The Sword Guy Podcast show

The Sword Guy Podcast

Summary: Guy Windsor and friends discuss sword training, historical swordsmanship, research, and other topics. Guests include well-known instructors and experts in the field. You can support the show at

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 Your challenge for April | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 08:40

Eat Well. Last month’s challenge was very simple: prioritise sleep. While sleep quality varies hugely, it’s still basically the same thing for everyone: there’s good sleep, there’s bad sleep, and there’s enough sleep or not. We all know what we mean by ‘sleep well’. But what do we mean by ‘eat well’? ‘Eat well’ is incredibly varied. Eat well for what? The challenge this month is simply this: pay attention to what you eat and why. No area of human health is more riven with controversy and ill-feeling than discussions around what we eat. Very few people are actually rational about it, and I’m certainly not one of them. You can optimise your diet for many different things, and they will all look different. Here are some common priorities, in no particular order: 1. Athletic performance in your chosen field. Should sprinters eat like marathon runners? Probably not. 2. Muscle gain. All serious bodybuilders have pretty strict diets, and are often eating far more than they really want to, to persuade their bodies to store so much protein as muscle. 3. Fat loss. Probably the most common reason people pay attention to their food habits, and also an area where emotions run very high. 4. Pleasure. Many pleasurable foods are contraindicated by other priorities. If only chocolate was disgusting… 5. Ethics. The food you choose to buy has been produced, distributed, and sold by people. All three of those steps have ethical considerations. Animal welfare is one; the environmental impact of crops like soy is another. How far the food has travelled is yet another. 6. Longevity. This usually revolves around restricting calories, fasting, and other unpleasant practices. 7. Social connections. Many food practices have social dimensions. I have dinner with my wife and kids every day. We sit down together for it, no screens. Sometimes what we eat is affected by that priority; if we’re running late and the kids are hungry, I might make something quickly so we can eat together. Making something that is a treat for the kids usually means it’s not good for my longevity, athletic performance, or fat loss. But it’s very good for my mental health to have strong bonds with my children. 8. Convenience. How often have we eaten a less-optimal food because it was right there, instead of taking the time to make or find something better? 9. Cost. Many people can’t afford to buy enough of the higher-quality food that would be better for them. Some people just don’t prioritise food in their budget the way they prioritise other things. The principles of nutrition are quite straightforward: eat enough of the things you need but not too much, avoid the things that are bad for you, and spend enough time without eating for your gut to rest. Given that we live in a culture of abundance we tend to classify diets by restrictions, and take the “getting enough” side of things for granted. Those restrictions are: 1. Restricting specific foods. Many cultures have a taboo food that other cultures suffer no ill effects from. Most weight-loss diets have some form of ‘don’t eat sugar’. Vegetarianism restricts all meat. 2. Restricting food quantity. You can have this much ice-cream, but no more. For most of my lifetime, most of the popular weight-loss diets have been about calorie counting, and reducing the overall quantity of food. 3. Restricting when you can eat. Most traditional cultures have periodic fasts, and we all fast while we’re asleep. One currently popular form of this (which I actually find very useful for my body and my purposes) is the not-very-well-named “intermittent fasting”, in which you restrict food to an eating window, such as 14 hours of no food, 10 hours of food (so if you eat breakfast at 7am, you need to stop eating by 5pm). Popular versions of this include 16:8 and 20:4. But my own parents remember food rationing during the war. Perhaps half the people currently alive and 99% of all humans who lived before the 1950s are far more concerned with getting enough food than with being precious about when and how much they eat. There are also psychological costs to viewing food as something to be restricted, so you may prefer to think about how do you get enough of the high-quality food, rather than restricting yourself. So what should you do? The Challenge this month is: examine your priorities regarding food, and make choices consistent with those priorities. I did say that’s a challenge. It’s really, really, hard for most people. I would start by asking yourself what your priorities are. Are they even on my list? Then look at what you are actually doing, and decide how closely your actions match your priorities. It might be better to do that the other way round- look at what you are doing, and from there deduce your priorities. Some priorities are mutually exclusive. Generally speaking, dietary practices associated with longevity are not associated with muscle gain, or pleasure. But most people have many conflicting priorities. So prioritise! Which do you want more? And can you balance your priorities in a practical way? Then look at the downsides. Swordsmanship is awesome good fun: until someone loses an eye. So we wear fencing masks. What can you do to minimise the downsides of your priorities?What are the ethical implications of your muscle-building diet? What are the longevity implications of your pleasure-focussed diet? In all things, you want to cap the downside. Can you minimise the ethical problems of some of your choices, by choosing a different brand or supplier? Can you minimise the health problems of your pleasure-focussed diet by for instance intermittent fasting? With your better sleep, and your ability to acquire or drop habits, you should have the internal resources you need to make whatever changes you want, for your priorities. My only specific advice is this- leave virtue out of it. Deciding you want pleasure in your life does not make you a bad person, and deciding you’re going to cut out meat and fast every week does not make you a good one. Any extreme is self-indulgent: It is no less self-indulgent to starve yourself than it is to stuff yourself. If you are looking for ideas about how to proceed, then you may find my other posts on nutrition helpful: Eat Right for Fight Night The Myth of the One True Diet Skittles Beat Watermelon  How I lost 10kg in 3 weeks without effort or hunger  

