General HMA
Difficulty level
Beginner & Intermediate & Advanced

Swordfighting, for Writers, Game Designers and Martial Artists

By Guy Windsor

Your search for a book that will feed your passion for and deepen your knowledge of swordsmanship ends here.

Guy Windsor’s Swordfighting offers insight into this magnificent historical European martial art: you will find answers to your burning questions about swordsmanship, its theory and practice.

This carefully crafted book provides essential information on diverse topics with piercing clarity.

“Whether you are a writer or game-maker seeking the kind of information I sought while writing The Baroque Cycle, or just a general reader with an interest in the arts to which Guy Windsor has dedicated his career, you should find much that is rewarding in these pages.” – Neal Stephenson, New York Times bestselling and multi-award-winning author

Made up of a selection of Guy’s essays and articles, with a great deal of brand new material, this engaging and revealing book makes this complex subject accessible, enabling you to deep-dive into —

  • Benefits of training
  • Types of weapons
  • Sword fighting principles
  • Historical accuracy

If you are an actor, writer or games designer creating or writing fight scenes, this book provides cutting-edge research on our European martial arts heritage. You will also discover the dos and don’ts of producing a stunningly realistic sword fight.

Swordfighting is not a training manual. For technical instruction on specific swordsmanship styles, pick up The Medieval Longsword and The Duellist’s Companion.

Buy direct from Guy at the Swordschool Shop: Click here

You can find my books at all the usual online retailers. However, it really helps me if you buy direct through the Swordschool shop. You can also ask your local library or bookstore to order a copy for you.

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“Before Swordfighting, I was an unpracticed novice. Now I’m an educated, unpracticed novice. Seriously, Guy Windsor’s work is pretty amazing. I have never known so much about how little I know – from swords to push ups. (Check out The Swordsman’s Companion, etc). Totally worth the time!” – Alfred

“This book is Guy Windsor’s swordfighting manifesto – a combination of edited and republished blog posts and articles, as well as original material new just for the book, all of which paints a picture of what it means to be a swordfighting martial artist. It’s far less of a guidebook for the audience listed on the cover (writers, game designers, and martial artists) and far more of a view inside Guy’s head. In Swordfighting, Guy has put together an in-depth look at what’s driven him to be a swordfighter (there’s talk of mystical mountaintop revelations), the division between swordplay-as-sport and swordplay-as-martial-art (how much do you deal with the reality of taking another human being’s life?), and all of the pesky details that bother swordfighters when it comes to martial arts in fiction (both on the page and on the screen).” – Roland Cooper

What you will learn

Swordsmanship is a huge subject, which can be approached from lots of different angles, and be applied in many different areas of your life. Just some of the many things you can get from this book are:

  • How to manage and control fear in various situations
  • How to write a swordfight
  • Why and how to train with sharp swords
  • Examples of swordfights that actually happened
  • How swordfighting can be incorporated into games
  • The benefits of being a beginner

Who should read Swordfighting for Writers, Game Designers, and Martial Artists

This book is for you if:

  • You are interested in the academic side of swordsmanship
  • You are interested in putting swordfights into games or books
  • You would like to be less afraid

You do not need to be into actually swinging real swords around to get a lot out of this book.

Table of Contents

  • Foreword by Neal Stephenson
  • Introduction
  • Chapter 1: What is Swordsmanship?
  • Chapter 2: Lessons from the Art
  • Chapter 3: On Martial Arts
  • Chapter 4: Swords
  • Chapter 5: Writing Swordfights
  • Chapter 6: Gaming
  • Chapter 7: Training

About a third of the book is edited and improved versions of blog posts from my site. These are some of the more popular ones: