Training Space Rules
All Valkyrie WMAA visitors, students, and instructors are expected to abide by the below rules at all Valkyrie WMAA classes and off-site events.
- No outdoor shoes may be worn on the raised training floor; non-marking indoor shoes or bare feet only.
- Students must remove necklaces, rings, and other loose jewelry prior to entering the training floor. We strongly recommend removing all piercings for wrestling and other close contact training.
- Students may use the training floor for individual practice when classes are not in session. You must give priority to private lessons during this time, and follow all instructions from staff.
- All student equipment, including safety gear, personal weapons, and water bottles/snacks, must be kept in the designated storage areas on the east wall of the training floor, or in the cubbies and shelves in the student lounge.
- All school equipment, including training swords, must be put back in designated storage areas after use. If safety gear is damp, please have an instructor help you find space to dry it out before putting it in storage.
- Prior to beginning sparring with a new weapon, students must receive a safety orientation and be cleared to fight by an instructor. Fighters must follow Valkyrie WMAA sparring rules at all times, and must follow all staff instructions during sparring.
- Students are expected to calibrate their level of resistance, force, and aggression to their training partner and the current drill. If in doubt, ask your partner or instructor what they expect.
- Students are welcome to ask questions and give each other feedback (especially to help their partner calibrate correctly); however, only Valkyrie staff may provide instruction. Please limit peer coaching to exercises where it is explicitly requested.
- Valkyrie’s community includes people with a range of gender identities and expressions; students and staff are expected to use each other’s preferred personal pronouns (e.g. she/he/they) when speaking. If you are not sure what pronouns someone prefers, ask them. Please see our Gender Pronoun Policy and Reference for more information.
- Anyone who engages in discriminatory or harassing behaviour will be removed from class and may also lose future training privileges. This includes - but is not limited to - discrimination based on race, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, ethnic or religious background, and ability; as well as verbal, physical, and sexual harassment.
- No person may participate in training or sparring while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Valkyrie WMAA is a safe and welcoming space for everyone, and all of our staff and students are expected to abide by the above rules. If you see something that makes you feel uncomfortable or unsafe, or have any questions about our policies, please speak to Courtney, Kaja, or your instructor.
All students must receive a safety orientation and be cleared to fight by an instructor prior to sparring with each new weapon. During sparring, all fighters must follow our General Sparring Guidelines, wear adequate safety gear, and fight at the appropriate Sparring Level for all participants. Fighters are expected to take responsibility for their own safety and the safety of their training partners, and to obey all instructions from Valkyrie WMAA staff during sparring.
General Sparring Guidelines
Our bouts are fought on an honour system in which each fighter is responsible for announcing any hits that they receive. Hits should be announced either with a loud, “Hit!”, or with a clear gesture indicating which part of the body was struck. After a single hit, fighters reset to their starting positions, and a new pass begins. A bout is usually made up of multiple passes.
A fighter should always strike with the minimum amount of force required to complete an action. Cuts and thrusts targeting the body should strike their target with a light impact (a noticeable touch) that does not cause bruising or shove the target out of position. To ensure this, a fencer should aim to just make contact with the body, rather than to drive through it to an imaginary target behind/beside the opponent. Cuts targeting the sword should displace the weapon enough to grant the fencer an additional tempo for attack, without intentionally hurting the opponent’s wrist or knocking the sword out of their hand. This is best accomplished by aiming strikes to the sword, rather than beyond it.
If a fencer’s attack has too much force, it must be “broken” at the moment of contact to reduce its impact. Thrusts can be broken by relaxing the elbow of the sword arm and allowing it to bend, absorbing the impact of the blow. Cuts are broken by relaxing the elbow and wrist of the sword arm, and gently drawing the sword along the target back towards the fencer.
A high level of awareness and dexterity is required to fight safely. If a fencer is losing focus due to fatigue or stress, or if their sword arm is so tired that they cannot control the direction or force of their blows, they should immediately end the bout.
Fighters may choose to spar at any level equal to or below the lower-ranked fighter’s current level. Level is determined by fighting proficiency, and students may advance through sparring levels following an assessment by one of our senior instructors.
- Touch Fight: all hits are called, and acknowledged by both parties; no striking or grappling
- Precision Fight: all hits are called, but fighters may indicate and dismiss non-lethal blows; no striking or grappling
- Close Contact Indicated Fight: fighters may initiate strikes, grapples, and disarms, without completion; no contact is allowed with strikes, and grapples and disarms end at first contact; only simple defensive actions are allowed to close contact techniques, with the pass ending after a single defense
- Close Contact Completion Fight: fighters may land strikes and apply locks or disarms as needed to demonstrate their control over their opponent; limited exchanges are allowed at close contact
Gender Pronoun Policy and Reference
Valkyrie’s community includes people with a range of gender identities and expressions. Students and staff are expected to respect each other’s preferred personal pronouns when referring to each other. Deliberately using the wrong pronouns to refer to someone constitutes verbal harassment under our Training Space Rules, and will be dealt with accordingly.
