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Instinct, shed time, a new book, and a challenge

In a sword fight there is no time to think. You see, you act. The essence of training is to adjust your instinct so that the instinctive response is also the correct one. I’ve spent decades training my instinct, and  I apply this to literally all parts of my life. I don’t decide what to do when I get up in the morning, and I certainly don’t plan my week/month/year. I do whatever my gut tells me is the right thing, and figure out why afterwards.

I’m spending a lot of time in my shed at the moment. Not to get away from the wife and kids- in fact the best times are when one or other of them join me, and sit in the chair I keep there for the purpose chatting to me while I chisel. Or when my youngest is cutting stuff up on the bandsaw, just for fun. I’ve completed the major project I was working on (a Pilates ladder barrel for my wife), and have spent almost all my time in there since re-organising my tools and making better tool storage solutions, such as this saw till.

Please note, I should probably be doing that sabre video class for the Solo course, but I’m not. I will, but not until my instinct tells me it’s time. I wondered why I was spending so much time out in my shed, and eventually it came to me. This is a period where the normal illusion of control (I can go here, I can do that) has been stripped away. We actually have exactly the same degree of agency we’ve always had, but as good citizens we are deciding to obey the government guidelines and stay home (yes really please do). The environment seems stranger and more hostile than usual, and it makes us feel helpless. So I have been spending my time in an environment I can control, and exerting that control in a clear and obvious way by making things, particularly things that change that environment for the better. This is the linear opposite of stressing about the plague. 

When I figured that out, I thought “good job, brain! nice one” and carried on making this:

Here it is from another angle.

What the hell is that? I hear you ask. Well now…

I don’t know if you have ever written a book. I have, several in fact. And every single one is like being constipated for a year or more, before finally it forces its way painfully out, and you lie spent from the struggle clutching this thing you’ve made. I should probably have written ‘pregnant’ for ’constipated’, but I was present for the birth of my children, and actually, giving birth seems to be orders of magnitude harder than producing a book. 

My latest extrusion is done and dusted, and the hardback pre-orders have been sent out. Hurrah!

In it I take you through all of Fiore's longsword techniques on foot out of armour. Each play is shown with the drawing from the treatise, my transcription and translation of the text that goes with it, my commentary on how it fits into the system and works in practice, and a link to a video of the technique as I interpret it. The book contains a detailed introduction describing Fiore's life and times, and extensive discussion of the contexts in which Fiore's art belongs.

You can get the ebook (in all formats) from my gumroad shop here:

It’s available to pre-order from Amazon in any one of their national stores, just search for its ASIN: B08629VNKY

But before you go dashing off to buy it: it’s Fiore sword geekery in the extreme. Please ONLY buy it if you are really into the historical side of historical swordsmanship, and/or you want to know how I think Fiore’s art is put together. This is not a basic introduction to how to hold a sword.

Or you can get the ebook for free… if you can tell me what the object pictured above is for, let me know in the comments, and the first correct answer will get the ebook. Note, that the object is lying on my bench, and may or may not be correctly rotated in the images.

I will also give out a free ebook to the best answer, correct or not!

I will post a picture of the object in service, and the best answer(s) next week.

I'm sure you have an opinion: do share!

9 Responses

  1. Is it an art piece that does something cool with shadows when light hits it from a certain angle?

  2. Perhaps I’m stating the obvious here, but it should be apparent that we are looking at a type of, perhaps unsurprisingly, anti virus barrier for historical manuscripts.
    This is a semi-finished, though cleverly masked, DYI set.

    In these dire times, we are faced with an increasing challenge of balancing between our health, our lives, and our need for analysing historical manuscripts*.
    That is why a group of aspiring inventors…invented a DYI set for sword fighting instructors and dedicated HEMA practitioners. The current model, unfortunately, only cover Fiore manuscript dimensions, blatantly discriminating against other, lesser manuscripts. Something that will have to be addressed in the future.

    So to give you a brief overview I will have to use an illustration found on the link provided. Keep in mind these are copyrighted, like, seriously, very strict and all.

    – Piece no.1 is a plastic sheet/screen holder which is fixed to your regular book stand by a screw, or, if you’re really going for that authenticity – nails.
    – Piece no.2 is just a leftover part Guy Windsor put there to mess with us. It’s useless.
    – Piece no.3-4 are a disinfectant holder, a stand nailed to a side of the book stand. It holds your standard 2,5L disinfectant/hand sanitizer dispenser/bottle you probably have tons of by now.
    – Piece no.5 is a (cleverly) unfinished mock up hand used for turning the pages, pointing to a play, pushing the dispenser button, scratching the back etc.It needs a metal rod inserted into it, and provided are three rod holders (ideally all three can be combined into a 3m single rod for that extra level of social distancing).

    Please forgive me for being a Captain Obvious here, but it had to be done.


    *I hope it was obvious enough that this part was just a joke. Stay safe everybody, #StayAtHome, and stay positive (except if you are testing for COVID-19).

    1. That, sir, is an outstanding answer.
      Sadly, not correct, though I’m kicking myself for not building what you describe.
      Check your email for a download link for your free copy of the new book!

  3. Pingback: Bored? Make Jam.

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Sad news, but be happy

My father Roger Windsor died on Tuesday 22nd, at home. Sometime in the night- so