Episode 132 Podcasting with the Sword Whisperers (Schwertgeflüster)

Episode 132 Podcasting with the Sword Whisperers (Schwertgeflüster)

You can also support the show at Patreon.com/TheSwordGuy Patrons get access to the episode transcriptions as they are produced, the opportunity to suggest questions for upcoming guests, and even some outtakes from the interviews. Join us!

Michael Sprenger and Alexander Fürgut are the creators of Schwertgeflüster, a (usually) German-speaking podcast about all things HMA. In this episode Michael and Alexander interview Guy, while Guy also interviews Michael and Alexander a bit too. It’s not as confusing as it sounds.

[caption id="attachment_60098" align="alignnone" width="300"] Alexander Fürgut[/caption][caption id="attachment_60099" align="alignnone" width="300"] Michael Sprenger[/caption]

We talk about how Alexander can’t get into the correct position for Fabris’s rapier fencing, which Guy diagnoses as possible tight hamstrings. If you also want to work on lengthening your hamstrings, here’s Guy’s trainalong hamstring special. The warmup section is about 25min, then we get into the hamstring stretches… vimeo.com/504380949/d22be1ece5

We also talk about the art and science of making a podcast, what’s wrong with HEMA tournaments, publishing lawsuits, and more.

The Schwertgeflüster website can be found at www.schwertgefluester.de  and the HEMA event calendar mentioned is hema.events/

Here is a link to the podcasting editing video mentioned in the outro: vimeo.com/755065041/b9eca60702





Michael Sprenger: So first up, nice to meet you, Guy. I have heard a lot about you. Mostly from you.


Guy Windsor: OK.


Michael Sprenger: So I read a couple of your books. I've read your blog for, I think, a couple of years, actually. So it feels like I know you a little bit, but actually, I'm meeting you, even if it's virtually, for the first time.


Guy Windsor: Yeah, it's a problem you have with anyone who writes stuff is I have the same experience when I meet an author whose novels I've read where. You think you know them. And actually it turns out you're just really familiar with their work.


Michael Sprenger: And I think it gets worse if you have a podcast, which we both do.


Guy Windsor: Absolutely. But it's nice, actually, because like for example, when I go to a sword event, people who’ve listened to the podcast but haven't actually met me feel more comfortable coming up and saying, well, actually, you know, this Fiore thing, and how does posta di donna work? Which is exactly what I'm there for. I'm there for the students. But then having listened to my voice many times, makes them just more comfortable in coming up and actually asking me the question.


Michael Sprenger: You think so? Don't you think they get a little bit, I don't know, starstruck or something?


Guy Windsor: Honestly, that's worse with books. Yeah, because there's this natural misunderstanding that pretty much everyone who reads books has, including myself, that author equals authority. So when somebody has written a book and you have bought that book and you read it, you interact with the author through that sort of separation of the book. And you know that they're the sort of person who can actually like produce a book and have it published and whatever. And so that makes them like sort of up here. And it's like that they're some kind of separate being. Like there's a story of when Roald Dahl met the Captain Hornblower author whose name I'm suddenly blanking on for no good reason. And he describes the experience of meeting him as he expected him to be wearing like some sort of robe and have sparks flying out of his head. But it was just this perfectly ordinary bloke who showed up and asked him about his war experiences. C.S. Forrester, that’s the author. But with a podcast, I mean, if you come across on the show as this distant authority figure telling people how it is, then maybe, but most of the time I'm interacting with peers and they'll correct me live and they will interact with me in a kind of natural way if it's a good interview and I think it softens the whole, here’s this well-known sword person. Oh actually he sounds like an ordinary person.


Michael Sprenger: It kind of grounds the people a bit if you hear them talking.


Guy Windsor: Voice is different.


Michael Sprenger: Yeah. So I wrote you because we both do sword podcasts. Our podcast Schwertgeflüster is in German, yours, The Sword Guy is in English. So I'd like to start at the beginning. What made you start a podcast? Why did you do it and why do you keep doing it?


Guy Windsor: Those are two separate questions. And I will reflect the questions back at you when I'm done answering. Because turnabout is fair play. In November 2019, I read a book called Invisible Women by Caroline Criado Perez.


Michael Sprenger: A very interesting book.


Guy Windsor: It's a fascinating book. She's a data scientist. And in the book she describes all sorts of ways in which because the default assumption is that person equals male person, women are discriminated against in all sorts of appalling ways, one obvious one being how cars are tested for safety using a default male crash test dummy. And when you test those same cars, they get a five star rating with the default male crash test dummy. You test them again with a female shaped dummy, they might only get a three star rating. So women are driving around in cars that they've been sold as safe for them. When actually they're not because they haven't been tested on women, or women-shaped dummies. It was horrifying. And it opened my eyes to aspects of the historical martial arts community that are default male, like gloves. My female students have always had a hell of a time getting gauntlets to fit them. And all sorts of other things. So that was sort of tinkering away in the back of my head. And then, during lockdown in sort of I guess March, April, May, there was the whole Black Lives Matter thing erupted. That was like, fuck. I mean, this is this in all sorts of ways this is related to the Invisible Women book. It is the same fundamentally, it's the same phenomenon. I thought, well, what can I do about it? And honestly, nothing. I'm not a politician. I'm not immensely wealthy. I'm not wealthy at all. And just one day, I was just doing woodwork in my shed. And I thought, well, why don't I start a podcast? And this is unrelated to this all this social justice stuff. And I thought well, why would I start a podcast? I mean, Jesus, it's a lot of work and they don't make any money. I'm guessing you're not you're not driving around in Ferrari?