 Jousting with Callum Forbes | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 48:34

Episode 40 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. Since the mid ‘80s, Callum has been building up jousting tournaments in his native New Zealand, to the point where he hosts international tournaments. We discuss the challenges that brings, particularly when you are not a multimillionaire and can’t fly your own horse around the world with you. He also explains what a fantastically all-inclusive sport jousting is, so long as you can ride a horse! We also talk about recreating Fiore’s highly dangerous (and effective) mounted combat plays, and Callum has kindly agreed to film them for us. Watch this space for those.   Callum’s YouTube channel is here, with lots of videos of jousting training: And for The Wellington Hapkido Academy, where Callum is chief instructor, see here: For more information about the host Guy Windsor and his work check out his website at And to support the show, come join the Patrons at  

 An unconventional approach to HEMA, with Lauren Ings | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 54:51

The Sword Guy Podcast, episode 39 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 aged white dudes” of traditional historical fencing schools. We talk about what we can do to get that first woman in through the door, and how important representation is in our schools, books, and materials. You can find Lauren on Instagram @La.Petite.Morticia. (Nudity warning!) The Stoccata School of Defence: For more information about the host Guy Windsor and his work check out his website at And to support the show, come join the Patrons at

 Portuguese Party Weapons with Jessica Gomes | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 01:05:39

The Sword Guy Podcast, episode 38 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:   We talk about teaching different weapons systems alongside one another, such as Jogo do Pau and rapier, and how you keep them separate… or not. There is also lots of advice in this episode for anyone thinking of setting up their own club. We discuss the cultural side of HEMA and how we could get it recognised as a world heritage activity, with the aim of making it easier for new clubs to get started and to help with weapons regulations. For more information on the Roberto Gotti exhibition in Minsk that Jessica attended in 2019, see here: For more information about the host Guy Windsor and his work check out his website at And to support the show, come join the Patrons at

 Medieval swords and research, with James Hester | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 01:08:17

Episode 37 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 & Armour Heritage Trust Studentship to complete a PhD focusing on late medieval martial arts at the University of Southampton. A summary of the PhD thesis is here. In this episode we talk about James’s exciting research, particularly about matching up the treatises and other sources we have from the period with the notches and dings found on weapons and skeletal evidence from battlefield graves to work out whether the techniques detailed in the fencing treatises were ones that were actually used at the time. Is it possible to extrapolate from a fencing treatise that this is how people actually fought? Click on the link for a video lecture on some of James’s research into damage on arms and armour. We also talk about the passage of arms events James has organised, and his attempts to make the armour at these events as historically accurate as possible, i.e. not what we would think of as “safe” by modern standards. To read more about the 2018 passage of arms at the beautiful Château de Castelnaud in the Dordogne, France, see here: A brief write-up of the 2018 Judgement of Mars with some photos. For more photos, see this link from Facebook: Photos by La Mesnie du Blanc Castel of the 2019 Judgement of Mars on their Facebook page. In the introduction I mention photographs of the treatises at the Fencing Museum in the U.K. You can see these here: For more information on James and his work, see: Patreon: Website: FB: Twitter: @schoolofmars  For more information about the host Guy Windsor and his work check out his website at And to support the show, come join the Patrons at

