& Lotus Peace Arts

Shuri-ryu Okinawan Karate: "Beautiful & Graceful" Open-Hand Arts

originates in methods developed to celebrate life, to honor the ancestors, and to focus energy in healthy ways. The name of this style means "beautiful and graceful." Women called Noro have been the civic and spiritual leaders in the Ryukyu Islands for centuries.

Modern Arnis: Filipino Stick-Rhythm Arts

a system from the Philippines, uses techniques practiced with rattan canes and empty hands. Rhythmic, dynamic, and fluid movements are based on the figure-8 symbol of infinity.

Tai chi/ Qigong/ Liangong/ Poetry

forms are practiced for healing, strengthening, flexibility, balance, and flow. Awareness of breathing, as in all of the martial arts, deepens and expands the connections to one's center of energy.

Empowerment and Self-Protection Skills

focus on the practical everyday applications of martial arts principles and exercises. The "Five Fingers" of Self-Protection, Self-Care, Peace, and Transformation include:

1. Breath, Presence, Awareness, Intuition
2. Voice, Expression, Communication
3. Escape, Aspiration, Renewal
4. Safety Emergency Techniques, Commitment, Right Action, Working for Good
5. Telling Someone You Trust, Empathy, Community Connections

VWMA and LOTUS PEACE ARTS programs are held at our One Cottage St. Studio #319 and by arrangement for women, men, and children at other community organizations including schools, clubs, social service agencies, health centers, etc. Sessions are designed to be fun, empowering, encouraging and safe.


for adults & teens  (Introductory and all levels)

Instructor: Shinshii Janet Aalfs (all classes include Liangong)

Mon. noon-1:00pm, Tai Chi & Qigong, YMCA, Northampton
Mon. 6:00-7:00pm, Tai Chi & Qigong for Healing & Pain Relief, Valley Medical Group, Easthampton
Wed. 6:00-7:00pm,  Wild Goose Qigong
Sat. 9 - 10:15am,  Wu Style Tai Chi     

Through movement meditation, enjoy a deeper sense of well-being and calm in a circle of other learners. Classes include various methods based on Jian Mei (healthy and beautiful) Chinese therapeutic and creative energy work. Liangong (included in all classes) for strengthening and flexibility; Wild Goose (Dayan) Qigong for roots, fluidity, and expansion; Guo Lin Qigong for special breathing and walking exercises; and Wu Style Tai Chi for direction, focus, and balance. Each movement-gesture may be savored on its own or practiced in sequence at any level of skill or ability.  The poetic meditations session offers an opportunity to share meaning, insight and metaphor through motion and words. Research has shown that these movement forms significantly reduce stress, interrupt the pain cycle, feed the vital spiral and improve overall health.  

(introductory and all levels)
Tues. 5:00-6:00pm: Power Girls 1, age 6-10+  Wed. 4:30-5:30pm: Power Girls 2, age 11+ 

Teaching Team:  Sally Johnson Van Wright, Janet Aalfs, Deb Friedman

These movement arts classes (short-term and ongoing) focus on what is fun, empowering, and creatively inspiring for girls and teens. The techniques, forms, and principles are primarily from Shuri-ryu Okinawan Karate: beautiful and graceful ancient art of the empty hand. In all aspects of the curriculum, students are encouraged to discover and share more about their own and others' special gifts and strengths. Age-appropriate exercises, games, movement meditation, group/ partner/ individual activities, special performances, and community service events all support girls and teens in making healthy everyday choices and connections. The program offers ongoing opportunities for students of all abilities and learning styles to deepen and expand confidence, self-esteem, and social justice awareness. Self-protection skills strengthen mind-heart-body-voice integration in areas such as limit-setting and personal boundaries, calming down, being an effective ally, dealing with a safety emergency, etc. Certified, award-winning teachers have many years of experience working with youth locally, nationally and internationally.

