Archery helps maintain nature’s balance—hunters wield bows to keep deer populations in check, while Cupid’s arrows make deer fall in love. Master the methods of bygone times with today’s Groupon to Academie Duello. Choose between the following options:
- For $29, you get a two-hour Beginner Archery class at the Academie Duello facility in Vancouver (a $60 value).
- For $74, you get an Introduction to Mounted Combat class at Red Colt Equestrian Farm Co-op in Richmond (a $149 value).<p>
Academie Duello keeps medieval and renaissance combat skills thriving within a 5,000-square-foot facility dedicated to safe swordplay and theatrical-fighting skills. Two-hour Beginner Archery classes reveal the old world’s secrets of recurve-bow mastery with ample doses of archery vocabulary and history. Swashbuckling instructors acquaint junior archers with bow types and historic and modern archery kits before facilitating hands-on practice. After a primer, students sling arrows at targets to practice learned skills such as proper stance, the Y grip, and the three-finger draw-and-release used for hundreds of years by bowmen to accomplish reliable bull’s-eyes and to punish apples loitering above others’ heads.
The Introduction to Mounted Combat class draws inspiration from the picturesque, horse-trodden surroundings of Red Colt Equestrian Farm. During five hours of hands-on instruction, chivalrous instructors explain essential sword- and spear-work, protecting one’s horse, and tactics of throwing and “counterthrowing” advancing opponents, a move first appropriated from renaissance roller derbies. Small classes of up to 12 students are introduced to sword skills on the ground before learning them from falsemount, while horse handling and riding fundamentals are also rehearsed. Intro class can serve as a primer for the Cavaliere program, which includes actual horseback combat and intramural human-shetland-pony little-league outings.
It's a fairly common image from the Middle Ages and from fairy tales: an armoured knight on horseback, riding triumphantly into battle wielding a sword. Today, of course, such a sight would have shocked witnesses almost immediately—unless they're at Academie Duello. A centre for European swordplay and Western martial arts, Academie Duello has revived centuries-old scenes similar to the one above. It teaches students ancient battle techniques, but does not re-enact epic duels or the well-documented silly-string wars that ensued when swords broke.
The 5,000-square-foot facility extracts skills and weapon information from authentic combat manuals and primary-source texts. Its instructors turn that knowledge into an in-depth curriculum, which today provides both adult and children's programs. Most of those programs also help students stay fit, as they replace weights and treadmills with longswords, shields, and rapiers. To immerse themselves further into knighthood, students can check out Academie Duello's museum, which preserves an ever-growing collection of weapons of war, armour, and fight books.