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Hi, I'm Guy. Welcome!

I am a consulting swordsman, teacher, and writer.

I research and teach medieval and Renaissance Italian swordsmanship (I have a PhD in recreating historical martial arts), blog about it, write books about it, have developed a card game to teach it (which involved founding another company, and crowdfunding), and run Swordschool.

And as if that wasn't enough, you can even contact me here.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Latest Blog Posts

This Thursday, November 30th, I complete a half-century. And even more exciting than me getting a year older (which to be fair is an annual event), the TOP SECRET project I’ve been working on with Katie Mackenzie is ready!!

The Swordschool Training Year Planner

Plan your training like a pro!

With this beautiful full-colour planner you can set goals, plan your training, and review your progress. Embark on a transformative journey using the Swordschool Training Year Planner to tailor your approach.
Aspire to mastery of the Art of Arms, and craft a lifestyle that will lead you towards it. From daily training goals to annual events, this planner works from the specific details of daily life to the overall theme of your year. Connect with like-minded enthusiasts on and share your progress with the tag #planner. Design your days, map out the year, create monthly themes, and reflect with quarterly reviews.

This was Katie’s idea, and her graphic design work, so full credit to her. Bob Charrette very kindly let me use his line-art versions of the illustrations from the Getty ms (which he originally created for his excellent book Armizare).
My contribution was the introduction, and the overall structure of the planner.
You can get it in print, either paperback or spiral-bound, or to save on shipping costs, you can get the pdf to print at home. Please note, the paperback can be printed and shipped in the USA, but the spiral bound can only be printed in the UK, which will affect shipping times and costs.

To celebrate this major milestone (though why we care so much about numbers that end in a zero, I’m not sure), I’m also running a special sale on The Medieval Longsword course, and The Complete Rapier course, and all ebooks and audiobooks. You can find the courses here:
And because of the whole “50” thing, you can have them for just £50 each (plus sales tax if your location requires it), which is an 85% discount on their usual price.
The discount will run from today (Nov 28th), through to the end of the weekend (Sunday Dec. 3rd).
Until then, you can use this code to get 50% off the usual price on all digital products (ebooks and audiobooks) on
(all lower-case, and no spaces either end).
Please note the sale offers don’t extend to the print books, because the printers and shippers don’t seem to care about my birthday at all (astonishing!), so the costs of printing and shipping remain quite high.
Feel free to share the courses and the discount code with anyone you think might benefit from them. These discounts will expire on Monday December 4th.

I get asked all the time what movies and tv shows have “good” sword fights in them. This begs the question, “what is good?”
We can all agree, I hope, that the Princess Bride duel on the top of the cliffs of insanity is perhaps the best screen rapier duel in history. In terms of action, character, and tone, it's unmatched. But it ain't the slightest bit historical. References to historical fencing masters aside, there's not a breath of history in it.
The Duellists, by Ridley Scott, is probably the best, most accurate, historical duelling on the screen, with smallsword and sabre. It seems that sabre and smallsword duels are generally done better than earlier styles, probably due to the way all fight directors get taught sport fencing.

So, rather than suffer my way through endless terrible movies and tv shows in search of a decent longsword, rapier, sidesword, or anything else pre-1750 duel, I sent out an email to my mailing list a few weeks ago and asked them what they thought, and created an online form to collect their answers, which you are welcome to add to here: 

The advantage of the form is it allows you to see everyone else's answers (once you've put your own in), so you might also pick up some useful tips. I've set the form to not collect email addresses etc., so you should be able to use it without being inducted into an evil cult.

The results have been interesting. There were quite a few I was expecting, such as Rob Roy, The Three Musketeers, The Princess Bride, Scaramouche, and The Seven Samurai. But there were also some I'd never heard of, such as Black Sails and Vatel; and some I've heard of but not seen, like The Witcher.

I promised I'd find a way to share the results, so I've double-checked for no identifying data, and created a csv file which you can download from here:

The best HISTORICAL swordfights on screen CSV

Now I do have to say, because I'm a historical pedant, that very few of the recommendations are remotely historically accurate (though I don't suppose that applies to the Star Wars recommendation!). So as a way to find historically accurate sword fights on screen, this has not been very successful. But it has certainly been a lot of fun, and may lead you to discover new shows to enjoy.

You may also enjoy my analysis of The Princess Bride duel here, or an analogy between historical martial arts and Mary Poppins (yes, really), here. And if this sort of thing is your jam, you should sign up to the mailing list with the snazzy form below.

German longsword

In July I flew to Kansas to shoot video with Jessica Finley. I originally intended to just get the material for my medieval Italian wrestling course, but when I saw this amazing mural on Jessica's salle wall, I was hit by a really good idea- why not use this memory-tree of the 12 hauptstucke (“chief pieces of the art”) as a course plan?

12 hauptstucke mural

Jessica is one of my oldest sword friends, and a highly respected colleague. We first met at a Western Martial Arts workshop event in about 2007. She was my first choice for a podcast guest (and has been back on the show twice since then). She started out as Christian Tobler’s student, and used the training he gave her to develop her own areas of expertise, notably in medieval German wrestling. She wrote the book Medieval Wrestling, published in 2014, which was one good reason why I shot my own medieval wrestling course with her. And she has her own way of organising and interpreting Liechtenauer’s longsword material, based on Liechtenauer’s own categorisation of the hauptstucke.