Michael Sprenger: No, not yet. I mean, it's kind of it's kind of like getting a dog. It's just not a one-time thing, you have to keep doing it and doing it on a regular basis.


Guy Windsor: Right. So I thought that I thought, hang on. Because of the work I've done in historical martial arts, I have a certain visibility, right? And if I start a podcast I can invite people onto the show and thus share my platform with them, share my visibility with them. So within my own little community of historical martial arts people, there is something I can do to improve the way that women and minorities of various kinds at least get heard from.


Michael Sprenger: So actually the point is to amplify the voices of those that are not as likely to be heard. Did I get it correctly?


Guy Windsor: Exactly. So again, another story from Perez's book. There was this disaster, this horrible tsunami that destroyed a whole bunch of housing and killed thousands of people in India some many years ago.: And when they rebuilt, they rebuilt all of this housing and there were no women involved in the planning process, and they built thousands of apartments that had no kitchens. Just because nobody asked the women. And in that culture, kitchens are very much the female domain that the men don't even think about them. And literally, they physically built these apartments with no kitchens. And that's just insane. But I don’t want my podcast to be just women and minorities and everything else. Because if I do that, it becomes a very niche thing and it's not likely to get people who are not from those demographics listening to it. So I'll also invite people like Roland Warzecha, Christine Tobler, and so on. Basically middle aged, straight white dudes who are well known in the community. Because then middle aged straight white dudes might listen to the show and then go, oh, that was quite interesting and listen to the next one, which happens to be a woman, for instance. And so I am I'm running the show effectively as a social justice project. That’s what it’s for.


Michael Sprenger: It's interesting that this was the original thought behind it or the impulse to create it, because when you scroll through the episodes, you get that vibe. Like if someone asked me, then I would have said, yeah, that seems to be important for Guy when he's selecting the guests. But the way you explain it, it's not just a happy coincidence. Yeah, it can do it but know this is the reason that you started it.


Guy Windsor: The single, probably most difficult thing about running the show is finding enough women. Because I can tell you, so many men have contacted me, telling me how wonderfully qualified they are to be on the show. Not a single woman has ever pitched me. So I go out and I find them. Many of these are women who have shown up to my seminars, women who I know through other sword related things or whatever. One thing I really use social media for is kind of skulking around the internet looking for interesting women and people who are not middle aged, straight white men to invite onto my show. Like, you know, I've recently had Dr. Ashley Polasek on who is a Sherlock Holmes expert, but also teaches Bolognese swordsmanship. So there's always at least a plausible sword connection. Usually there's a plausible sword connection, but sometimes it's just an interesting person like, if you contact some random person, especially if you're a bloke contacting a woman through the Internet and they don't know you, it would be super weird to say I think you're interesting. Could we just chat for an hour? That would be great. That's creepy stalker weirdo. But like, hello. I'm interested in your work, I have a podcast. Would you like to come on the show? Totally different conversation. So it's this fantastic pretext to talk to interesting people.


Michael Sprenger: I see. Yeah, we had the same issue. Same for us. Like this was not the main reason we started a podcast. But we also wanted to interview women that are important in the community to do stuff. And so far I think we interviewed like four and it's tough because even if you ask them.


Guy Windsor: Do they have to be able to speak German?


Michael Sprenger: Yeah, that that's the main issue for us. I wanted to add because I mean, the women in historical European martial arts are minority and German speaking women there are much less.


Guy Windsor: Right. Yeah. It's easier when you are doing it in English. Yeah. But there's all sorts of interesting academics who have produced books in German about medieval culture, medieval warfare, medieval sword stuff. I know because I've asked a few and at least a couple of them, one of the reasons they didn't really want to come on the podcast is because they didn't feel confident in their spoken English.


Michael Sprenger: I would be very much interested to hear it maybe after the show who you contacted who would possibly available in German because we also want to have academics on the show and it's not easy to get them, like the HEMA crowd knows the podcast. And if you ask them like, hey, would you want to come on the show and they're like, oh yeah, that's sounds good, I'm coming. And academics are like, well, I don't know, podcast. Maybe, maybe not.


Guy Windsor: Yeah, it really helps if the host has a PhD, which doesn't help you guys at all. But it certainly helps me because I have several times gone to the university that they work for, find their department, contact the secretary of the department and say, look, I run this show, I'd be interested in interviewing so-and-so about their published work. Would you please forward my request? And then in my signature, it's clear that, I'm sufficiently academic to have got a PhD. And that basically makes the secretary of the department feel comfortable forwarding my email. That's not why I got a PhD, but it's just one of the unexpected benefits of having Herr Doktor, as you Germans say.


Michael Sprenger: That would be an additional reason for people to make an Ph.D.. Like getting guests for a podcast.


Guy Windsor: Totally. And it does seem to help because it just establishes your, I guess, seriousness in the academic field. Don’t you have a PhD?


Michael Sprenger: True. Yes. I just don't have to write in my signature that it's a PhD in electrical engineering.


Guy Windsor: No, you don't. You have a PhD. Any PhD will do.


Michael Sprenger: I just write Dr Michael Sprenger, that's it.


Guy Windsor: Whenever you contact, any university for any reason, throw in a Ph.D., you don't have to read out the title of your dissertation. It doesn't matter. It really doesn't. It just means that you belong in the academic sphere. It's like putting on a tuxedo to go to the office. It just makes you look like you belong.


Michael Sprenger: You're not academic rubbish.


