national Women's
Martial Arts Federation

NWMAF Accreditation for Schools
Programs To Certify Empowerment Self-Defense Instructors

What is required:

Self-Defense Curricula

Part of the accreditation process is a review of your self-defense curricula. Your application should include a Microsoft Word or Adobe PDF document or documents containing your curricula. A master document/table of contents  should also be included.

Curricula must include:
● An indication of the length of the entire training.
● An indication of the pedagogical format(s) used (lecture, discussion, line drills, etc.)
● Timings for each individual section
● A description of all exercises included
● A listing of the most important talking points to be included
● If multiple documents are included, a master description of all documents must also be included.

The above should be submitted for all standard trainings (for example for a  multi-session course as well as a single-session workshop or a short and long workshop).

Instructor Training Process

Your application should include a Microsoft Word or Adobe PDF document or documents containing your process as part of this application. Include an executive summary that briefly describes your process, as well as detailed descriptions addressing the requirements below. Your instructor training
process must include:

● a foundation in the philosophical framework of the empowerment model of self-defense
● a process by which aspiring teachers may acquire physical self-defense skills
● instruction on how to teach physical skills
● a process by which aspiring teachers may acquire verbal self-defense skills
● instruction on how to teach verbal self-defense skills
● Opportunities to teach self-defense alongside certified instructors, and receive feedback from them
● a minimum teaching requirement that aligns with the self-defense certification application (50 hours). Teaching shall include independent teaching or teaching with a co-instructor.
● a minimum training requirement that aligns with the self-defense certification application (3 years of consistent training in Martial Arts or Self-Defense)
● If your training operates on an apprentice model, include a typical timeline and the criteria by which someone moves from apprentice to independent instructor
● If your training operates on a mixed classroom & student-teaching model, include a sample syllabus and student-teaching requirements

Site Visit Requirement

In order to receive accreditation, your school must be visited by a NWMAF-certified instructor who is not affiliated with your school / organization nor any martial arts or self-defense organization with which you are affiliated. For  example, IMPACT International, the International Karate Federation, etc.
You are not expected to pay travel costs for this site visit. Additionally, even if you plan on requesting a specific site visitor, you must communicate with the NWMAF Certification Coordinator before arranging for a site visit.

Programs run by instructors who have taught the model course at NWMAF Special Training may apply for exemption from the site visit for initial accreditation and for any re-accreditation so long as the head
instructor has participated in teaching the empowerment self-defense instructor training course at the NWMAF Special Training or in another venue where NWMAF-certified instructors unaffiliated with her school were present.

The instructor conducting the site visit must either:
● have the opportunity to observe an actual self-defense training session taught by an experienced instructor or
● have the opportunity to observe a self-defense training taught by an experienced instructor and apprentice or junior instructor, as well as any prep or debrief meetings involved.

Additionally, the site visitor will interview both a senior instructor and a trainee, apprentice, or new instructor who has experienced the training program.

Retroactive recognition of these visits within the previous 5 years may be made, provided that documentation can be provided.

Policy Addressing Sexual Harassment and Sexual Misconduct

Include with your application your policy (or policies) protecting students from sexual harassment or sexual misconduct.

Thank you for your interest in applying to become an accredited empowerment self-defense training school.

Accreditation will allow your school to affirm that instructors trained by you have met the requirements for NWMAF certification, simplifying the certification process while maintaining the high level of quality that NWMAF certification has always stood for.

To apply for accreditation, schools must have at least one NWMAF certified self-defense instructor who is a current member of the NWMAF. They must also have a documented instructor training program, as well as a documented empowerment self-defense curriculum.
Finally, schools must have a documented policy that addresses the prevention of sexual harassment and sexual violence within their organization

Please fill out this application completely by responding to each question. Use additional space if needed.

Click here to open a new window and view the application form.


Pay an accreditation fee of a maximum of $500. The primary purpose of the accreditation fee is to cover travel costs for site visitors, and factors such as school size, geographic proximity, and financial ability of the school will be considered when determining fees. This should not be understood as a direct cost, however --some fees may be in excess of travel costs for the site visitor, with the understanding that they will subsidize site visits for schools with lesser means.

If your school would needs to pay a lesser accreditation fee, address this in your application.

Questions? Contact Us or email directly to

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