Bio

I have been a physical instructor since 2004, and taught figure skating, rock climbing, and mountaineering before coming to martial arts in 2010. I joined the coaching team at Valkyrie Western Martial Arts Assembly in 2012, and created our beginner program shortly afterwards. I currently teach group and private lessons to students of all experience levels, and run the school’s self defense program.

My primary weapons are the rapier and longsword, and I also teach unarmed striking, grappling, and knife combat. My interests vary from the historical to the modern, and range from recreational martial arts to practical self defense and professional use of force. I was a civilian auxiliary with the Vancouver Police Department’s Force Options Training Unit from 2015-2020, participating in realistic tactical training scenarios and providing guest instruction to their Special Municipal Constable program.

I also hold a Master of Arts in English Literature, and did the majority of my graduate work on medieval English and French vernacular romances. I have presented at a number of academic conferences, including a session on using historical swordplay as a tool for interpreting the combat in chivalric romances at the 15th Biennial Romance in Medieval Britain Conference. I have also taught at the undergraduate level in literature, history, and medieval studies, and regularly leverage my academic training to serve my martial arts research.

My current training interests include body mechanics and functional movement, stress testing and emotional regulation, and the role of play in motor skill acquisition. I am deeply invested in broadening our idea of who fighting is for, and what success looks like. As one of a small handful of queer women in leadership roles in the Historical European Martial Arts and self defense communities, I want to use my position to make more space for people like me, and to build lasting social infrastructure that lets us get the most out of the arts I love.


Testimonials

Kaja Sadowski is a superlative teacher, researcher and fighter. She has built a world class training school, created hundreds of passionate martial arts students and works tirelessly to make martial arts a better and more inclusive place. She is kind, compassionate and dedicated to making her students the best they can be. I am proud […]

Jon Mills, Head Coach, Black Dog Strength and Nutrition

Kaja is the quality of teacher that makes you want to move to a different country just so you can train more with them. Kaja teaches in a way that is accessible to anyone, on any day. If you aren’t feeling top notch, she will work with you to make sure you get the most […]

Alex Spreier, Instructor, High Desert Armizare

Kaja’s excellent blog posts, videos, book, and random social media thoughts on martial arts have been a go-to for me for years now. She has a wonderful way of pushing me thinking past the overwhelming wall of ‘stuff’ when thinking through martial arts and instead breaking down my views on instruction and personal training into […]

Michael Sims, Owner, East Texas Historical Fencing

Kaja’s study and knowledge of human interaction, beyond just her excellent technical, martial know how, is worth her weight in gold. Her ability to make otherwise awkward topics approachable and comfortable is an incredible gift. She communicates concepts clearly, and without judgement, while also highlighting the need for logical, forceful response when it’s appropriate. Overall, […]

John Crum, Martial Artist/Retired Police