Guy Windsor - sword expert

Guy Windsor

@ The School of European Swordsmanship

Guy Windsor is a swordsmanship practitioner, instructor, researcher, and writer. He has a broad and deep training in Western swordsmanship, and has conducted research into most of the recorded swordsmanship styles between 1300 and 1800. He is a specialist in the works of Fiore dei Liberi, Ridolfo Capoferro, the anonymous I.33, and Domenico Angelo.

He was born in Cambridge, England in 1973. His first fencing lesson was from his grandfather, Dr. Hector Apergis, from whom he learned that most vital skill: extension first!

He began regular martial arts lessons in 1985, and took up sport fencing at school in 1987, specialising in the foil for four years before adding the sabre. In 1992 he enrolled at Edinburgh University, where his studies  took a back seat to his immersion in martial arts. He also studied fencing at the University club, and represented the University on a few occasions. In 1993-4 he was in charge of sabre training for the club. During his first year at Edinburgh University, Mr Windsor met fellow sword enthusiasts, and in 1994 they formed the Dawn Duellists Society. He was also instrumental in setting up the British Federation of Historical Swordplay in 1999.

Later, Mr Windsor completed his MA in English Literature, and began work as a cabinet maker and antiques restorer, while teaching fencing at the DDS. In September 2000 he decided to teach swordsmanship full-time and in March 2001 he opened The School of European Swordsmanship in Helsinki. The school now has branches and study groups all over the world.

In 2018,Guy published The Art of Sword Fighting in Earnest, a new improved academic translation of De Arte Gladiatoria Dimicandi. This, combined with The Duellist’s CompanionThe Medieval Dagger, and a critical review of these three books, earned him a PhD from Edinburgh University.

His considerable bibliography can be found here and includes:

The Swordsman’s Companion, a training manual for medieval Italian longsword (2004)

The Duellist’s Companion, a training manual for 17th century Italian rapier (2006)

The Armizare Vade Mecum: mnemonic verses for Fiore’s art of Arms (2011)

Mastering the Art of Arms vol 1: the Medieval Dagger (2012); a training guide to Fiore’s dagger material

Veni Vadi Vici: a transcription, translation and commentary on Philippo Vadi’s De Arte Gladiatoria Dimicandi(2013)

Advanced Longsword: Form and Function (2016)

The Theory and Practice of Historical Martial Arts (2018)

He is currently based in Suffolk in the United Kingdom.


This year Guy is offering

Swordsmanship Fundamentals: Mechanics
One of the hallmarks of an expert martial artist is graceful powerful movement. We will cover the principles of grounding, range of motion, strength, gait, initiation, and footwork. These can be applied to striking harder, moving faster, reducing wear and tear, reducing the likelihood of injury, winning fencing matches, or simply looking and feeling good. You will end the class with a clear idea of what you should be working on, and how to go about doing that, as well as a series of exercises to improve your mechanics.
This class will focus on unarmed movement, as grip and striking mechanics deserve a class of their own…
Sword Striking Mechanics
The sword is a labour saving device. If you are holding it correctly, and moving correctly, you can deliver extraordinary force with very little effort. In this class we will study the ways of holding the sword to create the optimal interface with the weapon, and cover how to hit hard (ideal for killing your enemies), and how to hit very fast without impact (ideal for fencing your friends). I strongly recommend taking the Fundamentals: Mechanics class first, as we will be using the same principles. If time allows we will also cover applying these mechanics in controlling the bind.
This class is appropriate for any and every kind of sword. It is easiest to learn with a longsword or messer, but rapiers, smallswords, backswords, sabres and so on all follow the same rules.
You will need a sword and a mask.
Problem Solving for the Rapier
In this class we will cover how to identify and correct problems with your rapier fencing. The problems may vary, but the process is the same: run a diagnostic, fix the weakest link, run the diagnostic again. How do we fix the weakest link? Come to the class to find out…
You will need a rapier and a mask