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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The Pedestal: What We Expect From Our Teachers

I have come to wonder if placing our teachers on pedestals is about elevating them, or if it’s really about lowering and restricting ourselves?  Elevating our teachers to a realm beyond what is humanly achievable can be a strategy for minimizing our own expectations, and thus our disappointments. If the goal is unachievable there are …

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Growing HEMA in Istanbul

This past weekend, I was teaching in Istanbul, Turkey, a city that was arguably the centre of the western world at one time. It is a city steeped in both European and Asian history. Every site you visit reveals layer upon layer of history that goes back at least 2000 years. This makes Istanbul both …

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Reading & Writing Strategies for In-Class Learning of MA

If you feel that you learn best by reading or writing, you are not alone. For many these are the learning skills that they’ve had the most practice with, since our school system focuses so much on them. This in itself is an important note. It may not be that you are “wired this way”, …

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Kinesthetic Learning: Just Do It!

Luis Preto gave a wonderful analogy in the instructor section of his Jogo do Pau level 1 instructor seminar where he compared how we teach martial arts to how we teach someone to catch a ball. The typical martial arts approach to teaching catch: Demonstrate the catching motion. Have the student practice catching as a solo …

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Strategies for Auditory Learning

At the end of a workshop delivered by Guy Windsor recently, Guy asked all of his students “Did you have every opportunity to get what you wanted from today’s session?” This was a subtle shift from a question I had heard him ask two year’s prior “Did you get what you wanted from today’s workshop?” …

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Strategies for Visual Learning

Understanding your strongest and weakest learning styles can be a useful and illuminating tool for becoming a more engaged and effective student. This week we examine effective strategies for maximizing visual learning and retention. Check out the DTV Livestream on Effective Learning to hear a discussion on this same subject. Visual learning is the process of learning a …

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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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