Youth Swordplay

Sign up for a Trial ClassAcademie Duello’s vibrant youth program brings history to life through the martial arts of knights and musketeers! Children ages 8-14 can join us for our regularly scheduled youth classes and our seasonal Knight Camps.

  • Youth classes are one hour long, and run weekday evenings (Tuesday through Thursday, 5pm & 6pm) and Saturday mornings (10am & 11am).
    • In July & August there are no youth classes on Wednesdays
  • Register for Knight CampKnight Camps are week-long adventure day camps.
    • Monday through Friday, 10:00 am – 3:30 pm
    • Before care from 8:30 am and after care until 5:00 pm available

Although our ongoing programs start at 8 years old, children as young as 6 can learn the basics of swordplay in one of our birthday party packages or in private lessons. Youth 15+ are eligible to join our Adult Programs.

What to expect

Take a look inside our space!
When you arrive for a class, you are greeted by the Academie Duello Front Desk team. Our front desk staff are able to answer all of your questions about the school, our programs, and our instructors.

All of Academie Duello’s youth classes involve a mix of close-quarters and weapons-based training. Classes start with a fun group warm-up, moving on to unarmed material to encourage good posture, structure, and movement. The last half of class is devoted to solo and pairs exercises designed to teach proper weapon handling in a fun, engaging, and safe way. Whenever possible, we use blunt metal training swords for solo exercises and controlled drilling. Any time there’s a chance of head contact we wear protective masks, and when things speed up we swap out the metal swords for plastic.

After class the instructor is always available for questions, whether it’s about class content, other programs at Academie Duello, or general questions about the context of the arts we teach. If you have any questions on your way out, or if you want to sign up for more classes, you can also check in with the front desk.

Academie Duello prides itself on being welcoming, authentic, and professional. Read more about our values here.

Class Requirements

When you come in to take a class you will need to bring:

  • Workout clothing that’s easy to move around in, and not too baggy
    • Jeans aren’t the best choice, wear shorts or sweatpants instead
  • Non-marking indoor-only footwear
    • Indoor soccer shoes or other thin-soled shoes tend to work better than thick-soled shoes
    • Bare feet will do in a pinch, if you don’t have any dedicated indoor-only footwear
  • A pair of light leather gloves, work gloves or something similar is recommended but not required
    • Gloves are available for sale in our pro-shop if you don’t have any

If your child has any specific physical limitations or injuries, be sure to let our staff know so we can appropriately adapt the program to their needs.


We supply the following equipment for all classes:

  • Fencing masks (face/head protection)
  • Gorgets (throat protection)
  • Blunt metal and plastic training swords
  • Wooden training staffs

Students who have been training for over a month and want to do full-speed swordplay will also need the following:

  • Groin protection for boys (jock strap) is required
  • Gloves (padded gloves recommended for longsword, sidesword, and staff)
  • Elbow- and knee-pads (required for longsword, sidesword, and staff)

We do have limited amounts of loaner elbow, knee, and hand protection, but it’s best if students have their own, so that it fits properly.

We sell most of the equipment listed above, including fencing masks and both plastic and steel swords. Feel free to ask the front desk staff or your child’s instructor about getting your own kit.

Ongoing Classes

Sign Up for a Trial ClassYouth classes are one hour long, and each class focuses on one of our four weapon traditions:

  • The Longsword is a medieval sword held in two hands, focussed primarily on cutting actions
  • The Sidesword is a late medieval/early renaissance one-handed sword, focussed primarily on cutting actions
  • The Rapier is a one-handed renaissance-era thrusting sword, made famous by the musketeers
  • Polearms start with simple staffs, and later include spears and hooked and bladed polearms like the halberd and the partisan

See our schedule for youth class times.  Youth members of the school are also able to come out to our biweekly Youth Free Sparring sessions that happen on Friday evenings, where we practice one-on-one and group fighting scenarios. It’s fun!

Knight Camp

Register HereKnight Camp is a week-long adventure day camp, and blends martial arts training with character development and hands-on history lessons. Students learn the skills of a knight – from martial arts and knightly virtues to history, leadership, heraldry, and medieval games.

Read more here!

Private Lessons

Group lessons not your thing? Too young for ongoing classes? No matter what your skill level is you can book a private session with one of Academie Duello’s talented youth instructors to maximize your potential in one-on-one training.

Benefits of private instruction include

  • Private lessons as young as 6 years old (30-minute lessons recommended for 6-8 year-olds)
  • Instruction customized to age & ability
  • Learning at your own pace
  • Learning a weapon or style not taught in regular classes
  • Honing your skills with guided practice outside of class
  • The opportunity to spar under the instructor’s guidance

Sessions cost $100 per hour for a single session, $160 for two, or $70 per hour when purchased as a series of 4 or more. Up to 4 students may participate together. Larger groups and birthday parties can be accommodated as well.

Contact the front desk at 604-568-9907 or to book a private lesson today.

Testimonials from Kids and Parents

Kids have plenty of great things to say about ongoing youth classes, and so do their parents! You can read them here.

Frequently Asked Questions About Ongoing Classes

What is the schedule and hours? Does it change?

For an exact schedule, please see the Academie Duello weekly schedule.

Classes are 1-hour in length, and run Tuesday through Thursday evenings and Saturday mornings year-round except for a break between Christmas and New Year’s. During the summer months (July and August) we run a reduced schedule of weekly classes.

What will my child learn?

We teach in a supportive environment where respect and accomplishment are encouraged.

The ongoing classes focus on training the martial skills of medieval and renaissance Europe, including the use of the rapier, sidesword, longsword, and polearms. Over the course of a three-month cycle, youth classes focus on two of the main weapons so that students have time to gain a solid grasp of the foundation skills and mechanics of each weapon. Cycles run September-November, December-February, and March-May. From June through August, we cycle the topics monthly.

Students also come away with:

  • Improved body awareness and self-confidence
  • Improved self-discipline and self-control
  • Engagement with and appreciation for history

How does my child advance in rankings?

At the end of each month we run the students through a skills assessment that helps the children see how much they have learned, and guides the instructors to structure the next month’s content. Assessments are divided by subject, and students who assess for an entire set of skills are moved up to the next level of instruction.

Additional assessments can be booked during Youth Free Sparring (1st, 3rd, and 5th Friday of the month), or before the day’s youth classes begin by talking with the instructor.

How far can they advance?

With focus and determination, it’s possible for youth students to master all of the skills of an adult student! This is, however, a process that takes years, and most students age out of the youth classes before they attain the higher ranks of the youth program.

Even though the youth program ranks do not directly match up to the adult ranks, the skills do transfer over into the adult program. Students who gained ranks in the youth program can expect to advance at an accelerated pace in the adult program.

Who are the teachers?

All of the youth instructors at Academie Duello receive in-house training specific to historical European martial arts. Most of them also come with years of previous experience with youth-specific instruction, whether in children’s day camps, other martial arts instruction, or early childhood education.

Roland Cooper is the Head Youth Instructor.

Do you compete against other martial arts groups?

Adult students at Academie Duello can compete in inter-school and open competitions around the world, but youth students focus on honing their skills in-house. Each month we do offer 2-3 opportunities for youth students to compete against each other at our Youth Free Sparring (1st, 3rd, and 5th Friday of every month).