The Sword Guy Podcast

Listen in as Guy interviews a wide variety of interesting swordspeople and historians from around the world. Learn more about the practical, the tactical, the theoretical and the just plain awesome from a diverse group of voices.

Listen wherever you get podcasts:

How You Can Help

What began as a side project is swiftly taking over a great deal of my time, and costing me some money, so to support the show I have created a Patreon account here: patreon.com/theswordguy. If you think this show is a good idea, please demonstrate it by throwing some coins in the hat. Every little helps. Thanks to the support of people like you, I’ve been able to get transcriptions done for every episode, and I’m saving up to upgrade some audio equipment. Patrons will get first dibs on suggesting guests to interview, and I also offer some Patron-only content such as audio AMAs with me. I’ll also be asking the Patrons for any questions they particularly want me to ask my guests- so they will also find out who’s coming on the show before anyone else.

Sound like your sort of thing? Then toddle along to 
patreon.com/theswordguy

The Mission

This podcast is a tactic in the service of a larger goal, namely to encourage diversity in historical martial arts. The first rule of the podcast is there must be at least 50% female guests. Fortunately there are no shortage of women practising swordswomanship! But representation doesn’t end there. I have also found guests from a range of martial backgrounds (Airrion Scott started out swinging light-sabres, Siobhan Richardson started out in stage combat), cultural backgrounds (there are guests from Asia, South America, Europe, and North America), and ethnicities.

My goal is that eventually anyone, from any culture, of any race, sexual identity, height, weight, health status, and any other demographic data point you can think of, can find a historical martial arts role model on this podcast. That may encourage them to take up the Art, and so historical martial arts will become more diverse, and therefore deeper and stronger. This might not make much difference to many people, but I know for sure that it will make some difference to some people, and that is a whole lot more than nothing.

This is of course an ethical standpoint, but it’s also a practical one. Getting opinions from a diverse range of people makes for better outcomes. Matthew Syed makes the case for this phenomenon in his book Rebel Ideas, which I highly recommend. A rising tide lifts all boats, so if your overall goal is improving the practice of historical martial arts as a whole, it makes sense to get as many different minds on the problem as possible.

I know that some people will feel that I ought to just interview the “best” hma practitioners. The famous ones, the ones with big followings, the ones with the most books out. (I know it because they’ve written and told me so!) I will, and I do, as you can see from the guest list. But if we only hear from them, we will tend to hear mostly from middle aged white men (like me), because this field was founded mostly by people like me. But it has grown beyond that rather narrow beginning (thank goddess!) and there are very many people out there worth listening to. Some of them don’t even do swords! Such as historian Eleanor Janega, in episode 16.

Episodes

Mila Jędrzejewska runs Audatia Creative, a professional services company for businesses in the historical martial arts space. In this conversation, we hear what led Mila to start up her own business, why she focuses on our particular niche, and how Guy and Mila are working together. Mila describes her experiences of sexism in the sword world and racism in the business world and we discuss the privilege of being able to work in a […]
Asante Lawla is a London-based inventor, corrective exercise specialist and a martial artist who is currently working on an edge alignment device to help people learn to cut better. He practises an Indian battlefield martial art called Shastar Vidiya, which translates as ‘the science of weapons’. Finding that getting hold of the materials needed for cutting training to be expensive, time-consuming and messy, he developed a prototype for a new type of tameshigiri trainer. […]
Dr John Lennox is one of the founders of the International Swordsmanship and Martial Arts Convention in Lansing, which moved to Vegas to become CombatCon. He’s an instructor with the Historical Martial Studies Society and with the School of Two Swords. John has a Ph.D. in the relationship between stage combat and personal combat from the late 16th century onwards, and we talk about stage combat throughout history and how actors were trained to […]
Jo York is a provost of the Hotspur School of Defence, which is based in the north east of England, and an entrepreneur in her work life, as well as an avid listener of this show. Jo talks about her home town of Knaresborough, with its annual Bed Race. There are pictures here: https://www.bedrace.co.uk/gallery/2022-race And this is the fabulous Yorkshire-accented raven at Knaresborough castle: Jo works with start-up businesses and has started her own […]
Kin Chan is a landscape designer, a cosplayer, and a historical martial arts practitioner, who lives in Ontaria, Canada. In this episode we discuss making things at all ends of the scale, from the tiny (watchmaking) to the huge (landscape design), with cosplay and armour in between. Kin takes us through the incredible amount of work and craftsmanship that goes into creating costumes for cosplay conventions, and we talk about the similarities between cosplay […]
Elizabeth Scott is a historical martial arts and armoured combat practitioner on foot and on horseback, as well as being a surgeon. In our conversation we cover the obvious risks to your fingers when taking part in armoured combat, which could be highly problematic in Elizabeth’s profession. We talk about the mindset needed for both swordsmanship, surgery, and flying a plane, where failure can mean death. How can these skills be taught in the […]
Kyle Rowling is a fight master, director of the Action Acting Academy, and he is also the man who taught Samuel L Jackson how to use a lightsaber. In this episode we hear about how Kyle became Christopher Lee’s body double, the real ending to the fight between Anakin and Obi-Wan, and what it’s like to have your own action figure and Lego minifigure. Kyle has body doubled all the Sith characters in Star […]
Skye Hilton is a historical martial arts instructor and fitness trainer, best known as The Nerd Trainer, who lives in West Texas, hundreds of miles from the nearest sword school, so when she moved out there from California she started her own school to find people to play with: www.theswordschool.org/. In this episode we talk about the best exercises people can do before starting sword classes, imposter syndrome, “fendente bots”, and taking part in […]
