Sliding Scale Pricing, by the Numbers

The following post was originally published on the Valkyrie Western Martial Arts Assembly blog on July 30, 2019. When we tell other martial arts instructors and school owners that we offer sliding scale pricing for events at Valkyrie, one of the most common responses that we get is: "But don't you lose a lot of … Continue reading Sliding Scale Pricing, by the Numbers

“Fear is the Mind Killer” is now available!

Front cover image of Fear is the Mind Killer: How to build a training culture that fosters strength and resilience

My book, Fear is the Mind Killer: How to Build a Training Culture that Fosters Strength and Resilience, is now available in both paperback and ebook editions! ORDER NOW! This project began almost exactly two years ago, over a sushi lunch with Guy Windsor. As we were catching up, he casually asked my why I … Continue reading “Fear is the Mind Killer” is now available!

Big Gay Sword Day and Celebration vs Struggle

Last weekend's big event for Valkyrie WMAA, Big Gay Sword Day, was created in a moment of frustration. Someone had posted in one of the biggest online HEMA forums and asked a simple question: were there any HEMA events aimed at members of the LGBTQ community? The resulting conversation thread was a shitshow. People scoffed … Continue reading Big Gay Sword Day and Celebration vs Struggle

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


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