national Women's
Martial Arts Federation

Meet the NWMAF Board of Directors


Cathy Chapaty: Chair

(Serving 2018–2020)

Primary practice: Taekwondo
Home: Austin, Texas
Personal pronouns: she/her/hers

Cathy Chapaty is a fourth-degree Taekwondo black belt with more than 25 years of martial arts training. An NWMAF member since the mid-1990s, Cathy has been a trainer at two NWMAF Special Training camps; she was named NWMAF Member of the Year in 2011.

In 2006, Chapaty founded Tao of Texas Martial Arts Institute in Austin, Texas, where she specialized in teaching a character development-focused children’s program. She is currently on a teaching sabbatical.

She is the author of No Pouting in the Dojo: Life Lessons through Martial Arts, Sports Planet: Sports Played Around the World, and the forthcoming Searching for Grasshopper: A Martial Artist’s Quest for Peace. In 2012, the Embassy of the Republic of Korea honored Chapaty for her essay on the transformational power of Taekwondo. She has also had dozens of essays and articles published in newspapers, magazines, and newsletters on topics as integrity in sports, anger management, and mentorship through martial arts.

For general questions about the NWMAF, including policies, please send an email to chair@nwmaf.org

Cheryl VanHoosen: Treasurer

(Serving 2019-2021)Cheryl VanHoosen

Primary practice: Jun Fan
Home: Roanoke, VA
Personal pronouns: she/her/hers

Cheryl VanHoosen is a third-degree black belt in Sho Shin Do, a first-degree black belt in TAOS Cielo y Tierra Arnis, and a first-degree black belt in Jun Fan/PMA/Kali with 20 years of martial arts training. Cheryl is a lifetime member of the NWMAF and has been a trainer at two NWMAF training camps.

Cheryl is a former instructor for the children’s program at Global Martial Arts in Virginia Beach, Virginia, where she developed a program focused on basic life skills, character development, and martial skills. While there, she also implemented school’s Kindness Ninja program.

For questions about payment, donations, and other financial issues, please send an email to treasurer@nwmaf.org.

Katherine NicholsKatherine Nichols: Secretary

(Serving 2018–2020)

Primary Practice: Seido Karate
Home: Chicago, Illinois
Personal pronouns: she/her/hers

Katherine Nichols has been a member of the NWMAF since 1995 and has enjoyed Special Training many times, including the 2018 and 2019 camps where she was a trainer for the first time.

Ms. Nichols joined the NWMAF board in August 2018. She has been practicing Seido Karate as a student of Sei Shihan Nancy Lanoue and Jun Shihan Sarah Ludden at Thousand Waves in Chicago since 1994, and is a fifth-degree black belt. Ms. Nichols is employed as a staff instructor at Thousand Waves, where she also coordinates its Youth program and produces many communications materials.

Before joining the Thousand Waves staff in 2013, Ms. Nichols freelanced for more than 20 years as a graphic production artist. She donates these skills toward the production of the NWMAF newsletter. Her formal education is in the fine arts, and she holds a Masters of Fine Arts in painting from Northern Illinois University.

To submit newsletter articles or contributions to the NWMAF archives, please send an email to secretary@nwmaf.org.

Lauren M. Bailey: Membership Coordinator

(Serving 2019–2021)

"Gateway" practice: Combat Hapkido
Home: Fort Mitchell, KY
Personal pronouns: she/her/hers

Lauren Bailey has been an NWMAF member since 2017, attending Super Saturday in 2018 and Special Training in 2019. She holds the rank of recommended black belt in combat hapkido and red belt in kali. A lover of constant learning and new challenges, she also proudly embraces her white belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and is working hard toward her first stripe. She trains with Jeff Robison (Club MMA, Cincinnati, Ohio; Rister International Kali and Will-Machado Jiu-Jitsu) and Alan and Sandy Gates (KarateTown, Florence, Kentucky; International Combat Hapkido Federation).

When she’s not on the mats, Lauren is the director of Kirkus Editorial, a division of Kirkus Media, which offers book editing and copywriting services to both traditional book publishers and independent authors. She’s mom to Finn (age 9) and Sloane (age 7)—both budding martial artists—and looks forward to beginning her journey as an Empowerment Self-Defense instructor in 2019.

For questions about your membership, regional activities, and opportunities to serve on committees, send an email to members@nwmaf.org.

Darla BolonDarla Bolon:  Self-Defense Coordinator

(Serving 2018–2020)

Primary practice: Empowerment Self-Defense
Home: Columbus, Ohio
Personal pronouns: she/her/hers

Darla Bolon has been an NWMAF member since the mid-1980s. Darla began studying martial arts and self-defense in 1982. She holds a black belt in Taekwondo. After 15 years training in Taekwondo and Aikido, Darla chose to focus primarily on developing skills in Empowerment Self-Defense (ESD).

As an NWMAF-certified self-defense instructor, Darla has been a co-coordinator of the NWMAF’s Self-Defense Instructor’s Conference. She helped lead the model course for the conference in 2009, and today is one of several reviewers of applications for NWMAF self-defense instructor certification.

Darla teaches a 14-week Self-Defense for Women class as an adjunct professor at Ohio State University, and also teaches self-defense and personal safety classes all over Ohio for caseworkers and other employees of child welfare agencies.

Darla is a clinical social worker, helping trauma survivors, people experiencing anxiety and depression, and those impacted by other life stresses. She has found that there are many points of intersection and harmony between social work and ESD.

