Swordplay On Your Break, or a Break from Swordplay?

We just finished our last curriculum week for the year at Academie Duello. It will be two weeks before we're back on to our regular program and, depending on where you practice, you might be stepping into a similar break yourself. So what to do with the time off?

If you don't stop, you don't have to restart

Many good things get derailed when we step away from the habits we've built. You take a holiday, reset your schedule, and when you come back to it you just can't seem to get started again.

For many, maintaining their rhythm over a break can be essential to an easy return. I've found that quantity and quality are not necessarily as important as keeping to your schedule. You do not need to make gains, simply keep on track and keep current skills and progress front of mind while you're away from your usual training environment, partners, and equipment.

So mark out times in your calendar, as close to the ones that you usually follow. Make arrangements with your family to honour the time you need to train, then take that time. If it needs to be shorter or modified in some way, so be it. If you have a hard time regaining momentum when it's lost, be clever about keeping it going.

Indulge in something different

Recuperating on a holiday for me does not necessarily mean ceasing activity as much as it means changing gears and taking a break from my normal routines. Holiday's can be a great time to train in a different way or in a different discipline entirely.

If you're traveling, see if there are some martial arts classes you can join in over the break. Stop in on another club or connect with a book or video series related to something you have never, or rarely, explored.

Last year I took time nearly every day to read the 1606 Fencing work of Salvator Fabris, a book I had not made time to thoroughly reread in quite some time.

Take a break

True time off can be incredibly restorative ― especially if taken guilt-free! Breaks can allow your body to more fully recover from lingering injuries or strains, get out of mental ruts, and restore energy to passions that have started to feel too much like work.

If you're taking a break from training really savour it. Mindfully take some time for yourself and not just for the needs of the holiday.

I know for me, personally, I intend to enjoy three or four days off in the company of my family and then I'll seek out a few old sparring partners that live near my family home who I haven't seen in a long while.

Coming back with a bang

If you need some help getting back on the wagon after the holiday, be sure to join us for the annual 30-for-30 Swordplay Challenge! Starting January 2nd we'll be embarking on a daily challenge to practice 30 minutes of swordplay each day until the end of January. Stay tuned here for a link to the Facebook group and more details!

Enjoy your rest! (or training!)

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.