Today’s episode is with Steaphen Fick, who is a historical martial arts instructor and a fight choreographer, and also an old comrade in arms since we met in Edinburgh in the nineties. In fact, in this episode you will hear about a certain naked escapade involving swords in Finland in 1999. Here’s a picture of us, fully clothed, from the same trip: Steaphen founded the Davenriche European Martial Arts School in Santa Clara, California […]
Elizabeth Champion is an arms and armour historian specialising in high medieval Round Table tournaments and the Merlin legends. She’s also a historical fencer, co-founder of Stratford Swords and an ex-cage fighter. In our conversation we discuss what was a Round Table Tournament. Is it to do with King Arthur, or the arrangement of the tables, or both? If you have come across anything to do with Round Tables in your reading, if you […]
Anthony Rischard is a blacksmith, historical martial arts practitioner and proprietor of Black Armoury, one of the largest suppliers of historical martial arts gear in Europe. In our conversation we talk about how Anthony gave up his office job to become a full time blacksmith in France, and his move into starting Black Armoury. Have a listen to find out why they began producing suits of armour made entirely from synthetic materials and what […]
Riri Nitihardjo is a martial arts (and ballet) practitioner from Jakarta, Indonesia. Riri first got interested in swords when she discovered The Lord of the Rings and wanted to learn how to wield a sword like Aragorn. She became so hooked on Tolkein that she took a linguistics programme at university – though they wouldn’t let her do her graduate thesis on Elvish languages. The historical European martial arts scene is very small in […]
Dr. Daniel Jaquet should need no introduction. He has been extremely active in both the academic and practical aspects of medieval combat research for the last couple of decades or more. He has a Ph.D. from Geneva University in medieval history, on combat in armour at the end of the Middle Ages and at the beginning of the Renaissance, based on studying combat manuals. So, he has a Ph.D. in actual, proper medieval sword […]
Rebecca Glass is a historical martial arts instructor and an avid baseball fan. She has also appeared on the TV quiz show Jeopardy and is a part of the Trivia scene. In our conversation we talk about all three of these interests, plus judging historical martial arts tournaments. Rebecca is highly respected as a fight director, so we talk about what makes a good judge and how to make the right decisions when judging […]
Dr. Reinier van Noort is a martial arts instructor and translator of over a dozen historical fencing treatises. He now lives in Norway but is originally from the Netherlands, so we talk about his impressive skills in translating from one foreign language into another. You can find Reinier’s work at www.bruchius.com, and his list of publications here: Publications – Ense et Mente (bruchius.com). We covered a lot in our conversation as you can see […]
Naziyah Mahmood is a Scottish astrophysicist, aerospace engineer, aspiring citizen astronaut, STEM ambassador, model, writer, and artist. And of course, she’s mad about swords. In our conversation we talk about Naziyah’s love for the Eastern sword arts, primarily Haidong Gumdo. But there’s a diversion into Ancient Roman twin-sword-wielding gladiators… We also talk about training with a visual impairment, being underestimated, and the importance of self-expression. Here is a link to Naziyah’s film, A New […]
Christian Tobler is a chivalric combat instructor and author of many books, including Secrets of German Medieval Swordsmanship, which launched the study of Liechtenauer in the Anglosphere. He also wrote Fighting with German Longsword, In St. George’s Name: an Anthology of Medieval German Fighting Arts, In Service of the Duke, and many more. Not to mention his latest, which is Lance, Spear, Sword and Messer, a German Medieval Martial Arts Miscellany. In 1979 Christian […]
Welcome to episode 100 of The Sword Guy Podcast! In this special episode, Ariel Anderssen (episode 93) interviews Guy about a whole load of stuff, including how Guy got into swords in the first place, the vision up a Scottish mountain that told him to open his school in Helsinki, injuries from duelling, Guy’s best ever sword fight, feminism, getting through the pandemic, and learning to fly. Ariel also asks Guy about his typical […]
It’s episode 99 of The Sword Guy Podcast! Next week we have a special 100th edition, so look out for that. While you’re waiting, you can enjoy this week’s episode with writer, journalist, editor and author, Marie Powell. Marie lives in Canada, but a search for her Welsh heritage inspired her to write her latest sword and sorcery epic, The Last of the Gifted. It is based on the events of 1282-1283 in Wales, […]
Dan Edwardes is a parkour coach and teacher of teachers. He’s a founding member and executive director of Parkour Generations, an international organisation of Parkour Instructors with schools all over the world. He’s also the author of The Parkour and Free Running Handbook. Dan also has a background as a swordsman. He lived in Japan for five years, and was one of very few westerners to train at the Katori Shinto-ryu, the oldest and […]
Dr Ariella Elema is a finder of the forgotten, the hidden and the obscure. She’s an academic and archivist and an armizare practitioner in Toronto. Her Ph.D. thesis, Trial by Battle in France and England, should give you some clue as to why I invited her on the show. But it also won the Canadian Society of Medievalists’ Leonard Boyle dissertation prize, which is very impressive. In our conversation we talk about trial by […]
Pradana Pandu Mahardhika lives in Bandung, Indonesia. He describes himself as a freelance translator/interpreter, amateur tailor, and professional procrastinator. In this episode we talk about how Pradana set up a historical martial arts club, Gwaith-i-Megyr, which was founded in 2016. He had been fencing as part of an informal group for a while, but when he decided to get some wooden swords made up, he found that the enthusiasm was really high, mainly from members […]
Sarah Hay has been jousting since 2008. Just ten years later she won the Queen’s Jubilee Horn at the Royal Armouries’ Easter jousting tournament in Leeds. In this episode we find out how Sarah’s passion for jousting came about, her background with horses, getting your own armour, and the vital role that mindset plays in her success. Sarah casually dropped into conversation that she “controls her thoughts”, and we dig a little deeper into […]
Dr. Andrew Lawrence-King is a historical musician, harpist, continuo player, baroque opera director, winner of a Grammy in the category of best small ensemble performance. He is also a rapier fencer and Tai Chi practitioner. And I should mention his crowning professional achievement is, of course, providing the harp music for my George Silver Paradoxes of Defence audiobook. In our conversation we talk about the similarities between researching historical music and historical martial arts. […]
