Valkyrie Western Martial Arts Assembly was founded in 2012 by Courtney Rice, David R. Packer, and a few dedicated students. We began with two classes a week in a rented dance studio. By December 2013, we’d expanded into a larger space to accommodate our new beginner program, led by Kaja Sadowski, and added an outdoor workout-only class. We spent the next year and a half refining our curriculum from a less structured series of themed classes to a year-long cycle of material. These early years of experimenting — along with David, Courtney, and Kaja’s combined 50 years of martial arts experience — helped us build a complete training system that effectively combines martial skill, tactical training, and fitness support.
Once we’d solidified our teaching approach, it was time to find a permanent home and bring our methods to a larger audience. In early 2015, we found a bright, accessible, 1,500-square-foot location at the corner of Kingsway and Duchess St in Vancouver. We took possession of the space in April, and set to work converting it from a u-brew winery to the best training space we could build.
Our grand opening in October 2015 marked the beginning of a new, exciting era for Valkyrie WMAA. Since opening our doors we've grown our coaching team to 8 members; developed a robust self-defense curriculum and begun offering workshops throughout Metro Vancouver, and made a continuing effort to keep our training accessible to all students regardless of background, gender, or financial circumstances. In 2016, we were runners-up in the Best Emerging Entrepreneur category of the Small Business BC Awards, and launched an ongoing rapier tournament series that brought together fighters from all across the Pacific Northwest. In 2017, we hosted the first-ever Violence Dynamics Vancouver seminar, with four world-renowned guest instructors. Our community continues to grow, our students continue to surprise and impress us, and we can't wait to see what the future brings!