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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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Lots of Practice, Not Perfect Practice

Posted on by devonboorman

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. If things are going wrong,…

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The 5 Minutes Per Day Practice Regimen

Posted on by devonboorman

In light of our upcoming Online Collaborative Longsword Course, I thought it would be a good occasion to revisit this post on the five minutes per day practice regimen. Rhythm is the most important thing to cultivate on the path to mastery. Whether you leverage this course or simply get started with your own practice ritual, start making those little…

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Exposure is the Key to Deeper Learning

Posted on by devonboorman

In his Jogo do Pau training seminar in Vancouver in 2016, instructor Luis Preto demonstrated a basic fact of learning. To get good at catching a ball, there's little utility in rehearsing the catching action in isolation; you need to have a ball thrown at you. The mind is an incredible problem-solving machine. It can take in hundreds of stimuli…

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Advice from the 30 for 30 Swordplay Challenge

Posted on by devonboorman

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 extensive. The final conclusions of…

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Inspiration not Competition

Posted on by devonboorman

Competitiveness plays a big role in sport. Cultivating the competitive spirit is often used to drive one to harder training and to overcoming one's opponents in a game or tournament. It can be a font of energy positively harnessed. Yet, if it's based on making negative comparisons to others, I think competition is something you should let go of for…

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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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