Ariel Anderssen is a model, actor, author, property investor and is perhaps best known for her career as a BDSM model and performer. She is also mad about swords, both for using in stage fight and for collecting. We cover a lot in this conversation, including talking about whether stage combat or martial arts training would be any use in a “real life” fight, and how Ariel sees BDSM and sword fighting as virtually […]
Mike Prendergast is the founder and head instructor of the Historical Combat Academy in Dublin and translator of Pietro Monte’s Exercitiorum Atque Artis Militaris Collectanea, which is otherwise known as the Collection of Renaissance, Military Arts and Exercises. He also teaches in an SCA group called Dun in Mara. In our conversation we talk about how you don’t have to be an expert or a professional teacher to set up your own club, which […]
Stephanie Aiuto lives in New York and began her career with blades as a sport fencer, competing at a national level in sabre, until she had to stop because she wore away all the cartilage in her toes. To fill the void the lack of sabre left in her life she took up knife making, and now works at Nazz Forge in Brooklyn, when she’s not doing her sensible day job. Stephanie’s website is […]
Peter Lyon is a swordsmith and weapons maker from New Zealand. He originally started out making swords to use in medieval re-enactment in the 1980s, and was asked to make the swords for the Lord of the Rings movies. Since then Peter has worked on many other film productions with Wētā Workshop including Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, The Hobbit trilogy, The Last Samurai, and Avatar. In this fascinating conversation […]
This week’s episode is with Carina Cirrincione of Raven Studios, based in Oracle, Arizona. Carina makes wooden training weapons such as longsword wasters, rondel daggers, and implements for Eastern martial arts. She’s also a Tai Chi and Wing Chun practitioner and instructor. We talk about woodwork, Eastern martial arts, turning a hobby into a business and the challenges involved. Photos to accompany this episode This is Guy’s little chest of drawers: Here’s a photo […]
Joshua Wiest is an instructor at the Triangle Sword Guild, North Carolina, USA. He focuses on the fighting systems of masters Achilles Marozzo, Giovanni dall’Agocchie, Antonio Manciolino, and Camillo Palladini. He’s also a successful tournament fencer and host of the historical martial arts podcast l’Arte dell Armi. In this bumper episode we take a deep dive into these rockstars of 16th century Italian fencing. If you want to know anything about Bolognese fencing, this […]
Anna Beard is a historical dancing and ballet and historical fencing instructor at Austin Historical Weapons Guild. She has been dancing since she was four and went on to get her Bachelor of Fine Arts and Dance from the University of Michigan, followed by teaching in studios, and running her own projects, performances and small dance companies. A move to Texas in 2018 ignited a passion for HEMA that has led to her becoming […]
Hello Sword People! Welcome to the Sword Guy podcast. This is your host, Dr Guy Windsor, consulting swordsman, teacher, and writer. Join me for interviews with historical fencing instructors and experts from a wide range of related disciplines, as we discuss swords, history, training, and bringing the joy of historical martial arts into our modern lives. My guest today is Neil Melville, author of Two-Handed Sword: History, Design and Use, and an avid collector […]
Pamela Muir is the founder of the Academy of Chivalric Martial Arts in Arlington, Virginia. She’s been doing historical martial arts since about 2003, and I’ve met her at several events. In this episode we talk about theoretical maths, Liechtenauer, chivalry, and representation for women in HEMA. Pamela also talks about the adult education class she teaches on historical fencing, and what a popular class it has turned out to be. A couple of […]
This week’s episode is with Jaredd Wilson. Jaredd is the host of the Martial Thoughts podcast, which I appeared on back in January. You can find a link to our “The Pen is Mightier than the Podcast” episode here, or on Stitcher or iTunes. In today’s conversation we talk about what prompted Jaredd to start up the podcast, and the joy of getting to interview interesting people. Jaredd is also a presenter at CombatCon […]
Shanee Nishry is a historical martial arts instructor and founder of Stratford Swords, which is in Stratford-upon-Avon in the West Midlands of England. She’s also a software engineer in the games industry. We first interacted when she posted some photos of a very ambitious woodworking projects she’s working on, because I’m a complete woodworking nerd and it turns out that Shanee is turning into one too. A couple of woodworking YouTube links for you: […]
Hello Sword People, and welcome to the final monthly challenge of the year. This one is a little different. Before I introduce it, let me just refresh your memory about what the challenges are. Basically, they are alternatives to New Year’s resolutions because I don’t like New Year’s resolutions very much, and the challenges so far this year have been: breaking a habit, adding a habit, sleeping – in other words, how to sleep […]
Content warning: Within this podcast are descriptions of the horrific neglect of very elderly swords. Edoardo Albert is a London-based writer who writes about Britain in the early medieval period (between the Romans leaving and the Normans arriving), the 40th millennium in the Warhammer universe, and lots of other things besides. Find out more by visiting his website. This podcast is different to usual format in that Edoardo contacted me with a question, and […]
(Photo credit: The Royal Armouries) Natasha Bennett is the Curator of Oriental Collections at the Royal Armouries in Leeds, working with the Asian and African collections. These include an enormous spread of arms and armour mostly dating from between the 14th and 20th centuries, so her research interests are necessarily wide-ranging. She has presented specialist study sessions and seminars on mounted warfare in Asia, South Asian arms and armour, Islamic arms and armour, Asian […]
This episode is with Jason Kingsley OBE, co-founder and CEO of the games company Rebellion Developments, which also owns 2000 AD. And he’s the man behind the YouTube channel Modern History TV starring his horse Warlord, which goes into depth and detail regarding many aspects of medieval life, most notably combat and horsemanship, but also aspects of daily life. We talk about misconceptions people have about medieval warfare, life, and horsemanship, and how Jason […]
Your challenge for November is to improve your striking. Really, what we are looking at more than anything else is your precision and accuracy, which you can apply to any domain. Someone who drives a car might look at the smoothness of their gear changes, or the precision with which they take a corner. There is no domain in life that this cannot be applied to. Of course, as sword people, we will tend […]
