Above: AWMAI 2020 Hall of Fame Inductees (L to R) Master Sensei Lisa Frazer, Jamie Leno Zimron Sensei and Goeroe Silvia Smart

Teaching the Teacher

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.

This is a worldwide network of accomplished and high-aspiring women, who share a passion for martial arts, and a genuine desire to see each other succeed. 

Late to the Party

I’d already been teaching and training over thirty years when I taught at PAWMA last summer. It was there that I discovered a rich and diverse community of women martial artists from all over the country and globe and found out about the AWMAI 2020 conference in Tampa this February.

For the past thirty years, my own training, my children and my martial arts school, Naga, had kept me busy. Frankly, looking outside our style was not something I ever felt encouraged to do, even before I had children or my own school. With limited time and resources, it seemed easier just to stick with all the multi-weekend workshops and events taught by our teacher or her representatives, of which I ultimately became one.

Ethics and Values

In the membership of AWMAI, I found a diverse group of women who love the martial arts as much as I do. I found values and ethics that matched my own. 

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.

After many years of training in a martial arts community with ethics and values that did not always feel right, finding this group has been a breath of fresh air.

AWMAI Conference 2020

At the 2020 conference in Tampa, FL, I found leaders, movers and shakers in the field of martial arts. There were women with 40 plus years of teaching and training along with women just beginning to explore teaching and leadership.

Grandmaster Sunny Graff started the workshop off with a lively session of games which all of us thoroughly enjoyed and I’m sure, have already incorporated into the  many classes we teach around the globe. There were lectures designed to help school owners as well as physical trainings to broaden and deepen our understanding of the arts. There was a incredibly interesting presentation and discussion on “Navigating Ethics and Tradition”, which I particularly enjoyed. 

Photos: Sheila Haddad and Kerry Kehoe

AWMAI Hall of Fame 2020

Goeroe Silvia Smart was honored at the annual AWMAI Conference in Tampa, FL in February. She was recognized for over 30 years of martial arts training, commitment, passion and dedication. Learn more about this honor, this elite group of women and read all about past inductees.

The Indonesian Breathing Kumbong

Smart taught and performed this form at the AWMAI 2020 Conference. 

Interested in training at Naga? We look forward to meeting you!