The Violence Ladder: A Stress Testing Model for Realistic Training || Kaja Sadowski

Kaja Sadowski || Valkyrie Western Martial Arts Assembly

Weapons: Unarmed, Dagger/Knife

Stress testing is an essential component of all martial training, whether you're preparing for a HEMA tournament or a real-life self defense scenario. It's also one of the hardest things to get right, and a tool that many students and instructors are wary of incorporating because of the risks that come with doing it wrong. The Violence Ladder is a straightforward framework for understanding the different kinds of violence that you might want to train for, and building some simple, effective stress tests for them.

In this workshop, we'll work through the entire ladder, taking you from friendly, partnered play all the way up to dealing with a life-or-death threat. You'll get a feel for what adrenaline does to your mind and body, and learn how to work with it safely in a controlled training environment. We'll cover the principles of stress tests and scenario training, how to think about the violence that you're training for, and how to build trust and safety while challenging yourself and your training partner. By the time we're done, you should have some concrete tools to take home and incorporate into your own HEMA and martial arts practice.

This workshop is open to students of all experience levels. All of the stress testing work is done on an opt-in basis, and students who don't want to participate in every drill can still get a lot out of watching. If you've experienced violence or trauma in the past and are concerned about triggers, please speak to Kaja before the workshop, and she'll help you navigate the session safely and make sure there are no surprises.