I am a swordsmanship practitioner, instructor, researcher, writer, and also an entrepreneur. My mission in life is to restore historical martial arts to their rightful place at the heart of our culture. Check out my blog, my books, my courses, and the syllabus I have developed. I am also involved in crowd-funding, and you can see my campaigns here.
I've been doing this a long time; a brief overview of my work is below:
1994: I founded The Dawn Duellists’ Society with Joe Calise and Paul Macdonald; it is still running today, and many of its members have gone on to found their own groups, such as the Hotspur School of Defence, the Black Boar Swordsmanship School, and others.
1999: I helped to found the British Federation for Historical Swordplay, with Paul Macdonald and Bob Brooks. It is still running today.
2001: I founded The School of European Swordsmanship in Helsinki. It has spread to Singapore (possibly the first HMA school in Asia), Australia, Sweden, Germany, the United States, Canada, as well as all across Finland. The prevalence of Finns in the modern HMA scene is directly due to the School: Ilkka Hartikainen, Kristian Ruokonen, and many others got their start there.
2004: I published The Swordsman's Companion. It broke new ground and got a generation of students across the globe started with HMA.
2006: I published The Duellist's Companion. This was the first comprehensive training guide to the rapier, and is still the foundation of many schools’ training regimens.
2007 and 2008 were marked by the births of my children. Not much else got done!
2010: I began uploading free videos of the School’s syllabus, and published the entire school syllabus online for free, and pioneered the use of crowdfunding for HMA projects, starting in 2011.
2011: my book The Medieval Dagger was published by Freelance Academy Press.
2012: I began blogging, providing useful free content to the HMA community.
2013: I published Veni Vadi Vici, a translation of Philippo Vadi's manuscript De Arte Gladiatoria Dimicandi, and released the translation online for free.
2014: I published The Medieval Longsword. At this point the number of free training videos online passed 100, including many full-length seminars. I also published the first two decks of Audatia, the first ever card game that teaches historical swordsmanship.
2016: I published Advanced Longsword: Form and Function, the final two Audatia decks, three more instalments of The Swordsman's Quick Guide, and put over 30 HMA treatises online for free, including Fabris, Marozzo, Agrippa and Girard. I also released the first ever online course to help students research HMA; called “Recreate historical swordsmanship from historical sources”.
2017: I created several more online courses, including The Medieval Dagger course, the Medieval Longsword course, the Breathing course, and others, while working on two more books.
2018: I published The Theory and Practice of Historical Martial Arts, the definitive guide to how martial arts can be recreated, and trained. I published The Art of Sword Fighting in Earnest, a new improved academic translation of De Arte Gladiatoria Dimicandi, which, combined with The Duellist's Companion, The Medieval Dagger, and a critical review of these three books, earned me a PhD from Edinburgh University. I also produced the Complete Rapier Course.
1) Why Swordsmanship?
The art deserves the place I want for it because it has the capacity to hook people out of mediocrity and into their best, dare I say knightly, selves. For a significant subset of the population, the sword is the best, most effective, most natural tool for getting in touch with who they aspire to be. And it is my job to help them with that difficult and often painful process. I do this by providing training opportunities: organised classes, a space to train in, a set of authentic, historically accurate combat systems to study, and by teaching classes, seminars and private lessons.
For a fuller answer, see here.
2) Why Finland?
Why not? It's a great place to live and to bring up my kids. No, my wife is not Finnish, and no, I don't like snow very much. For a fuller answer, see here.
But, as of May 2016, I'll be living in Ipswich, in Suffolk. Where's that? seems to be the usual response, so here's a helpful map:
3) How do I start training?
My school has branches and study groups in all sorts of places, and you can train using my online courses here.
4) What else do you do?
I am married with two kids, which doesn't leave a lot of time (or inclination) for extra stuff, but every now and then I get into the shed to do some woodwork.