Reopening Plans Are Underway!


This past week has been exciting for Academie Duello. We have nearly reached the halfway mark in our GoFundMe campaign, we’re coming to the close of our So You Think You Can Sword? online forms competition, we just hosted our first in-person classes since we closed down, we are expanding online offerings, and we’re hard at work modifying the school for reopening. Read on to learn more about what’s coming and how our community has been helping us get back on our feet.

GoFundMe Nearly Halfway!

I’m proud to announce that we are very close to halfway toward our goal of $75,000 raised! Thank you to everyone who has contributed to our campaign, attended our online classes, bought our merch and gift certificates, and helped keep our community connected.

Because of your contributions, our administrative staff has been able to develop new procedures and begin rebuilding the interior of our centre in preparation for reopening. Ingress and egress points are changing to allow for safe inflow and outflow of customers. We’re rebuilding our changerooms to include individual stalls and to remove bottlenecks. We’ve installed plexiglass to protect our front desk staff, and we’re repairing and reinforcing the back of our building, which was the target point of a break-in at the outset of the pandemic.

Your contributions have been an important part of our ability to expand our online offerings and to work on developing new programs that can support the ongoing need for social distancing. In the past month alone we have been able to offer over 30 online classes for members and non-members and we’ve expanded the Duello.TV online drill library to more than 150 drills for rapier and longsword. These resources have helped us begin to generate new revenues and to keep practitioners from our community, and in the community as a whole, physically active.

Most importantly, your contributions are making it possible for us to pay our rent and administrative staff through this continued closure and while we reopen. It is imperative that we follow safety guidelines to protect our members and staff and that we move cautiously into this next phase. That means that Academie Duello’s income will continue to be reduced for months to come. Your financial support is making it possible to keep our centre alive and will help us come back as strong as we were before we closed.

Gradual Reopening

Our plan is to gradually reopen our programs with new protocols and guidelines for social distancing and PPE over the next few weeks. We don’t fully know what this will look like on our schedule but we’re cautiously excited for the near future. It’s important to us to move forward in a way that is safe for our members and staff. The support we have received thus far from all of you has made it possible for us to approach this responsibly without feeling we’re under immediate threat of closure.

We hope that by next week we will be able to open our shop for a limited number of hours each day and offer outdoor classes or practice events for longsword, sidesword, and rapier. These will be offered at 2-3 locations in Vancouver to help reduce the need for commuting for our members and to provide for maximum airflow.

Outdoor Classes

This past Wednesday and Sunday we hosted our first two in-person sword classes since we closed down in March! These events took place in covered outdoor locations and gave us an opportunity to reconnect as a community and to test out new protocols. Both went extremely well and I’m proud to announce that we will be opening up at least two ongoing outdoor classes in the coming weeks, starting this Wednesday. If you’re an Academie Duello member keep an eye on your inbox and our Discord for more information on how to sign-up.

Mounted Combat Classes

Our mounted combat programs hosted by our partner Cornwall Ridge also reopened this past week. Small group classes are now available as well as livestreams of our mounted combat classes on the 2nd & 4th Sunday of every month. Horsemanship classes are also available by donation. All of this can be found through the members Discord server. Sign-up for courses on our website here.

Expanding Our Online Classes

This week we will be expanding access to our members-only online classes to allow by-donation guest access to non-members. These classes are ideal for people from within the European Martial Arts community who already have experience and want to connect with our programs to expand their training opportunities. We are also continuing to offer our sword flow, beginner partner, and youth sword classes. These offerings are an ideal place to start your swordplay journey. Every class covers different topics so you can build your skills and prepare yourself for in-person classes or our more advanced online members-only classes.

Stay tuned for more information.

So You Think You Can Sword?

When you’re stuck at home you need a little inspiration to stay active, stay connected, and keep up your spirits. To that end, over the past month we have been hosting an online forms competition called “So You Think You Can Sword?” By the submission closing deadline we received over 130 video submissions from countries around the world and next week we’ll be announcing our winners in all 8 categories including the juried grand champion! Be sure to check out the competition page on Facebook to learn more and to tune into the awards ceremony.

Fundraiser for the Emergent Fund

This coming Sunday, June 14th, at 12pm. I (Devon) will be teaching a 90-minute online workshop on the use of two-swords. This event is a joint fundraiser for both our GoFundMe and The Emergent Fund: People’s Bailout. This fund helps get money directly to communities of colour and indigineous communities who have most been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Though we have our own struggles it’s important to acknowledge that there are others out there who are dealing with issues that are far more challenging and dire than ours. I hope you’ll show your support by attending this by-donation workshop. 50% of proceeds will be going to the Emergent Fund.

You can learn more about the event and about the Emergent Fund on Facebook here.

Thank you again for your support. Please keep spreading the word about our online by-donation classes and our campaign. It is imperative that we hit our fundraising goal to make it through re-opening and the slow process of getting to phase 4. Feel free to email us (info@academieduello.com) or call us (604-568-9907) if you have any questions about our programs or reopening plans.

Arte, Ardore, Onore,
Devon Boorman
Director

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.