Stonecoast MFA in Creative Writing

Pioneering Alumna Amy Martin Takes Roller Derby Wisdom Around the World

As a student at Stonecoast, she was known as Amy Martin, but to the publishing world, and the rapidly expanding world of roller derby, she’s Punchy O’ Guts. And she means business.

Martin has carved out a career in coaching roller derby that has taken her all over the world. In June she coached in Japan, in July—Australia, and next October she’ll head to the United Kingdom.

“I see these opportunities as a way to connect with women all over the world and share the knowledge I have from my experiences in the sport, and I am madly grateful for them,” Martin says, “I learn more and feel more inspired each time I coach.”

What makes these opportunities especially noteworthy is that they came about in part because of her self-published books EveryGirl’s Guide to Roller Derby, Roller Derby 101: The Fresh Meat Training Manual, Scrimmage 101: How to Teach the Game of Roller Derby and her e-book series, The Business of Roller Derby.

Her first book and Stonecoast creative thesis, EveryGirl’s Guide to Roller Derby, was originally intended as a spoof on Maria Menounos’ book EveryGirl’s Guide to Life. Martin describers her book as taking society’s definition of feminine and turning it on its head, using the culture of roller derby as subject matter.

In the master class of her graduation residency, when Martin was asked to create a website or blog, hers eventually became a publication company for her books. “I had no desire to seek an agent or publish my books by the traditional route. I believe the publishing industry is broken, and I refuse to take part in it. I know how to write, design, publish, and market my books, so why would I pay someone else to represent me?”

A roller derby athlete since 2006, Martin gained a reputation as a renaissance woman. She skated competitively on the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA) sanctioned all-star team The Port Authorities and used her talents across a variety roles: bout production, marketing, interleague liaison, sponsorship, webmaster, WFTDA rep, all-star team captain, a member of the board of directors, and her favorite, training coordinator. Martin says she believes in creating a culture of learning and positivity: when skaters are excited to learn and feel good about themselves, an atmosphere of inspiration erupts. “We all go home with our hearts exploding with derby love.”

As she transitioned into the role of coaching consultant, she started teaching skating classes, workshops, camps, discussions and seminars, and team building. “Punchy’O Guts has a unique approach to leading her camps,” says Kamikaze Barbie of the Tokyo Roller Girls. “Instead of conventional camp format, Punchy inspires proactive derby thinking from skaters. By leading the skaters to answer questions through educational discussion, she forms independent thinking skaters who can develop roller derby in the future.”

Between the coaching opportunities and the publications, Martin has unintentionally created a career for herself. “I never ever ever expected to make money and certainly did not set out to do so…I really just wanted to write books about what I'm passionate about—women, equality, feminism, real s—t—and hoped that I could reach a few people and connect on that.”

For more information about Martin’s books or her coaching availability, visit her website, punchyoguts.com