Self Defense Training: A Serious Offer

I’ve had a number of people reach out to me about self-defense instruction in the past week. A frightening number, to be honest, because it betrays how unstable our sense of safety is right now — as women, LGBT folks, people of colour, and religious and political minorities. So here’s the deal: I teach self-defense at Valkyrie Western Martial Arts Assembly, and I happen to think that we are damned good at what we do.

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This Pride Season

Water bottle with a sticker identifying self as not "gay", not "straight", but "wibbly-wobbly sexy-wexy"

I’ve always had an arms-length relationship with Pride. As a teenager who thought she was straight, I didn’t think Pride was for me. My social circle was aggressively heterosexual and often consumed by petty teen rivalries over boys, and we saw Pride parades as cool things happening somewhere outside of…

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Getting Mad

This is one of the hardest things I’ve ever written. It’s not just an exorcism, but an admission. Yes, I am angry. I get so angry sometimes that I don’t know how to handle it, and bottling it up and pushing it aside is literally destroying me. I have been so afraid of my anger, and so unwilling to acknowledge that it even exists, that I’ve been letting it keep me awake at night, undermine my relationships, and tip me over into the killing blankness of depression rather than showing anyone that it’s there.

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On Making My Martial Arts School a “Safe Space”

A rainbow of boxing wraps at VWMAA

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about “safe spaces”. Between constant articles about coddled university students who want to be protected at all costs from the real world, a recent blowup in the online HEMA community about letting Neo-Nazis air their views in martial arts forums, and the needs I’ve…

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Thing a Day Photo Project: January 18th – 24th

Mild rockiness continues, as I didn’t quite make it to 7 photos this past week. Still, I’m making progress, and I like the opportunity that this project is giving me to reflect on the positive bits of my life. If this set is any indication, lighting and landscape continue to be big influences, and important opportunities to stop, breathe, and enjoy the moment.

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Thing a Day Photo Project: January 4th – 17th

January 14, 2016

The beginning of the year tends to be a dark time for me, and writing and other creative work don’t come easily. In an effort to keep regularly producing something, I’ve set myself a simple task: take one photo a day of something that makes me happy. I’ll be collecting these pictures weekly and posting them here.

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Where I’ve Been: Mass Attack Workshop

Urban Survival Systems Logo

The week after our women’s rapier workshop, I had the privilege of attending a self-defense workshop hosted by Ed Wong, of Urban Survival Systems. Ed is an accomplished martial artist in a number of Southeast Asian arts, especially Silat and Ikatan Kali. These days, much of his focus is on street-level combat and tactics, and he runs some amazing classes and workshops through USS. This one was an intense 3-hour introduction to surviving a mass attack.

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Where I’ve Been: ‘Swords Are For Girls’ Women’s Rapier Workshop

For the past couple of weeks, I’ve had a bunch of post ideas bouncing around the back of my head, and no time to actually sit down and write. I should be annoyed – especially since it’s so important to build regular habits on a new blog – but it’s hard to complain when I look at what I’ve been up to in the meantime. This hasn’t been a time for writing, but it’s been perfect for other new creative projects, and some real martial arts and pedagogical high points.

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Hitting Girls

Kaja boxing with David Packer

Over on Box.Wrestle.Fence, Courtney’s put up a post about the most common fear that women bring with them into the martial arts classroom: the fear not of being hurt, but of hurting someone else. It’s a great piece from an awesome coach who knows what she’s talking about, and lays…

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