Fighting Fear

At Valkyrie we make it no secret that we’re owned and run by women. We constantly, actively recruit women as students. When the subject of women, fear, and martial arts comes up in conversation, it’s common to assume that you’re going to be talking about fear of being hit, hurt, or injured. Bzzt. Wrong. Thank you for playing. It’s not to say that the fear doesn’t exist, because it does. In my experience, though, it’s something that we’ve prepared ourselves for ahead of time. When you go to a martial arts class you know that at some point you will be punched in the face. You begin to deal with that before you even walk in the door on your first day. It’s just one small piece of the normal flurry of emotions that come with trying a new thing. The problem. The fear that takes you by surprise the…

Continue reading

Barriers

My early training was constant, but didn’t always take place in a martial arts school. Class was always the hardest part of training, under the exacting eye of the instructor. Always feeling a little lost at the new student end of the line, looking up at the senior students and wondering if I would ever be able to do the things they did. It felt like a gulf of a million years, watching them move through forms at the speed of light with crisp power and confidence. Working the beginner moves down at my end felt like trying to balance teacups on the end of a two by four while skating. Exhilaration came from learning a new move, mostly. We did some sparring, little or lots depending on which school I was training in. Sometimes that felt good, sometimes not. Mostly the rush came after class. I remember the summer…

Continue reading

Best for Self Defense: Sport or Traditional?

One of the favorite arguments amongst martial artists is to compare the relative values of a sport martial art like Muay Thai to a traditional martial art like Wing Chun, against the standard of the revered Street. The Street, of course, being the mythical place were evil monsters exist whose only purpose in life is to defeat your most beloved training technique. It happens within styles as well: your sport Judo isn’t as good for real self defense as my old-school Judo. Or Olympic Taekwondo vs your current kwoon Taekwondo. It’s a bit of a pointless argument. Odds are, neither are really good at preparing you for a self-defense scenario. It’s really not the purpose of most martial arts schools. Most schools are around to preserve knowledge, and to pass on the traditions of the teacher. This isn’t a bad thing. As Cicero says, it’s in our nature to seek…

Continue reading