On Talent

Kaja demonstrating sword and buckler, 2010

I've had a few conversations lately about the corrosiveness of emphasizing talent or "giftedness" in a physical instruction context. Something I've encountered a lot is a weird sort of predestination framework: folks born with "natural talent" will be good at a thing, and folks without it will just struggle and flail forever. It's a really … Continue reading On Talent

Adrenaline

I've had a complex relationship with adrenaline my whole life. I got into what some call "extreme sports" very young. At twelve, I started snowboarding religiously. I'd be on the slopes alone every weekend, pushing myself to go faster, to tackle harder terrain, to hit bigger jumps and longer rails. I loved nothing more than … Continue reading Adrenaline

Queer Toughness

I had a really great conversation after today's self defense talk that solidified a lot of floating ideas I had about why we need queer spaces for teaching this stuff. One of the things we discuss a lot in the "observation" material of our talks is body language. How unconscious cues can betray a person's … Continue reading Queer Toughness

Violence Dynamics and Gender: Unsorted Thoughts

I've been doing a lot of thinking about violence lately. I've just started teaching another round of our women's self defense course at Valkyrie; I'm working on a writing project that touches on how we need to be able to categorize and break down different kinds of violence to train for them; and I've started … Continue reading Violence Dynamics and Gender: Unsorted Thoughts