Guy's Blog

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Tag: Vancouver

Every HEMA school has its own particular vibe, a culture and a way of being. I spent my last weekend in the New World at Valkyrie Martial Arts Assembly, teaching a longsword weekend; a day of Fiore and a day of Vadi. So far, so normal. But the Valkyrie vibe is quite unlike any other club or group I’ve come across, and it’s worth taking a minute to look at what, and why, that is.
In the first place, as the sign in the bathroom insisting that the loo seat belongs in the down position, “this is a matriarchy”. It is run by Courtney Rice, Kaja Sadowski, and Randy Packer, so at board level, that’s certainly the case. And it has the highest proportion of female to male students of any club I know (it’s about 45% women).

One of the hallmarks of a good place to train is that students are judged only on their attitudes and effort, never on results. I’ve never seen that more clearly demonstrated than at Valkyrie. It was amazing, and it is certainly the result of very clear and deliberate policies that are put explicitly in practice. I hope that any person coming to my classes feels safe and welcome. I know that that is not always the case. But I think it probably is the case at this school.
I begin every class saying that I’ll consider it successful if everyone finishes training healthier than they started it, and the way to get there is a zero tolerance policy on macho bullshit. Because swords do tend to bring a bit of macho bullshit out of people (myself most definitely included). But I never saw a breath of it, over two full days of teaching there. It was amazing. If you ever get the chance to go, do it.
The character of the place was never clearer than at the impromptu post-seminar party, where we ate sushi and pizza, drank really good whisky, and even went outside for a civilized pipe. (I think Randy has Hobbit blood in him somewhere.) A party at which I was prevailed upon to demonstrate Whisky and Cigars again…
So, thanks to Courtney, Kaja, Randy, and the many excellent students who made the seminar a real pleasure to teach. And a particular tip of the hat to Chris, who soldiered on through both days with only a couple of months prior experience behind them.

I look forward to my return!

Teaching a I.33 class in the Lonin loft.

A recurring theme in my life is a contact from someone who narrowly missed a seminar with me in some far-flung outpost because they didn’t know it was happening. So let me take a minute of your time to let you know about two events coming up in the Pacific North West:

This weekend, April 29-30th, I’ll be teaching in Seattle; Saturday’s class will be Fiore and Vadi, Sunday morning I.33 sword and buckler, and Sunday afternoon Capoferro rapier.

Please email to register!

This is a regular bi-annual event; I expect to be back in Seattle in the autumn.

The following weekend, May 6th and 7th, I’ll be teaching for the first time at the Valkyrie Martial Arts Assembly in Vancouver BC. Valkyrie is the school of the author of one of my favourite HEMA blogs,, Randy Packer, with Courtney Rice and Kaja Sadowski. Randy and Kaja have both shown me physical training exercises that I can’t do, so I’m looking forward to some useful cross-pollination.

It’s been two years since I last taught in Canada (at VISS 2015), and I don’t know when I’ll be back, so if you’re in the area don’t miss it!

Day one will be a beginner-friendly introduction to Fiore’s longsword material on Saturday May 6th.

Day two will be a full day of Vadi’s longsword on Sunday May 7th.

You can register here!

I’ll make sure that anyone that comes on the Saturday has the necessary training by the end of the day to get value out of Sunday’s more advanced session, so by all means sign up for both! (Plus, you get a discount!)

In every case, while the system we will cover is established in advance (eg Vadi Longsword), the exact content of the seminar is planned with the attendees on the day; we take a few minutes to survey the class and take requests, which I then work into a scheme for the class training. This works very well, and in almost every case the students get exactly what they came for.

If you have friends in the Seattle or Vancouver areas that you think might want to know about these seminars, please share this post with them!

I hope to see you there!


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Sad news, but be happy

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