The Weapon Arts

When you come into Academie Duello you’ll find that much of the language we use is Italian. Italy was a hotbed of martial practice throughout the middle ages and renaissance and has some of the most effective and well documented martial systems. The Academie Duello system incorporates the teachings and core principles of Italian swordplay with an emphasis on 4 key elements:

  • Tempo – Awareness and control of the key moments to control and strike the opponent.
  • Geometry – The optimal positions to place your weapon or body to constrain your opponent mechanically and strategically.
  • Distance – The right technique in the right place and the relationship between distance and time.
  • Body Mechanics – Strong mechanical alignment of your body and the ground to create power and precision with the least amount of exertion.

The weapons we teach include:

Complimentary weapons are also employed including:

  • Dagger,
  • two swords,
  • various shields (buckler, rotella, kite, round),
  • cloak,
  • and cane.

Levels in our Swordplay Programs

Like many eastern martial arts schools we have a series of levels represented by colours and traditional names. There are two entry points, one begins primarily with the medieval longsword, the other with the renaissance rapier (read our getting started page to learn about our beginner’s programs).

Movement through our 5 levels is a 7- to 15-year journey depending on the intensity of your study. The 5 ranks of the program are:

Apprentice (Green). Weapons: Rapier or longsword and unarmed skills. Principles: Familiar with body mechanics, distance, and control. Achieving the apprentice level comes with the completion of the test at the end of one of our two primary beginner programs.

Scholar (Blue). Weapons: Rapier and rapier & dagger, or, longsword and half-swording, along with, sidesword, sidesword and shield, and unarmed. Principles: Angle, line, cutting mechanics, timing and proportion. On average, students progress from Apprentice to Scholar in 6 months to 2 years of training.

Free Scholar (Red). Weapons: Rapier and secondaries, sidesword and secondaries, longsword, quarterstaff, knife, and unarmed. Principles: Timing, tempo, power generation, strategy, and tactics. On average, students progress from Scholar to Free Scholar in 1 to 3 years of training.

Provost (Silver). Weapons: Rapier, sidesword, longsword, pole weapons, knife, and unarmed. Principles: Centres and tempo. Provosts are expected to be highly proficient in the system of arms, able to diversely apply its principles, and be able to challenge its implementation to build and grow the art. A Provost completes a series of trials in the areas of research, teaching, and martial prowess to achieve their master level.

Master (Gold). Masterful in the application of the system of arms. Able to proficiently apply their skills across all disciplines armed and unarmed. Able to pass the art on to others at a high level and to innovate and grow its practice at Academie Duello and for the Italian Martial Arts community as a whole.