Guest post: pushing to the next rank

Today’s post features another guest poster. Nels Anderson is a recent addition to the Blue Cord. I requested his perspective because, as you’ll soon read, Nels had to take an extended break from class, and returned the month before his successful test for Blue Cord.


A great story on the power of practice. Thanks Nels!


I had to take some time away from AD starting in February. I’m a professional game designer and our
latest game ( if you’re interested) was entering a bit of a critical period,
so I needed to put the Monday/Friday noon classes I normally attend on hiatus. But I’d taken the blue
cord rank exam on the first Saturday of February and not passed. Using that off time to prepare better
for the next test would certainly makes sense.


The big challenges I had at the exam were endurance and really solid form during the rigors of full
speed, so I focused on that during the personal training routine. I ended up taking off more time than I
expected (all of February, March and April), but returned for classes in May. On the first weekend of
June, I took the blue cord rank exam and passed this time. It seems that the training paid off! Either that
or it was the beard I grew in May (personally, I think it was both).


The key to my training routine was honestly just consistency. Devon and the other instructors talk
about it, but 10-15 minutes per day can really make a great deal of difference. I used a task reminder
service ( that I use for a bunch of other things anyway, and set a
reminder for “Practice Lunge/Form” every day at 6:30. And around 6:30 every day I would practice for
15 minutes solid. Sometimes it would be more intense to focus on endurance, others days a bit slower
to improve upon form.


Of course, it wasn’t just this that prepared me for the rank exam. I twisted some friends’ arms into extra
sparring time after class as well. But practising during my “time off” certainly helped. And more than
anything else, it was the consistency, making it a habit. So if anyone else finds themselves unable to
attend class for a bit, it’s no excuse not to keep up your fencing. Who knows, you might actually be
better when you returned than when you left.


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.
Read more from Devon Boorman.