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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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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Burn out: when the fire is gone

Sometimes, I have hated swordplay. This is something I truly love and has been an enduring passion of my life. But when the fire is gone a sense of resentment, frustration, or anger can remain in its place. It can bring a tremendous feeling of loss; when something that has so readily fed you before …

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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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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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Dealing with Criticism

“To avoid criticism say nothing, do nothing, be nothing.” - Elbert Hubbard Putting yourself out into the world is a surefire way to invite criticism. All who do encounter those who detract. Yet is there really any other way one would want to be in the world? When we embark on a new pursuit like swordplay, …

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Taped Up, Braced Up, and Strapped Down

I consider myself to be relatively lucky in regards to injuries when it comes to martial arts. I have broken some fingers in intense bouting, separated a shoulder while doing armoured combat, and have certainly had my share of sprains and strains. That being said, it has been a relatively healthy career thanks to a …

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Tumbling Down the “Why” Hole

Why do you practice martial arts? If it’s for fun, once you’ve achieved a good level of fun, why seek to get better? If it’s to win, why does winning matter? If it’s for artistic or personal mastery, why? Like getting caught into a conversation with the pedantic child who always asks “why?”, down the …

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