Being Inspired with the Warrior Forged Project
By Christy Milan
Story by Christy Milan
Photos courtesy of the Warrior Forged Project
“The best lightning rod for your protection is your own spine.”
- Ralph Waldo Emerson
IN A WORLD THAT IS EVER-CHANGING, the need for defense has always been crucial to survival. In life, there may be times we need to protect ourselves or our loved ones. Self-defense provides a countermeasure to keep you out of harm’s way, and one unique program is the Warrior Forged Project.
This project was founded by Stacey Councilman, whose journey began as most do – with a personal experience. She married early, had three children and the young couple realized they were not compatible. Divorce sent them on individual life paths. She also experienced the trauma of sexual abuse. “In my teens I had been through a sexual assault and rape, although it never really hit me until later years,” she says. “I never felt like a victim or a survivor – I just kept moving forward. I think I instinctually knew I was destined to be the strength some women needed to get through that type of situation in the future.”
When her daughter was diagnosed with severe ADHD and having issues at school, Councilman took her to a psychologist, who recommended that she enroll her daughter in a martial arts school. Councilman had always wanted to do martial arts, so she joined her daughter. “That was the start of my martial arts journey. I pretty much stepped on the mat and never left,” she recalls.
All great ideas begin with a thought, and Councilman had the Warrior Forged Project in her mind since 2014. She was unsure where to start or whether she had enough experience to train others. She began studying and training in additional arts, and in 2015, she came up with the name and logo. Warrior Forged Project had been born. It was originally a clothing company that would produce women’s sportswear and fund the project, but her love of teaching women martial arts and the inspiration of strength that they projected made Councilman decide her mission was to teach women’s self defense.
Beginning in January 2016, Councilman began teaching a few students Krav Maga, free of charge. By fall, she was teaching women’s self defense classes on Sundays out of the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu academy where she trained. In November 2016, Councilman and her team decided to make the Warrior Forged Project a non-profit.
The dream of teaching self-defense inspired her. She never felt that she should charge for classes. “I had this extremely strong feeling deep down inside my soul that learning self defense is actually a human right. Everyone that wants to learn should know how to protect themselves and their loved ones from harm,” Councilman says.
“Being a student of the Warrior Forged Project has been an eye-opening experience,” says student Nicole Foster. “I have learned that I can do more than I thought I could. I started training two years ago and have a new outlook on life and how I view self defense. Warrior Forged Project has taught me not only the physical side of self defense, but also the mental side.”
One goal of the project is to be available to families and women around the world. Another is creating a comprehensive school program and helping law enforcement with protection training. “Our mission is all about being proactive, teaching people mental and physical life skills that will make them become their own hero. The goal is to make people realize their self worth so they can be Warrior Forged,” Councilman says. “I realized that I forged myself into a warrior. What I was creating is my life’s project... the world’s project, the Warrior Forged Project.” •