Guy's Blog

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

My course How to Teach Historical Martial Arts is now live, and for the next week only you can get 40% off with this link: https://swordschool.teachable.com/p/how-to-teach-historical-martial-arts-or-anything-else?coupon_code=LEARNTOTEACH

If you are currently leading classes but think your students are not progressing as well as they could; or you are thinking about teaching historical martial arts one day; or you think of teaching as your best learning environment; then this course is for you.

To teach anything, you need to understand the students’ goal, show them a model of how to reach that goal, and create a feedback mechanism so that they can see whether they are moving in the right direction.

It’s that simple. But simple is not easy. Most clubs and schools I have seen have no trouble setting up basic choreographed drills: he does this, she does that, etc. but the basic drills don’t work in freeplay- indeed, why would they? So the focus of this course is developing actual skills. How do we set things up so that the students will be able to apply their art under pressure?

In this course you will find guidance on:

  • How to plan your classes
  • How to run your classes
  • How to run a beginners’ course
  • How to teach an advanced class (even if you are not very advanced yourself)
  • What to do when things go wrong
  • Teaching an individual lesson
  • Teaching a mixed-level class
  • Developing your students skills
  • Setting up freeplay
  • Using freeplay for training purposes
  • Designing a syllabus for your students to follow

And many other topics. You can find the course at 40% off the regular price here: 

https://swordschool.teachable.com/p/how-to-teach-historical-martial-arts-or-anything-else?coupon_code=LEARNTOTEACH

The course is delivered primarily as audio files and printable handouts, with some video clips to illustrate key drills. So you can absorb the bulk of the course while driving, cooking, hand-tooling a leather scabbard, or whatever else you may be doing. 

Feel free to share this offer with anyone you think may be interested: just share this post, or the link, by email or on your social media accounts.

Don't tell anyone I said this, but there's more to life than swords. Pens are important too. As are chisels, saws, planes…

Pencil Box in Brown Oak, Maple, Cherry, Walnut, and Resin

On my recent trip to the USA I was sitting in my friend Heidi Zimmerman’s garden when she dropped a truth bomb on my head. We have been close friends for a long time, but she doesn’t have anything I’ve made in her house. This unacceptable state of affairs had to be rectified, and we settled on a pencil box. I had complete artistic freedom, it just had to hold pencils. Oh, and a sliding top, not hinged. I’ve never made one before so I bashed out this in plywood:

It’s just butt-jointed and glued, nothing fancy. But it gave me the dimensions, and an idea about order of operations. I made the box out of brown oak (because I have tons of it. Literally. A dead tree in our garden had to come down and I had it sawn into planks, the thinner of which are about ready to be used).  I used lap dovetails at one end, and through dovetails at the other, just because. I decided to make it long enough to have a section for sharpeners and rubbers.

 

I chose a scrap of walnut for the divider because it had an ombre effect, light to dark, that I thought might tie the dark sides to the light base.

The base was a piece of maple I’ve had lying around for about five years, too small for most projects, but too nice to throw away. It was way too thick though, so I decided to leave it full thickness, and carve feet out of it when the box was assembled. Using such a pale wood should make the inside of the box lighter, making it easier to see what’s inside. 

The sliding top came from a leftover bit of cherry that I had used for experimenting with resin. I like the idea of a translucent window into the box.

I have no idea how long it all took- I did everything by hand (including sawing to thickness, stock preparation, etc.) because that’s more fun than firing up the machines. The only exception was the grooves for the lid and the base. I didn’t have the right size blade for my plough plane, and didn’t want to grind one to fit, so I slummed it with the router. I think it turned out ok!

 

Pen Tray in Pine, Brown Oak, and Leather

A while ago the philosopher and swordsman Damon Young (prof, dr, etc. Also guest on my podcast) posted a photo on Twitbook of his pen drawer. A small drawer in his writing desk with his pens in it:

They looked very sad in that crappy cardboard tray, and I couldn’t help but share a photo of mine:

But not being a total arse, I softened the sting by offering to make Damon a proper pen tray. He’s in Tasmania, and I’m in the UK, but all I needed was an accurately cut template of the inside of the drawer, and it should slide right in. Prof. Dr. Young is an accomplished writer and philosopher, but not a craftsman, as the template rudely attested. A bit gappy sir! In fact, as gappy as the plot in most Marvel movies. But I made some educated guesses, and made this:

It’s pine, with grooves routed out, spaces for the drawer handle screws (which are in huge saucers for some reason), covered in goatskin and edged in brown oak. The edges are just pinned on so if the insert was a bit too big, they could be easily popped off. The whole thing took maybe two hours, not including waiting an hour for the glue holding the leather down to go off. I posted it off to the far side of the world, and turns out if fits ok!

Now I really should get on and make the next bookcase…

I do like a bit of woodwork. And what is a jaegerstock if not a very long stick with some pointy bits attached?

This instalment takes place entirely in my workshop, as I’m fitting the heads to the shaft.