Dr. Lynette Nusbacher is a Strategist and Devil’s Advocate. Her work has included being a logistics officer in the Canadian Armed Forces, a writer of books such as Bannockburn 1314, a lecturer at Reading University, the senior intelligence advisor to the UK Government Cabinet Office, as well as a TV presenter of various military history shows, and she now runs a management consulting company, Nusbacher and Associates. Of course, most importantly from my perspective, […]
Dr Tobias Capwell has a lifelong love of arms and armour, since being taken to the Met Museum in New York as a small child. He has made this passion into a career and is now the curator of Arms and Armour at the Wallace Collection in London. We talk about how he got the job as a museum curator, including offering his services to the Met Museum at the tender age of twelve. […]
Lauren Shaw is from Calgary, Canada and is a founder of the Calgary Fellowship of the Sword, where they practice 14th – 19th century martial arts, including longsword, sword and buckler, and – since Covid social distancing rules came in – quarterstaff. Lauren is also known for her YouTube videos as Lauren Danger Adventure Ranger, where Lauren posts videos on just about every single historical martial arts topic imaginable, and each one of them […]
Milo Thurston is the founder of the Linacre School of Defence in Oxford, UK. He’s an absolute bastard with a single stick and a leading expert in the work of Sir William Hope. In our conversation we talk about the essence of Hope’s New Method of Fencing and what is so good about it. We also talk about Napoleonic battle reenactment, being late to class, Ken Monschein’s PhD, and why Milo would use Guy’s […]
Today’s episode is your October Challenge. This year I have been setting a different challenge every month, as I really don’t like New Year’s resolutions, and it struck me that there was an opportunity for self-development and self-improvement that we were missing by making these nebulous resolutions at pretty much the worst point in the year to make any kind of changes. It’s right after Christmas and if you’re in the northern hemisphere, it’s […]
Dr. Emilia Skirmuntt runs the Oxford branch of The School of the Sword, and in this episode we talk about running a school with different branches and specialisations, and improving diversity and inclusivity within historical martial arts schools. Emilia is also a virologist at the University of Oxford, which brings up some topical questions about a certain virus. We talk about her fascinating research into virus-like genes in bat genomes and some truly game-changing […]
Today’s episode is a bit different to the usual format. Dr Cornelius Berthold, who is a well-known historical fencing instructor in Hamburg, Germany, contacted me because he is doing a series of YouTube videos on the topic of tempo and had some questions for me. We had never met or spoken before, but Cornelius very kindly agreed to have the discussion in the form of a podcast, so that you all can listen in […]
Left: Rachel Bown-Williams, right: Ruth Cooper-Brown Ruth Cooper-Brown and Rachel Bown-Williams are the founders of RC-Annie, the UK’s leading dramatic violence company, specialising in training, fight direction and intimacy direction for stage and screen. They hire out guns and swords (not to just anyone!) They are also purveyors of fake blood; thick or thin, “splat or spurt”, depending on your needs. When creating a fight, Ruth and Rachel like it to look real and […]
Your challenge this month is to engage with your ranges of motion. Much of this post is adapted from my new book The Windsor Method: The Principles of Solo Training. For every action you wish to do, you need the necessary range of motion, and sufficient strength exerted within the allotted time. You must also be able to route the forces created by any impact safely through your skeleton and into the ground. And […]
Paul Wagner has been involved in historical swordsmanship since the 1990s, and was present at the first night of the Stoccata School of Defence in 1998, a HEMA school which now has several branches in Australia. Paul is a Provost at Stoccata, teaching courses in Single Sword according to George Silver, Highland Broadsword according to Thomas Page, Sword and Buckler according to I.33, Rapier according to Joseph Swetnam, English quarterstaff and English longsword. He […]
This week’s episode is with Dr Dori Coblenz, lecturer in Communications at Georgia Tech, specialising in early modern English drama, digital pedagogy and the history of fencing. She’s the author of many papers and the book Fundamentals of Italian Rapier: a modern manual for teachers and students of historical fencing, with David Coblentz. In our conversation we talk about the differences between classical Italian fencing and historical fencing. Dori’s passion is for teaching teachers, […]
Sebastien de Castell lives a life of music, adventure and swordplay. He is the author of the Greatcoats series, which is full of sword action, and the Spellslinger series, which features magic finger guns! For all Sebastien’s books, see here: https://decastell.com/all-books/ In this episode we talk about how to write a great sword fight for stage, screen and literature, including these two classic scenes: Inigo and Westley in The Princess Bride The first duel […]
Dr. Amanda Taylor is a Research Fellow at the Oakeshott Institute and a Research Affiliate at the Center for Early Modern History, University of Minnesota. She is the author of several academic papers such as The Body of Law: Bodies, Combat and Rhetoric in Sir Thomas Mallory’s Quest for Justice and the forthcoming Domesticating War: Women, Medicine and Military Activity in Premodern Europe. She has presented at conferences on topics such as martial women […]
My interview today is with Malcolm Fare, who is a collector of historical fencing books, a fencer himself and proprietor of the National Fencing Museum in the UK. The museum houses a library of over 300 books, 250 paintings and prints, 200 weapons, numerous masks, kit, trophies, posters, programmes, medals, stamps, postcards and other ephemera. You can click through on the museum’s website to see photos of the items. In 2017 I spent three […]
This is adapted from my new book, The Windsor Method: The Principles of Solo Training. “Conditioning” as I use the term is externally-focussed physical training such as push ups, stretching and weight lifting. What the Finns might call “Jumppa”.  In the beginning when you take up a martial art, it’s all new. You have to move your body in unfamiliar ways, and if you’re using weapons, they start out feeling heavy and clumsy. For […]
Yael Nathan is a comic artist who draws swords as part of her Warriors series. She has also worked with IDW on several Star Wars comics. Find her work at https://elcomics.gumroad.com/# and https://yaeln.com. Yael is also the author of the Serpent webcomic. https://tapas.io/series/Serpent/info and https://www.facebook.com/SerpentWebcomic Serpent is the story of a girl born into a guild that does not accept her, in a land where women are no more than property. Through determination and […]
