Guy Windsor's Swordschool

The Quick and the Dead and the Podcast

Published 12 days ago • 4 min read


I hope this finds you well. First up, a couple of time-sensitive things:

I’ll be in Helsinki for the first weekend in June, teaching two seminars, on improving your longsword freeplay (Saturday June 1st) and on how to teach (Sunday June 2nd).

You can find the details (content, exact location, price etc.) here:

Improve your Freeplay

How to Teach Historical Martial Arts

And, if you’re more into the medieval German stuff, my friend Michael Chidester is running a crowdfunding campaign for another stunning facsimile: Fabian von Auerswald with a translation by Jessica Finley. A must-have for scholars of the German tradition:

And speaking of Jessica, I’ve put together the Ultimate Medieval Martial Arts Package of courses, which includes four full-length online courses, Medieval Wrestling (with Jessica), Medieval Dagger, Medieval Longsword, and Jessica’s Haupstucke course too.

As ChatGPT says, "Whether enhancing historical knowledge or honing martial skills, this package offers unmatched value.” Gotta love our AI overlords.

You can find the package here:

Speaking of medieval stuff, I’ve been working away on my Fiore translation, in preparation for my trip to Kansas in July to record my interpretation of Fiore’s dagger plays. As part of this process I’m recording my translation. It’s normal to read one’s work aloud when editing, and I thought why not have the microphone running while I do that?

So at some point in the future I’ll probably produce an audiobook of my translation of the Getty MS; which means you can be immersing yourself in some Fiore-tastic stuff while driving to work, or doing the laundry. Why not?

I’ve gone so far as to create a video version of the introduction, where the point of view tracks the text in the manuscript, so you can read along in the Italian. I shared that to my Patrons on Patreon, which they seem to have enjoyed.

While I’m over in the states I will be doing a couple of seminars, starting with Improve your Freeplay, in Madison WI on July 6th and 7th, in which we’ll spend a day improving your, you guessed it, freeplay skills with longsword and rapier (a day of each!). You can find the seminar details and registration instructions at

And with the weather improving, there are all sorts of options for training outside. My friend Dave Smith, of Suffolk HEMA celebrated the May bank holiday yesterday by organising a cutting session, with water bottles, hanging paper, and clay. I have to say the clay was a delight to cut. A tad messy, but it gave beautiful feedback on the quality of the cut. It’s a bit abrasive, of course, and wet, so I needed to thoroughly clean and re-sharpen the swords afterwards, which you’re supposed to do anyway…

On the training front, I’ve been experimenting with Pavel Tsatsouline’s Quick and the Dead protocol for improving power generation. it’s a combination of kettlebell swings and push-ups, done for explosive power. To the point that for most people (including me), the push-ups need to be with less than the usual full bodyweight. A supporting elastic band attached to the wall is ideal, but I'm fudging it by putting a knee down instead.

The basics:

At the start time:
0.00 5 reps KB, rest

0.30 5 reps KB, rest

1.00 5 reps KB, rest

1.30 5 reps KB, rest until start of minute 3

3.00 5 reps PU, rest

3.30 5 reps PU, rest

4.00 5 reps PU, rest

4.30 5 reps PU, rest

5.00 5 reps PU, rest until end of minute 6.

That's one series. A session is either 2,3,4, or 5 series. Ideally 2-3 sessions per week, so we're doing them Monday, Wednesday, Friday. It was 2 on Monday (first day), 3 Wednesday, we'll do 4 today (Friday), and 5 on Monday. Then randomise the number of series using a die.

This all comes from Pavel's book The Quick and the Dead, which explains the biology behind what we're trying to do, and why it works. Basically, exhausting creatine phosphate, without triggering much glycolysis. I'll be interested to see what results this brings!

You can join the trainalongs at 8.30 am UK time: the link to the zoom meeting is in the Support Sword People space.

Since January this year, I’ve also been going to the gym twice a week (when travel allows), to do classic weight training with my wife. I have to be super-careful not to wreck my back (again - I tore it up doing deadlifts in 2018: the whole story is on my blog in a post called “Recovering from Injury: 6 useful ideas”, you can find it on using the search function), so I’m being very, very careful. I’m currently bench pressing a bit more than I’m deadlifting or squatting. That careful. I want to get in a lot of volume at the lower weights, and progress up very gradually. The overriding principle is No Injuries, as always.

As part of all this “I’ve turned 50, time to get even more serious about health stuff”, I’m going for a DEXA scan on Friday (today as this goes out). If you’re not familiar with the term, it’s a kind of X-ray that is the current gold standard for establishing body composition: muscle mass, bone mass, subcutaneous fat mass, and visceral fat mass. This will tell me where I am now; I’ll do another one in six months, and see what’s changed. The least important metric there is subcutaneous fat; it doesn’t impact health much, just makes pull-ups harder. But I do want lots of muscle and bone, and no visceral fat. I’ll report back in the next episode…

This week on The Sword Guy: Historical dancing, historical fencing… and a bear, with Sarina Wagner

Sarina Wagner is a musical actress and dancer who trained at the University of Music and Arts of the City of Vienna, which is probably the best place in the world to do that. She is a historical fencer focusing on Capoferro and Fabris, as well as Spanish destreza. She is currently a member of the Academia da Espada.

We talk about why Sarina moved to Vienna, and her work running workshops about musicians and dance. One of her favourite composers is Jean-Baptiste Lully, and she likes to do her fencing training to his operas. We talk about how a grounding in dance can really help with fencing, and Sarina recommends all fencers go and take a few dance lessons – the waltz is an easy one to start with. And have a couple of beers first.

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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