national Women's
Martial Arts Federation

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 instructors 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 good will 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.

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