To say Amy Graham is a bad ass would be an extreme understatement. At the age of 48, she is one of the first women to compete in the sport of Medieval Combat. In 2014, she was crowned World Champion as part of the first Women's Bohurt team from the USA.
Amy wasn't always an athlete. Before she underwent bariatric surgery eight years ago, Amy weighed almost 400 lbs. Since discovering her love for steel combat, Amy hasn't stopped training. She credits her ever-increasing health and confidence to her passion for her sport. Amy is an unconventional athlete with an inspiring story and an incredible attitude. She shares them both on her blog Bad Ass Valkyrie.
What is your superpower?
I think my greatest Superpower is Tenacity. I refuse to give up, no matter the setback or disadvantage. I try to stay as positive as possible and I am confident that persistence and hard work bring success. My mantra is “Be Strong. Be Fearless. Be Valkyrie,” and it has helped me get through some hard times in my training and in personal challenges. It’s always easy to go back to the bad habits, to take the path of least resistance but pushing forward, making new goals, and living my life with courage, truth and happiness is so much better. I decided after I lost most of my weight I would live the rest of my celebrating, and that’s what I am doing, every moment of every day by being a Bad Ass Valkyrie.
What accomplishment are you most proud of?
I am most proud of becoming a bariathlete (people who have shed their excess weight with the help of bariatric surgery and are now keeping it off by becoming extreme athletes). 8 years ago I would have never considered myself an athlete in any way, shape or form. Now, I have won a gold medal as part of the USA Knights, I am a steel sword fighter and I am competing in two World Championships in 2015 for IMCF (International Medieval Combat Federation) and Battle of the Nations. I have traveled the world to compete as a medieval martial artist and that still surprises me just a little bit every single day. At 48, I never thought my midlife crisis would involve medieval armor, steel swords and shield punching men twice my size but it does, and that makes me happy & proud!
What does a typical week in fitness look like for you?
I train at least 5 days a week, two hours a night. I run, do core work, do interval training and weight lifting at the gym and then I go home to do sword drills, pole axe swings and practice grappling, punching and kicks. I will sometimes practice in full armor, other times it will be in minimal or no armor, depending upon the needs of competition. I focus on strength, cardio and endurance. I prefer to compete with the men, therefore I have to be able to go toe to toe with some of the biggest fighters we have and hold my own. That’s not often an easy feat, but it’s worth all the training, all the effort and work. It’s the most fun I have ever had and I enjoy my training because I know it makes me a better fighter and a better athlete.
What’s your biggest challenge/goal right now?
I want to be a better swordswoman. I started fighting a few years ago and didn’t gain the proper basic techniques that my European counterparts historically have. I want to gain more knowledge and skill with my weapons and begin to impart that knowledge to other fighters in my area and grow this sport. I also need more flexibility in my body mechanics. I am hoping to start yoga once I return from the World Championships. I think that it will help me improve my mobility and keep me fluid. At my age my body can only do this sport for so long, so I feel like I am ‘under the gun’ so to speak, in terms of time. I want to be the best I can be, in the shortest amount of time, while maintaining a healthy lifestyle and making sure my body can endure what I put it through on a daily basis.
How can the Superfit Hero community support you?
Help spread the word about steel armored combat. It’s not just for men, it’s for everyone and there is no more empowering feeling like it. I love it when little girls come up to me and are amazed that they can actually become a real Knight in armor. Seeing their eyes light up when they get to pick up a piece of my gear, I can almost see the little Valkyrie emerge, no matter what their size. In today’s fairy tales its quite often the norm that the handsome Prince comes to save you. It’s time we change the story. You don’t have to always be the pretty princess. Pick up a sword, you can fight for yourselves! #AlwaysFightLikeAGirl