Jaye Spiro is a 7th degree black belt in Ai Mute Shotokan Karate under Shihan Bobby Peeler, a 6th degree black belt in Modern Arnis under the late Professor Remy Presas and Professor Dan Anderson, an original student of Manong Ted Buot in Balintawak Escrima and a founding member and first chair of the National Women’s Martial Arts Federation.
In the early 1970s, she was one of the first women Karate-ka in this country. She has taught martial arts and self-defense classes not only in the Detroit area but in many parts of the United States from California to New York and also in Central America and Europe. She has won numerous awards, including the Member of the Year Award from NWMAF twice, the NWMAF Founders Award, and induction into the Michigan Karate Hall of Fame, the Modern Arnis Halls of Fame, the Association of Women Martial Arts Instructors’ Hall of Fame, and the Midwest Women’s Hall of Fame.
Mejishi Martial Arts was founded by Sensei Jaye in 1979 as Mejishi Karate Dojo. The first training space was a small store front on Six Mile near Woodward. In 1981, the dojo moved to the basement of the Emmanuel Episcopal church on John R between Six and Seven Mile. In 1993 Sensei Jaye bought a rundown store in Ferndale, Michigan, and, with help from her students and friends, turned it into a beautiful spacious training dojo with a traditional wooden floor.
As a teacher, and sensei, Jaye Spiro has taught thousands of people karate and self-defense. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, recognizing the need for self-defense instruction for non-martial artists as well as self-defense instruction that works on the street for women coming up against attackers often larger and more muscular than they, Jaye developed a self-defense program that is part of the Mejishi Martial Arts curriculum as well as being a standalone self-defense class. For a time she specialized in teaching people with disabilities, especially the blind. And she also has taught self-defense classes for gay men, lesbians and the transgender community.
Of the thousands of women, men, and children who have benefited from training under Sensei Spiro, 40 have achieved black belt ranking in Ai Mute Shotokan Karate and/or Modern Arnis.