For questions about your self-defense training and certification, and opportunities to serve on committees, please send an email to selfdefense@nwmaf.org.

Natalie DeMaioribus: Events Coordinator

(Serving 2018–2020)Natalie DeMaioribus

Primary Practice: Empowerment Self-Defense
Home: Madison, Wisconsin
Person pronouns: she/her/hers

Natalie DeMaioribus found the NWMAF only a couple years ago. She has practiced mixed martial arts including muay thai, kali, and panantukan with Minnesota Kali Group schools in two states. In 2015 she became an instructor with Chimera Self-Defense in Madison, Wisconsin, and has developed curricula for a variety of audiences including teen survivors of sexual violence, English language learner tutors, and Human Resources professionals.

Natalie enjoys writing fiction, learning languages, and singing, and is still considering becoming a hydrologist or a structural geologist.

Do you have any questions, comments, or suggestions regarding NWMAF events? Send an email to events@nwmaf.org.

Lindsey Ross: Development Coordinator and Fundraiser

(Serving 2019-2021)

Lindsey Faeth

Primary Practice: Brazilian Jujitsu
Home: Cincinnati, OH
Personal pronouns: she, her, hers

Lindsey is a 90-degree black belt and a master street fighter, and she dabbles in 15,000 different forms of martial arts. When Lindsey is not making jokes, you will find her rolling around on the floor with friends. (She thinks they call it jiujitsu.) Off the mats, she has a background in working with adults with developmental disabilities and children recovering from trauma.

Lindsey has a huge passion for teaching self-defense and empowering women.

Do you have an idea for raising money for the scholarship, archives, or general operating funds? Have questions about merchandise availability and suggestions for new merchandise? Please send to fundraiser@nwmaf.org.

Jessica McAlear: Youth Coordinator

(Serving 2019-2021)

Jessica McAlearPrimary Practice: Shotokan Karate-do and Ng Jing Kuen Kung Fu (Kempo)
Home: North Bay, Ontario, Canada
Personal pronouns: she/her/hers

Jessica McAlear started her path in martial arts and self-defense in 1999, attending her first National Women’s Martial Arts Federation (NWMAF) conference in 2012. Jes obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Geography and a Bachelor of Education from Nipissing University.

Jes leads the Youth Kung Fu Program at 3 Fires Martial Arts Academy in North Bay. She also co-founded the school’s Personal Defense Program with Francesca Morabito. Jes met her husband, Liam, at 3 Fires, and today she enjoys watching their daughter becoming a warrior of her own.

A fourth-degree black belt in both Shotokan Karate-Do and Ng Ying Kuen Kung Fu, Jes has taught children and adults various martial arts skills for the past 15 years. She has a passion for advocating for and empowering youth, ensuring that their voice is heard.

Outside of the Kwoon/Dojo, Jes works with the Canadian Armed Forces as a dispatcher for the Military Police. As part of her security background, Jes has received use-of-force and de-escalation training for various emergency situations. Her past academic research includes work as “Fear of Crime and Self-Defense” and “The Role of the Physical Environment in Learning Martial Arts.”

Do you have questions, comments, or suggestions regarding improving the NWMAF’s youth program? Whether you’re a student, parent/guardian, or instructor, the NWMAF would love to hear from you. If you’re under the age of 18 years old, please write an email (with your parent/guardian or instructor) and send it from their email address to youth@nwmaf.org.

Sahnya ThomSahnya Thom: Healing Arts Coordinator

(Serving 2019-2021)

Sahnya Thom holds a 6th-degree black belt in Universal Systems of Karate (USK), is an adjunct psychology professor, author, Ph.D. candidate, research assistant, consultant/coach, and accomplished speaker with a master’s degree in Clinical Psychology. She also holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychobiology and research training and positive psychology certificates. She Grant recipient for faculty and student wellbeing initiative, Ripon College, Spring 2019.

In 30-plus years, she has studied a variety of styles, including Thai Boxing, Boxing, JeetKuneDo, Kali, Taekwondo, Karate, Silat, Junfan Kickboxing, Savate, Palm Stick, and flexible weapons. Sahnya integrates positive psychology, Buddhism, Blue Zone philosophy, the science of transformation, applied mindfulness, and indigenous wisdom into her teachings. She has worked in a variety of contexts with diverse audiences including high schools, universities, businesses, LGBTQ community, wellness retreats, and has helped people suffering with PTSD, cancer, diabetes, MS, OCD, depression, anxiety, and the grieving process.

She describes herself as a science nerd with a poetic heart who loves to make people laugh while delivering life-changing content.

Do you have an idea or question regarding the NWMAF’s healing arts agenda? Send an email to healingarts@nwmaf.org.

Leaders of the National Women’s Martial Arts Federation (NWMAF) are everyday martial artists and self-defense and healing arts practitioners, just like the majority of the organization’s members. Get to know them, and consider becoming a leader yourself. As a member-driven organization, we need you. Your leadership and voice are important!

Serving on the NWMAF Board of Directors is a rewarding and fulfilling job. 

  • Meet and collaborate with your  peers.
  • Gain organizational skills at the national and even international level.
  • Learn to think and plan nationally and globally.
  • Provide a service not found anywhere else in the world.

For complete job descriptions, view the NWMAF Bylaws.

To apply for any board position, send an email to chair@nwmaf.org.

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The National Women's Martial Arts Federation is a non-profit organization.
Mail: NWMAF, 9450 SW Gemini DR, Beaverton, OR 97008-7105
E-Mail: secretary@nwmaf.org
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