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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Pursue Your Art Your Way

Do you like to put on full protective gear and really feel the rush or high intensity combat? Or, do you simply like the feel of the sword in your hand, weaving through patterns, an extension of your body? Or, perhaps you like the dance, smooth and intricate, collaborative as much as competitive. Martial arts …

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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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How Do You Foster Safety In Martial Arts?

Though safety may seem boring, uncool, or like an unnecessary consideration, it is a vital foundation for pursuing excellence in martial arts in both the short- and long-term. Having a solid approach to safety in your group is important for retaining members, keeping your body healthy, and for creating the space for experimentation. At my …

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My Longsword DVD is Finally Here!

More than two years ago, I got together with Greg Reimer, a group of other Duello students and a filmmaker to lay down the footage for a new DVD: Introduction to Italian Longsword. After two years of post-production problem solving it is finally available to the public!! This DVD is an efficient and thorough approach to …

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Excellence, Machismo, and Hardcore Training

Let me say first that I am all for the pursuit of excellence. Challenging yourself to be better is daunting, daring, and rewarding. On this road, you must find the edges of your comfort, push beyond your physical limitations, and surmount many an emotional hurdle. And though much of this is truly hard, little of …

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Keeping the “Martial” in Martial Arts

These days, there is very little impetus to end up in a duel with sharp swords or even a true in-earnest fist fight on the street. In fact, I’m quite happy to live in a time and place where I do not need to defend my life on the regular. However, I am a teacher and …

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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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Giving Yourself an Idiot Mark

We’ve all got one. That self-inflicted bump on your head, scrape on your arm, or a knick on your cheek. We’ve all had that moment. The moment when you made a bad parry and deflected your sword into your own face. That time when you were making a circular flourish with a stick and clipped the side of …

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How to Practice Predicting Your Opponent

“That is a really inefficient way to attack. What are they doing?” I think as my opponent winds up some particularly arduous looking strike. “Ah. Hitting me.” This is a scenario I have encountered on many occasions in my development. I’ve entered into combat with an opponent expecting a particular type of response, only to have …

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