Special Training is the NWMAF's signature event. It is a multi-style training camp and professional self-defense instruction conference. The event moves to a different college campus almost every year. Every year women and girls come to Special Training from all over the United States, Canada, and beyond. We come to share our passion for the martial arts. We come to develop our skills in self-defense. We come because some of us rarely have training partners that match our skill, size, strength, or temperament. We come to grow as individuals. We come to belong to a community that has been sustaining us for over 30 years.
The theme of the 2014 event was "PeaceWorks," in defiance of the stereotype of martial arts as a form of violence, and in recognition both that there are many works of peace, and that it takes work to make peace. The event was held in Naperville, IL, just outside of Chicago, from July 16th - 20th. Starting on July 16th, the Early Program of the Self-Defense Instruction Conference will focus exclusively on violence prevention. The Self-Defense Instruction Conference continues through the martial arts camp, with parallel sessions running through Sunday along with traditional martial arts offerings.
About the Training
We select the best women martial artists in the world to teach at Special Training. Recent instructors have come from the U.S., Canada, Germany, Israel, Japan and the Netherlands.
Our instructors are recognized for their contributions to their art and for their support of women and girls in the martial arts. Many of them have decades of experience. They are among the highest ranking martial artists in their systems, they run their own schools, and they are committed to teaching excellence.
NWMAF honors our commitment to diversity in the trainer selection process.
Classes for All Skill Levels
Special Training offers classes for all skill levels. Whether you've trained for a day or a decade, you'll find classes that challenge and inspire you. Every session includes open classes for all levels of experience. We also offer an Advanced Track for black belts only.
Classes at All Exertion Levels
From early morning to late night, you'll find classes at low, moderate and high exertion levels. Because Special Training is self-paced, it's accessible for all ages and abilities. Train your body, mind and spirit at the intensity that's right for you.
Classes in All Styles
From Aikido to Arnis, Kung Fu to Karate, Tai Chi to Tae Kwon Do, Judo to Jujitsu... a wide variety of hard and soft styles are taught at Special Training. It's a great opportunity to deepen into your own practice and cross-train in styles that are new to you.
Some of the styles that are regularly represented at Special Training
- Qi Gong
- Kung Fu
- Tae Kwon Do
- Tai Chi
- Tang Soo Do
- Wu Chien Pai
Classes for Young Martial Artists
Special Training offers a multi-generational training experience, and many classes are open to all ages.
Young Martial Artists (YMA) also enjoy classes designed specifically for girls. Our Tournament of Champions is a popular, multi-class offering that allows girls to develop their skills in cooperative competition. Girls often choose to design an impromptu demonstration that they perform for the entire ST audience.
For safety and security, we do require that YMA attendees are accompanied to classes by a guardian.
Self-Defense Empowerment Model Course
No experience is necessary for the Self-Defense Empowerment Model Course (formerly Self-Defense Track). Take all or part of this comprehensive series of skill-building self defense classes, taught by NWMAF Certified Self Defense Instructors. Learn how to escape grabs, fight from the ground, defend against weapons, and much more.
If you're interested in teaching self-defense, then you may also want to attend our Self-Defense Instruction Conference.
Self-Defense Instruction Conference, Early Program