Difficulty level
Beginner & Intermediate & Advanced

The Medieval Longsword

Volume 2 of

By Guy Windsor

Do you like swords? Do you want to know how to use them? Then this book is for you.

With a foreword by historical novelist Christian Cameron, in this book renowned swordsman and author Guy Windsor will take you through the principles and practice of medieval knightly combat with the longsword. The tactics and techniques come from Il Fior di Battaglia, written in 1410 by Fiore dei Liberi, one of the greatest trainers of knights in the Middle Ages.

In this book Guy covers everything you need to get started, including principles of swordsmanship, training mindset, and choosing equipment; as well as a complete system of physical practice, from basic footwork all the way up through sword handling and pair drills to free fencing.

Beginners will find this a complete and approachable guide to taking up the Art of Arms; experienced swordsmen will also find many tips and tricks for developing their skills.

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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What you will learn:

It is very difficult to learn swordsmanship from a book that is 600 years old and written in Italian. In this book, I have drawn on 15 years of teaching the Art, and broken everything down and explained it so that you really can learn the Art of Swordsmanship. This book will teach you:

  • The theory and background of Fiore dei Liberi’s medieval longsword system.
  • How to train safely, with and without a partner
  • Footwork
  • Blade handling skills
  • Guards
  • Defences
  • Attacks
  • Basic pair drills
  • How to develop your skills from basic pair drills all the way up to freeplay.

The book is also supported by lots of free videos such as:


Who should read The Medieval Longsword

This book is for you if:

  • You like swords.
  • You are interested in medieval combat.
  • You want a clearly explained set of fundamentals to start practicing.
  • You are interested in Fiore’s Art of Arms, for any reason.

Table of Contents:

  • Introduction to the Mastering the Art of Arms Collection
  • Foreword by Christian Cameron Introduction
  • Chapter One: Tools of the Trade
  • Chapter Two: General Principles
  • Chapter Three: Footwork: Stepping and Turning
  • Chapter Four: One Strike, One Defence
  • Chapter Five: More Strikes, More DefencesChapter Six: More Strikes, and More Guards
  • Chapter Seven: Counter Remedies, Their Counters, and Improving the Guards
  • Chapter Eight: Counters to the Break, The Sword in One Hand and Exploiting Mistakes
  • Chapter Nine: Binds, Malice and Deceit
  • Chapter Ten: Preparing for Freeplay 
  • Chapter Eleven: Freeplay!
  • Chapter Twelve: A Final Summary: The System by Numbers
  • Appendix A – Warming Up
  • Appendix B – Glossary
  • Acknowledgements
  • Indiegogo Campaign Contributors
  • Bibliography

You can see a sample drill from The Medieval Longsword here.


Guy Windsor is not just one of the finest HEMA instructors publishing today, in my opinion he’s one of the best martial arts teachers full stop. There’s everything you need here to train yourself and a friend in the basics of medieval European swordsmanship. Guy takes an exceptionally thorough approach with guidance on proper training equipment, an explanation of the biomechanics involved in the art of the sword, before moving on to footwork, fundamental blows and some of the most lucid instruction in Fiore’s system you’re ever likely to find. The book wraps up with material on freeplay, the organisation of Fiore’s system for use with medieval memory methods, and an overview of warmups, mobility and stretching for classes. – B. W. Ford

The book is written in an extremely logical and clear order. I don’t in fact think I have ever seen a martial arts manual that would be as easy to follow. It gives you one piece at a time to chew and practice and does not try to explain everything at once. What’s even better, it puts you in contact with the original source from the very beginning. – Jaakko Tahkokallio

I found it particularly useful as an instructor, especially since Guy’s spent years refining both his interpretations of the sources and his teaching method. There’s a lot to learn about how to teach, how to structure a curriculum, and how to get students ready for freeplay, all cunningly disguised as straightforward, easily read and understood instructions. – Roland Cooper

This book (and Guy’s other books) really provides an accessible gateway to the Italian system of combat arts. Not only is it a great book for people new to the art, but also for experienced swordsmen. As someone who has taught Eastern martial for many years and currently teaches longsword and rapier, I still find new perspectives from which to consider the art of the sword, new drills, and new ways to teach. – James Wran

This book by Armizare instructor and writer Guy Windsor is a fantastic book for those new to the art or a seasoned veteran. It is laid out very well and is clear and concise. I run an Italian swordfighting club and use parts of this book in my own classes. Guy’s way of laying out the fundamentals and techniques of the plays of Fiore dei Liberi are easily understood and can easily be performed via partner drills. Buy this book and others by Guy. You will not be disappointed. – Tracy Mellow

Practicing swordsman and novelist M Harold Page has a short review here, in which he calls it “probably the most significant book on longsword since AD1600”!