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

Reprint: Coming Home

By Mamie Chow

“One of the hardest lessons …. has been learning to accept my power”

I spent 16 years living in hell, another eight years recreating that hell, and the past six years trying to break the trauma cycle. Today I consider myself blessed because I can finally say, “I don’t owe you a damn thing.”

I started training in martial arts because I was angry and wanted a positive outlet for my rage. I had no idea the process would be so significant. Until I started martial arts training, my childhood was the only process by which I defined myself —- defining myself by all that I hated and raged against. There was no core to who I was, nothing original for me to connect to. There was no me — just a wall of pain, shame, and self-loathing that stood in as me.

It is only now that I understand that martial arts training provides me with another process by which I can define myself. That I am not my childhood, but I am something that is positive and pure at its core. It led me back to myself through a dense fog of blocked memories, survival responses, and worthless treasures of self-hate. It led me back to myself before my childhood ended when I was six and my stepfather sexualized me, before I was eight and Gordon the local drunk stuck his tongue in my mouth, before my mother began chanting my worthlessness, and before the five years of childhood that I can’t remember.

One of the hardest lessons in my training has been learning to accept my power, to accept that I exist here on this ground. In many classes I felt my weightlessness, my apprehension at existing in this life. I threw empty kicks and punches because I was afraid to announce my presence or risk being seen for fear of the consequences. What if they know I’m here and they hate me, they blame me, they envy me? I’m not sure how I got through those first years of training when it felt like that. I guess my original spirit was stronger than my learned survivor self. Thank goodness for that.

Read more about Mamie's personal journey »

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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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