3 Injury Prevention Tips for Rapier Fighters

One of the things I focus on in my recent book, Introduction to Italian Rapier, is healthy biomechanics. These are important not just for performance but for your long-term health. Martial arts done well can improve your strength, endurance, and physical comfort. However, done poorly, they can have the exact opposite effect, leading to strain, pain,…

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An Argument for Training with Diverse Weapons, Part 1

Recently, I was asked why we teach rapier and longsword together in our Instructor Intensives. The questioner postulated that it was like teaching sky diving and skin diving in the same program. Sure rapiers and longswords are both swords but aren’t they as distinct as these two types of “diving”? I think it’s a great…

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Mimicry: How To Use It, How To Beat It

Ever sparred with someone really good and felt like you were at your best, then right after sparred with someone less experienced and felt like you got as sloppy as they were? Mimicry is one of the brain’s most powerful tools for both learning and fitting in (an important tool for survival). Jared Diamond in…

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Choosing the Right Rapier for You

I am asked routinely how to choose the right rapier for practice. This article, cribbed from my forthcoming Introduction to the Italian Rapier book, looks at the range of historical rapiers and my opinion on how to best select a modern reproduction. The Real Thing Historical rapiers varied in dimension both throughout their evolution from…

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Collaborative vs Competitive Practice Environments

Early in my days of swordplay, I remember a common piece of training advice was to “never give anything less than 100% to your training partner”. Because the only form of training our practice group really did at the time was sparring, this often lead to situations where a more experienced opponent just hit a…

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SKIL: A model for learning martial forms

Many martial traditions, including ours, use martial forms (series of attacks and defences for solo or partnered practice) to help train martial precision, flow, and fitness. Having a form that you can practice without a training partner provides structure for improving and maintaining your martial ability when you don’t have the option of training with…

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What I Love About the Rapier

This morning Greg and I met at a print shop in Vancouver to go over the latest proofs of my Introduction to Italian Rapier book. A pre-print copy of it is going to be coming with me to the Western Martial Arts Workshop this coming weekend. It has been a labour of love to produce…

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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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Taped Up, Braced Up, and Strapped Down: Training Through Injury

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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How Do You Foster Safety In Martial Arts?

Though safety may seem boring, uncool, or like an unnecessary consideration, it is a vital foundation for pursuing excellence in martial arts in both the short- and long-term. Having a solid approach to safety in your group is important for retaining members, keeping your body healthy, and for creating the space for experimentation. At Academie…

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30 for 30 Swordplay Challenge Review

At the end of January, we finished up the fourth 30-for-30 Swordplay Challenge. The Facebook group this year had over 250 members with reports coming from at least 100 of them throughout the entire month. I enjoyed reading posts from practitioners throughout the world with varying levels of experience and coming from different backgrounds and…

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