Guy's Blog

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

Category: AMA

Well, anything within reason…

I’ll be going live on Reddit this evening at 10pm UK time, which is currently UTC +1, on the “swords” subreddit, here:

(note, not the WMA subreddit that I mentioned in my last email, sorry). I'll be on for an hour, and typing as fast as I can!

The first episode of the podcast has been well received, thanks to everyone who dropped me a line to let me know. Some have questions for my illustrious guest, so I thought we should get together for a chat…

Jess and I are doing an online pub night AMA (or rather, A us A) over Zoom at 10pm UTC+1 (that’s 4pm in Kansas) on Sunday July 12th. This is a ticket-only event, and tickets are strictly limited. There are some at £12 (buy us both a drink), some at £6 (buy us a drink), some at £3 (buy us a cup of tea), and some are free. Please leave the free tickets for people who genuinely can’t afford unnecessary expenses at the moment, or are coming in from a country with a terrible exchange rate.

We will start with hellos, and kick off by answering questions that ticket-holders send in. About 20 minutes in we will split up into breakout rooms for a short while, so you can chat with fellow sword people. Then Jess and I will come back together for more questions.

The event is scheduled for one hour, but it’s very unlikely we’ll stick to that. Once we get going it’s hard to stop!

The event will be recorded (assuming it all works as it should), and attendees will get access to the recording

You can find the event here:

See you there!

There is a lot going on in the House of Windsor.

The Sword Guy podcast is live, episode one with Jess Finley is up here. It will trickle through to the normal platforms (such as Apple’s itunes etc.) in due course. The second episode will go live on Friday.

I’ve got another 7 episodes in the bag, and have three more interviews set up for this week alone, so it looks like the first season will be at least 12 episodes long.

Jess and I will also be doing a webinar AMA soon, for follow-up questions you may have from the podcast. We’re aiming for some time around 9pm GMT (that’s 4pm in Kansas, 10pm in the UK at the moment) on the weekend of July 11-12, but I’ll keep you posted.

I am running another AMA on Reddit on Wednesday evening (July 1st) at 10pm UK time, 5pm Eastern Standard. The last one went really well, so I thought I’d do another. I think it’ll be on the wma subreddit, here:

I’ll send out a reminder with the exact details on Wednesday.

My morning training sessions are going swimmingly. If you’re free at 8.15am UK time (currently BST) then do join us! You can book in here.

I’m recording them and uploading them to the Solo Training course so you can do them any time. I occasionally forget to hit the record button, so the only way to be sure not to miss one (and to ask for specific exercises or help with training problems) is to join us live.

Here’s one from last week:

I’ll be on BBC Radio Devon tomorrow at 12.30 BST, being interviewed about the solo course.

And I’m charging ahead with a new book idea, about how sword training applies to real life decision-making. The draft is forming before my very eyes…

This is the last episode for a while- I'm off to the states on Wednesday, and will be way too busy going round the Met and teaching at Lord Baltimore's Challenge to be fiddling about with video cameras. The next episode should be out in a couple of weeks though, and will address follow-ups to my concussion video.

Today's episode has me answering some quite tricky questions about tournaments, and some more straightforward ones about, for instance, how to train your neck.

Here's the video:


The Sports Gene:


The Swordsman’s Companion:

Secrets of Medieval German Swordsmanship:

Concussion edition of Ask the Sword Guy:


today's questions are:

Joe Propati's series of questions continue….

  1. Since Knights trained their whole life to become masters of the sword, were there any individuals who stood out as the Grand masters of the sword above everyone else in the world and who were they?
  2. Did Squires and Knights learn sword play by physical lessons alone or did they also learn through manuscript?
  3. Were there instructors during the time period that were Grand masters or individuals that were sought out do to their fame or standing?  Did Knights and Squires traveled to these individuals for special sword training?
  4. How long did it take a Knight to become a master or proficient at the long sword?
  5. Were Knights taught lethal and non-lethal tactics with the sword or just lethal tactics?
  6. If a Knight learned to use a Katana instead of a long sword, how different would the tactics of battle be with two Knights in armor?

Then we have:

What are your thoughts on other historically inspired fighting, eg SCA heavy, rapier, hmb or nvg,

-Nikephoros from lochac

Then Luke from Cyprus asks,

what's the most common situation for a soldier to use a hand and a half sword?

By that I mean, sword and shield was a common deployed combo at one point, but mostly sword were sidearms, right? Would they be carried to war with their spears? If so how?

And a couple of questions regarding my pattern-welded longsword:

What makes your sword with the pattern welded blade cut really well, and can you show some close up images of it?

Thank you,

Brijn, Colorado

And Douglas asks:

I have a question. On your recently published Q&A related to the horse sized duck, you mentioned your pattern welded long sword as being the tool (asides from a light sabre) that you would use. My question is, are pattern welded swords genuinely sharper and more hard wearing than a “normal” modern forged high carbon steel blade? I am looking to buy my first sharp and would like it to be the best and loveliest that I can currently afford / justify and whether to go for a pattern welded blade or not is definitely a factor I am considering.