Guy Windsor: Honestly, I have met many people with PhDs who are academic rubbish and many without who are academically way better than I am. I mean, I've interviewed Dierk Hagedorn. You must have had him on yourself. That dude has done vastly more academic work than I ever have in historical martial arts. He has enough there for four PhDs and he hasn’t got one. It’s ridiculous. I mean, if I had the power to just bestow Doctorates on worthy people, Dierk would be one of the very first. It’s like the whole, any fool could write a book. Many fools do. But as I was saying earlier, it's easy to confuse that author with an authority. So, any time in academia, you know, plenty of idiots get PhDs.


Michael Sprenger: Yeah I mean so to use the Ph.D. when contacting academics is a pretty good tip. So, yeah, it is good that today we get together and exchange.


Guy Windsor: Herr Doktor Michael.


Michael Sprenger: The next time, I'll actually try it.


Guy Windsor: Yeah. You just want to make people feel comfortable. Like, one of the things I don't know if you guys do this, but when I invite someone on the show for an interview, I tell them I'll send them questions in advance. They can add questions they want, stuff they want to talk about or decline any question. I mean, I don't know if you listen to my show that often, but I have some standard questions that I ask everyone and some of my guests don't get asked that question. And that's because they’ve just decided they don't want to be asked that question. And I just don't ask. That's fine. And then I always send them the recording in advance so they can check it to make sure that they're comfortable with it before it goes live. Maybe one in five, one in ten, something like that ask for something to be changed. But again, it's all about just making them feel comfortable coming on the show and then talking about anything because they know they can cut it out afterwards so they don't have to worry about saying something extremely rude about some historical martial arts person or their boss or whatever else, because I can just cut it out later.


Michael Sprenger: Yeah, we typically don't send questions in advance because we always tell people that's not an interview like we're doing, some talking it's just a nice dialogue as we do now.


Guy Windsor: So why did you guys start your show?


Alexander Fürgut: The why is actually a very good question. It was in the beginning of 2020.


Guy Windsor: Right.


Alexander Fürgut: More than two years now. Yes.


Guy Windsor: So your show’s a bit older than mine.


Michael Sprenger: And it was pre Corona. So no one was talking really seriously about the Corona issue.


Alexander Fürgut: We started right before it.


Michael Sprenger: I remember myself scrolling through Spotify podcasts and searching for some HEMA and fencing related stuff, and I couldn't really find something that way. And I thought, why not? Why isn't there a HEMA podcast or a German speaking historische fechten podcast? And somehow the first person who came to my mind was Alex and I wrote him a message. “What do you think about starting a HEMA podcast?” And Alex answered. Maybe Alex you can answer yourself what you said that time.


Alexander Fürgut: Well, basically at the point you wrote me, I was already thinking about starting a podcast for like a month or so. I was at so many HEMA events and I had watched so many HEMA talks and read books. And often if it's not academic work, it's not reproduced. Sometimes it's fun, but it's good. But there's so much knowledge out there that could be easily shared. But no one did it. And it kind of annoyed me and it nagged me that this was circulating inside the scene. But the one who knew who to told who something like there's some implicit knowledge, but the new guy, the new guy that has no chance to learn, to see, test, to stick in the scene for ten years. And maybe he had enough conversations to learn the stuff himself. But this is not skill, this is knowledge, and it's easy to transfer it, like with a podcast. And yeah, so I thought this was what was missing from the German HEMA scene because there are a lot of knowledgeable people, for example, Dierk Hagedorn, and why not have them on and let them talk about what they knew and to get a crash course in something in like an hour, hour and a half and then. Yeah, so it was an easy answer as a stark yes.


Michael Sprenger: Yes. And it was it actually it was fitting perfectly because Alex said to me that yes, but I don't want to do that audio mixing and stuff like that.


Guy Windsor: Yeah, it's a pain in the arse.


Michael Sprenger: And I said, well, I like to do it.


Guy Windsor: You can do mine then.


Michael Sprenger: And that's something which I had in my studies. As in electrical engineering there was also like a lot of signal work, stuff like that.


Guy Windsor: Wow that’s really lucky. One of my early episodes, I think it was with Kaja Sadowski, it went out with Kaja was like super quiet and I was quite loud and it was just impossible to listen to. And some people like contacted me with helpful suggestions, and then I was like oh shit, if I'm actually going to do this, I have to do this perhaps to a better standard. So one of the guys on my mailing list is an audio engineer and I hired him to basically teach me. So we had a zoom call and we opened up Audacity and he taught me what I need to do to bring my audio engineering skills up to the basic minimum standard to produce reasonable podcasts. I am still at that basic minimum standard of producing listenable podcasts.


Alexander Fürgut:  I think the first couple of episodes have to be horrible, especially when it comes to audio quality or else you're starting too late. Like you need to get a feel for it to do your thing and then learn the skill.


Michael Sprenger: Actually, our first episodes, they were horrible too, because I was experimenting with the tools that audacity provides. And so I didn't find the ones I use now in the first like five, six, seven episodes but from then it was much better and. Just wanted to explain the next part from how Schwertgeflüster started because Alex said, yeah, but we have to do it professionally. Not only putting this on YouTube, stuff like that, but making a real website and putting it on Spotify, Apple and stuff like that. And I thought, OK, can you do it? And he said, yes, that's something I can do. And so Alex makes the website and the upload and stuff like that. And that's how we interact quite well.


