Is Full Speed and Full Contact Required?

A good friend of mine is a special forces combatives trainer. I asked him how much of their training is devoted to full-speed and full-contact simulated sparring. He told me “no more than 5%”. For him it was a matter of balancing value and risk. Full speed, full contact sparring has the value of exposing…

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Slow Down Sign

Why Go Slow? The Benefits of Slow Sparring

This past week, at our 50-hour instructor intensive, I introduced a new batch of students, who travelled in from various places around the world to the method and benefits of slow sparring. Slow sparring is exactly what it sounds like: sparring done slowly. It has proven itself to me to be a tremendously valuable training…

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Practice Pinpointing Your Coaching Corrections

Years ago, I had the pleasure of riding in a boat with Canada’s Olympic rowing coach while he coached members of our Olympic team and some more casual rowers like me. One of the most compelling things about this experience was how little he gave to each of his students yet how impactful some of…

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Student Trials: Examination and Initiation

This past weekend, I was on an examination board for the first Provost of Armizare at the Chicago Swordplay Guild (CSG), Jesse Kulla. Provost is the rank before Master in most schools that follow an Italian martial arts tradition. I sat on a board with Sean Hayes, Maestro of Northwest Fencing Academy, Marco Quarta, Maestro…

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The Stages of Ignorance in Mastery

Mastery — the pursuit of something to a high level of proficiency — is a challenging and hard to plot journey. Our capacity to stay on the road and move through its various stages is highly connected to our relationship with ignorance. How comfortable are you with not knowing? How at ease are you with…

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Dimensions of Mastering the Art

When you attend classes through Academie Duello, you learn a system of fencing, an art, and you learn that system through a particular methodology. Our goal is to help people find the path of mastery. To develop an understanding of the art on a deep and fundamental level in multiple dimensions and to explore those…

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Share Your Struggles to Get Through Your Blocks

The path to mastery is as little as 25% technical, and 75% psychological. Not to diminish what it takes to learn and apply a martial art physically, but I have met very few students that I didn’t feel were physically capable, with sufficient practice, of mastering their arts. The real barriers to long-term mastery are…

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