And finally Robin asks:

1) Obviously you've written and published quite a lot of material on historical martial arts. Have you considered, or *would* you consider, doing something about more fantastic fighting? “A Dungeons and Dragon's Guide to Combat” or something like that? Whether it be purely speculative or aimed at cosplayers/fantasy recreationists/whatever. And yes, this question is inspired by the duck horse question from last time.

2) Do you have a coat of arms, and would you be willing to show it on the video?

3) I didn't realize that you – as you put it – came from an antiques restoration career. Do you still restore old weapons (or old furniture) in your free time?

Here's the video:


Updated: Solo Training Course, only $20 during the Corona crisis

The Unconquered Knight: A Chronicle of the Deeds of Don Pero Niño, Count of Buelna:

Christian Cameron’s the Ill-Made Knight series.

Training with sharps AMA video:

Training with Sharp Swords: article on the CFAA blog:

My craft blog:


Today's video is a mixed bag of topics, answering the following questions:

How thick were rapier blades?

How wide were rapier blades?

How thick were dagger blades?

How wide were dagger blades?

Thank you,

Brijn, in Colorado


Dear Dr Guy Windsor

I'm sending you pictures of a miniature Spanish sword (a letter opener, made in Toledo).

Do you have any information on this type of swords?

Peter in Venezuela


– Do you experience an asymmetric build up of muscle and/or any asymmetries in posture and movement patterns due to fencing?

– If so, do you do anything to compensate this asymmetry?

– With unexperienced students, what do you do to teach them to stay calm during sparring? How do you teach them to spar in a way that they understand what's going on?

Kind regards, Michael Spring

Here's the video:


This week only discount on the Solo Training Course:

Ken Mondschein’s translation of Agrippa:

Tom Leoni’s translation of Fabris:

The Theory and Practice of Historical Martial Arts:

A Comparison of Late 16th to Early 17th Century Rapiers with Modern Reproductions:

The Rapier, part three: Developing your Skills:

Episode with left handers:

Breathing book:

Lord Baltimore’s Challenge:


Which do you prefer- sausage or spaghetti? Mercedes or Ferrari?

Today's questions were:

This is Matthew in Michigan and I'm curious about the why one might choose to study longsword from the German tradition over the Italian tradition, and vice/versa?

Thank you for undertaking this venture and for your ongoing support of the martial arts community.


I've got a question! I'm a German longsword student, so in watching your materials one of the things that always strikes me is the Italian preference for double-time actions, as compared to the more single-time focus of the German tradition. So, can you hold forth on that a bit? Why does the Italian tradition embrace double-time and the German tradition eschew it? I can imagine all sorts of reasons why the traditions might have diverged in this way (weapon size, differences in use of space, etc.) but I'm interested in your take on the topic generally.


Given that Fiore mostly describes plays at the crossings, how do you approach fights with more percussive fighters who actively avoid the bind? When you're training folks for that, do you look to the guards and strikes part of the manual for this kind of thing? Or is there another part of the manual you think adequately preps people to fight from out-of-measure into gioco largo?

Also: what's your favorite response to a roverso Zwerchau (god that feels weird to type)

Appreciate your work!


There is one more question, regarding herrings and trousers. And a blooper at the very end. Here's the video:



Audatia decks on DriveThruCards:

Training for Foresight:

The Medieval Longsword Complete Course:

Guards part 1:

Guards part 2:

Guards part 3:

The Fiore Translation Project #14 The Guards summary:

Size Matters:

Fiore Facsimile (the closest you can get to owning the manuscript):

This week only discount on the Solo Training Course

Today’s AMA topic are solo training, and training with disabilities. Raymond, in Montana, sent in this question:

“I really enjoy your video trainings and teaching. I purchased the combo package (complete long sword, complete medieval dagger, and footwork) and a few freebies for my 50th birthday. I watched (and practiced) all the footwork, all the medieval dagger and am now about 60% through the long sword.
here is my question:
The biggest problem I have is that I live in fairly remote southeast Montana and do not have any partners with which to practice. My wife is too afraid to assist.  I do what what I can to run through the foot work and various forms, and techniques. Any suggestions for us loners? I may end up starting something in a nearby town eventually (30 miles away), but not financially feasible at this time.”

As it happens, about 95% of my training is done alone. Solo training includes at least the following:
1) physical conditioning, such as range of motion exercises, breathing, and strength training.
2) technical skills practice such as sword handling drills, point control work, pell work
3) theory study, such as research

So much of good training is done alone that it might be more useful to look at what training partners are actually good for. This includes:
1) A social component to your training. We are social animals, and it’s good to have people around you.
2) Practising timing- making your actions with and against somebody else’s actions.
3) Practising technical skills, such as applying an arm bar, or doing a parry riposte that actually works
4) Putting your skills under pressure, with resistance, non-compliance, and randomisation. This can be done as a coaching exercise, or competitively.

All experienced fencers, high level combat sportspeople, and soldiers of every kind do a great deal of solo training- it is the basis upon which their success is built. For experienced swordspeople wanting to improve their solo training routines.

For beginners wanting to get ready for the time when training partners become available. Imagine two people showing up to their first ever class. One of them has never handled a sword before, and is not very fit. The other is fit, limber, and can handle a sword beautifully: they just haven’t done any pair drills yet. Which one is going to progress faster?

