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Why Do Martial Arts

Posted on by devonboorman

Martial arts have been a big part of my life since I was a child. I started first with Kung Fu then Arnis/Eskrima and then I began my longest-term exploration, Western Martial Arts. I am often asked why people practice martial arts or why I practice swordplay specifically – considering it’s unlikely that I’ll be in a life-and-death sword fight…

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3 Injury Prevention Tips for Rapier Fighters

Posted on by devonboorman

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, and injury. In this article,…

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Why Is the Rapier Part of Our System?

Posted on by devonboorman

Recently, I began a blog series answering, in broad form, why we teach the rapier and longsword as part of one system at Academie Duello. I started in the first post by looking at the historical precedent for multi-weapon study that spans many original fighting manuals from both the medieval period and the Renaissance, as well as across many nationalities.…

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An Argument for Training with Diverse Weapons, Part 1

Posted on by devonboorman

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 question. I'd like to answer…

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Mimicry: How To Use It, How To Beat It

Posted on by devonboorman

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 Guns, Germs, and Steel, speculates…

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Choosing the Right Rapier for You

Posted on by devonboorman

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 the early 1500s to the…

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Collaborative vs Competitive Practice Environments

Posted on by devonboorman

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 less experienced opponent in the…

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SKIL: A model for learning martial forms

Posted on by devonboorman

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 someone else. Forms also provide…

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What I Love About the Rapier

Posted on by devonboorman

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 this work for an art…

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Conversations on Binding at the Sword

Posted on by devonboorman

Not long ago, I had a conversation (online of course — who talks on the phone or in person anymore?) with my student Xian from Halifax. He asked a question about the nature of longsword fencing as it is often seen now in tournaments and in many videos online: "Why don't we see more play at the bind?" For those…

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