Why Valkyrie?

Sandahl Bergman in Conan the Barbarian. Man, that opened some eyes for me. As a young man just learning that women weren’t icky things, but rather interesting things? A strong women who could stand up to, and stand up for, the big strong barbarians? Could swing a sword with the best of them? Yeah. I’d say that had a say in my tastes for women as I grew up.

I’d also learned from a young age that women could be victims of some horrific violence, just because they were women. I also learned that children could be, too. My reaction to learning about these things wasn’t despair, or fear, or anger…but rather a stubborn determination that this wasn’t right, and should never be accepted as normal. Some part of me deep inside turned to stone, and promised it would make everything right, and would admit no compromise on the subject, ever. As I’ve gotten older that stone has been smelted, cast, forged and re-forged into a damned hard steel. I have a bitter hatred for anyone who thinks such things are part of life and should be accepted.

Q: So, why do you write these strong female characters?
A: Because you’re still asking me that question.

-Joss Whedon

And that, in some ways, is my feeling too. I’m starting a new martial art school with a somewhat female focus. And I get asked about that. People wonder why. Strong male imagery in the martial arts field is okay, strong female imagery is still somehow seen as weak.

Me? I prefer equality, but when the message is strongly slanted to one side, you have to try to balance it as best you can. There are great role models for young women out there, but they are lost in the media storm of addled young airhead startlets. I want to make a space for strong women to be comfortable being strong women, and become role models to other women. I don’t see why men should feel anything but happiness at training in such an environment. Strong men like strong women, and we like to make each other stronger.

The world needs more Valkyries.




  1. Hear, hear!

  2. Swords are fabulous weapons for women. They make me very happy. Good luck with your venture! 🙂

    • Thanks! Although if I was really going to focus the art for female students, I’d teach mostly the two-hander sword styles. The big blades seem to affect women like ponies affect little girls. They just get such a desire to chop through mobs…

  3. Thumbs up! For all of it.

  4. Single handed, double handed, both hands, long, short, long and short, pointy, single edged, double edged … it’s all good 🙂
    Chopping through mobs is fine, but I’m more of the crafty variety myself – it’s the ‘chess’ that fascinates me. Long Live Strategy!!

    • A good bout of swordplay should invite a follow-up wine and lots of pass-by-pass discussion. Or, as David Teague and I managed, discussed during the bout, sword in one hand and coffee in the other…

  5. Sean Karp (Thorsteinn Raudskeggr on the AA)


    *I, myself, was raised by by a strong woman, Mistress Siobhan Ni Seaghdha of the West Kingdom, who with my step-dad Sir Connor MacAufle FitzJames taught me all you feel to be right.

    Tis a sad world when these views about strong women being right and good are seen as odd.

    • It’s only a sad world if we don’t step up and correct the wrongs. Every age needs warriors who fight for the right thing, in every field the battle needs to be fought on.

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