Welcome to the fifth annual 30-for-30 Swordplay Challenge training resource page! Every week through January we'll be pulling together useful videos and training advice to help you set goals, stay on track, and do your 30 minutes each day in the most painless and rewarding manner possible.
Don't know about the challenge? Read all about it and join in through the Facebook group here.
On this page you'll find content applicable for beginner to advanced swordplay students. The first three videos are for people who want to get started for the first time with the Rapier, Longsword, or Sidesword. Further down on the page you'll find weekly training advice and video playlists for both solo and partner drills that you can use to guide your daily training.
We provide 4 solo and 4 partnered exercises each week. We recommend reviewing all four videos (they're short) and then picking two or three as your focus each day. Use a timer and set it for 10 or 15 minute increments. By focusing on a small set of drills over a week you'll most easily see forward progress.
Use protective gear for all exercises. In many of our videos we are not wearing head, throat or body protection in order to make clear explanation more possible. You should always use protective gear when practicing these arts regardless of the exercise.
Training Advice for Week 4: Finish Strong
Day 1: Beat Boredom. Mastery requires that you hone fundamental skills to a sharp edge. That requires retreading the same path many many times. A masters path is one of rhythm, ritual, and process. And that can at first feel really boring. Boredom is a choice and defeating it is a skill. Find the meditation in your longterm practice.
Day 2: Meditate. Mastery is both a physical and a mental process. In the same way that we have trained our bodies everyday through this challenge, it is equally important to train your mind. Be thoughtful—full of thought in regards to your art. Meditation is a great way to train focus, deal with stress, and overcome fears and other emotional blocks. Important stuff for a martial artist. (I recommend the Headspace app as a starting place for learning meditation)
Day 3: Write. Whether it's a blog, a book, or an article. Explore your art through writing. Having to present your ideas in written form in a way that others can understand will both expand and refine your understanding.
Day 4: Be a Martial Artist, Not Just a Sword Fighter. I love swords. But the art is more than swords. It's more than wrestling. It's more than staffs or daggers. Its also more than destroying an opponent. It is a set of principles for the preservation of life and for personal growth. Don't get pigeon-holed into one discipline, or one avenue for expressing it. Open the door and see how wide the world is.
Day 5: Learn from Diverse Masters. Capo Ferro, Marozzo, Manciolino, and many others advocate learning from as many excellent practitioners as you can. Find great fighters, great teachers, great thinkers, and learn from them. And don't restrict yourself to HEMA. Today's art is relatively young and there is much to be gained from arts (martial or otherwise) that have living practitioners who have much more experience than most in our disciplines. I have learned a ton about teaching and practicing martial arts from my dance instructor who has more than 40 years of teaching under his belt.
Day 6: Learn Other Martial Arts. I began as a child with Kung Fu, then found Filipino Martial Arts, then Western. I continue to study arts from all over the world. Not as my primary practice but to keep opening my mind to different ways of doing things and teaching things. Find arts that both complement and contrast from your practice. It'll change how you approach the arts you love, and for the better.
Day 7: Explore and Express Your Art In Diverse Ways. Sport seeks to adapt skills to meet specific ends (scoring points). It's a narrowing—a limited focusing of a discipline. Martial art is about having adaptable skills that can meet any ends. It's broad. Seek to develop the principles that live beneath your art by understanding how you apply it to tournament, defense, battle, inner-journeys and more.
Longsword Practice Week 4
Rapier Practice Week 4
Sidesword Practice Week 4
Acknowledgement of Safety and Risk
- Practice all exercises slowly and with control.
- Practice using training swords that are not sharp and are specifically made for practice.
- Use protective gear for all exercises. In many of our videos we are not wearing head, throat or body protection in order to make clear explanation more possible. You should always use protective gear when practicing these arts regardless of the exercise.
- Be aware that injuries in training are always possible. Ensure that you are practicing with care and caution at all times.
- DuelloTV is not responsible for any injuries that occur as a result of sword practice inspired from our videos.