Guy Windsor: Yeah, I got about maybe 20 episodes in and I was like, OK, I want to keep this going, but I just don't have the mental bandwidth to do it on my own. And so I put a call out on the on my email list and actually, one of my friends who lives like six blocks that way said yes, oh, I could do that. And so she does transcriptions does the uploads, the show notes, she writes the show notes, she does all of that stuff that's uploaded to all the various places. And obviously I pay her because, you know, this is paid work. But yeah, I couldn't sustain it on my own because I just don't have the energy for it because I don't generally do long term projects. Like a book, the book takes a really long time. It might take me four years to write and then it's done. It's out. It is done. I can forget about it. Kids are much longer project but your biological wiring that helps with that. But yeah in my sort of day to day none of my projects require a kind of weekly commitment.


Michael Sprenger: That's so funny coming from an author.


Guy Windsor: Right, well, but it's true. It matters that I produce books fairly regularly. But it doesn't matter if I do any, any work on a particular book in a particular month.


Michael Sprenger: OK. I can see that.


Guy Windsor: Very often, a book that takes two years to write, probably. There's a month of tinkering around with it. Three months of forgetting about it altogether. Another week of tinkering around with it. Three months, six months, maybe, of not even thinking about it or just thinking about it, off and on. And then two months of intense sort of, now it's ready. Boom. And that's well, most of it gets written. Then forget about it for a month, let it sit then maybe spend a week editing it, then send it off to the editor and then it's in the kind of production process which is like the straightforward bit, and you send it off to various professionals for layout and that cover design done and do publishing side of things, which doesn't require much creative thought. But the book itself, it's not this much every day, this much, every week, this much every month at all. It's intense bursts followed by periods where I'm thinking about something else altogether.


Michael Sprenger: It is interesting that you do it like that.


Guy Windsor: Yeah, the podcast has to be every bloody week because it does have to be regular, right? So I don't do it that way. I don't do it that way at all. I usually have maybe eight or ten episodes in the bag. When I started, I was like, OK, I will not launch the first episode until I have six recorded and ready to go. I can take six weeks off and still get the next one out if I need to. And in the end, it went so easy at the beginning, I had ten in the bag before I lost the first one. Twice now I've got down to having maybe two in the bag, then I think, do I want to continue the podcast or not? So far twice I have said, yes, I do. And then I've scurried about finding people and interviewing them and making the episodes and stuff. I had a period like that just a few weeks ago. And I was like, am I going to keep this going? And since then, I've done five recorded interviews and I've got another four scheduled. So, yes, it’s definitely keeping going.


Michael Sprenger: So you're questioning it because it's too stressful if you only have two episodes. Did I get that right?


Guy Windsor: No, I question everything every now and then.


Michael Sprenger: OK.


Guy Windsor: Every project. Like, do I really want to do this? Do I really want to do this? So, like, with the podcast I scheduled a bunch of stuff to kind of get me through over the summer because I was going away with the family for holidays and doing other things. I wasn't going to have any time for doing anything. So everything was scheduled in July. So I didn't do anything with the podcast at all in August. And then do I want to keep this going? Actually, yes, I do. And so I then I contacted a bunch of people and arranged interviews and, you know. It actually got to the point where there was the episode that had been scheduled, ready to go out. And I had one further episode recorded. That's how close to the wire I got. At the end of the day, I'm like 124 episodes or something. It's a lot.


Alexander Fürgut:  It’s on a weekly schedule, right?


Guy Windsor: Yeah. Yeah. And it by itself is a large and valuable body of work, which if I decide to stop, that's still a useful service to the community that people hopefully finding it to listen to and getting value from for years to come. And more than half of the guests are women. And we have, you know, people from all sorts of demographics and stuff as well. So we have like this this broad spectrum picture of the historical martial arts community there. So stopping would be OK, but it doesn't to me it doesn't quite feel like we've got there yet. So I'm just going to keep going for another round then. And then maybe in three months or six months or whatever, I will go, do I really want to do this, and the answer will be no.


Alexander Fürgut:  So we started out with doing weekly episodes and so yeah, usually just one or two episodes ahead. But yeah, it was too hard and we switched to every two weeks, but still we do around a third of our episodes with the guests, and two thirds are me and Michael talking because scheduling.


Guy Windsor: That is a lot easier on schedule. That's like a lot easier to schedule.


Michael Sprenger: How you are doing that, because that's a lot of work. I mean, you need to synchronise calendars, give them some information beforehand in order to prepare and so on.


Guy Windsor: Very important thing to remember. I don't have a day job. This is part of my day job. So, you know, I make my living from teaching historical martial arts one way or the other and yeah, OK, the podcast makes no money. I have some lovely Patreon supporters who are super kind of lovely and send me money every month to help with the podcast expenses. And that covers maybe half of the expenses. The actual money that goes out because remember, I'm paying an assistant to do all the admin stuff and then there's hosting and all the other stuff that goes with it, right? So it doesn't make money, but fortunately my books and my courses tend to make enough money that I don't have to worry about this particular project being, by itself, financially worthwhile. I think the historical martial arts community needs this. Because there is still far too many middle aged white dudes like me. And so, yeah, for the sake of the community itself, it's worth doing. So I find the energy and get on with it.


Alexander Fürgut:  I would have thought you would have to prioritise that even further. If like Michael and I have a day job, so there's money coming in, but you have to do a lot of other stuff or you're doing it. I'm not sure if you have to do it like this, but I would think that there is a point where you say, well, I could write another book, which generates some income or I do more of the podcast.


