Happy Holidays and Happy New Year Everyone!
Thank you all for being a part of Academie Duello over this past year. It's fun at the end of the year to take stock of what we've accomplished over the past twelve months as we look forward to some new and exciting developments in 2019. This has been a full year!
2018 in Review
Revamped Our Class Calendar
In September we changed our class structure to make all classes one-hour in length and we added a new class type called Practica! This made it easier for people to fit our programs into their schedule, and mix and match their favourite classes. The new Practica class provides opportunities for students to hone existing skills and take them to new places. The new format and the new Practica has been received amazingly well. People seem particularly fond of the rotella and spear Practica Matheus has been running!
New Beginner Programs
With the new calendar came new beginner programs. They're now more streamlined, faster paced, and get to the fundamentals of sparring much faster. Our Rapier Fundamentals also now includes spear!
Lots of Level-Ups!
10 People graduated to the rank of scholar in the past year with both the rapier and longsword! We also made one new Provost! This is our fifth student to go through an intense week of examination lead by external examiners to achieve the rank that is just before Master.
Alongside our mastery levels, we also had 7 instructors graduate to the level of Novice instructors within our instructor mentorship program. Congratulations!
Five times this last year we ran 30 and 50-hour intensives aimed at aspiring instructors and those seeking to immerse themselves in the arts of the rapier, longsword, and grappling. We graduated more than 30 people from these programs who visited Duello from nearby home and as far away as Taiwan and Australia!
We also ran our first grappling and armoured combat intensive as well as our first mounted combat intensive!
This past year not only did we have lots of folks graduate from our intensives, but we also had three new study groups officially begin their practice in Fort Worth, Victoria, and Kitchener!
Adventure is in the Air!
Not everyone wants to leap into the path of mastery on their first go. To help people get a taste of the world of swordplay we created new Adventure programs for individuals and corporate teams. These are 90-minute long programs that drop you into preparing for a duel, learning knightly techniques, or shooting a bow, all in a fast-paced format made for first-timers. They've had a great start and we're looking forward to exciting more people about European Martial Arts in 2019!
In the Fall of 2018, our stables relocated from our humble home in Richmond BC to Cornwall Ridge stables in Langley, BC. Our new facility run by the head of our program Jennifer Landels is state of the art with an indoor and outdoor arena, 25 indoor stalls, as well as a beautiful heated lounge and viewing area. Make sure you check out one of our mounted combat programs in 2019!
Tournaments & Competition Wins
Though our main focus as a school is on mastery of the art and its deeper exploration, there are many students who challenged themselves by entering tournaments this past year. Provost Matheus Olmedo came in first place in the Bolognese Sidesword and Sword in Two Hands tournament at WMAW. We came home with 3rd and 4th place in the Ursulmas Rapier Tournament (we have placed in the top 3 for the past 8 years!) and 3rd and 4th place in the Swordsquatch Open Steel Tournament, with our own Sihong taking the prize for Most Technical Fighter of the whole event!
Academie Duello Instructors taught all over the world this past year with classes delivered by Maestro Devon Boorman, Provost Clinton Fernandes, and Mounted Combat Head Jennifer Landels at 8 different international conferences and seminars.
Vancouver Martial Challenge
We again hosted the Vancouver Martial Challenge, a weekend of swordplay, personal challenges, and sparring encounters aimed at creating camaraderie and forwarding martial practice. We had 60 people over the weekend with visitors from up and down the West Coast and British Columbia. Looking forward already to VMC 2019!
Duello.TV, Books, and More
Academie Duello is not just based in Vancouver or even North America. In this past year, Devon Boorman (our Director) published a new book on the Italian Rapier (through Freelance Academy Press), and our online swordplay university, Duello.TV, launched a series of brand new courses on Rapier, Longsword, Dagger, and more!
What's To Come?
This year we'll be working on further improving our grading and progression system for those on the path of Mastery, we'll be launching new adventures, new online courses, and hosting a series of amazing intensives. We have several tournaments and conferences on the school calendar including DC Open on the first weekend of February, as well as our own Vancouver International Swordplay Symposium taking place April 5th to 7th.
30 for 30 Challenge
If you want to kick off your new year right, be sure to sign-up for the 30 for 30 Swordplay Challenge. 30 minutes of Swordplay Practice per day for 30 days. All of the information about how you can participate (no matter where you are) is on the challenge Facebook group!
Keep an eye out on the Academie Duello blog and Facebook page for more exciting news as it comes!
Thanks everyone for all of your support! Good training and a happy new year!