Steven Pressfield is the author of The Legend of Bagger Vance, The Gates of Fire, The War of Art, and many other novels and non-fiction titles about writing. His latest book is A Man at Arms, and he has a YouTube channel in which he investigates the warrior archetype. In our conversation we discuss what it takes to become an overnight success. We also talk about writing about Spartans, what a sword actually is, […]
This week’s guest is Julie Olson, senior instructor at the Athena School of Arms in Cambridge, Massachusetts and a director of the Iron Gate Exhibition, the largest New England historical martial arts event. She’s also well-known on the longsword tournament circuit. Julie was placed 7th in the Longsword Triathlon at Longpoint 2019, the highest ranking woman in that event. In our chat we get into the nitty gritty of running a club and competing in […]
This episode is with Dierk Hagedorn, who is something of a legend in our community. He is a translator and author of very many books. Last summer he had seven new books on the go at once. Dierk has translated and produced scholarly editions of Gladiatoria and Lecküchner’s Messer fencing treatise, Peter von Danzig’s manuscript, Albrecht Dürer, and many more. Last year, when Dierk was working on a translation and transcription with Christian Tobler, […]
Jill Bearup is a stage combatant, YouTuber and a lightsaber twirler. I first came across her work through her YouTube channel critiquing swordfights in TV and movies, which is here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCRrvZqCL1YsqRA8IpXrhYQQ. Jill loves pretending to fight people on stage and screen and her videos cover how a good fight can add to the story being told, and also, in case you need it, how to sword fight in a dress. You can find her […]
For more on this subject, please see The Theory and Practice of Historical Martial Arts, also available as an audiobook read by Kelley Costigan. Or the try my online course, Fundamentals: Breathing, which covers much of my breathing practice. It’s included with the monthly subscription package, and with the Solo Training course. The first class is available as part of my free Human Maintenance course. So there are no excuses for not breathing better! […]
Manouchehr Moshtagh Khorasani is a Frankfurt-based museum analyst, university professor, author of many books and over one hundred and eighty articles on the historical martial arts of Iran. He is a highly skilled martial artist and is currently waiting for the pandemic to be over so he can get his third Dan black belt in Kyokushin Karate. Manouchehr is a highly skilled wrestler, and in this episode we talk about the importance of wrestling […]
Ben Crystal is an actor, author, producer, and explorer of original practices in Shakespeare rehearsal and production. In this episode we talk about Ben’s work in exploring how actors would have rehearsed, staged, and performed Shakespeare’s plays in the 16th century, and how the original rhymes and pronunciation would have sounded. It makes for a completely different experience to what we think of as “Shakespearean” in modern times. Even if you aren’t into Shakespeare […]
Bestselling author, speaker, and a leader in the Movement movement, biomechanist Katy Bowman has been changing the way we move and think about our need for movement. Her eight books, including the groundbreaking “Move Your DNA” and “Movement Matters” have been translated into more than a dozen languages worldwide. Bowman teaches movement globally and speaks about sedentarism and movement ecology to academic and scientific audiences. Her work has been featured in diverse media such […]
To celebrate a whole year of The Sword Guy Podcast, we are going right back to where it all began, with Jess Finley. Except this time the tables are turned and it’s Jess interviewing me! In our wide-ranging conversation we talk about my history of antiques restoration and starting a sword school. We also talk in depth about flipping hierarchies on their head to give students what they want, and how to deal with […]
For a free meditation class, see: https://swordschool.teachable.com/p/free-courses-human-maintenance-longsword-rapier Oh no, I hear you cry. I picked up meditation as my skill in May, and as my acquired habit in February! Or not. In any case, this month’s challenge is to work on your ability to choose where to place your attention, and to control your level of arousal. The primary training method for that is meditation, but that does not necessarily mean sitting still for […]
Claire Wemyss lives in Vancouver and is a coach, educator, and co-founder of Kunst des Funkelns, which focusses on the martial arts of medieval Germany and runs from Valkyrie Western Martial Arts Assembly. In this episode, Claire describes how she and her training partner Jon Mills came up with the name of Kunst des Funkelns, her love for the Messer, and why play-based learning is so important. Claire is also an ADHD coach, and […]
Professor Steven Muhlberger is an absolute legend in the historical martial arts community and is a 50 year veteran of the SCA. In this episode we talk about the very early days of the SCA, and how newsletters were vital in spreading the word. His books are foundationally important for anyone who is studying medieval martial arts, and they include Deeds of Arms, Jousts and Tournaments, Formal Combat in the Fourteenth Century, Royal Jousts, […]
In 1599 George Silver, gentleman, published his Paradoxes of Defence, which lambastes the outlandish (i.e. foreign) Italian rapier fencing that was becoming popular in England, and offers an extraordinary window into the medieval martial arts that the rapier was superceding. Whatever you think about Silver, or rapier fencing, his book is simply essential reading for all historical martial artists. It is one of the few historical fencing sources that doesn’t rely on images, so it […]
It’s the 50th episode! This week I’m in conversation with Monica Gaudio, known in the SCA as Illadore de Bedegrayne, and she is a cook, fencer, Marshal, Seneschal, knitter, Laurel and Master of Defence. We get into what all those titles mean in the episode. Monica has been studying medieval cookery for 30 years, with a mostly hands-on approach, i.e. trying to feed anywhere from 40 to 150 people at feast or dinner in […]
Teaching well is a skill that can be learned. In this in-between-isode, I give you the key to teaching teachers. If you have a student who has expressed an interest in teaching, how can you empower them to become a good teacher? This episode covers essentials such as: Avoiding burnout Giving feedback How to teach and structure a class, take responsibility, and broaden their skills This was prepared for one of my Coaches’ Corner […]
Best known as a television presenter and for his appearances as a historical weapons specialist and military historian in over one hundred tv documentaries, Mike also works as a tv director, a writer and as a consultant and film-maker for the video games industry. If you’ve been swinging swords, certainly in Britain at least, at any point in the last 30 years, you’ll certainly have heard of him. He has had three major books published, […]
