Valley Women's Martial Arts

1977 - 2017

& Lotus Peace Arts

VWMA Guiding Principles 

Accountability, Diversity, Collaboration

Shinshii Janet Aalfs

Sensei Pamela Westgate
Board president and instructor

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.

Ann Vanderburgh
Board treasurer

Sensei Jillian Hanson
Instructor

Sensei/ Gura Sally Johnson Van Wright
Instructor

Sensei/ Gura Meg Brown
Instructor

Makani Freitas
Instructor

Sensei Deb Friedman
Instructor

Sensei Lena Cohen Amick 
Instructor

Sifu Dorian Gregory
Instructor

our Board and leadership team

Sensei Rochelle Friedman
Instructor

Sensei Erinn Ervin
Instructor

Sensei/ Gura Janis Totty
Instructor

Judy Rzegocki
Instructor

Cid White
Board secretary and student

Shinshii Janet Aalfs, 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.

Harvey Friedman
Instructor

Nicole L’Heureux,  Shelly LaValley-Fruge, Tanya Wallace,

Regina Kaufman, Ingrid Askew (Crossing the Waters Cultural Exchange), Karen Bouquillon, Geneva Brinton, Isabel Brinton-Fenlason, Jennie Moss, Caitlin Caulfield, Carol Huben

members of the Teaching Team, Advisory and Youth Council not pictured are: