Day 1 Workshop Report – Bruges, Belgium

I just finished Day 1 of my workshop for the Halbardiers (and associated groups) in Bruges. There were 26 people in class today which was a nice turnout. The topic was Italian Longsword ala Fiore. We had 8 hours and covered a tremendous amount of material, which is a testament to both the ability and endurance of the students.

I had some nice compliments at the end, one person said to me “I don’t know why more people aren’t doing Fiore — the approach is so systematic and sensible.” The other was a student telling me it was one of the best workshops they had attended in 8 years of practicing WMA. That was really nice to hear.

Beyond compliments I really enjoyed the challenging questions that many asked me with words and swords. Having people test (in an inquisitive way) what I’m sharing really expands me as a teacher and a practitioner so I was really appreciative to have confident and competent students.

The Halbardier instructors and my host (Piet, Krist, Philip, and Bert respectively) are not only excellent practitioners and students they also have an attitude I really appreciate seeing in a HEMA school. They’re very willing to explore and experiment with new ideas in an open way. They also have a true desire to practice a martial art well and as more holistic practitioners. Not simply as clash and bashers or sport tournament fencers.

I’ve also had some great discussions with them and others in the school about the future of WMA and what they want to see from it and how they want to influence it. I’m looking forward to more of that at dinner tonight and tomorrow for day 2 – Italian Rapier.

devonboorman Devon Boorman is the Co-Founder and Director of Academie Duello Centre for Swordplay, which has been active in Vancouver, Canada since 2004. Devon’s expertise centres on the Italian swordplay tradition including the arts of the Renaissance Italian rapier, sidesword, and longsword, as well as knife and unarmed techniques.
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