I have been working on a Solo Training online course for a while now, which will be ready in August. But Raymond’s question persuaded me that I should pre-launch it now, to get students working with the material immediately, and so that they can tell me what they think the course needs. This will produce a much better course than me trying to anticipate everyone’s needs. Because the course isn’t complete yet, I’m making it available for one week only at a very reduced price. The course will cost $500 at full price, but you can get it for this week only at $180, a savings of 64%.

You can find the course at the discount here.

This course will give you all the tools you need to build an effective solo training practice, whatever your current level of experience.

The second question I address on this video is about training with disability. Will Perry wrote:

I’m a stroke survivor (almost 4 years now). I fence and even used it as therapy after my stroke. What advice would you give to someone who fences/wants to fence that has a disability?
Will Perry from New Hope, Minnesota, US

I’ve addressed that in the video, but if you’re short on time, you can summarise my approach as ‘stalk your strength’.

Here’s the video:


The Solo Training Course:

Blog posts on training after injury:
Recovery from injury: 6 useful ideas:
Fuck it but don’t poke the bear:


In today's video I discuss the problem of mismatched weapons. Swords versus spears, rapiers versus halberds, and so on.

The questions were:

Thanks for taking questions. I've been reading your books for a long time and have more than a few but I'll stick with two recent ones.

1) I've seen a lot of HEMA practitioners on YouTube confidently declare that a quarterstaff or polearm beats a sword hands-down. However, every demo I've seen is with blunt training swords where the bind of blade against shaft is really more of a bounce. I'm wondering if the swordsman's chances improve when a sharp edge binds with a wooden shaft to potentially buy an instant to close distance under cover. Have you ever tested this, and if so what is your prognosis?

Also 1) Some Spanish and Italian treatises show training forms for using two swords (seems to be strictly self-defense or bodyguard scenarios), and I'm wondering if you know how someone carries and draws two swords? I thought maybe it is a “case of rapiers” but the forms seem to favor cuts, so I assume that they are side swords. I'm confused.

Jason from Maine


My question is why is there so little material out there about sword vs spear – given the historical prevalence of both spear and swords in historical battle surely there must be treatises / techniques for these two weapons to match off against each other?

I am happy to be identified – Johan from Sword-Point College of Arms in Perth Western Australia.


Im very interested in mixed weapon sparring as i find it makes me think more about my opponent, since we are not using the same weapon i cant assume their limitations based on my own with the rapier and i need to make more fluid adjustments to my style.

What are the other contemporary weapons that could be tested against rapier, both singly and paired with an offhand tool?

Not anonymous, Evan, Australia

Here it is:



Mixed weapons in episode 1:

Dagger v sword post:

My Fabris on Gumroad:

I have had a few questions regarding training children coming in, such as this one:

Here’s a question- there are a lot of potentially unscrupulous martial arts clubs out there who’ll give a 5-year-old a black belt if their parents cough up enough cash, but most historical fencing clubs I’ve come across have a lower age limit of 18, so if insurance wasn’t an issue, what is the youngest age of student you’d consider starting to teach historical fencing? As a follow-up, do you have any suggestions for sword-related activities for younger children beyond swinging sticks around with gay abandon?

Best wishes,


And this one:

I should perhaps provide some back ground to my questions as it might help clarify what I am asking. I've been practicing sword work (entirely casually) for almost 20 years but am no way near an expert. At the moment, I'm a science teacher at a small school in the UK.

My colleagues and I thought that some VERY basic sword work (using sticks with no contact etc..) might be a fun and interesting way to teach a number of science subjects to some of our 13-14 year old students. I've been able to bring in aspects of mechanical physics (balance, centre of gravity, levers, force and so on), biology (muscles, fatigue, reaction times.. ) and even some more general scientific investigations such as building and testing the affects of mock impacts using wood and clay as our human analogue. I've even managed to cover a few nods to history and sociology… Throughout, we've also tried to teach spacial and (very importantly) social awareness so the students have a respect for the class environment, their role within it and how their actions impact on others. I should clarify as well that we don't teach GCSEs at this school so our hands are fortunately not tied to prescriptive teaching methods.

SO.. my first question is this:

If you were teaching VERY BASIC swordsmanship to teenagers in a school, what sort of wider skills and disciplines do you think they could (or should be able to) reasonably write on their C.V.s as a result of the training? And how would you go about introducing these things? (take as long as you need to get the training done but assume, while they are engaged with the training as it takes place that this is not something they intend to pursue in the long run).

I have answered them to the best of my ability here:

(There are no shownotes for this video)

Today's episode has just one question:

What is your opinion on the force levels in HEMA. Especially in regards to the research into the cumulative effects of repeated sub-concussive hits to the head. It seems there are no end of people reporting broken swords or bashed in helmets and I do not believe HEMA is that different or special from other sports that feature head hits.

Here's my answer:

Here are the show notes:

Game Brain book, now Concussion:

Rates of concussion in rugby players:

In NFL players: Vox article re American Football:

In boxing:

Blog post re head wound:


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