Grandmaster Jaye Spiro is the 2015 recipient of the NWMAF Award of Excellence in the Martial Arts. Grandmaster Spiro has owned and operated Mejishi Martial Arts in Ferndale, MI for 35 years. She is one of 13 women to be honored with this award in the 40 year history of the NWMAF. The award will be presented during the annual Special Training Camp, to be held this year in Lansing, Michigan.
The Award of Excellence is conferred upon women who have contributed, trained and taught the martial arts for over 35 years. Jaye Spiro is a 7th degree black belt in Ai Mute Shotokan Karate, a 6th degree black belt in Modern Arnis an original student of Manong Ted Buot in Balintawak Escrima and a founding member and first chair of the National Women’s Martial Arts Federation.
In the early 1970s, she was one of the first women Karate-ka in this country. She has taught martial arts and self-defense classes not only in the Detroit area but in many parts of the United States from California to New York and also in Central America and Europe. She has often been honored in her career, including the Member of the Year Award from NWMAF twice, the NWMAF Founders Award, and induction into the Michigan Karate Hall of Fame, the Modern Arnis Halls of Fame, the Association of Women Martial Arts Instructors’ Hall of Fame, and the Midwest Women’s Hall of Fame..
As a teacher, and sensei, Jaye Spiro has taught thousands of people karate and self-defense. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, recognizing the need for self-defense instruction for non-martial artists as well as self-defense instruction that works on the street for women coming up against attackers often larger and more muscular. Spiro developed a self-defense program that is part of the Mejishi Martial Arts curriculum as well as being a standalone self-defense class. She has also pioneered in teaching self defense to those with disabilities, especially the blind.