Making Tournaments Useful in Mastery

Last Saturday morning at 5:30am I began a trip from Vancouver to the town of Monroe in Washington state, about 3 hours south of Vancouver, with five of my students from Academie Duello. It was our yearly trip to a rapier tournament held by the Society for Creative Anachronism called Ursulmas. This particular tournament gets…

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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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3 Injury Prevention Tips for Rapier Fighters

One of the things I focus on in my recent book, Introduction to Italian Rapier, is healthy biomechanics. These are important not just for performance but for your long-term health. Martial arts done well can improve your strength, endurance, and physical comfort. However, done poorly, they can have the exact opposite effect, leading to strain, pain,…

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Why Is the Rapier Part of Our System?

Recently, I began a blog series answering, in broad form, why we teach the rapier and longsword as part of one system at Academie Duello. I started in the first post by looking at the historical precedent for multi-weapon study that spans many original fighting manuals from both the medieval period and the Renaissance, as…

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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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Choosing the Right Rapier for You

I am asked routinely how to choose the right rapier for practice. This article, cribbed from my forthcoming Introduction to the Italian Rapier book, looks at the range of historical rapiers and my opinion on how to best select a modern reproduction. The Real Thing Historical rapiers varied in dimension both throughout their evolution from…

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Book Review: “The Art of Sword Combat” by Meyer

New for this year is Dr Jeffry L. Forgeng’s translation of the recently discovered Fechtbuch ‘The Art of Sword Combat’[1] by Joachim Meyer. This new offering is thought to pre-date Meyer’s famous work, ‘The Art of Combat’ (1570) by two years. Dr Forgeng is well qualified to handle an original, old work. He’s done research…

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Barefoot or shoes? Today on “Ask Clint”!

Provost, what is better: practicing barefoot or in shoes? I prefer and recommend practicing in shoes (keep reading;  some students prefer barefoot which is fine). Ultimately, there are pitfalls to be aware of (and avoid) with either. The biggest consideration I make is for personal health. That is, will your decision (shoes or no shoes)…

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Do the Wrong Thing Right

To any action in combat there are typically multiple responses that can functionally deal with that action (for example you can parry it, control it, strike into it, and so on). The choice of responding action is generally dictated by overall strategy or tactical needs. There are times when you want to strike into an…

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A Taste of the Renaissance – Week 4

I can’t believe it’s the last week of our Taste of the Renaissance series. The four weeks have gone by like the lightning slash of a sidesword. I have to determine which class to sign up for next. The noon time slots work best, but the biggest question is what to try next…? Today in…

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A Taste of the Renaissance – Week 3

Class 5 begins and we are back to the rapier.  My body is sore from yesterday’s Sun Run and I cannot focus. I am embarrassed by my inability to grasp what is being asked of me. I think I understand, but cannot execute the movements requested. Thankfully, our odd number makes it possible for me to…

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Don’t Get Hung Up on Perfect Practice

There is an interesting phrase pair I have been hearing from a lot of instructors recently. I hear: “Practice makes perfect.” Then an admonishment: “No. Practice makes permanent. So make sure you don’t practice poorly!” The first is a message of hope and resilience. If you practice and stay the course, you can find mastery.…

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A Taste of the Renaissance – Week 2

I watched no martial arts movies over the weekend, which would be unusual except for the fact that it is hockey season. Now there’s some interesting martial arts for you – I wonder if those hockey sticks are as well balanced as my rapier! I find myself really looking forward to Class 3. The only…

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Beginners Courses for Next Year/ January

A new year is coming so get into our next round of Beginner’s Courses! Prepare for swinging swords and pulling punches. We offer three different courses which cover different avenues of Western Martial Arts: Fight Like Sherlock Holmes Bartitsu is a complex martial art with many interlocking skills. Our four-week Fight Like Sherlock Holmes course gives students…

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Help Your Training Partner Discover Failure

I’ve recently become more aware of a helpful person in my classes at Academie Duello. This person is so helpful that they want to make sure that their partner never fails, never feels bad, and is successful in all that they do. One place I see this person in action is in target drills. In…

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Are your hips holding you back?

Working at the front desk of the world’s largest western swordfighting school for half a year has led me to observe something. When it comes to most weapons and styles, people have preferences that are based on a number of different factors, ranging from their training background to their childhood fantasies. Generally speaking no one seems to particularly dislike one…

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