Guy Windsor: OK. But the kind of creative energy that the podcast requires is different to the kind of creative energy writing a book requires. So that I've come out of quite the same energy budget. In the same way that if you did a million push-ups yesterday, you can still do your regular foot work today because although your shoulders are shot, your legs are fine. So like I usually schedule my podcast interviews for the afternoon where I've done my hard thinking, creative stuff in the morning already, and then in the afternoon I have an interview, which is basically me just chatting to an interesting person. And I often have a little nap before I have an interview. Because the kids are at school and it’s quiet, or whatever, have a little nap. Then have the interview. It's not usually coming out of time I would normally spend writing, I would normally spend that time if I wasn't interviewing, I would be doing something that is not sitting at the computer and you know, typing. It would be maybe woodwork in my shed or admin or whatever else.


Alexander Fürgut:  So how would you describe the energy level that you use?


Michael Sprenger: Yeah, that was that was my question too now.


Guy Windsor: Sorry, I didn't catch the question.


Alexander Fürgut:  Yeah. What kind of energy do you use for practising? Like, how would you describe it?


Guy Windsor: There's different phases. There's looking for people to interview is probably the hardest bit in. So because that requires focussed attention and analysis and then it requires crafting the correct approach. If I don't know them. If they're friends. And if any of my friends are listening to this and they're wondering why they haven't been asked yet, it's because I keep a reserve of people I can call and say would

do you please come on my show and I can trust them to say yes. And yeah. So, I keep those in reserve. I try to look for people who you would not expect to hear from.. Like, I mean, perhaps the most extreme example of this is I've had Ariel Anderson, who is a BDSM model on. Because, get this, this is classic, right? I was scrolling through Twitter looking for guests. I saw this woman naked doing the splits and on the wall behind her head was a pair of antique French foils.


Michael Sprenger: Probably not what other people saw in that picture.


Guy Windsor: Probably not. Why does this very flexible, naked woman have antique French foils? So I contacted her and I asked her. I think I may have even put it in the comment, what are those swords on the wall behind you? And so we sort of she ended up follow me on Twitter and there's a chat back and forth every now and then. She's a really nice person. And then I knew that she had some stage combat training. She mentioned it at some point and I thought well, OK, there's a plausible sword connection there. But she said something about representation for sex workers. And I was like, hang on, my podcast is entirely all about representation. So I invited on the show and she was like, really? OK. And we had this fantastic conversation. She's absolutely lovely. She's since been round for dinner with my kids and my wife and everything, and we all just get on famously. The world is wider than many people wish to see. And so the whole point of the show is this breadth and why not have everyone on. Firstly she's interesting. It was a fantastic conversation. And we even went into things like investing in property so that when she can no longer do BDSM modelling for a living because apparently it's actually quite hard work, particularly some of the bondage stuff, it's quite stressful, physically stressful, you know, what are you going to retire on? So she has this portfolio of the apartments she rents out. It's a fascinating conversation. Um. OK. I slightly lost my thread. How did I get on to Ariel? Different kinds of energy. Yeah. Looking for people then figuring out how you're going to contact them if you don't know them. And then making those contacts and then coming out, doing the research, coming up with questions. That's often the stickiest bit for me because really, I'd like them to just show up, just chat and that would be great, but I promise questions. And so I do the research and I come up with it, but it feels a bit kind of weird doing that. Because you go to their Linked In profile.


Alexander Fürgut:  Like stalking them, professionally, of course.


Guy Windsor: Exactly. I always try to find a question that they probably haven't been asked before. So that's a bit different. And also, if I don't know them, something that will demonstrate to them that I've done the research, because again, it makes them feel like I'm taking them seriously. They are more likely to be comfortable. They are more likely to feel like that they are being respected, they are more likely to open up and actually talk to it. So that's really the hardest bit. Then the scheduling is a pain. The actual interview itself is hugely dependent on the guest. Some guests, you welcome them onto the show and they just talk and it's brilliant. And all you have to do is just put in a little anecdote or that question or something every now and then. And you get this this fascinating, erudite, articulate, easily transcribed conversation. Other guests. Well… Awkward pause… and I have in the past, there is this fantastic thing in Audacity I discovered because I had this one guest. Very lovely guest. Very interesting person. Not a sort of steady conversationalist. Liked to put in long pauses. There's this thing in Audacity where you can trim any pause longer than a certain length you can trim it down to that length. And when I hit that button in a one hour 20 minute episode, we got down to just under an hour.


Alexander Fürgut:  And I mean, it makes the people sound smarter because if you have things that you really need to think about and suddenly you just spurt them out like it came up to you in the moment, it makes you sound like.


Guy Windsor: The editing isn't that hard. It doesn't take very long. I don't usually go through and do cutting out the click sounds and the ums and I don't normally touch those. I just let it run as it is. I just run a filter curve it mostly to take out a hissing “s” sounds, normalise loudness, do any noise cancellation that needs to be done and then run a limiter on it. So it's all a comfortable listening volume. And that's what Gethin Edwards taught me in that session that I hired him to teach. And then it comes out at, OK, it's free, so it has to be good enough, but it doesn't have to be stellar.


Michael Sprenger: Yeah, especially because it’s more natural if you have those ums and in I mean it can be too much but in general it seems more natural, not scripted like a perfectly produced TV show or something.


Guy Windsor: Yeah, exactly. But you know, I've just produced an online course about how to teach historical martial arts. And that is mostly delivered as audio files because most of it is theory, right? Like,  how do you run a class? How do you plan a class? What are you looking for when your students are doing these various things? And that is fundamentally theory. Because when I'm running a course like Sword and Buckler on video, I show a technique I say OK go practise that and there'll be a thing saying hit pause and they’re supposed to go and practise. And when they come back they hit play and they get the next bit. You can't do How to Teach like that because they're not experiencing the course while they're teaching a class because that would be weird. So it's delivered as audio files, primarily, with some video where necessary and loads of handouts and PDFs and whatnot. But the audio I went and hired a professional recording studio and an engineer. And that audio is as clean and as perfect as I can make it. Because people are paying for it.


