Admit it, you’ve always had a secret desire to attack someone with a heavy weapon, beating and bashing until your arm feels like it’s going to fall off. Lucky for you, Vancouver boasts the world’s largest school for the study of what is collectively known as Western Martial Arts. At Academie Duello you can veer away from the classic image of a white-garbed fencer and pick up some real heavy steel. Best of all, you can easily sign up for a 90 minute free introductory lesson. So they might not let you flail wildly with a sharp sword, but the school’s talented and experienced instructors will have you working through historically accurate moves that would have been implemented by the history’s greatest sword fighting legends.
Intro course aside, getting started with WMA training is not something you can pop into for a weekend. Due to the serious nature of training with these weapons and to give newcomers the best chance at discovering the discipline that most suits them, the Academie requires that you first take an 8 week introductory Taste Of The Renaissance class ($99).
If swinging a blade isn’t your thing, take a class in bartitsu, the Victorian gentleman’s martial art. Attack and defend with a cane or umbrella in the style of Sherlock Holmes, and look damn good doing it. Alternately, if you don’t actually want to hit anyone, the school’s Stage and Screen fighting program might be just the thing for you.
For more inspiration, visit the gallery for a project I photographed at the 2012 Vancouver International Swordplay Symposium hosted at Academie Duello: SWORD PLAY