Martial Arts Students in a Line

Failure and the Journey of Success

This past Friday, Academie Duello held a rank exam with 14 students across both adult and youth programs examining for Scholar and Free Scholar levels. We had a tremendously full house with somewhere between 60 and 70 fighters on the floor and dozens of observers. Exams are challenging affairs and we are not afraid to put…

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How to Practice Predicting Your Opponent

“That is a really inefficient way to attack. What are they doing?” I think as my opponent winds up some particularly arduous looking strike. “Ah. Hitting me.” This is a scenario I have encountered on many occasions in my development. I’ve entered into combat with an opponent expecting a particular type of response, only to have…

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Developing Tactical Senses

This is the second part in a series on Awareness. Part 1 explored how to develop your ability to recall and diagnose what’s happening in combat through three games. In this post I’m going to delve into the second definition of awareness: Feeling, experiencing, or noticing something (such as a sound or sensation). Tactics Being…

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How to Have an Effective Training Partnership

When I first started going to the gym, it was with a colleague from work. On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays instead of going home from work we would head to the gym together. We were generally there for an hour, sometimes we’d work out together, sometimes we would follow different routines. Though our approach to…

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Ways to Keep Training When You’re Sick or Injured

Training is at least 50% mental and 50% physical. If you’re truly down-and-out sick, then just let yourself be sick. No sense resisting the sleep you need and prolonging the pain. But if you’re just out with the sniffles, or you have an injury that prevents you from physically training, then here are some things you…

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Ways To Test Your Art — Triangulating on Life and Death

For the past many years my focus in the pursuit of Historical European Martial Arts has been very much on safely exploring the “martial” aspect. I want to get as close to the original martial art as I realistically can without actually putting myself, my training partners, or my students in mortal danger. Yet that is…

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Seven Ideas for Setting Useful Sword Training Goals

Objective measures can be compelling. They’re easy to inspect and they can allow you to see progress in a way you can graph. However, often people choose the wrong goals to measure and this has a detrimental effect on their development. For example, when a student gets focused on winning or “getting hits”, a few…

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Three Effective Focuses for Solo Practice

Even if you’re part of a vibrant school or club and have lots of training partners to practice with, keeping a daily rhythm is an essential part of the path of mastery. That means you’re going to have a lot of solo training occasions to fill. Most partner drills don’t effectively translate into a solitary…

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Learning swordplay is different for everyone.

Taking Charge of Your Learning Environment

This past week during my polearms class one of my students, who is hard of hearing, asked me to put on a wireless microphone (worn as a necklace). This microphone connects to a receiver in his hearing aids that allows him to hear me more clearly regardless of where I am in class, which way…

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Two Swords are Better Than One!

Getting Out of Your Head

“You see first with your mind, then with your eyes, then finally it is in your body.” — Yagyu Munenori.  Family Traditions on the Art of War, 17th century. Stuck In Your Head Whether it’s swordplay, dancing, or driving a car, when you first learn a skill it exists within the conscious learning part of the…

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Martial Challenges and Sparring Gatherings

From June 3rd to 5th, Academie Duello will be hosting the first Vancouver Martial Challenge. This event is part of an alternative type of event I want to promote within the Historical European Martial Arts community: events that focus on combat within the realm of the martial art rather than the martial sport. Here’s a…

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Barefoot or shoes? Today on “Ask Clint”!

Provost, what is better: practicing barefoot or in shoes? I prefer and recommend practicing in shoes (keep reading;  some students prefer barefoot which is fine). Ultimately, there are pitfalls to be aware of (and avoid) with either. The biggest consideration I make is for personal health. That is, will your decision (shoes or no shoes)…

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Bridging Skills from Drill to Combat

The route from learning a new skill to pulling it off in combat is not a simple process. Though you can take many skills immediately into combat and make some progress, it is more effective to follow a formal process that targets the skill in a focused manner at each stage of its development. Stage…

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