Testimonials

Testimonials from professional martial artists

As a leading researcher and instructor of historical Italian martial arts, I have had the honor of following the growth of Academie Duello from its very beginning over a decade ago, and what this school has accomplished is remarkable. It has managed to bring historical martial arts to the retail level without a shred of compromise in their devotion to the words of the ancient masters. An equally remarkable achievement has been to attract, cultivate and retain an array of talented instructors who are able to teach all historic arts from the medieval longsword to the baroque rapier and everything in between. Under the enthusiastic stewardship of Devon Boorman, Duello has managed to set the standard–worldwide–for how a historical martial arts school should be run.

– Tom Leoni, Leading researcher, instructor, and authour & translator of The Art and Practice of Fencing, The Venetian Rapier, The Complete Renaissance Swordsman, and Fior di Battaglia.


As a lifelong martial artist with 50 years of dedicated training, I recommend Devon Boorman and Academie Duello, and I do so strongly. Students are privileged to have access to such a great school. If you have the fire to learn, don’t wait to begin.

Read Mark’s full testimonial…

– Grand Master Mark Mikita, Mikita School of Martial Art, Fightology.com. Author of The Hunter & the Thief, and Sumbrada.


[Academie Duello Director] Devon Boorman is one of the best swordsmen I ever had the privilege to fence with. Moreover, equipped with an analytic mind and the ability to precisely articulate his insights gained in years of practice, competition and research, he is also gifted with the talent to impart his knowledge in a calm and highly instructive manner to the benefit of both novices and advanced students of historical fighting arts, as myself and thousands of practitioners who had the pleasure to take one of his classes can attest to.

– Roland Warzecha, founder of Hammaborg, Director and Head Instructor of DIMICATOR in Hamburg, Germany, member of the Chivalric Fighting Arts Association and the Historical European Martial Arts Coalition, author of DVD “Sword and Shield – Basic principles and technique of medieval buckler combat


Devon Boorman is a leading practitioner and teacher of medieval and Renaissance martial arts. I have worked with him at my school and at Academie Duello, and also at many martial arts conferences, both as a participant in his classes and teaching classes together. We’ve fought at various weapons and have had many in-depth discussions of our arts and the sources we study. Every interaction has been productive and educational, and each time I’ve come away knowing more than I knew before, and gained insights into the practice of our arts. His ability to understand a student’s needs and and coach them individually, even in large group classes, is second to none. It is my great pleasure to recommend him as an instructor, researcher, and practitioner of Historical European Martial Arts.

– Maestro Sean Hayes, Northwest Fencing Academy


Devon and the Academie Duello are producing top caliber martial artists.

– Maestro Puck Curtis, Sacramento Sword School


Everyone at Academie Duello is incredibly positive, friendly, enthusiastic, and involved. The school is in the heart of historic Vancouver, and Devon has made the school part of the larger community.

– Maestro Eric Myers, Sacramento Sword School


Director Devon Boorman is in charge of one of the largest institutions focusing on Historical European Martial Arts, and this large accomplishment isn’t based on luck. Academie Duello’s students show a high caliber of performance and excellence in fencing and martial arts which comes from Boorman’s methodic, logical and trained approach to teaching. As a professional instructor myself, I not only respect Boorman’s approach, I highly endorse his school as a major center for anyone interested in Historical Swordsmanship.

– Bill Grandy, Program Director of Historical Swordsmanship, Virginia Academy of Fencing


It is my personal experience that Devon Boorman is a highly experienced and very sound martial artist… His intelligence coupled with an uncommon open mindedness allows for intellectually honest and very practical discussions of martial concepts as well as their teaching… his sensitivity towards the human being that lies at the core of each performer makes him a wise and dedicated instructor who has his students’ best interests at heart.

– Luis Preto, Author of Jogo do Pau, Development of Parrying Skill, Understanding and Developing Footwork, and Understanding Physical Conditioning.”


Mr. Devon Boorman is one of the most accomplished swordspersons worldwide. Not only is his mastery of several weapon systems noteworthy, but [so is] the thoughtful and thorough curriculum of his school, Academie Duello. Such a vast supply of all kinds of styles and systems is a rare thing for one single school; and with the aid of a host of gifted co-instructors Mr. Boorman is able to run classes around the clock, seven days a week. This is facilitated by the beautiful and stylish venue that is well equipped with not only the required weapon simulators and protective equipment but also by a little museum, displaying all kinds of arms and armour.

When I had the pleasure to meet Mr. Boorman in person, I was taken by the calm and yet determined manner in which he held his classes. An honest preserver of the Art, a true gentleman, and a brilliant teacher.

Dierk Hagedorn, Senior instructor for the longsword, HammaborgHistorischer Schwertkampf e.V. Hamburg, Germany


Academie Duello is easily one of the best schools in the world for European swordsmanship. Nowhere else have I found this mix of quality instruction, beautiful facilities, friendly atmosphere, and abundant opportunities to train.

For beginners, Academie Duello is a friendly and safe space. Rarely will you find a friendlier, more welcoming group of martial artists! Beginners will always find plenty of classmates at their skill level, which I find helps take the edge off of trying something new. Academie Duello is also excellent about providing loaner equipment, which means that beginners don’t have to invest as much money up front.

For advanced students, Academie Duello really shines. After about a decade of training in European swordsmanship and all kinds of martial arts from all over the world, I’ve yet to find a school of European martial arts which trains its students as thoroughly as Academie Duello does. The European swordsmanship community is relatively young, and as a result, there aren’t many well-established schools like Academie Duello. Few teachers are able to teach professionally, so their students can’t train as often and intermediate students tend to stagnate. Not so at Academie Duello; there are so many training opportunites at Academie Duello that a week of training there feels like a month of training elsewhere. And it doesn’t hurt that Academie Duello is constantly offering intensive workshops and regularly brings in top-tier visiting instructors from around the world. The end result is that Academie Duello has produced a cadre of exceptional advanced students and assistant instructors who represent their martial arts extremely well. Academie Duello is doing a phenomenal job of passing on Italian swordsmanship to the next generation.

I live in the US, several hours away from Vancouver, but I keep coming back. There are schools that are closer to me, but nothing like Academie Duello. This is the type of school which attracts serious martial artists from afar. And whenever I visit and meet beginning students at Academie Duello, I tell them the same thing: Don’t take it for granted. I and many others would kill to have a school like Academie Duello where we live, because what you have in Vancouver is very special.

– Michael Heveran, 15-year Practitioner of Martial Arts