Adult Swordplay  Category Archives

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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Notes from a Fencing Student, circa 1657

Posted on by devonboorman

In the 1650s, a German speaking student attended the knight academy at Sorø in Eastern Denmark. There he studied under fencing master Wilhelm Schöffer von Dietz, a known student of fencing master Salvator Fabris (whose manual is a core source for rapier instruction at Academie Duello and to the Italian tradition in general). In his time there, this unnamed student…

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Benefits of Interdisciplinary Study

Posted on by devonboorman

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 application of a full martial…

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Getting Started in HEMA, Wherever You Are

Posted on by devonboorman

Historical European Martial Arts are one of the most rapidly growing parts of the Martial Arts world with new groups, sites, and schools opening up all the time in both the West and East. Yet for a new practitioner, even with all this choice, it can be hard to know where or how to start. This is the first in…

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

Posted on by devonboorman

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 lot of care and attention.…

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Strategies for Auditory Learning

Posted on by devonboorman

At the end of a workshop delivered by Guy Windsor recently, Guy asked all of his students "Did you have every opportunity to get what you wanted from today's session?" This was a subtle shift from a question I had heard him ask two year's prior "Did you get what you wanted from today's workshop?" It is up to us…

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