One thing I enjoy about shooting swordplay videos is that it gives a tangible output to the martial arts work that I do. I enjoy teaching—in fact I love teaching—and I realize the payoff of my work will always be the many excellent practitioners that have come out of the school. However, before publishing, the practice of my art often felt very ephemeral. A painter enjoys the process of painting but also creates a physical piece of art.
The product of a martial artist is very internal. Your product truly is your own physical and spiritual growth. This is perhaps the most meaningful product that one can have. Yet sometimes, it’s nice to be able to hold (at least metaphorically) the creative output of your work.
Creating Duello.TV and the videos on it (as well as sundry other projects such as DVDs and a forthcoming book) has given me a tangible outlet for my martial art and that has been valuable to me on multiple levels:
- It satisfies my desire to “create” in a way that movement, sparring, or teaching do not.
- It allows me to reflect on and improve the art that I practice in a way that is separate from myself.
- It makes the art itself feel more “real”. I didn’t start to recognize that my practice had come to something until I started seeing myself in videos.
I recommend the process of creating videos to everyone whether you share them with others or simply use them to improve and acknowledge yourself. If you’ve created something cool and want to share it, post a link to it here or send me an email. I’d love to see the results of your creative work.
Creative Diversity in the Community
To this end, for myself, I have now found joy in related projects like these videos, Duello.TV, swordplay-related DVD projects, and a forthcoming book on Academie Duello’s system for the rapier (actually slated to come out this year!) For people in the school, there are ways to reap tangible benefits from their work as well. We’ve started providing opportunities for students to join our performance and demo team where we shoot videos of technique demonstrations, choreography, and combat. The results are fun to see and to show off. They also help to expand knowledge and inspiration within the greater swordplay community. These videos and performances culminate in a much more physical, visible, and shareable end result that can be valuable for many.
If you’re at Academie Duello and these activities appeal to you, please ask us about the performance team and how you might join. Alternately, if you’re out in the world, consider documenting your work. Even the most amateur product can provide inspiration for greater work from yourself and others, and it’s fun to truly see and not just feel your own work.
The exercise videos from this month’s 30-for-30 Swordplay Challenge are being collected on this DTV page as well as our Youtube channel.