New to gender-inclusive language and unsure how to handle pronoun usage? Read on:
- Personal pronouns, like names, are closely tied to identity. Being referred to with the pronouns that match our gender identity is a basic measure of respect and courtesy, and being referred to with the wrong pronouns is hurtful. Commonly used personal pronouns include:
- she/her/hers (feminine)
- he/him/his (masculine)
- they/them/theirs (neutral)
- zie or xe/hir/hirs (neutral)
- If someone asks you to refer to them by a specific set of pronouns, do so. It’s fine to double-check spelling and pronunciation, or ask a simple question that helps you use those pronouns correctly. More invasive questions about the exact nature of a person’s gender, identity, biology (including genitals), or history are inappropriate and unacceptable. Be aware that someone’s pronoun preferences may change over time, and be ready to adapt to new information when necessary.
- Consider introducing yourself with your name and preferred pronouns when meeting new people. “Hi, my name is Kaja, and my pronouns are she/her” can take getting used to, but it makes it easy to get things right from the start. If you’re not sure what pronouns someone prefers, or you forget their preference, just ask.
- Mistakes happen, and we’re all familiar with the mild embarrassment of getting someone’s name wrong. Treat a pronoun error the same way: correct yourself (or politely accept someone else’s correction), apologize briefly if needed, and move on. There’s no need to discuss the mistake at length or make elaborate apologies, and centering your feelings or drawing extra attention to the error will only make the person you mis-labeled uncomfortable.
- Make sure to use others’ preferred pronouns at all times, regardless of whether they are present.
- Don’t deliberately get others’ pronouns wrong, make jokes, gossip, or speculate about another person’s pronouns, gender expression, or identity.
Additional Reading and Resources:
Robot Hugs comic on pronoun etiquette: view comic
University of Milwaukee guidelines, including examples of less-common pronouns, usage, and some history: read more
QMUNITY queer and trans glossary, including many terms related to gender identity: Download PDF
Your privacy is important to us. All information collected by Valkyrie WMAA is collected and used in accordance with the principles laid out in the Canadian Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act.
What information does Valkyrie WMAA collect?
When you register for classes and complete a waiver, you voluntarily supply us with your full name and contact details (including address, phone number, and email), your birthdate, and a brief review of your medical history as it relates to your ability to participate in classes. You may also voluntarily provide us with your name, contact details, and other personal information during email correspondence or in conversation with our staff.
On-line payments are processed securely through third-party providers (Chase Paymentech and Paypal), and we do not store your full credit card number anywhere in our records. If you attach a credit or debit card to your student account in ZenPlanner (our attendance and membership tracking software), we will gain the ability to process transactions that you authorize. ZenPlanner also stores the cardholder name, card type, expiry date, and last 4 digits of any card you link to your account, as well as your attendance and the current status of your membership and billing. You may access this information at any time through the student portal.
While performing our in-class assessments, we collect information on your athletic performance and fitness, and how it changes over time. This information is linked only to your name in our records, and is used for pedagogical purposes only. You may request access to these records at any time.
Who is my information shared with?
All contact information is used by approved staff only for the purpose of completing your registration, and keeping you informed about school events or important changes. We will never sell this information to a third party.
Your medical information may be shared with health and emergency care personnel in the event of an emergency, if it is required for you to received adequate care for an injury, illness, or allergic reaction. Your medical information will not be shared with anyone outside of Valkyrie WMAA who is not directly involved in your emergency care, and it will never be sold.
Assessment performance metrics may be aggregated and discussed in an anonymized format on our blog, Box Wrestle Fence, as part of a broader examination of our methods and our students' progress. If you don't want your personal results to be used in this way, please inform us, and we will be happy to exclude them from any such presentations.
How is my information stored? For how long?
Paper copies of your waiver and registration form are stored securely in our school's office, and will be destroyed after you have been absent from our classes for 1 full year. Sensitive details, including legal name, medical conditions or histories (e.g. pregnancy, gender transition), and family status will be kept in hardcopy only, in a locked file.
Who can I contact for more information, or to request records?
Please direct any records or privacy-related enquiries to Courtney Rice at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cancellation and Refund Policy
All credit packages purchased with a lump-sum payment may be cancelled within 45 days of purchase. Credit packages purchased on an installment plan may be cancelled at any point during the payment period. A cancellation fee may apply. The cancellation fee and refund, if any, will be determined by the number of credits used minus any payments made, at the following rates:
- 0-7 credits used: $40 each
- 8-23 credits used: $37.50 each
- 24-47 credits used: $35 each
- 48-95 credits used: $30 each
Example 1: 48 Credits purchased for $1,440. 30 credits were used. The rate per credit is $35, for a total of $1,050. A refund will be issued for $390.
Example 2: 96 Credits purchased on an installment plan of $200/month. 52 credits were used over 5 months. The rate per credit is $30 each, for a total of $1,560. Payments totaling $1,000 have been received. A cancellation fee of $560 will be charged.
Workshops and Events
Attendance at a workshop or other event may be cancelled for a full refund up to two business days before the event. Attendees who provide fewer than two days' notice will receive a 50% refund. No-shows (registered attendees who do not contact us to cancel, and fail to attend the event) will not receive a refund.