 Historical Medieval Battle in New Zealand, with Dayna Berghan-Whyman | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 01:26:31

Episode 36 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 in New Zealand. In this highly entertaining episode we talk about the challenges of competing in tournaments on a world stage, when you live SO FAR away from everywhere else. Dayna explains what it’s like to get off the plane after 30 hours and realise your armour hasn’t arrived, or what to do when the Italian medics cut your armour off you when you get knocked out in a battle. It’s very costly in terms of time and money doing this sport at a top level, especially in Covid-19 times with the potential for lengthy quarantines. She also talks about the challenges facing women in the sport and how hard it is to get experience when you simply don’t have enough opponents. Listen to this episode for a hilarious anecdote involving Dayna’s mouth guard and bird poo (yes, it’s as bad as you think) and why a bloody knife made Dayna late for a seminar with Guy. Please note that this conversation was conducted in December 2020 and the details of some 2021 competitions have since changed. To find out more about HMB and Buhurt, visit: Buhurt New Zealand Historical Medieval Battle International Association For more information about the host Guy Windsor and his work check out his website at And to support the show, come join the Patrons at

 Analysing sword science and technology with Myles Cupp | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 01:18:23

Episode 35 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 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, the gear we use, and the most effective ways to fight. Myles’ day job is as an engineer at Disneyland, and we talk about working on rides like the new Star Wars Rise of the Resistance. We also chat about driverless cars, and speaking Italian like a native, but the episode is really all about swords! One of Myles’ guiding principles is about sharing knowledge, and his work on SwordSTEM is bringing fascinating information to light on really understanding what is going on in tournaments, the swords themselves, and our training methods. Useful links from this episode: Store Webpage: Club webpage: YouTube channel: SoCal Swordfight: And of course, SwordSTEM: For more information about the host Guy Windsor and his work check out his website at And to support the show, come join the Patrons at

 Battle of Nations with Beth Hammer | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 01:12:34

Episode 34 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 bigger than herself, including me! Photo by Olivia Blake Beth is also an artist, specialising in sculpture and making models. And when she is not doing all that, she also finds the time to be one of the organisers of Swordsquatch, which is an amazing annual event for swordy people. We talk about what goes into organising and planning it, and if you listen there’s also a mention of my purple sparkly unicorn underpants, which you'll want to see: You can find Beth at @mudskipperrodeo on Instagram, and her Patreon for her tiny monster sculpture is For more information about the host Guy Windsor and his work check out his website at And to support the show, come join the Patrons at

 How to Make Swords, with Craig Johnson | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 01:19:31

Episode 33 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 they are made, this episode is a must-listen. Craig has been involved in Historical European Martial Arts / Western Martial Arts since the early days of the community and he is the secretary of the Oakeshott Institute, a non-profit organization, established by Christopher Poor in 2000. The Institute is named after the late Ewart Oakeshott, a leading authority on European arms and armour. Ewart spent a lifetime researching and collecting swords and Craig tells us about continuing his legacy, and we talk about how being able to handle original swords is how you can really come to understand them and the people who wielded them. In this episode Craig mentions blog posts about heat treating swords to imbue them with different qualities, which are linked for you here: HISTORICAL SWORD MAKING – HEAT TREATMENT Pt1 HISTORICAL SWORD MAKING – HEAT TREATMENT Pt2 HISTORICAL SWORD MAKING – HEAT TREATMENT Pt3 HISTORICAL SWORD MAKING – HEAT TREATMENT Pt4 For sword typology, (type XVIII, etc.) see Oakeshott’s Typology on Wikipedia: One of Craig’s top two “golden swords” is this Swiss sabre (from the Wallace Collection). We talk in some depth about what makes it so special, and you need to see the pictures of it to understand: Related to this, here’s a blog post about complex hilted longswords: Complex Hilted Longswords Later on in our conversation we discuss the difference in size between medieval steel gauntlets and their modern counterparts. You might find this blog post interesting about medieval sword grips: Arms and Armor are on Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, and YouTube. For more information about the host Guy Windsor and his work check out his website at And to support the show, come join the Patrons at

 Pole Dancing with Swords, with Kelley Costigan | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 01:04:08

