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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How to Have an Effective Training Partnership

When I first started going to the gym, it was with a colleague from work. On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays instead of going home from work we would head to the gym together. We were generally there for an hour, sometimes we’d work out together, sometimes we would follow different routines. Though our approach to …

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Willpower is for Suckers – Make a Training System to Succeed

Willpower is not enough Any plan that depends on willpower for success is doomed. Success in anything is largely based on rhythm and the ability to take gradual and reliable steps toward your goal. Crunching away at the 10,000 hours of mastery required to become excellent at a skill is not going to come from a …

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Four Ways to Get Back to Enjoyment and Out of Criticality

Practicing does not always mean “working on”. It’s important to give yourself time with the passions and skills in your life to just simply indulge in the activity. It’s vital to allow yourself on occasion to indulge in pure enjoyment. This helps you remember why you do this thing in the first place, and can …

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Where’s the Fire? A refreshing message from Coach Sommer

“Where’s the Fire?” asked Christopher Sommer in the last moments of a podcast I was listening to last week. Sommer is the Head Coach of the USA JR National Gymnastics Team and runs an online strength training program called Gymnastic Bodies (which is absolutely worth checking out). When I started listening, I anticipated hearing from him what you hear from …

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My TEDx Talk: Mastery, Movement, and Vitality

A few weeks ago I delivered a talk at TEDx EastVan. The talk focused on something I am passionate about: inspiring others to pursue and master movement. In the talk I delve into why I believe it’s vital to pursue the path of mastery — that it is both vulnerable and empowering. In fact, it …

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Restarting from Zero

I have gone from being able to do 100 push-ups in a set to not being able to do one and back again. I spent years developing myself as a fencer only to have to tear down what I’d built and start from scratch. Years ago I could touch my toes without bending my legs, sometime in …

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It’s Not Poor Progress, It’s Just Poor Attitude

Anyone can get caught in a dark place regarding how they view themselves and their progress in a skill. Making demands of ourselves to be our best can be a powerful motivating force; it can also be supremely destructive. In my own growth as both a swordsman and a dancer I have frequently reached a place where I …

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Consistency is Vital

About 18 years ago I took over running a rapier practice and class for the Society for Creative Anachronism. I was new to being in a leadership role and I sought out the advice of one of the senior members in the area about how to run a successful group. He gave me one piece …

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The Difference Between Something and Nothing

Take 5 minutes each day to practice doing something you love. Take one small step toward your goal each morning. Even if that step takes less than a minute. Put on a timer for 15 minutes. Work on the first step of your plan in that time. Repeat everyday, till it’s done. Read an inspiring …

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