This is part two of the Jaegerstock series. You can find part one here:

Taking up the Jaegerstock

And all jaegerstock posts here:

https://guywindsor.net/tag/jaegerstock/

I recently interviewed Reinier van Noort for my podcast, and while we were talking he mentioned a documented set of solo forms for the Jaegerstock, a nine-foot long spear with a point at both ends. The source is Johann Georg Pascha’s book Kurtze ANLEIDUNG Wie der BASTON A DEUX BOUS, Das ist JAEGERSTOCK/ Halbe Pique oder Springe-stock Eigentlich zu gebrauchen und was vor Lectiones darauff seyn. This was originally printed in 1669, and is a translation of a French work. Reinier has published his translation (along with many more of Pascha’s works) in his book The Martial Arts of Johann Georg Pasha. I love solo training, and so promised in the show to figure out those solo forms and video them.

This turned into something of a project, including doing the research, making the weapon, figuring out the forms themselves, and so on. It struck me when I was starting out that it has been a long time since I approached a new source from scratch, and that it may be helpful to other scholars of historical martial arts to see how I get from the page to the physical action. It’s never just a question of read the whole book and then do all the actions- I always start with a small chunk of text and try it out. The process is iterative and cumulative, not linear.

I don’t intend to write this up in a formal way, but instead create a video log of the process, which will include asides, digressions, mistakes, ruminations, plenty of expletives, and eventually lead us to a working interpretation.

One note before we begin- there are several existing interpretations already out there, including Reinier’s own. In the normal run of things, if I was just trying to come up a working interpretation I would study those at the same time as creating my own- there is no sense in re-inventing the wheel. But because I want to illuminate my process of ab initio interpretation, I’m wilfully ignoring the existing ones. This is not best practice if other interpretations exist, but I’m doing it here to simulate the situation of being the first or only person working on a given text.

I’ve got half a dozen videos shot and edited already, so am planning to release them here on a weekly schedule. This gives you a chance to train along in real time, if you’d like to.

So, without further ado, here’s the first video:

This is part one of the Jaegerstock series. You can find the rest here as they are produced:

Jaegerstock Posts


Who doesn’t love Fiore’s art of arms? I mean really, it’s got everything. If you’re into medieval stuff, it’s the best-documented knightly sword, with source manuscripts dating back to the late 14th century. If you’re into any kind of unarmoured fencing, this system lays down the eternal fundamental rule: parry and strike. Then takes that idea and riffs on it with exchanges, breaks, and some very cool tricks.

I’ve been working with Fiore dei Liberi’s art of arms since first coming across a dodgy photocopy of the Pisani Dossi manuscript in the early nineties, and have been developing my interpretation and teaching classes regularly in the system since 2001. I've encapsulated my understanding and teaching method in The Complete Medieval Longsword Course.

This course bundle includes:

  • The Medieval Longsword Complete Course
  • The Medieval Dagger Course
  • Fundamentals: Footwork Course

The Longsword course is organised into nine main sections.

  1. Getting Started
  2. Basic Striking
  3. Basic Defences
  4. Counter-Remedies
  5. How to Strike
  6. The Cutting Drill, Complete
  7. Introducing Complexity
  8. Fiore’s Longsword Plays
  9. Advanced Training

The Medieval Dagger Course comprises:

  1. Foundations: theory, footwork, falling
  2. Basics: Dagger handling and joint locks
  3. The System Overview
  4. Other lines of attack
  5. The Dagger Disarm Flowdrill
  6. Completing the Base

Fundamentals: Footwork includes:

  1. Safety
  2. Grounding
  3. Controlling Measure
  4. Longsword module
  5. Rapier module
  6. Sword and Buckler module
  7. Bonus material

Together this bundle costs $600 (plus sales tax if you live in the EU). For the next week only, you can get 50% off the bundle price, so it will cost just $300 (or $60/month for five months). Just use this link: https://swordschool.teachable.com/p/complete-medieval-longsword?coupon_code=FIORESUMMERSALE

All my courses come with a 30-day money back guarantee. If you buy it but find it’s not for you, then just let me know and I’ll refund you with a couple of mouse clicks.
But I'm confident you'll love it. Why? Because so far less than one student in 400 has asked for a refund, and we get testimonials like this one from Jason:

I was living in a historical martial arts desert during the pandemic, so I started with Swordschool's free introductory class for longsword and was immediately hooked. Guy provided clear instruction with video demonstration. I was able to run a small Fiore study group working through the materials here to jump start me into using the manuscripts themselves. Guy provided that necessary bridge that I needed to into being able to interpret and work through the material first hand. And best of all, he was only an email away if I had questions. I would absolutely recommend these courses to anyone who needs a historical martial arts starting point, especially if you are trying to enter into this world of swordsmanship on your own or to challenge your interpretation of your own art or to try a new historical form. – Jason James

Interested? here's the link: https://swordschool.teachable.com/p/complete-medieval-longsword?coupon_code=FIORESUMMERSALE

 

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