Michael Sprenger: I had a conversation with a friend of mine and we were talking about giving online courses and it was doing Corona time and giving workshops online. And he said, you can have shitty video, you can have no video at all, but you have to have good sound, otherwise people are jumping off. So it's actually an absolutely right decision to put as much effort on audio as possible.


Guy Windsor: Like in my early online video courses, I just used the sound. I mean I had enough sense to put a lavalier mic onto my phone and then stitch together with the video. So at least it was recorded locally, but I didn't know how to do any kind of proper like audio care. But the video stuff I've produced since starting the podcast, right? I get that audio and I clean it out the same way as the podcast audio and stitch it back together, so the audio is better on the videos now that it was two years ago.


Michael Sprenger: I mean, also it's noticeable that from the English HEMA podcasts, there are more than just yours, you have decent audio quality and you have constant audio quality. It's not like one episode is fine, the next is kind of off the charts and many of the other English HEMA podcasts don't have decent audio quality. I find this a bit strange because many of these things you can do automatically with the tool, like you need to find a button and that's it. And there are even tools that do this automatically, like some service that you can pay a bit of money and people record with bad microphones and loud environments don't equalise the loudness level. And I mean, you can do that the first couple of episodes, but some of those podcasts are 50 episodes in and I don't get why they don't take a bit more care about the audio quality because that's the only thing that really matters.


Guy Windsor: Yeah, I can tell you why I did it. It’s because I don't really hear it. I am not a very audio person. I am quite happy, if I'm putting music on when cooking or something. I put on my phone some MP3 or whatever and stick it in a pint glass to amplify a bit. And that's fine. I know people who literally choose their furniture for its audio acoustic properties, so that when their incredibly expensive, beautiful hi fi is trying to reproduce this incredibly, perfectly produced sound stuff, their furniture doesn't mess it up by bouncing the sound around in an annoying way. That's how I am with swords. It's not how I am with audio. So I think it was the second or third episode where several people because I got it particularly bad in that episode, with Kaja Sadowski, and one chap, Joe in Boston, Joe thank you very much this is extremely useful. He literally said OK, download Audacity and then he sent me a series of screenshots of what I could do to fix that episode.


Alexander Fürgut:  That’s really nice.


Guy Windsor: I did that and made the episode and I re uploaded the audio so it was improved. And I thought, hang on. The people who listen to this, enough of them actually care that I have to up my game. So that's when I hired Gethin to actually teach me how to do a competent basic job of getting the audio sorted out. So I'm guessing that the people who are producing these other podcasts which have inconsistent sound quality like that, either their audience doesn't include useful people like Joe who will say, actually, your audio is shit Guy, you need to fix it. Or, and, perhaps, they don't have the budget to hire somebody to teach them how to do it properly. Or maybe, it's some sort of combination of that.


Michael Sprenger: I think you have to keep in mind where your listeners are going to listen to the podcast, for example, like when they're cooking or doing something else like driving and some noise is in the car, like a couple of months ago I had downloaded multiple episodes from basically all of the English HEMA podcast. I was doing a bit of research like, do they have interesting guests, interesting topics, maybe something we should cover as well. And I was driving in the car with my girlfriend and we tried to listen to some of the episodes and I remember one very clearly where it was three folks talking and it was an interesting topic. I was really curious to hear what they had to say, but the loudness difference was so large that I had to constantly move the volume knob to be able to not get my ears blown up by the loudest one. And it was such a shame because the conversation was interesting. But after 15 minutes, I was like, this couldn't go on. It was not possible to actually physically listen to it. But this is such a shame.


Guy Windsor: Yeah, I am not an audio person as I've said. So I actually do my audio editing visually because I'm looking at that kind of jagged line that goes up and down that is the kind of the sound represented visually in audacity. I don't even know what the name of that.


Michael Sprenger: The waveform.


Guy Windsor: The waveform. Thank you. Right. And I do the things I need to do to make the waveform look right. Occasionally, you know, I'll listen to it, and I'll go, oh, yeah, that isn't sounding right. I'm getting better at actually listening to it. But yeah, I actually do my audio engineering visually. Which is completely wrong, but it produces the necessary result. But I will never be a competent audio engineer I just don't listen to my ears hard enough.


Michael Sprenger: It's free content so if it's good enough, it's good enough. Like people can't expect everything to be perfect if you don't earn money with it.


Guy Windsor: So you guys, do you fence together? Whereabouts are you? I know you're both in Germany. Are you in the same area?


Michael: No, actually not at all. We are like 500 kilometres away from each other.


Guy Windsor: OK, so, Michael, where are you?


Michael Sprenger: I live in Dresden.


Guy Windsor: I've heard of Dresden. There's nice china there, I've heard. Dresden china is famous.


Michael Sprenger: Dresden what?


Guy Windsor: China.


Alexander Fürgut:  China, porcelain. Porcelain?


Michael Sprenger: Ah, yes, yes. But actually it belongs to a city next to Dresden called Meissen. Meissen porcelain. That's very famous.


Guy Windsor: Yeah, but in England we’re not terribly educated and we just call it Dresden china. How about you, Alexander, whereabouts are you?


Alexander Fürgut:  I'm in Ulm.


