Coaching Team

David R. Packer, Head Instructor, holding a longsword

David R. Packer


David Randy Packer began practising martial arts in 1980, starting with Kung Fu and continuing with Aikido, Taekwondo, Tai Chi, Hung Gar, Hwarangdo, Shotokan Karate, and other unarmed fighting arts. He fell in love with historical swordplay, and the rapier in particular, a couple of decades later. In 2004, he founded the Academie Duello Centre for Swordplay with Devon Boorman. After leaving Academie Duello, he spent years refining his training methods before co-founding Valkyrie Western Martial Arts Assembly in 2012. David also has a wealth of experience in security, self-defense, and tactical training. He has worked as a bouncer and security contractor, and has designed and delivering self-defense and intervention training to a range of audiences - from emergency responders to single teen mothers - since 1998. He currently works as a roleplayer at Vancouver's Tactical Training Centre.

David’s Box Wrestle Fence method is the training foundation for Valkyrie WMAA. He uses his extensive experience to create lessons that are challenging, exciting, and varied, and to draw out the mechanical and philosophical foundations that underpin the arts we practice. He is particularly interested in the science of movement and fitness, and loves bringing the latest sport science into the classroom. As a coach, David works relentlessly to bring out the best in every student and has a particular gift for helping them recognize and exploit their unique strengths as fighters. To learn more about the philosophy behind his teaching and his thoughts on other subjects, visit David's blog, BoxWrestleFence.

Courtney Rice


Courtney Rice is the original Valkyrie. She co-founded Valkyrie WMAA with David in 2012, and was the first women to attain the rank of Free Scholar at her previous school, Academie Duello. She has trained in Western Martial Arts for over a decade, and has a well-deserved reputation as a fearsome wrestler with a killer guillotine, and a skilled swordswoman with both the rapier and longsword. After a short stint in competitive Mixed Martial Arts, Courtney has shifted her focus to teaching and training within her own community - whether that's instructing at Valkyrie WMAA, or assisting with Use of Force training for local law enforcement at the Vancouver Tactical Training Centre. In 2016, Courtney served as a guest instructor at the International Rapier Seminar in London, and at Ottawa Swordplay.

Courtney was instrumental in developing Box Wrestle Fence, and serves as a model of the amazing results the program produces. Her energy and willingness to try anything are an inspiration in all of our classes, and her sharp eye for detail makes her an incisive and effective coach. Courtney loves stoking others’ passion for swordplay, and is dedicated to opening up the Western Martial Arts community to everyone who has yet to realize their athletic potential. She is a graduate of Emily Carr University of Art and Design and the renowned Capilano University Textile Arts program, and her creative influence is apparent in the design of our space.

Courtney Rice, Instructor, with Rapier and Dagger

Kaja Sadowski, Instructor, with boxing wraps

Kaja Sadowski


Kaja Sadowski came to martial arts in 2010 after a lifetime of physical exploration, including figure skating, snowboarding, rock climbing, and mountaineering. She trains primarily with the rapier, as well as boxing, wrestling, stick fighting, and knife fighting. She holds a Master of Arts in English Literature and has taught in a range of venues for over a decade, from the climbing wall to the university classroom and fencing salle. Since 2015, she has been an active participant in realistic scenario and tactical training for first responders at the Vancouver Tactical Training Centre, and has been a guest instructor for the Vancouver Police Department's 2016/2017 Community Safety Officer class. She has taught swordplay at the Vancouver International Swordplay Symposium (2015, 2017), and at Swordsquatch (2016).

Kaja created the Valkyrie Base introductory program, and loves welcoming newcomers to martial arts. Her broad athletic background has given her an excellent understanding of movement patterns and body mechanics, and she excels at helping students build the structure and posture they need to support the complex movements of swordplay. Kaja is committed to making martial arts and self-defense programming accessible to a diverse community, and is an advocate for female and LGBT visibility in Western Martial Arts. Her personal blog, Kaja(s)words, often expands on her approach to training, teaching, and fitness.

Justin Ring


Justin Ring’s martial arts training began with Dragon Style Kung Fu. He was one of Academie Duello’s earliest swordplay students, and moved on with David and Courtney to develop the Box Wrestle Fence program. Prior to joining the team at Valkyrie WMAA, he spent two years refining his skills as a boxer. Besides his fists, Justin has worked extensively with the rapier, sabre, longsword, knife, and cane. He joined the Tactical Training Centre roleplayer program in 2016, and participated in their Use of Force training exercises until early 2017. That same year, he ran an informal knife fighting and sparring training group through Valkyrie, and began working with our Competition Team and fitness programming.

Justin is a master technician who brings out the showmanship inherent in swordplay. He has an intuitive understanding of form and posture, and is an exemplar of precise, clean sparring. His boxing knowledge has helped grow our unarmed striking program, and his workouts are both beloved and feared by students. As a coach, Justin pushes each student to recognize their own potential, and to take on new challenges with the conviction that they are within reach. He is committed to building a martial arts community that shares its knowledge through cooperative teaching opportunities and friendly competition.

