The Conclusion of the 30 for 30 Swordplay Challenge


Over the month of January Academie Duello and I hosted a training challenge that set a goal of 30 minutes of swordplay training per day for 30 days. Whether this was over and above your usual training quota or simply reporting on it was up to each participant. Specific additional training goals could also be set to give the practice an extra focus. Participants represented dozens of schools from all over the world and the range of disciplines practiced was extensive.

Regular practice is probably the single most influential and important factor in building proficiency. That doesn’t mean that to be successful you need to practice every day–rest is good for the body. It does, however, mean that you want to have a rhythm that sustains and propels your growth. Each year that we have run this challenge it has emphasized a few things for me:

  1. Rhythm is best maintained in manageable pieces.
    A little bit of regular practice is more powerful than binging irregularly.
  2. Community is a powerful and supportive form of accountability.
    Sharing your goals with others and having a process for regularly checking in can help you stay on track.
  3. Regular practice can be a powerful force for staying grounded.
    I practiced on days when I was excited to train and on days when I felt exhausted and stubborn. It was on the difficult days that I felt the biggest payoff. Even though it was difficult to pickup my sword, after my 30 minutes of training I was always glad that I had. So many funks were trained away and much joy was taken in the simple practice of moving and feeling my own body at work.

Thank you to everyone for participating this year and being part of Academie Duello’s extended community. It was a joy to share with everyone and receive so much as they worked through each day of their own challenges. I’m already looking forward to next year.

For those who are interested in keeping up with some of the drills that I posted throughout the month, the list of all 30 is on the Duello.TV YouTube channel here.

devonboorman Devon Boorman is the Co-Founder and Director of Academie Duello Centre for Swordplay, which has been active in Vancouver, Canada since 2004. Devon’s expertise centres on the Italian swordplay tradition including the arts of the Renaissance Italian rapier, sidesword, and longsword, as well as knife and unarmed techniques.
Read more from Devon Boorman.