Day 2 Workshop Report – Bruges, Belgium

So I’ve just completed day 2 of my workshop with the Hallebardiers in Bruges, Belgium. Today the focus was on Italian Rapier. There were 21 participants in attendance of varying levels of experience from brand new to several years of experience.

The first half of the workshop focused on body mechanics, from the simple fundamental mechanics of back alignment when standing still to walking and running to the methods for creating healthy and powerful knee positions in a squat.

This base was taken into fundamental rapier postures where we worked on body isolation, awareness, alignment, well-ordered movement, and power generation. This kind of fine detail work can take a disciplined mind to truly absorb and I was truly inspired by the students in attendance for being so attentive.

In the afternoon we took solid mechanics into blade interaction. Here we focused on “finding the sword” and how to test the mechanics of finding in a way that challenges and promotes good bio-mechanics. We spent a bunch of time on blade interaction mechanics and the three advantages of finding (crossing, leverage, and edge) and then in the last part examined how from this mechanical base we can create a strategically advantageous position and exploit it.

This was a highly detail oriented workshop and I felt that the students in it really took to that. Again a testament to the Hallebardiers and their genuine passion for being excellent practitioners.

Sometimes when you travel places as an instructor the local instructors don’t participate in the workshops. Instead they stay on the sidelines. I’m sure there are lots of reasons for this but I am often disappointed by it. I really appreciated how involved the instructors of the Hallebardiers were and how much they had to offer as students. I also feel that this bodes will for their future development as a group.

Thanks to Bert, Piet, Phillip, Krist, and all of my students at the workshops this past weekend. Also thank you for the fencing passes at longsword and rapier to Bert, Jack, and Phillip. They were a pleasure. Also special thank you to the members of Swarta who came to both days of the workshop, it is always a pleasure to see you guys.

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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