Benefits of Interdisciplinary Study

At the moment of writing I’m sitting in a plane seat on my way out of Duluth Minnesota. I’ve spent my weekend at the beautiful facility of the Avalon Educational Institute teaching a combination of sword alone, sword and buckler, partisan, and spadone. I love inter-disciplinary weekends. They’re an opportunity to connect students with the …

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Vancouver Martial Challenge Report – 2017

This past weekend, we hosted the Vancouver Martial Challenge at Academie Duello and it was a tremendous weekend of inter-disciplinary sparring and camaraderie. The goals of this event are to: Foster Authentic Martial Combat Inspire Personal Challenge and Growth Create Community Through the Joy of Martial Arts There are many tournaments around the world and …

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Getting Started in Swordplay; Wherever You Are

Historical European Martial Arts are one of the most rapidly growing parts of the Martial Arts world with new groups, sites, and schools opening up all the time in both the West and East. Yet for a new practitioner, even with all this choice, it can be hard to know where or how to start. …

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Dimensions of Mastering the Art

The path of mastery has many dimensions, in spite of what pop-culture ninjas might suggest. One of my personal goals, reflected in Academie Duello, is to make the path of mastery accessible; To open up people’s mind about what it means to master an art and how to get there. Understanding A master of an …

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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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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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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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