Hard and Soft, Working Together, Become Complete
Pacific Association of Women Martial Artists

Uniting and empowering a diverse community
of women and girls in the martial arts.

Be part of an active community of women martial artists.

Mark Your Calendars for

PAWMA Camp 2020  
Thur, Sep 10 - Sun, Sep 13

CYO Camp, Occidental CA

Approx. 75 miles north of San Francisco / Oakland - plan to fly into SFO or OAK


PAWMA Board Members Transition

A letter from PAWMA President, Aminta Steinbach

The Latest from PAWMA News

Building a Community of Social Justice

By Ellen Morrison, with the help of past and current board members

Photo by Kerry Kehoe.

Editor’s Note: I felt so moved by my experience at the 2019 PAWMA camp’s white ally lunch and wanted to find out more. In this sociopolitical climate I felt like it was so important to talk about how we can show up as white allies. During the lunch PAWMA campers had a choice of sitting at the people of color table, the white ally table, or the tables that were available for those who opted out. I wanted to dig into the motivation and work from the board. I interviewed Ellen Morrison (board member) and then Ellen had a call with a few outgoing and incoming board members in order to create this article.

How did the idea of the white ally lunch come about?

The white ally lunch came about in our planning for PAWMA 2019 when I revisited a moment Aminta Steinbach, Tyler LePard and I had during Camp Sealth 2018. As she was leaving to join the people of color (POC) lunch, Aminta asked us a powerful question: “Wouldn't it be radical if when the people of color lunch happens, we could as a community acknowledge in that moment our absence when not part of our community?" The question was profound because it asked Tyler and me to stop and notice what was happening in the room. I remember the first question that came to mind was, ‘What are the white folks doing and thinking when their people of color friends are gathering in community?’ I noted that, like me, many may be impacted by the change, but were not talking about it. Turns out this was true for many. It also prompted both Tyler and me to reflect on what this question meant to us and heed a call to action about having a conversation about race at PAWMA. When Tyler and I started to talk about how to be responsive, we created a proposal that we hoped would build community and provide a space for an intentional conversation about allyship. We were joined by Lynn Kesler and Leslie Lippard in the planning.

How did the subcommittee plan for the white ally lunch?

Our first step in planning was to do work on the board’s readiness. It was not yet a norm for the PAWMA board to create space during our training weekend to invite a conversation about race, racism and racial justice. In inviting these conversations, questions arose about how the community would respond: What does calling it a white ally lunch mean? Will people wonder why we are talking about race and not other forms of identity and oppression? Are we replicating the same division that we are trying to avoid? How will I answer these questions if they come up? We had rich conversations and acknowledged that even with some fear, it was right to make it happen.

More about how PAWMA is building community »

Upcoming events

17 Jul 2020 • Suigetsu Dojo, Placerville, CA

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We welcome all women and girls including individuals who are transgender, non-binary or self-identify as female. We aim to make our training spaces as accessible and inclusive as possible for our diverse community. Please contact us if you are wondering if this is a good program for you or your youth.

Photo: Bonnie Loshbaugh

Are you a woman or girl training in the martial arts? Do you want to support women and girls training in the martial arts?

Do you enjoy experiencing other martial arts, and sharing your own?

Photo: Bonnie Loshbaugh

Are you moving and looking for a school or teacher in your new location?

Are you a beginning student and want to experience a variety of styles before you settle on one?

Are you an advanced student and want to reinvigorate your training or train with other master teachers?

Photo: Bonnie Loshbaugh

At PAWMA, we believe that the martial arts have special value for women, whether pursued for self-expression, self-protection, spirituality, or physical health. We are committed to encouraging women and girls to train, and to promoting an atmosphere of respect and support for women martial artists of all styles. Membership is open to everyone who supports the full and active participation of women in the martial arts.

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