What the world really needs right now is obviously a better beginners’ guide to training in Fiore’s Art of Arms, right? So I have created one. So what's special about that?
I always, always, try to instil self-direction into my students. My job is to make myself redundant. I do this in practice by giving even beginners in their very first class some agency to choose what we cover. By the time they get to the seniors class (usually in a year or two), classes are entirely student-led: we cover whatever they need my help with that day.
Books are a very linear model, and while I can lay out my usual path through the enormous range of the Fiore syllabus, that restricts the reader’s agency to an unfortunate degree. But actually, very few of my readers ever read from cover to cover. Everyone skips ahead to the things they are most interested. And why not? They’ve bought the book, they can do whatever they want with it.
So I have figured out how to include gradually increasing levels of choice for the reader/student in these workbooks. The series will comprise several workbooks. The first is the Beginner’s Course, of eight lessons each with about as much stuff as I’d cover in a single 90 minute class. In the first class of the first book, you get one simple choice. In the second class, there’s more freedom. At every stage, if you need prior material to successfully approach the topic at hand, that will be flagged up. So even if you skipped that section for some reason, you can go to the specific prerequisite material and practice that before returning to the thing you want to do next.
There are as many correct paths through the syllabus as there are students to walk them. In this new series I have finally figured out how to represent that on the page.
Every technique, every drill, is presented as written instructions with images from the source manuscript, and over 40 video clips. Each video is linked to with a QR code on the relevant page, so you can just point your smartphone at the page and it will open the video for you. There is abundant space for your own written notes, which is especially necessary when you are not working through the material in the order it appears in the text.
It’s a choose your own path training manual.
Part One covers the following material:
The four guards of abrazare (wrestling)
The first six plays of abrazare
The four steps (footwork)
The three turns (footwork)
With the Dagger
The four blows of the dagger
Disarms against forehand, backhand, and rising dagger thrusts
Counters to the disarms
Arm locks and counters
How to fall safely
A basic takedown/throw
With the Longsword
Six ways to hold the longsword
The seven blows of the longsword
How to parry and strike
How to counter the parry with a pommel strike
How to counter the pommel strike
The exchange of thrusts
Breaking the thrusts
Training on the pell
That's a lot of material- but thanks to the format it’s presented in, it should be thoroughly attainable.
The book is in layout now; all the video clips have been edited and uploaded, the QR codes created, and so on. We even have the covers.
There is a limited number of pre-order slots available, which will help pay for the layout and cover graphic design work, and the editing costs. Pre-orders are for the print version, but also include the ebook.
I hope to get the ebook version out to those that pre-order in a week or so, and the print workbooks ready to ship by the end of this month.
The workbook should be more widely available in May.
You can preorder the right-handed layout here: https://guywindsor.gumroad.com/l/aw1RHpreorder
And the left-handed layout here: https://guywindsor.gumroad.com/l/aw1LHpreorder