VWMA Guiding Principles 

‚ÄčAccountability, Diversity, Collaboration

Shinshii Janet Aalfs

Experienced black belts and advanced student teachers

Dojo Philosophy

Unity Strengthens/ Diversity Transforms
Compassion, Courage & Generosity

through Movement

mission & vision

We are a non-profit community-based center that is committed to providing education through movement arts and poetry, all with a focus on feminist social justice values.

Founder & director of Lotus Peace Arts, and artistic director of VWMA since 1982, is a 7th degree black belt in Shuri-ryu Okinawan Karate, a 6th degree black belt in Filipino Modern Arnis, a nationally certified teacher of empowerment and self-protection skills, and an instructor of Liangong, Tai Chi, and Qigong through Jian Mei Internal Martial Arts. She has received the 2016 National Women's Martial Arts Federation Founders Award for her collaborative work in creating and growing the organization since 1979. As an educator, performer, and peace-builder, Aalfs continues to dedicate her life to feminist social justice activism, and her bio is included in Feminists Who Changed America, 1963-1975. Poet laureate emeritus of Northampton, MA, her most recent book is Bird of a Thousand Eyes. She is a recipient of an MFA in Poetry from Sarah Lawrence College, and her writing has been widely published. Shinshii Aalfs received the 2013 Leadership and Advocacy in the Arts Award from the Center for Women and Community, UMass/ Amherst. In that same year she was inducted into the IMAF Arnis Black Belt Hall of Fame in Philadelphia, and was given the Pioneer Award.