Guy Windsor: Where is that?


Michael Sprenger: Yeah, noted. No one knows Ulm. It's between Munich and Stuttgart, so right on the border of Bavaria and Baden- Württemberg. And you get a known fact right now because Ulm has the highest church.


Michael Sprenger: Alex has no one ever told this before.


Alexander Fürgut:  Not to an English crowd.


Guy Windsor: OK, so. Say it again Alexander, you were rudely interrupted. Michael, stay quiet.


Alexander Fürgut:  Ulm has the highest church tower in the world. The Minster.


Guy Windsor: Ulm Minster is the highest church town in the world.


Michael Sprenger: No one knows this besides the people in Ulm and the people in Cologne because they have the second highest.


Guy Windsor: They're very, very jealous.


Alexander Fürgut:  I hope so.


Guy Windsor: Is that the cathedral in Cologne? I've got a story about that. In 2006, in April, I was teaching a seminar for Stefan Diech and who lives near Cologne, and we went into Cologne with my girlfriend at the time and I thought, OK, I'm going to we're going to go up the top of the cathedral. I told Stefan to make himself scarce and opened that box with a ring, and that's how he knew what was going on. So he would make himself scarce. And I thought at the top of Cologne cathedral I will propose to this woman and it will be very romantic and beautiful and nice. And of course, we went up the cathedral and it's full of graffiti and it was packed with irritating schoolchildren. So we got all the way up to the top and I was just looking for a quiet spot to get down on one knee and everything and it wasn't going to happen. And so we came out and I said, oh fuck, what are we going to do now? And then we were passing by a jeweller's shop and my wife was like, Oh, that's a very nice ring. When a woman in that situation says something like that, that's basically a hint, hint. THAT’S A VERY NICE RING, GUY. So I just took the box out and said I’ve got a better one here. I should have gone to Ulm so I got to propose at the top of the tallest church tower in the world. By no, I slummed it in Cologne. And even that didn't work. We had our 16th wedding anniversary just last week.


Alexander Fürgut:  But I mean, the story is much better than proposing on the top of Kölner Dom. I mean, I have a better one here. That's great come back.


Guy Windsor: It was just frustration. I had been trying to give her this bloody ring all morning. But, like, fuck it.


Alexander Fürgut:  This is something that is brought up regularly?


Guy Windsor: No, she was very pleased. Basically, she didn't really matter how it was delivered so long as it was delivered with the right intent. And that was fine.


Alexander Fürgut:  Yeah, yeah. I mean we have met before the podcast and we fenced with each other, but we're not in the same club. And I think that's actually helped because since we do two sets of two episode together, if we also train to the same club, it would be too safe, we need to have a bit of conflict and a bit of a differing opinion.


Guy Windsor: So what systems and styles do you practise?


Michael Sprenger: For me it's pretty straightforward old school Liechtenauer stuff. I prefer the stuff in the Peter von Danzig manual. It's mainly like bit of grappling, bit of sword and buckler, bit of dagger and longsword.


Guy Windsor: Classic medieval Liechtenauer. And Von Danzig preference. That’s a good choice. It is solid and well worked out source. I'm very envious that you can actually read the German as I can’t read German which is why I don’t do German stuff of any seriousness.


Guy Windsor: How about you Alexander?


Alexander Fürgut:  I used to do pretty much the same thing also, old school Liechtenauer for the first ten years of my HEMA career. And last year I switched to rapier. I still teach longsword, but I only fence rapier now.


Guy Windsor: Ooh, rapier. In what style?


Alexander Fürgut:  I do read a lot of Giganti and I try to do Fabris, but I'm not flexible enough in the hip to actually do Fabris.


Guy Windsor: Really? At your age?


Alexander Fürgut:  Yeah.


Guy Windsor: OK. Dude. You need to get your hamstrings sorted out. Because I would guess, we've never met so this is just a guess. I would guess that your problem with Fabris is not flexibility. So your hamstrings are shorter than they should be. This is preventing you from keeping your spine in a neutral position while you are hinged at the hip forward as you need to be for Fabris. So yes, I have a workout for hamstring flexibility that I will send you a link. You can put it in the show notes so if anyone’s listening who wants to have a go at it. If you get your hamstrings to their proper length, you shouldn't have. I mean, I'm 49. Or I will be in a couple of months, 48 at the moment. I have no problem with Fabris’s guard positions and strikes and stuff.


Alexander Fürgut:  I would think that in trying out, but I'm not 100% sure that this is easily fixable because I think since I'm like maybe eight or something, I was not able to touch the ground with straight knees.


Guy Windsor: OK.


Michael Sprenger: So I really only started doing sport when I was 25 when I started HEMA. So I'm not sure how much can be done.


Guy Windsor: It doesn't matter because most of the flexibility we're talking about is in where the stretch reflex is in the muscle. So all you really have to do is over a period of weeks and months, reset the stretch reflex and allow the muscles to get longer. And then don't strain things too much for nine months to a year while your soft tissues, tendons and ligaments and what have you are getting used to this longer range of motion. But at no point should you be deliberately stretching tendons or ligaments. You should only be stretching the muscle and the muscle can take any amount of shit. They are astonishingly robust when it comes to handling training damage. The injuries that matter are the injuries to soft tissues like tendons, ligaments, injuries to joint capsules, cartilage, that sort of thing. A muscle can be trained to do almost anything. I have absolutely no business not giving you any kind of historical fencing advice that you haven't asked for, but you get me on your show and I assume you're interested in my opinion. And so I just dumped a whole lot of totally unsolicited advice on you, so I apologise.


