2016 Recipient: Founder’s Honors
Shinshii Janet Aalfs co-founded NWMAF in 1979 and has been a strong supporter ever since, earning her the honor of NWMAF’s Founders Award in 2016. As co-founder of Valley Women’s Martial Arts Institute for Healing and Violence Prevention Strategies (VWMA) in Northampton, Massachusetts, Janet lives by its motto: “Courage, Compassion, and Generosity through Movement.” Her actions embody VWMA’s guiding principles of “Accountability, Diversity, and Collaboration”, evident in her activities as social justice activist, educator, performer, and peacebuilder both here in the United States and in South Africa. Within NWMAF she was an active force in helping to establish the certification program for self-defense instructors and in working with the Anti-Racism Council (ARC).
Shinshii Aalfs, founder and director of Lotus Peace Arts, and artistic director of VWMA since 1982, is a 7th degree black belt in Shuri-ryu Okinawan Karate, a 6th degree black belt in Filipino Modern Arnis, a nationally certified teacher of empowerment and self-protection skills, and an instructor of Liangong, Tai Chi, and Qigong through Jian Mei Internal Martial Arts.
As an educator, performer, and peace-builder, Shinshii Aalfs continues to dedicate her life to feminist social justice activism, and her biography is included in Feminists Who Changed America, 1963-1975. Poet Laureate Emeritus of Northampton, MA, her writing has been widely published. Shinshii Aalfs received the 2013 Leadership and Advocacy in the Arts Award from the Center for Women and Community, UMass/ Amherst. In that same year she was inducted into the IMAF Arnis Black Belt Hall of Fame in Philadelphia, and was given the Pioneer Award.