MODERN ARNIS (introductory and all levels)

Mon. 6:00-7:30pm for women & teens, age 15+
Instructor: Sensei Pamela Westgate 

Wed. 4:30-5:30pm, Power Girls 2, age 11+  
Forms/Anyo practice with Shinshii Janet Aalfs 

Thurs. 5:30-6:30pm, for women & girls, age 9+  
Instructor: Gura Sally Johnson Van Wright 
with Gura Meg Brown and Gura Deb Friedman

Sat. 10:30-11:15am, for youth & adults 
Instructor: Shinshii Janet Aalfs

Albert Einstein has said, “Play is the highest form of research.” In Modern Arnis class (short-term and ongoing), we explore this dynamic Filipino martial art for the sake of play, learning, and empowerment. Rattan canes, empty-hand techniques, music, and laughter fill the space. Activities challenge varied skill and fitness levels. Participants can expect delight, sweat, self-protection skills, and at least 20 minutes working in your target heart rate zone every class. Try it and see how much fun hard work can be!

LOTUS PEACE ARTS WORKSHOPS with Shinshii Janet Aalfs

Love to Move: Fri. 6:00-7:30pm, inquire about workshop dates
For movers of all kinds, youth and adult. Using basic forms and principles of Tai Chi, Qigong, Shuri-ryu, Arnis, and improvisation techniques, this workshop will assist participants in finding the next level of balance, flexibility, creativity, enjoyment, and ease.

Poetry & Curiosity: Sat. 11:30am-1:00pm, Oct. 1, 8 & 15, workshops for adults
Fan Chun, a poet in the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368) says: “For writing a poem, there are 4 steps: the introduction (Qi) direct; the elucidation (Cheng) tender; the transaction changeable (Zhuan) and the summary meaningful (He). In Tai Chi we practice integrating the same 4 steps.”


for women & girls  (Introductory and all levels)

Mon. 6 - 7:30pm (age 15+)     Instructor: Sensei Pamela Westgate
Wed. 4:30-5:30pm (age 11+)   Instructor: Shinshii Janet Aalfs 
Thurs. 6:30 - 7:30pm (age 9+),     Instructor: Sensei Sally Johnson Van Wright

Taken individually or in combination, these classes provide short-term and ongoing practice for women and girls in the basic principles, forms, and techniques of Shuri-ryu Okinawan Karate and everyday self-protecton skills. The coordinated curriculum (including material offered by guest instructors) offers both consistency in structure and variety in approach for all types of learning. From traditional roots to current methods, Shuri-ryu continues to be developed through the work of many women teachers and leaders. This art emphasizes movement from the hips, and its forms are designed to celebrate and protect all life. Classes incorporate Liangong (Chinese healing and strengthening exercises) as part of warmups and stretching. Instruction at every level involves working in ways that are sustainable and enjoyable through each stage of life - from younger to elder! It's never too late to begin! 

for adults (Introductory and all levels)
Instructor: Sifu Dorian Gregory
Tues. 6:30-7:30pm

Commonly called ‘push hands’, Taijiquan (Tai Chi Chuan) partner work requires and develops the ability to ‘listen’, ‘understand’, and ‘receive’. Cultivation of these skills makes it possible for one to remain balanced while responding to, and ‘neutralizing’ another’s force. It also increases self-awareness, ease and insight. With a focus on core principles, we’ll practice exercises from the traditional Yang’s style Taiijiquan curriculum and have some fun playing push hands!

To register or schedule a workshop


or call 413-527-0101

Workshops for children age 6+ and families, Mon. 4:00-5:15pm (inquire re: next session dates)   Instructor: Shinshii Janet Aalfs
Ongoing class Thurs. 10:00-11:00am, age 18+    Instructor: Sensei Rochelle Friedman 

Designed to be fun, to build confidence, and to encourage empathy. The dragon-pearl is a symbol for inner awareness and peace. Following the movements of animals, the elements, imagination, and creativity of all kinds, we create a space in which everyone can excel in her/his own special ways. Karate and self-protection skills help to develop and strengthen social-emotional-physical competency in areas such as limit-setting and personal boundaries, calming down, speaking up, trusting your feelings and instincts, being an effective ally, dealing with a safety emergency, setting a positive example for others, etc.


None at this time

All sessions are at the Dojo at 1 Cottage Street, Easthampton unless otherwise specified.

What we teach 

Martial Arts has Art in it Twice!

Martial = inner power      Artist = creative being

Martial Artist = one who directs

creative inner power

Valley Women's Martial Arts

1977 - 2017