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Swordplay Training Blog Articles, News, and Updates

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.

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News & Updates

Novice Weapons Packs

Novice-level packs are ideal for students who want to get the fundamentals of swordplay in a clear, concise and progressive method of training and advancement.

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Online Longsword Course, Starts April 1

Helping people build the habit of mastery is the goal behind our very first co-operative online course. We want to bring together practitioners from all over the world to learn and level-up their longsword skills all together at the same time.

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The Blog is for Scholars, too!

The DuelloTV Training Blog is an incredible resource of over 200 articles. We think this treasure should be accessible to more people, so we’ve added full blog archive access to the Scholars Club subscription. Now Scholars and Masters club subscribers can gain valuable insights into many areas of swordplay (and life) training: How to be a long-term […]

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Log in with a Scholars or Masters Club subscription to read all 213 training blog articles.

Eat the Book: A Process for Understanding Historical Sources

Historical European Martial Arts come from a rich historical tradition that includes a wealth of instructional books written from within the period where those arts were most actively practiced. Picking up an ancient fighting manual is by no means necessary to learn, practice, and enjoy these martial arts, but doing so can offer a significant richness to that practice.

5 Tips for Effective At-Home Practice

Classes are a great place to learn, but building proficiency is what happens in between learning sessions. Here are five ways you can make the most of your personal practice time.

How to Do Slow Sparring Successfully

I’m a big fan of slow sparring as a training tool. It is an ideal way to focus on mechanics and precision, develop strategic and tactical awareness, and work on the necessary relaxation and fluidity required for high speed combat in a more manageable setting.

Lots of Practice, Not Perfect Practice

I’ve seen students haltingly muddle through each and every motion of a technique, attempting to perfect it while in progress. I also see them judging the quality of each stage, and judging themselves, long before such judgments are necessary or useful.

The 5 Minutes Per Day Practice Regimen

Rhythm is the most important thing to cultivate on the path to mastery. Whether you leverage our online course or simply get started with your own practice ritual, start making those little steps. Five minutes of real practice time honours your commitment more than hours of good intentions.

How Much Should I Worry About Winning at the Beginning?

There are many techniques, tricks, and traps one can employ, with relatively little practice, that will score you some hits on mediocre fencers. The challenge is that none of these approaches provide a base for later excellence.

Revisiting the Harm of Unsolicited Help

This is not an article about not giving help, it’s simply about being effective and constructive with the help you offer. If you truly want to help those around you grow, which I’m sure you do, find ways to do it that genuinely create the outcome you want.

Exposure is the Key to Deeper Learning

The key to being able to catch a ball—or to parry a sword blow, or strike a moving target—is giving your brain enough exposure to the problem in its many permutations, and then identifying the patterns in what works or what doesn’t.

Student Trials: Examination and Initiation

It takes practice to meet challenges, recover from failures, and take stock in growth. I think one of the most valuable things that martial arts, and the rituals that surround them, can offer us is the opportunity to have this practice.

Advice from the 30-for-30 Swordplay Challenge

Over the month of January Academie Duello and Duello.TV hosted a 30-day swordplay training challenge. Along with weekly groups of practical exercises we posted daily training advice on topics as broad as physical training, recuperation, discipline, psychology, and mastery. I thought it would be useful to compile them here for reference.

Making Tournaments Useful in Mastery

In the path of mastery I see tournaments as a tool to help challenge, inspire, and expand one’s practice. They’re not for everyone, and they’re a poor end in and of themselves if your goals are long-term and martial. To fit tournaments into the mastery journey it helps to step outside of their inherent structure and make them work for you.

Inspiration not Competition

Cultivating the competitive spirit is often used to drive one to harder training and to overcoming one’s opponents in a game or tournament. Yet, if it’s based in making negative comparisons to others, I think competition is something you should let go of for your long-term growth and health.

Why Do Martial Arts

I am often asked why people practice martial arts or why I practice swordplay specifically – considering it’s unlikely that I’ll be in a life-and-death sword fight anytime soon. The fulfillment I get from martial arts is both richer and deeper than a simple practical outcome.

The Stages of Ignorance in Mastery

Our capacity to stay on the long road to mastery and move through its various stages is highly connected to our relationship with ignorance. There is a lot more “not knowing” than there is “knowing” on this path.

30-for-30 Swordplay Challenge 2018!

Starting today (January 2nd) and for the next 30 days, we are challenging every sword fighter (new or experienced) to commit to at least 30 minutes per day of practice (solo or partnered). DTV is here to help with loads of training advice and practice videos!

3 Injury Prevention Tips for Rapier Fighters

Martial arts done well can improve your strength, endurance, and physical comfort. But done poorly, they can have the exact opposite effect, leading to strain, pain and injury.

Why Is the Rapier Part of Our System?

When the blades are in contact, small movements and having a better sword position (one that applies leverage and body structure in your favour) are essential to victory. You must also develop a heightened sense of “feeling” through your sword so you can respond quickly and easily to adjustments in your opponent’s pressure.

Training to Relax for the Very Tense

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.

Three Things to Say to Yourself and Your Students

I have realized that every student is a teacher, at least of themselves. Whenever I’m in front of a group I try to seize the opportunity to have the meta-conversation. To teach about learning.

Log in with a Scholars or Masters Club subscription to read all 213 training blog articles.