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Eat the Book: A Process for Understanding Historical Sources

Posted on by devonboorman

One of the awesome things about Historical European Martial Arts is that they come from a rich historical tradition. And this tradition includes a wealth of instructional books written from within the period where those arts were most actively practiced. Picking up a 15th-century fighting manual is by no means necessary to learn, practice, and enjoy these martial arts, but…

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5 Tips for Effective At-Home Practice

Posted on by devonboorman

Classes are a great place to learn, but proficiency comes from learning in between sessions by practising on your own. Here are five ways you can make the most of your personal practice time: Keep your commitment small If you're new to home practice, make a commitment that you feel very confident about keeping. In the beginning, the goal is momentum, not…

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How to Do Slow Sparring Effectively

Posted on by devonboorman

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 go slow, especially when you're…

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Student Trials: Examination and Initiation

Posted on by devonboorman

This past weekend, I was on an examination board for the first Provost of Armizare at the Chicago Swordplay Guild (CSG), Jesse Kulla. Provost is the rank before Master in most schools that follow an Italian martial arts tradition. I sat on a board with Sean Hayes, Maestro of Northwest Fencing Academy, Marco Quarta, Maestro of Nova Scrimia, Christian Cameron,…

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Making Tournaments Useful in Mastery

Posted on by devonboorman

Last Saturday morning at 5:30am I began a trip from Vancouver to the town of Monroe in Washington state, about 3 hours south of Vancouver, with five of my students from Academie Duello. It was our yearly trip to a rapier tournament held by the Society for Creative Anachronism called Ursulmas. This particular tournament gets a permanent spot in our…

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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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