Last month’s challenge (Eat Well in April) was difficult for many people, mostly because food is such an emotional subject. Personally, I spent the month avoiding starch and sugar, which has helped with energy levels, weight management, and especially my reflux problem. I’ve also been adhering more closely to a 16:8 intermittent fasting routine, which is also better for my reflux.The odd thing is that though the house is full of Nutella, chocolate (I […]
As a writer, professor, TEDx speaker, and podcaster, Danièle has been making the Middle Ages fun, entertaining, and accessible for over a decade. She is the author of Life in Medieval Europe: Fact and Fiction, and The Five-Minute Medievalist, which debuted at the top of Amazon’s Canadian charts, as well as the forthcoming How to Live Like a Monk: Medieval Wisdom for Modern Life. Through her featured articles at Medievalists.net, as well as those […]
Bill Grandy is a long time professional historical martial arts instructor at the Virginia Academy of Fencing (VAF) in the United States, and also a historical handcrafter making beautiful scabbards and shields and things. Check out his website at www.historicalhandcrafts.com. In this episode we talk about lots of different aspects of being a sword person, including teaching professionally and as an amateur; getting to play with antique swords and the work of the Oakeshott […]
Ruth Goodman is a social and domestic historian working with museums, theatre, television and educational establishments. She has presented and consulted on several highly successful television series for the BBC. She has also written several excellent books we’ll be talking about today, including The Domestic Revolution, How to be a Tudor and How to Behave Badly in Elizabethan England. In this episode, Ruth and I talk about some of the lesser known, but nonetheless […]
What is a sword? When does a dagger become a sword? When does a sword become a spear? Can a boomerang even be a sword? In a follow-up to my conversation with Australian martial artist and philosopher, Damon Young, this special episode picks up where episode 31 finishes, with a discussion where we try to come to an agreement on what a definition of a sword might be. If you have ever wondered about […]
Tim Parks is a prolific novelist, non-fiction writer and translator and perhaps most importantly from my perspective, he wrote a fantastic memoir on getting into meditation, called Teach us to Sit Still. Those of you that train with me know that meditation is one of the core parts of my practise and in this episode Tim explains the circumstances that led to him going to his first meditation retreat, how it changes people, and […]
Joanna Penn is a writer (both fiction and non-fiction), podcaster and ultramarathon walker. She doesn’t do swords, or even a lot of history, but she has been a huge influence on my work and this podcast. We don’t talk about martial arts in this episode, but we do discuss physical training, accomplishing goals, and Joanna’s medieval-style pilgrimage from London’s Southwark Cathedral to Canterbury Cathedral in Kent. That’s 182 km or 113 miles on foot. […]
Callum Forbes is an extremely experienced martial artist, having got into sports fencing in the late ‘70s, and Hapkido from 1982. But then HEMA drew him in, both from a love of Dungeons and Dragons, and from a disillusionment with the ruleset of sports fencing. In this, our 40th episode, Callum tells us all about jousting – how it works, how he trains, what sort of horses you need and how competitions are held. […]
Lauren Juliette Ings is an assistant instructor with the Stoccata School of Defence in Sydney, Australia, and is also a circus performer, a burlesque dancer and an actor. In this episode we chat about making HEMA more appealing to women, the LGBTQI+ community, and people of different physical abilities. Lauren is hugely passionate about making HEMA more accessible, friendly and fun for all and her style of teaching is rather different from the “middle […]
Jessica Gomes runs her own club, the Velha Guarda Marcial, in beautiful Sintra, Portugal. She focuses on Fiore’s system, Capoferro rapier, and Portuguese staff fighting, Jogo do Pau. Jessica explains what this Iberian “party weapon” is all about, and how it influences and complements training with other systems. There are some pictures of the Portuguese staffs here, with English translation: https://www.jogodopau.pt/category/media/fotos/feiras-e-romarias/ We talk about teaching different weapons systems alongside one another, such as Jogo […]
James Hester has been involved with HEMA since the age of 15, when he began performing fight shows throughout New England. He then set his course as an academic and educator, working in museums before completing an MA in Medieval Studies in the UK. He then joined the Royal Armouries Museum, rising over five years to become Curator of Tower Collections at the Tower of London. In 2015 he was awarded the Arms & […]
Photo by Keane Chan Dayna Berghan-Whyman is the President of the New Zealand Federation for Historical Medieval Battle and Buhurt. In case you haven’t heard of it, Historical Medieval Battles (HMB) are full contact sports fighting, where defensive and offensive weapons of the Middle Ages are used. It includes historical fencing, buhurts, melee, duels, small-group battles, mass field battles, professional fights, etc. In our conversation Dayna explains her involvement in getting this sport recognised […]
Myles Cupp is an instructor at South Coast Swords, in California. You might have seen him on the History Channel’s Knife or Death show, and he’s a contributor to swordstem.com. SwordSTEM is a website dedicated to applying science to sword martial arts, which analyses martial arts with rational, evidence-based methodologies. In our discussion we talk about some of the articles on SwordSTEM, and how looking at the numbers can influence the rules of tournaments, […]
Photo by Olivia Blake In this episode I talk to Beth Hammer. One of Beth’s favourite pastimes is “This is Sparta” kicking people through fences as part of Battle of Nations competitions. Based in Seattle, USA, Beth practises HEMA and Escrima, and is now enjoying the freedom of Battle of Nations fighting. In this episode we explore what this fun activity involves, and also talk about Beth’s other hobby of fireman’s lifting men much […]
Craig Johnson is Manager of Arms and Armor, a sword lover’s dream job, as they make a wide variety of items from the Medieval and Renaissance periods to faithfully recreate the look, feel, and function of historic weapons. In this episode, we talk about recreating medieval swords as faithfully as possible, modern fashions in sword design, and the intricacies of sword manufacture. If you are interested in anything to do with swords and how […]
