Is There a Link Between Ballet and Fencing?

I have long heard that ballet has its origins in historical fencing. It’s a romantic idea and as someone who both teaches martial arts and dance (though not ballet) I certainly find tons of parallels in how they are both taught and practiced. The positions of modern ballet certainly bare some resemblance to classical and…

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An Argument for Training with Diverse Weapons, Part 1

Recently, I was asked why we teach rapier and longsword together in our Instructor Intensives. The questioner postulated that it was like teaching sky diving and skin diving in the same program. Sure rapiers and longswords are both swords but aren’t they as distinct as these two types of “diving”? I think it’s a great…

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Notes from a Fencing Student, circa 1657

In the 1650s, a German speaking student attended the knight academy at Sorø in Eastern Denmark. There he studied under fencing master Wilhelm Schöffer von Dietz, a known student of fencing master Salvator Fabris (whose manual is a core source for rapier instruction at Academie Duello and to the Italian tradition in general). In his…

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Vikings: An interview with archaeologist Stephen Fox

Whenever a new historical drama breaks we tend to question its historical authenticity, and that’s a good thing. However even with a critical eye unfortunately we invariably end up internalising something of the narrative and this can have lasting consequences for our understanding of history. Anyone in historical martial arts can relate to this, whether…

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Book Review: The Duel in European History by Kiernan

“Every society has needed licensed channels for the overflow of destructive impulses. … Duelling reduced such feuds to symbolic proportions, confined them to individuals, and required only a limited number of victims”. [1] Duelling bad!  Very, very bad! In The Duel in European History, Marxist social-historian Kiernan offers us a wide variety of duelling stories and…

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Why you should wrestle, and everyone throughout history thought so as well!

There is a fallacy that is often presented in martial arts (and physical culture as a whole) that for people on the outside looking in there is no point to practicing. Why learn to fight with a sword, choke a person out, or lift a heavy weight if those things do not translate to a…

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