette in Austin, Texas in 1994, and was inspired to begin training in both karate and self-defense. She received a black belt in Kyokushin Karate in 2000, and her self-defense instructor certification from NWMAF in 2007. At her teacher's request, she took over as head instructor of Sun Dragon Martial Arts and Self Defense in 2004. She then began training in Seido Karate with Nancy Lanoue and Sarah Ludden, and received her third-degree black belt in 2012. Joy taught the self-defense model course at SDIC-ST 2010 with Clara Porter. At home, she teaches self defense for women and girls, and anyone who asks. She teaches a monthly workshop at the Criss Cole Rehabilitation Center for blind and visually impaired adults. She loves exploring issues of anger management, conflict negotiation, and violence prevention in self defense workshops and with her karate students. She still lives, trains, and teaches at Sun Dragon in Austin, and commutes regularly to train at Thousand Waves in Chicago.

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