Getting the Most from Mixed Experience Levels

We were all newbies once. We were all the person who worried that our lack of skill was holding others back in their practice. And in some cases maybe we did. It is difficult to manage levels of challenge within a mixed level group. The needs of the experienced practitioner and those of the newcomer are quite …

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The Three Ms of Excellence

The idea of pursuing personal excellence is great, but functionally how do you do it? I’ve written about beating the boredom of repetitive drilling, and promoting an excellence mindset. Yet when you get the opportunity to really up the quality of what you’re doing, where do you focus? Below is a piece of guidance material I …

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Is There a Link Between Ballet & Fencing?

This is a cross-post that I wrote for the Duello.TV and Academie Duello blogs. I have long heard that ballet has its origins in historical fencing. It’s a romantic idea and as someone who both teaches martial arts and dance (though not ballet) I certainly find tons of parallels in how they are both taught …

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What Is a Modern European Martial Arts Master?

Recently I was asked in an online thread what I thought constituted a modern master of Historical European Martial Arts and whether I thought there was worth in the creation of modern masters or the use of the master title at all. In short to all: Yes. A Little Backstory on Fencing Mastery Before I …

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Making Masters

At Academie Duello we have an ambitious goal: Make 1000 Masters. The challenge is that as of yet, we are yet to make our first. What is a Master? Within most European martial traditions, a master is someone who not only practices their art with a high level of proficiency but more importantly is able …

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Sparring Games: Alternate Target Objectives

Feeling in a bit of a slump in your sparring? Perhaps overwhelmed or under-challenged? Sparring games, where you create restrictions and alternate objectives, can be a great way to up the strategic challenge and interest or allow you to focus on a smaller subset of skills. The first batch of games I’m presenting are all …

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Eat the Book: A Process for Digesting Historical Sources

One of the awesome things about Historical European Martial Arts is that they come from a rich historical tradition. And this tradition includes a wealth of instructional books written from within the period where those arts were most actively practiced. Picking up a 15th-century fighting manual is by no means necessary to learn, practice, and …

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5 Tips for Effective At-Home Practice

Classes are a great place to learn, but proficiency comes from learning in between sessions by practising on your own. Here are five ways you can make the most of your personal practice time: Keep your commitment small If you’re new to home practice, make a commitment that you feel very confident about keeping. In the beginning, …

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How to Do Slow Sparring Effectively

I’m a big fan of slow sparring as a training tool. It is an ideal way to focus on mechanics and precision, develop strategic and tactical awareness, and work on the necessary relaxation and fluidity required for high-speed combat in a more manageable setting. The main challenge with slow sparring is that it is difficult to …

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Exposure is the Key to Deeper Learning

In his Jogo do Pau training seminar in Vancouver in 2016, instructor Luis Preto demonstrated a basic fact of learning. To get good at catching a ball, there’s little utility in rehearsing the catching action in isolation; you need to have a ball thrown at you. The mind is an incredible problem-solving machine. It can …

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