Making Tournaments Useful in Mastery

Last Saturday morning at 5:30am I began a trip from Vancouver to the town of Monroe in Washington state, about 3 hours south of Vancouver, with five of my students from Academie Duello. It was our yearly trip to a rapier tournament held by the Society for Creative Anachronism called Ursulmas. This particular tournament gets …

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Inspiration not Competition

Competitiveness plays a big role in sport. Cultivating the competitive spirit is often used to drive one to harder training and to overcoming one’s opponents in a game or tournament. It can be a font of energy positively harnessed. Yet, if it’s based in making negative comparisons to others, I think competition is something you …

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Why Do Martial Arts

Martial arts have been a big part of my life since I was a child. I started first with Kung Fu then Arnis/Eskrima and then I began my longest-term exploration, Western Martial Arts. I am often asked why people practice martial arts or why I practice swordplay specifically – considering it’s unlikely that I’ll be …

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The Stages of Ignorance in Mastery

Mastery—the pursuit of something to a high level of proficiency—is a challenging and hard to plot journey. Our capacity to stay on the road and move through its various stages is highly connected to our relationship with ignorance. How comfortable are you with not knowing? How at ease are you with setbacks and long roads? …

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3 Injury Prevention Tips for Rapier Fighters

One of the things I focus on in my recent book Introduction to Italian Rapier is healthy bio-mechanics. These are important not just for performance but for your long-term health. Martial arts done well can improve your strength, endurance, and physical comfort. But done poorly, they can have the exact opposite effect, leading to strain, pain …

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Why Is the Rapier Part of Our System?

Recently, I began a blog series answering, in broad form, why we teach the rapier and longsword as part of one system at Academie Duello. I started in the first post by looking at the historical precedent for multi-weapon study that spans many original fighting manuals from both the medieval period and the Renaissance, as …

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Training to Relax for the Very Tense

Being relaxed is a key component to good fencing. Relaxed muscles are quicker to respond, easier to adapt and change, and more capable of feeling connections through your weapon. Yet, so many of us have a difficult time being relaxed or even being aware of our current state of tension. In this article I’d like …

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Three Things to Say to Yourself and Your Students

I no longer teach students. I teach teachers. I say this not because I only teach people who intend to share the art with others. I say this because over time I have realized that every student is a teacher, at least of themselves. All I can do from the head of the class is …

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Revisiting A Post on Help and Failure

I’m part way through writing part 2 of my series on training in multiple weapon disciplines, but sometimes the craziness of running a sword school holds you up. So while that gets finished, I thought I’d reach back to a post from 2014 that I was reminded of today. This post explores how our desire …

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An Argument for Training with Diverse Weapons, Part 1

Recently, I was asked why we teach rapier and longsword together in our Instructor Intensives. The questioner postulated that it was like teaching sky diving and skin diving in the same program. Sure rapiers and longswords are both swords but aren’t they as distinct as these two types of “diving”? I think it’s a great …

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