In this week’s episode I interview Kelley Costigan. Kelley is an actor, director, pole dancer, fencer, performance combatant, adventurer and pirate, currently living in Stratford-upon-Avon, UK, home of William Shakespeare. Listen to our conversation to discover the Shakespeare connection that inspired me to ask Kelley to narrate my audiobook, The Theory and Practice of Historical Martial Arts. (It’s out now: you can probably find it in your audiobook app of choice, or get it […]
Damon Young is an Australian martial artist and philosopher, author of books like Philosophy in the Garden and the soon to be published in Europe, already out in Australia, On Getting Off: Sex and Philosophy. He has also edited a couple of books on philosophy and martial arts: Engagement, Philosophy and the Martial Arts, and Martial Arts and Philosophy: Beating and Nothingness. In this fascinating conversation we discuss the importance of the study of […]
Elena Muzurina is a military sabre instructor, longsword tournament fencer, and owner of a HEMA equipment company. Elena is a champion – one of her proudest moments was winning at Swordfish – but HEMA is relatively new to Russia. In this episode we talk about what it is like learning Italian rapier and longsword in a country where there are very few sources translated into the language. We talk about the problems with fencing […]
Rory Miller is a martial arts and self-defence expert and author of many books, ebooks and video courses, including “Meditations on Violence: A Comparison of Martial Arts Training and Real World Violence”, which is widely considered as one of the best books on martial arts ever written and I urge you to read it. Speaking of best books on martial arts, Rory and I have a chat about our top 5 favourites in this […]
Nora Cannaday is an artist and a fencer from sunny Southern California. She works primarily in watercolours and in illumination, though we cover a lot more in this episode, including calligraphy, translations, making a living from your art and whether simply putting in the hours of practice is enough to get good. You can see an example of her work here with the logo she produced for the Spada Press: In this episode we […]
Maxime doesn’t do longsword. But he does practise Irish Stick Fighting, 19th century sabre, and has a background in karate and kenjutsu. In this episode Maxime describes Irish Stick Fighting, the challenges of finding someone to learn it from, and how he was able to bring it back to life as a martial art. You can find out more at the Antrim Bata website. Maxime’s website, HEMA Misfits, is all about the fringes of […]
Claire Mead is an English/French freelance curator with museums and heritage sites specialising in making collections and programming more inclusive, specifically in terms of women’s narratives and LGBTQI narratives. Claire also fences with foil and longsword. Since recording the episode she has taken the post of Programme Manager at the National Videogame Museum. In this episode we have a fascinating conversation about how a traditionally white, male perspective of history has overlooked many women, […]
David Ito is a sport épée fencer, Kendoka, longsword practitioner, and a fire eater. He also does 100 burpees first thing every morning. In this episode David tells us how he got into both fencing and fire eating, takes us through his somewhat intensive training regime, and shares good advice for anyone looking to get into teaching fencing as a career. In the podcast you will hear David talk about a footwork training machine, […]
Maija Soderholm lives in the United States, but grew up in England with Finnish parents. She trained with the late Filipino master Sonny Umpad, and she has taken this multicultural approach in her designs with her company, SoMiCo Knives. In this week’s episode we discuss how Maija got into martial arts and designing knives, including the most important use for a knife in Finland. We also discuss the Random Flow technique of sparring, which […]
Da’Mon Stith is the Chief Instructor and Founder of the Guild of the Silent Sword, teaching a range of African martial arts. In this conversation we discuss how he began his martial arts journey, and go into the specifics of how he recreates African arts, many of which do not have detailed written sources. You can find his Youtube channel here: https://www.youtube.com/user/austinwarriorarts   We discuss many aspects of African martial arts, and he mentions […]
Brittany Reeves is the co-founder of Mordhau Historical Combat in Mesa, Arizona, and has taught internationally. She has medalled at tournaments in longsword, cutting, glima, and ringen. She also has a degree in Ancient and Medieval history. In this conversation we discuss tournament mindset, her advice to beginners wanting to go to tournaments for the first time, and of course, equipment. […]
Michael Chidester is the a long-time researcher and practitioner of historical martial arts, and the Director of Wiktenauer. He is also producing draw-droppingly gorgeous facsimiles, here: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/manuscript-facsimile-fior-di-battaglia/x/1789830#/ There were some unfortunate technical problems with the recording of this interview, so you may wish to refer to the transcription below. […]
Lois Spangler is a Verdadera Destreza (“Spanish Rapier”) instructor and researcher with the Brisbane School of Iberian Swordsmanship. We discuss translating Spanish fencing sources, the problems of getting fencing jackets that actually fit, and even the philosophy of narrative. Check out her blog at StoryTrade.Net, and her Patreon account at Patreon.com/LoisSpangler She has been involved in producing a fencing jacket (the LS Diestrx) with HemaGearCanada, which you can find on their Facebook feed here. […]
Jake Norwood is a highly experienced and widely respected historical martial arts instructor. He co-founded the HEMA Alliance (one of the largest historical martial arts associations), and Longpoint (one of the best-known US historical martial arts events). He has taught and competed internationally. We talked about the founding of Longpoint, creating tournament structures that give you the outcomes you want, preparing for armoured combat, and many other things. I met him for the first […]
Kendra Brown is a swordswoman, researcher, and translator of the Latin version of Fiore’s Il Fior di Battaglia (known as the Florius manuscript). She has an awesome blog at https://darthkendraresearch.wordpress.com/ In this wide ranging conversation we discuss the perils and pitfalls of translation, women in combat in medieval times, and even what a very pregnant Caterina Sforza wore to occupy the Castel Santangelo. In this episode we cover a lot of ground, and make […]
Tony Wolf is an author, lecturer, antiquarian, and has trained in a very wide range of martial arts. In this conversation we discuss everything from Maori martial arts to Professional Wrestling, Victorian combatives to the Lord of the Rings (he designed the fighting styles for the different peoples of Middle Earth). And yes, he answers the question: can an Uruk bench press a motorcycle? In the show we discuss the Maori martial art Te […]
