How to Practice Predicting Your Opponent

“That is a really inefficient way to attack. What are they doing?” I think as my opponent winds up some particularly arduous looking strike. “Ah. Hitting me.” This is a scenario I have encountered on many occasions in my development. I’ve entered into combat with an opponent expecting a particular type of response, only to have…

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Developing Tactical Senses

This is the second part in a series on Awareness. Part 1 explored how to develop your ability to recall and diagnose what’s happening in combat through three games. In this post I’m going to delve into the second definition of awareness: Feeling, experiencing, or noticing something (such as a sound or sensation). Tactics Being…

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What Happened: Three Games to Help You Develop Fighting Awareness

Merriam-Webster defines “awareness” as: Knowing that something (such as a situation, condition, or problem) exists Feeling, experiencing, or noticing something (such as a sound, sensation, or emotion) Knowing and understanding a lot about what is happening in the world or around you Awareness is an essential part of martial performance and learning. It allows you…

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How to Have an Effective Training Partnership

When I first started going to the gym, it was with a colleague from work. On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays instead of going home from work we would head to the gym together. We were generally there for an hour, sometimes we’d work out together, sometimes we would follow different routines. Though our approach to…

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How to Keep an Effective Training Journal

For many years I have kept a training journal. This is a log book of personal practice goals, training plans, progress toward those goals, and a ticker tape of general thoughts, comments, struggles, and successes. At its simplest, the journal is a way of keeping my training front-of-mind and it helps me keep continuity from…

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Seven Ideas for Setting Useful Sword Training Goals

Objective measures can be compelling. They’re easy to inspect and they can allow you to see progress in a way you can graph. However, often people choose the wrong goals to measure and this has a detrimental effect on their development. For example, when a student gets focused on winning or “getting hits”, a few…

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On Talent, Practice, and Patience

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a piece called Three Things You Should be Saying to Your Martial Arts Students, where I encouraged teachers to reinforce for their students that practice matters more than talent. I received a lot of great feedback and got into some great discussions. The piece was even translated into…

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A Comparison of Historical Music to Historical Swordplay

I remember a few years ago on a commute into Academie Duello I met a gentleman on the subway who was a researcher and player of Renaissance era music. Our conversation delved into the similarities of our two pursuits from the challenges of making modern interpretations from old written notations, to the changes the instruments…

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