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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What Have You Failed At Today?

“What have you failed at today?” This question is one that a friend’s father used to ask her and her brother every day at dinner. I found the story inspiring. This question, as well as her father’s warm approach in how he asked it, contained so many positive questions and affirmations: What did you try today? …

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Humble Beginnings: How to Start a Sword Fighting School

Academie Duello started in August 2004 at a defunct outdoor skating rink in the heart of downtown Vancouver, Canada. The space cost us nothing, other than the time and effort it took to get permission from the province, who owned the rink. It was covered, lit at night, and centrally located. We had enough money …

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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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It’s Never Too Late

You’re not too old to learn something new. Unless you plan to die in 10 years, there’s still plenty of time to gain a notable level of proficiency. Perhaps you won’t be leaping five feet into the air or out-competing some young competitor, but the benefits for your mind and body actually increase over time. …

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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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The Answer to Failure is: “Do It Again!”

Training on your own and you can’t get that move right? Do it again. In class and you fail at a technique? Ask your partner to give you their part again. Sparring with a peer and they get around your defence? Ask them to back up and do it again. Do it again until you fully …

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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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