Dr. Eleanor Janega (whom Dan Snow refers to as “The most awesome medieval historian in the world”) is a Guest Lecturer at the London School of Economics in their International History department, and she has published many articles, including: “Suspect Women: Prostitution, Reputation, and Gossip in Fourteenth-Century Prague” and “Lies, Damn Lies, and Bohemians” in History Today. She has a PhD in History from University College London, writes a fascinating blog called “Going Medieval”, […]
Today’s guest on the show is Robyn Alman, from the Athena School of Arms, in Boston. She is well known on the US tournament circuit, and believes that “anybody can do this and enjoy it and engage in it in the way that is the most meaningful to them.” In this episode we talk about how she got started (hint: there was a Sci Fi and Fantasy Con involved), the challenges of training during […]
Kirk Williams, also known as the Knight of Green (to find out why, listen to the interview), is a practising historical martial artist… and also recreates video game sword fights in real life. Let’s be honest- most of us take up the sword because of something we read in a book or saw on a screen. I certainly spent a good chunk of my childhood trying to recreate sword fights from movies. Kirk takes […]
Rigel Ng is the president of the Pan Historical European Martial Arts Society (PHEMAS) in Singapore. In this conversation we cover a lot of ground, from military service to establishing your training goals. The Society was founded in 2005 by Greg Galistan and Chris Blakey, who spent a month training 24/7 in my salle in Helsinki, and I’ve taught there many times since, so it’s especially gratifying to me to see the next generation […]
You may have noticed I’ve started a podcast. It’s going really well- a dozen episodes published, and another dozen recorded, with several thousand downloads so far. The guests so far include: Jessica Finley, Fran Lacuata, Sam Swords, Airrion Scott, Kaja Sadowski, Tan Smith, Jen Landels, Roland Warzecha, Siobhan Richardson, Tomas Suazo, and Kimberleigh Roseblade. And Episode Twelve is going live this week, with Rigel Ng of PHEMAS in Singapore! Quite a line-up, I think […]
Kimberleigh Roseblade photograph ©Kristin Reimer/Photomuse Kimberleigh Roseblade is a historical martial arts instructor, specialising in Fiore’s Art of Arms. She teaches at AEMMA in Toronto, and has taught at many international level events including Swordsquatch, VISS, and Longpoint. In this conversation we discuss many things, including setting fire to nunneries, Fiore’s wrestling plays, and even head protection for fencing.   […]
My guest this week is Tomas Suazo, a historical fencer and armourer from Chile. I first met Tomas when he came to train with me in Finland in 2014. He did a Grand Tour of European historical fencing clubs, before returning home to run his own. He’s a professional maker of protective equipment for HMA, as well as what I think of as “proper armour”. You can find his work at Broken Anvil: https://www.facebook.com/brokenanvilarmourshop/ […]
Siobhan Richardson photo © Dahlia Katz Today’s podcast episode is with Siobhan Richardson. You may recognise her from the cover of my latest book: She’s an actress, singer, martial artist, stage combat director, among her many skills. We’ve been friends for quite a while, as you can probably tell from the tone of the interview. She even gets me to talk a bit about shoes! You can find her online here: Instagram: @fighteractress Youtube.com/actorsr www.SiobhanRichardson.com […]
I first met Roland Warzecha (also known as Dimicator) at the first Swordfish event, in Malmö in 2006, and we have been friends and colleagues ever since. He has built a first-class reputation in the fields of I.33 sword and buckler research and Viking sword and shield combat. He is a graphic designer by profession (he consulted on the card design for Audatia), and produces extraordinarily well presented research on sword design and related […]
This episode of The Sword Guy podcast is a conversation with Jennifer Landels. Regular readers of this blog will have heard about my foray into mounted combat with her here. She also has the distinction of being the only writer to guest-post on this blog: you can find her article here. Jennifer Landels is the founder and head of Academie Duello’s Mounted Combat Program which operates out of Cornwall Ridge Farm in Langley BC. […]
One of the great advantages of starting a podcast has been getting to talk to people I’ve not yet met, but whom my friends speak highly of. I think you’ll see why several other guests suggested I talk to Tan when you listen to what she has to say! Tan runs Rogue Fencing, a historical martial arts school in New York, and is also a successful tournament fencer. You can find her online at […]
In this episode of The Sword Guy, I talk to Kaja Sadowski, author of the must-read Fear is the Mind-Killer, about training with two swords, training in high-stress situations, and lots more training besides! Kaja has been a physical instructor since 2004, teaching figure skating, rock climbing, and mountaineering before coming to martial arts in 2010. They joined the coaching team at Valkyrie Western Martial Arts Assembly in 2012, and created their beginner program shortly […]
This week’s guest is the excellent Airrion Scott. I met Airrion at Lord Baltimore’s Challenge in 2019, and he was scheduled to teach at an event in London this June- but Covid-19 had other ideas. You can find our conversation here, or wherever else you get your podcasts. Airrion Scott is an Italian Rapier and Sabre Fencer and Instructor out of the Mid-Atlantic Society for Historic Swordsmanship in Annapolis, Maryland. Since joining them in […]
It is my pleasure to welcome Sam Swords onto the show. Sam -also called Samantha- Swords has been passionate about swordfighting since he was old enough to hold a stick. Strongly inspired by the stories of western warrior culture as a child, he has grown up to build his life around those same values, specialising in historical swordsmanship as well as being a professional craftsperson for the film and theatre industry, and immersing himself […]
I’m delighted to welcome Fran Lacuata onto The Sword Guy show. Francesca Lacuata is lead instructor at The School of the Sword’s Godalming chapter, having studied Bolognese swordplay and rapier since 2010. She has a further interest and some experience in renaissance dagger-fighting, Bartitsu and longsword. Fran has instructed at several high-profile events in Britain, Europe and the US; and has placed in and won a number of international tournaments. As a writer, Fran […]
The Sword Guy Podcast is live! Episode 1 I am thrilled to announce that my new podcast, aptly named “The Sword Guy” is now live. The theme of the first season is “Voices of Historical Martial Arts”, featuring historical sword practitioners of many styles. One of the attractions for starting the podcast was that it gave me a stimulus to get on the phone with some old friends, and also to get talking to […]