DIY Indoor Training Longsword

  The longsword is a powerful piece of historical weaponry. Its mystique has captured our attention for hundreds of years and is consistently prevalent in both ancient texts and today’s pop culture. A typical training longsword is steel, between 40 and 50 inches in total length, and can take up some serious space when you…

Read More… from DIY Indoor Training Longsword

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…

Read More… from Is Full Speed and Full Contact Required?

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…

Read More… from Why Go Slow? The Benefits of Slow Sparring

Proficiency by counting strikes on a blackboard

To Build Proficiency: Show Up

In his book Mastery, George Leonard recounts a story about an Aikido class where his Sensei had them repeat a single technique for three hours. George was a fairly senior student at that time who had a solid training ethic. But this particular three hours represented quite a journey for him, and I found it…

Read More… from To Build Proficiency: Show Up

Training to Defeat Intense Techniques

One of the most challenging things to deal with in sparring is the mental or emotional intensity of a very forward motivated opponent, someone who throws powerful blows, or someone who comes very ferociously. Commonly people respond in one of two ways: Freeze or pull away, failing to make a cover. Making a single simple…

Read More… from Training to Defeat Intense Techniques

Brutality in Martial Arts

Musings on Brutality in Martial Arts

I’m not a fan of brutality in modern martial arts practice.  Aggression brings unnecessary risks and injury, overvalues intensity over grace, and makes martial art less accessible to the unarmoured (both physically and psychologically). Wasn’t Real Historical Fighting Brutal? I won’t argue that there is no historical precedent for brutal, cruel, and ruthless martial art…

Read More… from Musings on Brutality in Martial Arts

The Beautiful Art of Solitary Practice

Practicing martial arts on my own can be one of the great pleasures of my week. It is a time that is just purely for me. Within the time spent in solitary practice, I don’t have to worry about providing for a partner or guiding a student, I can simply focus on my own body,…

Read More… from The Beautiful Art of Solitary Practice

Pain and Glee: Enjoying Your Training

This post originally appeared on Duello.TV, Academie Duello’s online learning and training blog portal. At our recent Instructor Intensive, the topic of “training so hard that you lose the joy of it” came up. The people who come out to intensives are hard workers. It takes a lot of drive to come out to do…

Read More… from Pain and Glee: Enjoying Your Training

Why Fight Light? Using Less Gear When Sparring

There are two ways that I love sparring these days: With a simple jacket, light or padded gloves, gorget, and mask. In a full suit of plate harness. What I like about both of these environments is their close relations to how the martial arts we teach and practice were performed traditionally. A bulk of…

Read More… from Why Fight Light? Using Less Gear When Sparring

The Simple Training Journal

Over this past week, I have been working on a post about understanding who you are as a practitioner and using that self-knowledge to help you find the training strategies that work to help you keep motivated and achieve your mastery goals. Well, it’s proven to be a more interesting and challenging post to create…

Read More… from The Simple Training Journal

Sparring Games: Alternate Target Objectives

Feeling in a bit of a slump in your sparring? Perhaps overwhelmed or under-challenged? Sparring games, where you create restrictions and alternate objectives, can be a great way to up the strategic challenge and interest or allow you to focus on a smaller subset of skills. The first batch of games I’m presenting are all…

Read More… from Sparring Games: Alternate Target Objectives

5 Tips for Effective At-Home Practice

Classes are a great place to learn, but proficiency comes from learning in between sessions by practising on your own. Here are five ways you can make the most of your personal practice time: Keep your commitment small If you’re new to home practice, make a commitment that you feel very confident about keeping. In the beginning,…

Read More… from 5 Tips for Effective At-Home Practice

Revisiting the Harms of Unsolicited Help

Recently, many female identified practitioners in my life have been bravely and gracefully sharing with me their challenges in being students in martial arts. One of the main things that comes up time and time again is how difficult it is to be a student when their, typically male, partners seem eager to constantly offer…

Read More… from Revisiting the Harms of Unsolicited Help

Advice from the 30 for 30 Swordplay Challenge

Over the month of January, Academie Duello and Duello.TV (our online video learning channel) hosted a 30-day swordplay training challenge. Each participant engaged in the goal of at least 30 minutes of swordplay training per day for 30 days. Participants represented dozens of schools from all over the world and the range of disciplines practised was…

Read More… from Advice from the 30 for 30 Swordplay Challenge

Training to Relax for the Very Tense

Being relaxed is a key component to good fencing. Relaxed muscles are quicker to respond, easier to adapt and change, and more capable of feeling connections through your weapon. Yet, so many of us have a difficult time being relaxed or even being aware of our current state of tension. In this article I’d like…

Read More… from Training to Relax for the Very Tense