Episode 32 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 directly from me here: As a child, Kelley was told that fencing was “not something that girls do”, but she has since made up for it after taking up HEMA in her 40s. We also talk about competitive fencing, competitive pole dancing (yes, that’s a thing,) not being a Russian spy, and what Kelley would do with a million pounds. In case you’ve never seen someone pole dancing with a sword before, here’s one of Kelley’s performances on Vimeo. To find out more about Kelley, her website is and you can also find her on social media, such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. For more information about the host Guy Windsor and his work check out his website at And to support the show, come join the Patrons at

 Why Swords are Cool, with Damon Young | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 01:34:30

Episode 31 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 philosophy when practising martial arts. How do we know the difference between bravery and foolhardiness? How can someone engage in violence and still be a good person? And perhaps, most importantly, why are swords so damn cool? For Damon’s essay on why swords are cool, you can find the details of the Meanjin magazine article in Damon’s blog post here. Damon has also written a series of six books for children, which he mentions near the end of this episode. If you would like to check them out, the first one is My Nanna is a Ninja, which is available in the usual bookshops. You can watch him reading it on YouTube here. The transcription of this episode is on my website here. For more information about the host Guy Windsor and his work check out his website at And to support the show, come join the Patrons at

 Fencing in Russia, with Elena Muzurina | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 52:35

Episode 30 Elena Muzurina is a military sabre instructor, longsword champion and owner of a HEMA equipment company. Elena is a Russian 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 equipment, and what she would do with a million dollars to improve HEMA in Russia. When listening to this episode you might not have caught some of the names Elena mentions, so here they are in case you are interested: Andrey Muzurin – Elena's longsword trainer and husband Vadim Senichev – translator of Fiore in Russian Kristine Konsmo and Carl Ryberg – HEMA in Sweden, fencers and Swordfish orgs Leonid Křížek – Czech Republic HEMA, trainer at Ars Dimicatoria school, instructor and researcher of Barbasetti military sabre method, writer Sergei Kultaev – Russian HEMA, longsword champion and trainer at FreiFechter Gilde, Saint Petersburg Here is the Facebook page for Fox Tail Equipment: And this is the online store: You can find Elena on social media: Facebook: Instagram: @silent_battle_song YouTube: Silent Battle Song Vkontate: For more information about the host Guy Windsor and his work check out his website at And to support the show, come join the Patrons at

 Violence and Self Defence, with Rory Miller | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 01:20:38

Episode 29 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 episode, so if you are after some new reading material, have a listen. In this episode, the conversation goes in some unexpected places, including sailing across the Atlantic, from South Africa to Florida in a custom catamaran; being “raised by coyotes” in the desert; poo-flinging monkeys on Facebook; and a whole lot in between about self-defence and violence. Rory’s Chiron Training website is here: and his blog is here: For more information about the host Guy Windsor and his work check out his website at And to support the show, come join the Patrons at

 Art and Fencing, with Nora Cannaday | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 01:26:24

Episode 28 Nora is an artist and a fencer from sunny Southern California. She works primarily in watercolours and in illumination, though we cover a lot in this episode, including calligraphy, translations, making a living from your art and whether simply putting in the hours of practise 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 talk about how exacting and unforgiving some art forms can be, and the differences between different media in painting. Nora talks about the artist Lori Lamont who works exclusively in watercolour, and you can see her work here. When we talk about fencing in the SCA scene in Southern California, we mention Nora’s painted fencing masks. Here are some examples: This is the link to the Our Fake History podcast, which Nora mentions when talking about her thoughts on the Book of the Five Rings:   Here is the fanciest fuckoff piece that Nora produced using all the gold (listen at around 1hr 9min in). Credit for the calligraphy goes to Master Thomas Brownwell. Nora did all the gilding and painting: Nora’s website is and you can find her on the usual social media too. For more information about the host Guy Windsor and his work check out his website at And to support the show, come join the Patrons at

 Irish Stick Fighting, with Maxime Chouinard | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 01:17:18

Episode 27 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.   Maxime’s website, HEMA Misfits, is all about the fringes of historical martial arts, the less popular styles, and we talk about some of these less common forms of the art.   Content warning: In the second half of our conversation there is some pretty gory stuff about sword fighting injuries and how they were treated. (Maybe not for listening to over the Christmas dinner table!) Maxime's article on the subject is here.   Merry Christmas everybody!   For more information about the host Guy Windsor and his work check out his website at And to support the show, come join the Patrons at


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