Being an Empowered Learner: Know Your Learning Style

Your learning is only based partly on the effectiveness of your teacher. It is largely based on your own personal effectiveness as a learner. Good teachers should certainly help you on this journey, but the more you can help yourself, the more you stand to gain in each of the learning situations of your life. …

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How Do You Foster Safety In Martial Arts?

Though safety may seem boring, uncool, or like an unnecessary consideration, it is a vital foundation for pursuing excellence in martial arts in both the short- and long-term. Having a solid approach to safety in your group is important for retaining members, keeping your body healthy, and for creating the space for experimentation. At my …

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The Pursuit of Learning Should Not Be Partisan

It is easy to fall into the idea that there are right approaches and wrong approaches, true paths and false paths. If your group does things one way, if you’ve invested your time in one path, it can be difficult to allow that those who practice a different system, approach, or have invested in a different strategy, …

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My Longsword DVD is Finally Here!

More than two years ago, I got together with Greg Reimer, a group of other Duello students and a filmmaker to lay down the footage for a new DVD: Introduction to Italian Longsword. After two years of post-production problem solving it is finally available to the public!! This DVD is an efficient and thorough approach to …

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Excellence, Machismo, and Hardcore Training

Let me say first that I am all for the pursuit of excellence. Challenging yourself to be better is daunting, daring, and rewarding. On this road, you must find the edges of your comfort, push beyond your physical limitations, and surmount many an emotional hurdle. And though much of this is truly hard, little of …

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Keeping the “Martial” in Martial Arts

These days, there is very little impetus to end up in a duel with sharp swords or even a true in-earnest fist fight on the street. In fact, I’m quite happy to live in a time and place where I do not need to defend my life on the regular. However, I am a teacher and …

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The Solitary Path of Mastery

“At their heart, martial arts are a solitary path. No one can walk that path for you.” I’m paraphrasing one of many great bits of wisdom shared by Mark Mikita, a 50-year martial arts practitioner and teacher, at his talk on longevity in martial arts at the 2017 edition of the Vancouver International Swordplay Symposium …

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What Have You Failed At Today?

“What have you failed at today?” This question is one that a friend’s father used to ask her and her brother every day at dinner. I found the story inspiring. This question, as well as her father’s warm approach in how he asked it, contained so many positive questions and affirmations: What did you try today? …

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Swordplay On Your Break, or a Break from Swordplay?

We just finished our last curriculum week for the year at Academie Duello. It will be two weeks before we’re back on to our regular program and, depending on where you practice, you might be stepping into a similar break yourself. So what to do with the time off? If you don’t stop, you don’t have …

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Humble Beginnings: How to Start a Sword Fighting School

Academie Duello started in August 2004 at a defunct outdoor skating rink in the heart of downtown Vancouver, Canada. The space cost us nothing, other than the time and effort it took to get permission from the province, who owned the rink. It was covered, lit at night, and centrally located. We had enough money …

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