Guy Windsor's Swordschool

Books, Bronze, and Weird Britons

Published about 1 month ago • 5 min read


The big news this week is that From Your Head to Their Hands is ready! You can find it at

Here’s the blurb:

From Your Head to Their Hands: How to write, publish, and market training manuals for Historical Martial Artists

“Our favourite writer of instructional manuals”- Neal Stephenson, from his foreword to Swordfighting, for Writers, Game Designers, and Martial Artists.

Guy Windsor’s historical martial arts training manuals are legendary. His first was published in 2004, and he’s been producing them ever since. They generate about half his income. So he is expert in writing, publishing, and marketing books for historical martial artists, and in this book he’ll teach you how to do it.

The goal of training manuals is to teach skills. This one will teach you:

  • How to write well
  • How to plan your book, or write without a plan
  • How to get reader feedback as you go
  • How to avoid procrastination and imposter syndrome
  • What tools to use
  • How to write without destroying your body
  • How to incorporate photos and videos
  • How to edit your work
  • What should be outsourced
  • How to publish: commercial, indy, or something else?
  • What metadata you need, and how to create it
  • How to choose your publishing platform
  • How to market your book
  • How to find your readers
  • How to launch
  • Everything you need to know about copyright and piracy
  • The best book marketing strategy of all time.

Also included: Guy’s article Show Your Work: how to communicate your historical martial arts research with the historical martial arts community.

If you’ve ever wanted to write a training manual for historical martial arts (or anything else), this book will show you how to do it. Buy it, read it, and get writing!

And I’m off to the studio on Thursday to record the audiobook. Hurrah!

Show your work is, I think, necessary for the HMA community as a whole; we need better ways of presenting our research. So, I’ve made that section of the book free, as a blog post here:

Share it with your friends!

Other Book News

From Medieval Manuscript to Modern Practice, the Wrestling Techniques of Fiore dei Liberi is coming along beautifully. I expect to see the first print proof in a week or so. I’ll be producing the book as a full-colour hardback, regular paperback, and ebook (no audio). Expect it in the beginning of March!

Training Update

My caffeine detox (for the purpose of improving sleep) is going well, in that it’s providing actionable data. Just not the data I was hoping for. Having established a base line of no alcohol, no caffeine, I found that it improved sleep marginally, and reintroducing my usual morning coffee made no difference at all, that I could find. Alcohol was much worse. I'm still not sleeping as well or as long as I’d like, but at least we can write caffeine off as a cause.

Sleep-wise, I’m having a think about what else I can do to improve things. Caffeine-wise, I’m going to restore my morning coffee most days, but not do it every day, and have at least one day a week where I have no caffeine at all, just on principle. You may ask why not cut it out altogether anyway? two reasons: 1) I like tea and coffee, and if there’s no adverse effects, there’s no reason not to enjoy them. 2) there are significant health benefits associated with both tea and coffee, and given that they’re not impacting sleep at the dosage and timings I’m using them, it makes no sense to avoid them.

Helsinki Seminar, February 17th

Just a reminder that I’ll be teaching a polearms seminar at the Salle in Helsinki (Luiskatie 8, 00770 Helsinki), on Saturday February 17th. For more info and to sign up, go here:

List Cleaning

It’s a time for spring cleaning (sort of), and in the world of email lists, that means purging the list of ‘cold subscribers’: those who are no longer actively reading the emails I send. If my email system has flagged your address as “Cold”, then you should have got a message from me last week about this. I’ll just repeat it here, in case you missed it the first time round. List cleaning is necessary for the following reasons:

1) A good email is a welcome email. If you’re not reading them, then they’re not as welcome as they need to be. I’d rather only send welcome emails.

2) Ever heard of the term ‘spam trap’? The email gods notice that some email addresses are no longer really active, and that these tend to get sent a lot of spam. If I send emails to that address, the gods mark my list as ‘spam-like’. Your email service providers take note of this mark, and my email list goes down in the estimation of the gods. This means that fewer of my emails will be delivered. The only way I have to know that an address on my list is not a spam trap, is if my emails sent to it are opened.

