30 for 30 Swordplay Challenge: January 2016 Edition!

The third annual 30 for 30 Swordplay Challenge is just about to start on January 2nd!

If you’ve heard of yoga challenges, you know what this is about. It’s like that, but way cooler… there's swords.

The challenge: practice swordplay for 30 minutes per day for 30 days in January from the 2nd to the 31st. This requires no experience and is open to both newbies and experts alike.

What’s involved: what you do is up to you. It can include swordplay classes, or practicing at home. You can choose rigorous conditioning or gentle drilling. You can choose to either challenge yourself to go over and above your regular schedule, or to incorporate what you usually do while filling in the days you usually miss. The goal is to start this year with a daily rhythm of swordplay.

For me, this is an opportunity to build up some new training momentum after the holiday. This year, I will again be taking some time to focus on the development of my non-dominant side. I will be using my extra time to memorize two sidesword assaults with my left hand.

There is a Facebook group for the challenge here. Join the group to learn more about the challenge, share your personal goals, and report on your daily progress (accountability is important).

Daily Drilling

If you're practicing mainly on your own, I’ll be posting a new drill onto Duello.TV and on our Youtube channel every day to help inspire your solo practice. Drills will be posted for rapier, sidesword, and longsword, and can provide a base for even more rigorous practice!

Succeeding at a 30 Day Challenge

At first, 30 minutes per day may seem easy. However, the real challenge is not doing 30 minutes of swordplay but practicing every day. Many habits are easily derailed by the business of modern life. To stay on track, I recommend the following:

  • Have an overall goal. What do you want to get from your 30 days?
  • Do your 30 minutes early, or schedule them with a friend, to make sure they happen.
  • Start with 5 minutes. You can always break your 30 minutes up throughout the day, and 5 minutes is always an easy start.
  • If you miss a day, don't postpone it; just don't sweat it. The best thing to do if you fall off the wagon is to just get back onto it as soon as possible. Don't try to make up your debt – just don't fall further behind.

I hope you'll join us in January! Remember: meaningful changes happen in small steps – steps that start right away.

Be sure to join the Facebook group.

Happy New Year, Everyone!

Devon Boorman is the Co-Founder and Director of Academie Duello Centre for Swordplay, which has been active in Vancouver, Canada since 2004. Devon’s expertise centres on the Italian swordplay tradition including the arts of the Renaissance Italian rapier, sidesword, and longsword, as well as knife and unarmed techniques.
Read more from Devon Boorman.