Justin Ring, instructor, with smallsword

Jordan Both, instructor, with a karambit knife

Jordan Both


Jordan Both practiced Tae Kwon Do as a child before taking a break from martial arts in his teen years. He first picked up a rapier in 2008, and has studied Western Martial Arts continuously since then, expanding his interests to include the longsword, knife, and unarmed combat, as well as modern technical and tactical training. He began training informally with David in 2012, and his enthusiasm and facility for recruiting new students led to the establishment of Valkyrie WMAA. From 2015 to 2016, he was an active roleplayer with the Vancouver Tactical Training Centre, and worked extensively with local law enforcement officers and first responders.

Jordan loves sparring, and is a skilled competitor in sword and knife combat whenever the opportunity arises. He won his first tournament medal in 2016 at the 2nd Valkyrie Rapier Open, and has no intention of stopping there. He is a challenging opponent with precise control of timing and distance, and his fighting spirit is tempered by a friendly, welcoming manner that makes new students feel comfortable challenging themselves. Unsurprisingly, he has become a favourite instructor in the Valkyrie Base program. Jordan’s teaching is driven by a desire to introduce people to arts they will love, and to grow their skills and fitness from day to day.

Phil Van Humbeck


Phil Van Humbeck’s martial arts journey began with the sword. He learned to fight with the epee at his local community centre before discovering historical swordplay through the Society for Creative Anachronism. In the SCA, he worked hard to hone his sparring skills with the rapier while keeping up with epee lessons. Since joining Valkyrie WMAA, Phil has branched out into longsword, cane fighting, boxing, and wrestling. In 2017, he took the lead role in a pilot early-morning fitness program at Valkyrie that incorporates our fundamental strength work with boxing and striking material.

Phil is a skilled duellist who revels in the mental and strategic elements of sparring. His quiet, thoughtful approach belies a sharp mind and even sharper offense, and opponents often underestimate him at their peril. As an instructor, he has a gift for communicating the nuances of tactical decision-making to fighters of all experience levels, making him a very effective one-on-one coach. Phil wants to instill a love of sparring in his students, and to guide them to what works best for their own style of thinking and fighting. In his own training, he works constantly to keep expanding his horizons beyond the single-handed sword, and has recently focused on unarmed combat.

Phil Van Humbeck, instructor, with cane

Danielle Rice, roleplayer, with a High Gear training helmet

Danielle Rice


Danielle Rice is a relative newcomer to martial arts, and a testament to the effectiveness of Valkyrie WMAA's teaching methods. She joined the school in 2013 as a self-described "couch potato". Since then, she's become a proficient rapier fighter who competed in her first tournament in 2016, and has radically transformed her physical capability in every environment from the wrestling mats to the gymnastic rings. Danielle has been a roleplayer with the Vancouver Tactical Training Centre since 2015, participating in small and large-scale tactical scenarios and Use of Force training for local law enforcement officers. She is currently training in Expressive Arts Therapy, and is preparing a Master's thesis on the role of martial arts in therapy.

Danielle's roleplaying experience, counseling focus, and background as a non-athlete makes her a valuable asset to Valkyrie's self-defense programming. She participates regularly in our training scenarios and is a challenging adversary for students under stress-testing conditions. When she's not screaming threats from inside a padded suit, she's an empathetic and thoughtful communicator who connects well with students who are still learning how to use their bodies effectively. Danielle's own training aims to integrate Valkyrie's ethos of "serious play" into her physical skill development, and she is passionate about using her own experience to help newcomers to Western Martial Arts overcome their fears of hurting themselves and others, and to begin to realize their potential.

John F. Irving


In his 25 years of service as a police officer and over a decade as a Use of Force Instructor, Cst. John Irving has developed and run tactical training programs for agencies across the country. He designed the Spontaneous Assault and Edged Weapons Defense system, which is now used in police academies in Canada, the US, the UK, and Australia, and has been an integral part of training local law enforcement officers through the Justice Institute of BC and Vancouver's Tactical Training Centre. John is a TASER Master Instructor, advanced Pistol instructor, Crisis Intervention and De-escalation Instructor, and Tactical Police Performance Instructor, and has been a conference presenter and guest speaker at events across North America.

Since joining Valkyrie WMAA in 2014, John has been generous in sharing his knowledge of knife defense and sparring with our student body. He's a dedicated martial artist who is constantly expanding his knowledge to include new weapons, techniques, and teaching methods, and has a habit of very quickly becoming everyone's favourite sparring partner, no matter the weapon. He believes in meeting students on their own terms and teaching them how to use the skills and knowledge they already possess to solve complex problems, and works to bring out the best in everyone from beginners to law enforcement professionals. John will be delivering four workshops in 2017 on knife defense, knife combat, and effective fighting tactics.

John F. Irving, adjunct instructor, unarmed (or is he?)

Comments are closed