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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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The Stages of Ignorance in Mastery

Posted on by devonboorman

Mastery — the pursuit of something to a high level of proficiency — is a challenging and hard to plot journey. Our capacity to stay on the road and move through its various stages is highly connected to our relationship with ignorance. How comfortable are you with not knowing? How at ease are you with setbacks and long roads? Can…

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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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Training to Relax for the Very Tense

Posted on by devonboorman

Being relaxed is a key component to good fencing. Relaxed muscles are quicker to respond, easier to adapt and change, and more capable of feeling connections through your weapon. Yet, so many of us have a difficult time being relaxed or even being aware of our current state of tension. In this article I'd like to present a pathway for…

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Three Things to Say to Yourself and Your Students

Posted on by devonboorman

I no longer teach students. I teach teachers. I say this not because I only teach people who intend to share the art with others. I say this because over time I have realized that every student is a teacher, at least of themselves. All I can do from the head of the class is facilitate, introduce new ideas, and…

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Revisiting A Post on Help and Failure

Posted on by devonboorman

I'm partway through writing part 2 of my series on training in multiple weapon disciplines, but sometimes the craziness of running a sword school holds you up. So while that gets finished, I thought I'd reach back to a post from 2014 that I was reminded of today. This post explores how our desire to help one another can often…

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Burn out: when the fire is gone

Posted on by devonboorman

Sometimes, I have hated swordplay. This is something I truly love and has been an enduring passion of my life. But when the fire is gone a sense of resentment, frustration, or anger can remain in its place. It can bring a tremendous feeling of loss; when something that has so readily fed you before seems now to have abandoned…

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Ready, Willing, and Able: Changing Your Training Behaviour

Posted on by devonboorman

This past Friday, Jon Mills, a member of the Academie Duello instruction team and the principal fitness trainer of Black Dog Strength and Nutrition here in Vancouver, lead a workshop on coaching practices for the Duello instruction team. One of the central themes was Motivational Interviewing as a tool for helping students move toward behavioural change. The reality is that…

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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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