May 22 2018
For our May YYC Inspiration we sat down with Ashley Yip of Life Armour YYC. Ashley is a local business owner, an amazing mother and wife. Her husband Shane is Life Armour YYC's lead instructor and coach. Ashley tells us how Life Armour YYC came to be, the importance of self-defense, and how she keeps up with the balance of coaching, being a mother, and staying healthy herself. Go check out one of Ashley and Shane's DefenceFit classes soon!
Tell us a little about your business, Life Armour YYC, and how that started.
My husband has worked in protective services with AHS for 15 years. My friends would always be asking him advice on how to protect themselves or stay safe in certain situations. He was so knowledgeable and gave everyone tips that they hadn't thought of before. It was really a lightbulb moment for me. I realized since he had this wealth of information and years of experience training people how to deal with aggressive situations, why wouldn't he teach it to the general public who wouldn't normally have access to this training. Clearly there was need for a realistic approachable type of self defence class that doesn't take years to master. So LifeArmourYYC was born!
Tell us how you found your passion for self-defense? How did that evolve into the DefenceFit classes??
I think it started after attending a few of our first classes that my husband ran. I was watching all these women doing drills and learning the techniques and I realized then that I wanted to learn as much as I could so I would be able to become an instructor within the company. The DefenceFit program came about because of 2 things. Firstly, being fit is such an asset when it comes to defending yourself. Strength, speed, and agility matter in a violent confrontation so we help our clients reach their fitness goals while learning about self-defense. The second important factor is science based. Your body undergoes a massive physiological change when faced with danger. One key change is a dramatic increase in your heart rate. We can't send our clients out into the street to get into fights so we simulate reality as best we can in the gym. During DefenceFit classes we mix in exercises to jack up the client's heart rate then introduce a scenario in which they need to defend themselves.
What has been the most rewarding part of being a self-defense coach? Most challenging?
We have had some amazing people come through our doors and each one leaves you feeling like you've helped someone. I would say personally, the most rewarding moments come from those who walk in feeling like they really can't do much to protect themselves. They either think they are too small or just don't have the personal confidence. They start off timidly on the sidelines. Then when they learn the psychology and the practical tactical skills, they realize they really do have what it takes to protect themselves. They leave with their head held high and a new found sense of confidence. That for me is the most priceless thing you can give someone. The most challenging thing is really getting people to sign on to the idea of participating in a self-defence class. I think traditionally people have this idea that its either intimidating or cheesy. Our style of teaching is extremely approachable and real life-based. We really work to open people's eyes that personal safety is just as important as your personal fitness. Luckily with our classes, you can get the best of both worlds!
We also know that you're a new mother. Congrats! Tell us about how you achieve balancing family with your lifestyle.
Thank you so much! Sometimes it isn't easy! There are always ups and downs with having a business and a family. Obviously, I spend a lot of time with my son, but making time for training is also important. I also really try to make sure we have at least a few days a week carved out for strictly family time where we are all in the same place, even if its just hanging at home making dinner. Ultimately I really believe that a healthy home life will make all the difference maintaining a successful business.
What is your best advice for maintaining a healthy and balanced lifestyle?
I've really learned since having my son that living a balanced life can be difficult to do but is extremely important. I love taking my son to the park, swimming, or walking stairs, but I find that I also need to do these or other activities on my own as well. Take the time to recharge. Even if you just get out with a friend for coffee, the adult conversation can be refreshing. Date nights with my husband are also important. Although they don't happen too often, it's nice to hang out together and remember you aren't just parents and business partners!
Who inspires you?
Honestly, I would have to say our clients. We have several longterm clients who have very powerful backstories. We connect with them on a personal level and become part of their journey and help them work toward their goals.
What are your goals this year? Personal, Work, Growth etc.
To be more involved in the community. We love being local and want to continue to connect with other like-minded businesses and the people who run them. Calgary is such an amazing city with amazing people, we are very fortunate to live here.
How can people find you and take a class?