NWMAF Self-Defense Certification Requirements
Submitted for Review and Comment January 2018
Background and Overview
The National Women’s Martial Arts Federation is a leader in the development of empowerment-based self-defense training. What started as an informal gathering of passionate self-defense instructors in the 1970s has grown into a vibrant self-defense instructor community, and members have and continue to contribute much of the thought leadership in the field.Empowerment-Based Self-Defense is receiving increased recognition as a proactive measure to reduce potential sexual violence and physical assault, particularly within the context of acquaintance-based assault. This model of self-defense also avoids potential victim shame / blame by squarely placing accountability on the attacker’s choice to exert domination based on gender, orientation, physical, relationship, and/or other hierarchical factors.
Instruction within this model extends beyond physical self-defense, although that is clearly a key element, should a potential victim choose to fight back. Core skills include situational awareness and hazard recognition; boundary-setting and verbalization; physical defense; and follow-up reporting and support to regain a sense of safety after an assault. The skill sets to teach integrated Empowerment-Based Self-Defense curricula are therefore unique and require specialized experience and training.
The goal of the following revisions is to introduce processes that will enable more instructors to become certified in Empowerment Self-Defense, while ensuring consistency and parity as a mark of excellence.
Certification Process - Individuals
The NWMAF certification requirements for self-defense instructors include the following:
Accreditation Process for Allied Organizations to Certify Self-Defense Instructors
To be accredited, a school / organization that trains instructors of empowerment self-defense must meet the following requirements:
Schools must re-accredit every 10 years. Re-accreditation requirements are the same as initial accreditation requirements.
No single person can be a site visitor for the same school twice in a row.
Students from an accredited self-defense teacher training school must still submit the certification application and application fee. However, they are not required to be reviewed by a certified instructor, nor do they need to submit curricula, letters of recommendation, or documentation of having met the minimum teaching and training requirement, nor do they need to attend a model course. All of these requirements are assumed to be met by the accredited training process.