About Us

Our Values

We are a diverse community of fighters, lifelong learners, and martial arts researchers. Each of us has taken a slightly different path to becoming a coach, but we are all driven by a love of learning, a fierce commitment to equity and accessibility, and a desire to share the joy and playfulness inherent in our arts.

Our job is getting under the hood of effective martial arts practice, figuring out what makes it work, and using that knowledge to turn our students into the best fighters they can be. The training floor is our laboratory, and grappling, striking, and weapon work are our subjects.

We believe that good body mechanics and balanced strength are essential to injury prevention and longevity; that the best fighters are not the ones who know the most techniques, but the ones who can make what they know work in any context; and that everyone learns best when they are having fun. Our training emphasizes adaptability, play, and dynamic problem-solving, and our students are equally comfortable on the ground and in a swordfight.

Our classes are open to students of all abilities and experience levels; and all ethnic and religious backgrounds, gender identities, and sexual orientations. Our goal is to help you become the strongest, happiest, most capable and adaptable version of yourself, no matter where you begin.

We are animated by a genuine love for movement and for combat, specifically, and a deep appreciation for what the body and mind can do together. We want to share that love and capability with everyone, and particularly to make it accessible to people who are usually ill-served by traditional martial arts spaces.

Our Story

Valkyrie Western Martial Arts Assembly was founded in 2012 by Courtney Rice, Randy Packer, and a few dedicated students. We began with two classes a week in a rented dance studio. By December 2013, we’d expanded into a larger space to accommodate our new beginner program, led by Kaja Sadowski, and added an outdoor workout-only class. We spent the next year and a half building on our combined 50 years of teaching and martial arts experience, refining our teaching approach, and identifying the core needs of our new student community.

Once we’d built a solid student base and grown confident in our methods, it was time to find a permanent home and really allow ourselves to grow. In early 2015, we found a bright, accessible, 1,500-square-foot location at the corner of Kingsway and Duchess St in Vancouver. We took possession of the space in April of that year, and set to work converting it from a u-brew winery to the best training space we could build.

Over the next five years, we grew our teaching team from three to eight instructors; expanded our offerings to include fitness and self defense; and put down roots in the LGBTQ+ community and the Historical European Martial Arts (HEMA) community. Our instructors were invited to teach at events across North America and Great Britain, and we developed an international reputation as a safe haven for marginalized people that was capable of turning out skilled, adaptable, and tough fighters without the machismo and dangerous attitudes of many traditional martial arts spaces.

The COVID-19 pandemic has triggered another major shift in direction, and we closed the doors to our training space at the end of 2020. We've now entered a new era of online and outdoor instruction, and are as committed as ever to serving our vibrant student community. We have active students across two countries and three timezones. We'd love for you to join us.