ECA+ Creative Member Directory
Mapping the Arts in Easthampton, Southampton, & Westhampton


Valley Women's Martial Arts & Lotus Peace Arts


Courage, Compassion, and Generosity through Movement

Valley Women's Martial Arts, a non-profit center founded in 1977, and Lotus Peace Arts, founded and directed by Janet Aalfs, collaborate to offer programs in various movement arts, poetry, and self-protection skills for women & girls, and for people of all ages, genders, abilities, skill and fitness levels, walks of life...VWMA & LPA are dedicated to integrative arts education, feminist social justice activism, peace-making, and building healthier and safer communities. Short-term and ongoing programs focus on empowerment, healing, strength-building, meditative movement, violence-prevention, and safety strategies. "The job of the artist is not to resolve or beautify, but to hold complexities, to see and make clear." Toi Derricotte UNITY STRENGTHENS, DIVERSITY TRANSFORMS We draw strength from the power of our connections. Working together transforms us individually and collectively. As we recognize, acknowledge, and celebrate our diversity, our fears disperse. Through honest interactions our compassion grows. OBJECTIVES "The function of freedom is to free somebody else." Toni Morrison To practice and teach, in compassionate and creative ways, the arts of Shuri-ryu Okinawan Karate, Filipino Modern Arnis, Chinese Internal Martial Arts, and Self-Protection, Healing, Poetry -- metaphor, meaning, transformation. To promote collectivity, democracy, diversity, collaboration, cooperation, and feminist social justice values in all aspects of the organization’s structure. To honor the “Three Jewels” – Community, Education, Transformation To recognize and address cultural violence in any and all forms including oppression based on race, ethnicity, class, gender, sexual orientation, age, creed, spiritual practice, ability, size. To network with individuals and organizations. To share and exchange resources. To build community locally, nationally, and internationally. To foster greater health and connection of mind/ heart, body, and spirit. To treat ourselves and each other with respect, kindness, and understanding. To nurture an atmosphere of welcome.

VWMA has been located in Springfield, Northampton, and since 1984 at One Cottage St. in Easthampton. In 2009 we initiated a process to create a collaborative leadership structure. In 2015 Janet Aalfs founded Lotus Peace Arts, in collaboration with VWMA's programs. The Leaders Group of VWMA & LPA is committed to an organizational structure that will: Respect the gifts, talents, time and limitations of leaders. Maximize the effective use of our many resources – human, artistic, financial, etc. Support current and future leadership transitions. Thrive into the future as a sustainable, community-based educational center for feminist social justice. GUIDING PRINCIPLES: ACCOUNTABILITY DIVERSITY COLLABORATION VWMA & LPA LEADERSHIP In all aspects of this organization, leaders are committed to promoting, to the best of their abilities: 1) diversity 2) accessibility 3) sustainability 4) practicality & common sense 5) directness 6) flexibility Anyone who is in a VWMA or LPA leadership role including, but not limited to, instructors, leaders group members, board members, consultants, project/committee coordinators is expected to follow all objectives, procedures, policies, and health and safety guidelines with honesty and integrity. The conduct of VWMA & LPA leaders should instill confidence and trust, and must not bring the organization into disrepute. All leaders have a responsibility to recognize and respect intellectual property developed or owned by VWMA & LPA or others, and to otherwise act in an accurate, truthful and complete manner, including all activities related to professional work and research. Caution and discretion in handling confidential information extends to disclosure made inside and outside of the organization (VWMA & LPA), and should continue to apply after the ‘term relationship’ ceases.

TOP-TEN REASONS TO BECOME A MEMBER OF VALLEY WOMEN’S MARTIAL ARTS & LOTUS PEACE ARTS: Being a member of VWMA & LPA makes a positive difference in oneself, in our communities, and in the world!!! Courage, compassion, and generosity through movement: intergenerational education locally, nationally, and internationally for 36+ years. Martial Arts has ART in it twice! Martial = power within; Arts = creativity. Fun and empowering activities for all ages, genders, abilities, sizes, learning styles, fitness levels, walks of life... Women and girls celebrate being openly strong, intelligent, kind, outspoken, independent, inter-dependent, and skillful leaders. People of all genders and generations learn together and practice peacemaking, anti-bullying, and networking strategies. A core organizational commitment to feminist social justice activism, cross-cultural exchange and understanding, and to countering the violence of oppression in any and all forms. Collaborative, diverse, and accountable volunteer LEADERS: Instructors; Board of Directors; Advisory & Youth Councils. An outstanding group of educators that includes award-winning, nationally certified black belts. Short-term and ongoing programs offered on a full sliding scale basis are accessible for participants of all income levels.