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Nadia Telsey

Nadia Telsey

2010 Recipient: Founder’s Honors

The NWMAF is pleased and privileged to award Nadia Tlesey with Founder’s Honors in recognition of her long and distinguished career as a martial artist, a teacher and pioneer for the empowerment of women in the field of self-defense and martial training. 

Nadia Telsey has been teaching self-defense and has been part of the anti-violence movement since the 1970s. Even just a partial list of accomplishments is a reflection of her core beliefs and commitment to action:

  • Co-founder of Brooklyn Women’s Martial Arts (also known as The Center for Anti-Violence Education)
  • Instructor at numerous Special Trainings and PAWMA camps
  • Co-founder of NWMAF
  • Self-defense instructor at the University of Oregon
  • Member of the instructor’s certification board of NWMAF
  • Director/outreach coordinator of a rape crisis center
  • Member of the Oregon Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence
  • Member of the Oregon Attorney General’s Sexual Assault Task Force
  • Co-founder of Breaking Free (working with a team to develop a curriculum for people who have developmental disabilities) 

Her experience in dialogue comes primarily from participation in a six-month dialogue group around the issues of gay rights following a divisive ballot measure in Oregon in 1994. She participated in dialogues around other issues such as feminism, racism, and Israel/Palestine.

Other honors and awards include:

  • Lifetime Achievement Award (PAWMA)
  • Human Rights Award (City of Eugene)
  • Diane Award (University of Oregon)
  • Change Award (Oregon Attorney General’s Sexual Assault Task Force).

From Nadia Telsey on “The Why of NWMAF: A Force for Good in the World” (NWMAF Summer 2010 Newsletter)

“I would also encourage the NWMAF to continue the commitment to diversity of all kinds: economic, intellectual, as well as gender and racial.  I’ve been doing some work with individuals with intellectual disabilities, and there is a real need there for empowerment as well.”

“I hope and wish for the NWMAF to be about goodwill and cooperation, and not about superstars.  Take what people have to offer and continue to share – share teaching and skills and techniques…”

“It would be my wish for the NWMAF to continue to be a force for good in the world.  Martial arts to me is about setting things right – empowering individuals – men and women – to direct their own lives.”