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The Mountain and the Bliss of Ignorance

A new student at Academie Duello recently said to me “There’s so much to learn, it’s like being under a mountain!” It can feel that way. It truly is a mountain of knowledge, practice and craft one must climb to become a master of these arts! The Dunning-Kruger effect, which has gained such popularity of late, […]

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Is Full Speed and Full Contact Required?

A good friend of mine is a special forces combatives trainer. I asked him how much of their training is devoted to full-speed and full-contact simulated sparring. He told me “no more than 5%”. For him it was a matter of balancing value and risk. Full speed, full contact sparring has the value of exposing […]

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Slow Down Sign

Why Go Slow? The Benefits of Slow Sparring

This past week, at our 50-hour instructor intensive, I introduced a new batch of students, who travelled in from various places around the world to the method and benefits of slow sparring. Slow sparring is exactly what it sounds like: sparring done slowly. It has proven itself to me to be a tremendously valuable training […]

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How to Do Slow Sparring Effectively

I’m a big fan of slow sparring as a training tool. It is an ideal way to focus on mechanics and precision, develop strategic and tactical awareness, and work on the necessary relaxation and fluidity required for high-speed combat in a more manageable setting. The main challenge with slow sparring is that it is difficult to […]

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Proficiency by counting strikes on a blackboard

Lots of Practice, Not Perfect Practice

There is an interesting phrase pair I have been hearing from a lot of instructors recently. I hear: “Practice makes perfect.” Then an admonishment: “No. Practice makes permanent. So make sure you don’t practice poorly!” The first is a message of hope and resilience. If you practice and stay the course, you can find mastery. […]

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Advice from the 30 for 30 Swordplay Challenge

Over the month of January, Academie Duello and Duello.TV (our online video learning channel) hosted a 30-day swordplay training challenge. Each participant engaged in the goal of at least 30 minutes of swordplay training per day for 30 days. Participants represented dozens of schools from all over the world and the range of disciplines practised was […]

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