You can find the course here:

It's currently 40% off, until Friday 10th November.
We have quite different teaching styles, as you can see in this video where she teaches the guard Ochs:

I think it’s important to expose your students to other instructors, and this is no less true in online courses as it is in person. When I ran my school in Helsinki, we averaged 3-4 visiting instructors per year.
But there is a very small overlap between the quite large group of instructors whom I would deem worthy to teach my students, and the much smaller group who have the skills to produce a course like Medieval German Longsword: the Hauptstucke of Johannes Liechtenauer. To be clear- Jessica herself doesn’t have the technical background to produce a course either (though she is solidly in the first group, and indeed taught a seminar for my students in Helsinki in 2015). But I do, and we had the time, the space, and the very clearly organised system that you need for producing a course, when I was over in Kansas in July this year.
My part in this course includes directing, producing, editing, and providing the Fiore perspective in each section, so the course itself is very much a collaboration. But every bit of Liechtenauer interpretation is 100% Jessica.
Here’s the next video in the sequence: Thrusting from Ochs and Pflug:

And yes! the launch window is closing, so if you’d like to get 40% off the course, you can do so with this link:
The discount expires on November 10th. Tell your friends!
See you on the course!

This post is intended to be useful to the attendees at the recent seminar I taught with Chris Vanslambrouck in Madison, Wisconsin. It may also be of interest to folk who couldn't make it.

First up, huge thanks to Heidi Zimmerman who organised the seminar. It literally couldn’t have happened without her. And thanks also to Chris Vanslambrouck, who co-taught the seminar, with related plays from Meyer. Given that there was also a lot of Meyer technique being taught that weekend, it’s a miracle we covered so much ground, so hats off to the students. I’ve assembled a list of the material we covered, some planned, some answers to questions posed by the students.

Saturday: Fiore Longsword

We started with the most  basic blows, and saw how they created the guards.

The blows were:

  • Mandritto fendente
  • Roverso fendente
  • Mandritto sottano
  • Roverso sottano
  • Thrust

You can find a more complete version of the drill we used here:

And the guards they created were:

  • Posta di donna destra,
  • Posta di donna lasinestra,
  • Posta longa,
  • Tutta porta di ferro,
  • Dente di zenghiaro, coda longa

You can find all the guards here:

We then did a parry and strike from donna, against the mandritto fendente, and a parry and strike from dente di zenghiaro, against the same blow. The latter is the beginning of our Second Drill:


This lead us to the universal counter-remedy: the pommel strike (as shown in the 8th play of the master of coda longa on horseback).

We then defended against thrusts with the Exchange of thrusts:

Then Breaking the thrust:

In the afternoon session we covered the rear-weighted guards (donna and fenestra), and briefly went over the 3 turns (volta stabile, meza volta, tutta volta), and the four steps (accrescere/discrescere; passare/tornare).

We then did a not-very-deep mechanical dive into the guard bicorno, including how to use it to prevent an exchange, and as a feint. This included an introduction to the woman in the window drill:


We finished up our survey with the 4 corners drill:

All of this material can be found in book form in The Medieval Longsword, as an online course here.

The following day, Sunday, we did a pretty thorough overview of Capoferro's rapier. We began with basic footwork:

  • passes,
  • lunge,
  • step,
  • lean

Which you can find here:

Then played Hunt the debole (to get an idea of what the sword is supposed to be doing- keeping you safe!).

We then worked through Plate 7 (stringer on the inside, thrust through the left eye):


And plate 16 (stringer on the outside, thrust to the neck):

Plate 8 (slip the leg)

Plate 10 (enter against the cut),

Plate 13 (the scannatura)

And plates 17 and/or 19, the avoidances of the right foot or waist:

We also did a pretty deep dive on the mechanics of the lunge. We didn't video the Madison seminar, but I covered the lunge in a similar way in this seminar:


We also looked at the mechanics of passing, specifically the difference between the passing foot pointing forwards or out to the side.

Then we constructed a mechanically sound seconda position, starting from first principles. I covered this in a blog post, here: Function First, then Form

We then went through my system for teaching students the basic skill of parrying with the dagger, in four stages. You can find the four stages on this wiki page:

And we then applied those skills in executing Plate 23:

And then had a look at murdering left-handers in Plate 38:

All of this rapier material is covered in the Complete Rapier Workbook, and in the new Duellist’s Companion 2nd edition. If you prefer an online course, you can find it here:

Thanks again to the lovely Heidi for organising it, Chris for introducing us all to Meyer, and to the most excellent students.

Browse the full library of Dr. Guy Windsor’s work: books in physical, digital and audio formats, workbooks, and video courses.

Guy frequently keeps his blog updated with thoughts, challenges, interviews and more!


Find out why teaching swordsmanship and running the Swordschool means so much to Guy.

live classes

If you’d like to book into a live training or discussion session and hear from Guy directly, check out his schedule here.