Choosing the Right Rapier for You

I am asked routinely how to choose the right rapier for practice. This article, cribbed from my forthcoming Introduction to the Italian Rapier book, looks at the range of historical rapiers and my opinion on how to best select a modern reproduction. The Real Thing Historical rapiers varied in dimension both throughout their evolution from …

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Collaborative vs Competitive Practice Environments

Early in my days of swordplay, I remember a common piece of training advice was to “never give anything less than 100% to your training partner”. Because the only form of training our practice group really did at the time was sparring, this often lead to situations where a more experienced opponent just hit a …

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SKIL: A model for learning martial forms

Many martial traditions, including ours, use martial forms (series of attacks and defences for solo or partnered practice) to help train martial precision, flow, and fitness. Having a form that you can practice without a training partner provides structure for improving and maintaining your martial ability when you don’t have the option of training with …

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WMAW 2017 Event Report

So this past weekend I attended the bi-annual Western Martial Arts Workshop in Racine, Wisconsin. Hosted by the Chicago Swordplay Guild, this is one of North America’s oldest European swordplay and martial arts events. The weekend features workshops, social activities, a feast, and copious amounts of free sparring and sharing between attendees. It’s also held …

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Why Do We Fight?

To get out of danger. Self-defence is one of the oldest reasons for conflict. To uphold honour, right wrong, and make just. Both noble aims and righteous justifications. To tell a story. To explore characters, their conflicts, and their motivations and take the audience along for the journey. To challenge ourselves. Keeping the body in …

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A Conversation on Binding at the Sword

Not long ago, I had a conversation (online of course — who talks on the phone or in person anymore?) with my student Xian from Halifax. He asked a question about the nature of longsword fencing as it is often seen now in tournaments and in many videos online: “Why don’t we see more play …

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Benefits of Interdisciplinary Study

At the moment of writing I’m sitting in a plane seat on my way out of Duluth Minnesota. I’ve spent my weekend at the beautiful facility of the Avalon Educational Institute teaching a combination of sword alone, sword and buckler, partisan, and spadone. I love inter-disciplinary weekends. They’re an opportunity to connect students with the …

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Vancouver Martial Challenge Report – 2017

This past weekend, we hosted the Vancouver Martial Challenge at Academie Duello and it was a tremendous weekend of inter-disciplinary sparring and camaraderie. The goals of this event are to: Foster Authentic Martial Combat Inspire Personal Challenge and Growth Create Community Through the Joy of Martial Arts There are many tournaments around the world and …

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Getting Started in Swordplay; Wherever You Are

Historical European Martial Arts are one of the most rapidly growing parts of the Martial Arts world with new groups, sites, and schools opening up all the time in both the West and East. Yet for a new practitioner, even with all this choice, it can be hard to know where or how to start. …

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Dimensions of Mastering the Art

The path of mastery has many dimensions, in spite of what pop-culture ninjas might suggest. One of my personal goals, reflected in Academie Duello, is to make the path of mastery accessible; To open up people’s mind about what it means to master an art and how to get there. Understanding A master of an …

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