However, the system that records whether you open my emails or not can be disabled by your email security settings (that’s not a criticism- I admire you for your data purity!). So some email addresses will get earmarked as ‘cold’ when they are actually not. If that’s you, then I need you to click on any of the links in this email, which will tell the system to keep you on the list.

You can always re-subscribe, and I hope to see you either stay on the list, or back on it soon!

This week on The Sword Guy: Bronze Age Britons Were Weird, with Dr James Dilley

Dr James Dilley is an archaeologist and craftsman specializing in prehistoric technologies such as flintknapping, and casting bronze weaponry. He is the founder of Ancient Craft, a company that provides expertise and experiences to individuals and educational institutions.

James has three archaeology degrees, which seems like an awful lot. He has a BSc exploring polished stone axes, an MA focusing on bone flintknapping hammers, and a PhD from the University of Southampton on Upper Paleolithic hunting technology. So if you get lost in the woods with just a stone, James is clearly your man.

In our conversation, we talk about how James got into his career and started Ancient Craft. We talk about casting swords out of bronze, how to do it and what the swords are like. Listen right to the end for a bonus question about hilt design. I can confirm, casting your broadsword is really good fun. I did that with James a while ago.

We also talk about some of the weird finds (or things we haven’t found) from the Bronze Age period. For example, the Tollense battlefield site in Germany, where after the huge battle all the bodies were just left there. Another weirdness is the complete lack of Bronze Age armour found in Britain, when there was loads just over the Channel in France. Why didn’t the Brits wear armour? Were they just too brave? Also, why didn’t they eat any fish in Bronze Age Britain? And what did they do with their dead? Why can’t we find human bones? Surely the theory that people were cannibals can’t be true? Listen to the episode for speculative answers to these questions and more!

You can find the episode here:



Guy Windsor's Swordschool

Dr. Guy Windsor is a world-renowned instructor and a pioneering researcher of medieval and renaissance martial arts. He has been teaching the Art of Arms full-time since founding The School of European Swordsmanship in Helsinki, Finland, in 2001. His day job is finding and analysing historical swordsmanship treatises, figuring out the systems they represent, creating a syllabus from the treatises for his students to train with, and teaching the system to his students all over the world. Guy is the author of numerous classic books about the art of swordsmanship and has consulted on swordfighting game design and stage combat. He developed the card game, Audatia, based on Fiore dei Liberi's Art of Arms, his primary field of study. In 2018 Edinburgh University awarded him a PhD by Research Publications for his work recreating historical combat systems. When not studying medieval and renaissance swordsmanship or writing books Guy can be found in his shed woodworking or spending time with his family.

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Hi! I’m just back from Helsinki, where I had a marvellous time (as always). On Saturday we had an armoured combat and polearms seminar, which went really well. Some students were coming back to the Art after 20 years away! Which is always delightful to see. This terrible photo is from a moment in the class where we were looking at mixed weapons- how would you defend yourself with a dagger, against a spear? On the Monday I was in a photography studio shooting preliminary footage for our VR/AR...

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Hi! I’m flying off to Helsinki today (Thursday). I’ll be teaching a class on Friday night, and the polearms seminar on Saturday. Should be great fun! I don’t know if there are any spaces left, but here’s the link just in case: On Monday I’ll be in the studio shooting footage for the VR project I emailed about a short while ago. That generated a flood of responses, mostly “I don’t have a PICO headset, can you...

17 days ago • 1 min read

Hi! If you are interested in writing any kind of training manual, or explanatory non-fiction, or you just want a window into how I produce my books, From Your Head to Their Hands: how to write, publish, and market training manuals for historical martial artists is for you. spiffy cover or what? enjoy the subtle flex of having a stack of my own books on my own book cover :) Here's the blurb: “Our favourite writer of instructional manuals”- Neal Stephenson, from his foreword to Swordfighting,...

about 1 month ago • 1 min read
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