The Things We Believe About Ourselves

I was reading this interview with Samin Nosrat, the host of a wonderful cooking show called Salt Fat Acid Heat, when I felt a switch flip in the back of my head. The "click" was almost audible. It was a shift in how I viewed myself in relationship to food and to cooking, and had … Continue reading The Things We Believe About Ourselves

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

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