Author Archive

Drills, Sparring, and the Happy Path   Leave a comment

The other day I became engaged in a conversation about why there seems to be a reasonably large population of fencers who study the manuals diligently, but later struggle to perform against opponents who are actively resisting them. I recall some years back being told that I “shouldn’t exist” because that person’s experience with historical […]

Posted October 21, 2017 by Dante di Pietro in Teaching and Training

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Skillfully Teaching Skill   11 comments

Teaching is a profession that a lot of people think they understand because they went to school and saw teachers do their jobs every day for years. Maybe they showed a young relative how to tie their shoes, or finger paint, or make a sandwich. Those people are wrong. Very wrong, to the degree that […]

Posted March 16, 2017 by Dante di Pietro in Teaching and Training, Uncategorized

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A plan in four parts   27 comments

This year I am looking at 15 years in the SCA, 8 as a White Scarf, 4 as a Laurel, and 1 as a Master of Defense. In that time, I think I’ve figured a few things out, though mostly a lot later than I’d have preferred. More on that below! I have been thinking […]

Posted March 8, 2016 by Dante di Pietro in Uncategorized

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So, You Want to Learn to Fence…   11 comments

Actually, this will end up being more about learning in general, and how to effect skill and knowledge development as an autodidact. Most of us are, to one degree or another, self-taught, and so having a better understanding of how to learn without direct instruction is invariably useful. Before we begin, you must accept and […]

Posted January 23, 2016 by Dante di Pietro in Fight Psychology, Teaching and Training

Relevant Factors   54 comments

I’ve been asked to elaborate on an idea I had not too long ago, and I’ve found that it coincides well with a few other ideas I’ve been fleshing out recently, so all of those things are being combined here. First, a simple assertion: height, more specifically reach, is very advantageous to fencing. Yes? I […]

Posted August 17, 2015 by Dante di Pietro in Fight Psychology, Teaching and Training

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The Art of Ringcraft   4 comments

Ringcraft is a term that originated in the boxing world to describe, amongst other things, the use of positioning within the ring to create advantageous situations. Camillo Agrippa makes mention of this indirectly when he describes techniques for fighting when pressed up against the edge of a list fence, where contact with said fence was […]

Posted January 13, 2015 by Dante di Pietro in Musings

The Importance of Discombobulation   Leave a comment

First of all, let us make one thing clear up front: “discombobulate” is a great word and tremendously fun to say. It is one of those rare words that does exactly what it means if you say it too fast or too often. It is also a pretty terrific thing to do to your opponent. […]

Posted December 9, 2014 by Dante di Pietro in Giganti, Italian Rapier

Cognitive Distortions That Impede Improvement   10 comments

Since you have a human brain, you should know that it does not really work all that well most of the time. Sure, it’s amazing and wondrous and a genuine marvel of evolution, but it is nonetheless marred by all sorts of biases that are very useful for keeping a hunter-gatherer alive and are less […]

Posted November 25, 2014 by Dante di Pietro in Fight Psychology, Teaching and Training

Proposed Order of Defense   12 comments

We are now at the stage of the rapier peerage where the language for the changes to Corpora has been made public for further comments. Honestly, this feels like it is a done deal, but given the time spent getting here, it is worthy of our attention and consideration. This is a Big Deal, and, […]

Posted November 15, 2014 by Dante di Pietro in Musings

Cut and Thrust: Armor and Calibration   20 comments

“That looks like a lot of fun, but I’m scared of getting hurt.” I’d like to say that the above isn’t a direct quote, but it is. I give it without attribution because it is something I have heard over and over from, by my best recollection, over two dozen different people. These are only […]

Posted November 11, 2014 by Dante di Pietro in Musings