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I am Veronika. I am wife to Robert and Mother to Bridgid. I am also a swordfighter.

When I began taking sword classes from Gad three years ago, I was doing it for the exercise and to spend more time with my husband. I didn't want to spar with others. I was afraid of being hit with a sword. Gad told me that I could have the option of earning my green braid by doing battle only with him. That is how I began in the circle.

Then, one night at class, we learned some hand-to-hand techniques. From the first time I grappled and felt the rush of adrenaline through my body, I was ensnared by the lure of the battle.

Since then, I have enjoyed fighting with many other members of the Western Circle, and have come to think of them as the family I would choose for myself, were I able to choose my own siblings. I am awed by the honor each member of the circle displays on a day-to-day basis, and I respect each member and would give any of them sanctuary at any time.

I have been away from the circle for several months in order to bear my child. I believe that being a mother has given me two benefits as a warrior. First, I am better able to bear pain. Second, I have something that I am willing to die for. That puts a new perspective on each battle I fight, whether in the circle, or just combatting traffic on the crowded Bay Area Highways. I look forward to returning to the class soon.