Alexander Fürgut:  But so what is the expectation like? How fast will I see some results at least? What do you think?


Guy Windsor: When you're doing the kind of flexibility training that I'm talking about you should notice significant increased range of motion, particularly in the beginning, usually there's quite big gain in the beginning and then it slows down a bit. Three weeks. Four times a week. So maybe 15, 20 minutes a time for maybe three or four weeks. And you should see a noticeable difference.


Alexander Fürgut:  That's definitely a time frame I can try out.


Guy Windsor: Yeah. Then if you don't see any change in that time, then the problem with you're getting into a Fabris guard is not your hamstring flexibility, it’s something else. And then what we should do is we should get on a thing so I could actually have a look at how you're moving and then we'll figure out what else it is. But nine times out of ten, problems with Fabris come from modern people sitting in chairs too much and you have very short hamstrings.


Alexander Fürgut:  Yeah, well, that's exactly what I do the whole time.


Guy Windsor: Right. There we go. So we'll see.


Alexander Fürgut:  So we're going to give it a try.


Guy Windsor: Good. So you're a Giganti fan and a Fabris fan?


Alexander Fürgut:  Fabris so far not a Fabris fan because I can’t go into the position. So a lot of interesting stuff on tactics and so on.


Guy Windsor: Yeah, no Capoferro?


Alexander Fürgut:  Took a look at it and it's also interesting, but I didn't dive any deeper. OK, so you're Giganti then through and through.


Alexander Fürgut:  So far, yes. But I think it's kind of a liberal way to look at Giganti. I mean, do you know Rob Childs, the American Rapier fencer?


Guy Windsor: Yeah, I know of him.


Alexander Fürgut:  So I was at the European Games in Minsk like 2019. Yeah. And I saw him fence there and at that point I'd dabbled a bit in Rapier, but I wasn't really serious about it. And the stuff he was doing with his left hand, like all the waving and the finger movement and so on. It kind of spoke to me. It was like, oh, you can do that. Like, I like to mentally manipulate opponents for the fencing and wave. If I have a free hand, I can do this even more. This is great. I'm going to try this out. So I'm kind of looking forward to receiving his book and seeing what he has to say about it.


Guy Windsor: OK. Yeah, I've seen this book and he's fundamentally a sport fencer because what he cares about is winning tournaments, he doesn't actually care about historical accuracy or duels or that sort of stuff. He is all about winning tournaments and he's very good at it. So that's his entire focus.


Alexander Fürgut:  Do you think he would agree with this?


Guy Windsor: Basically it’s unarguable based on his book. For instance, in his school they have a ranking system and the only way to move up through the ranks is to win tournaments.


Alexander Fürgut:  OK. That's pretty straightforward.


Guy Windsor: Right. So there's no question that what he values most is success in tournament, because literally the only way to advance through the ranks of the school is to win tournaments with a certain number of participants. So like in the lower ranking there's only ten people in the pool in your tournament then and you win that, that's fine to go up to like the first grade. And then by the time you get to the higher grades, there have to be at least 80 people in the tournament or whatever. I'm not quoting, I'm just giving you the idea of how that grading structure works. You’ll see when the book arrives, he's absolutely explicit about it. He doesn't pretend that he's doing anything else.


Alexander Fürgut:  I see. Fair enough.


Guy Windsor: Honestly, the one thing the historical martial arts tournament scene could really use is a dose of serious competitive professionalism. There's a reason why he wins everything is because he takes it very seriously and he trains very seriously for the tournament.


Alexander Fürgut:  So how do you the historical European martial tournament scene, if not professional? What is your view on the tournament scene?


Guy Windsor: OK. It's not professional. Because no one is making a living by winning tournaments. In the same way, a professional tennis player makes a living by doing well in tournaments. And they make a living from prize money and from endorsements and that sort of thing. So there's a very clear path to being a professional tennis player, which involves entirely being good in tournaments? And then there's a sort of sidetrack, an alternative career path in professional tennis, which is being a professional tennis coach. And sometimes people go from one track to the other, but sometimes they just go on those two separate tracks because the qualities that make a good coach are not necessarily the qualities that make for a good competitor, for instance. I mean, if you look at gymnastics, for instance, look at the coaches. There's absolutely no way that, say that American gymnast Biles. I mean, she's won two gold medals in the Olympics and whatnot. Unbelievable gymnast. Watch her stuff. And you go like, holy shit. What's that? Human beings are not supposed to be able to do this. There's no way on earth her coach could do that. But her coach can get her to do that and she wins medals with it. And that's the point. But the historical martial arts tournament scene is a fantastically useful thing for everyone, whether they take part in it or not, because it provides a place for people who want to influence to go. I would say perhaps every martial artist should have tournament experience in their training at some point in their career because it teaches you things that nothing else will teach you. And it also creates a market for all sorts of useful equipment, you know, fencing jackets and whatever. But the issue with it is that it creates artefacts. The rule sets create artefacts. And the choice of equipment creates artefacts that basically mean that the historical fencing tournament scene isn't really historical fencing at all most of the time. It's mostly tournament fencing. It's basically that they've created their own sport. And that’s a fantastically good thing to do. And I have no quarrel with it whatsoever. But the problem is that firstly, they haven't sorted out the safety. You absolutely should not be doing longsword in a tournament with a fencing mask on. It will not protect you from concussions, it is just a disaster waiting to happen. The plastic gauntlets are totally inadequate. People get their fingers broken and stuff all the time. There isn't a proper education of fencers to be able to handle the grappling stuff. So either they don't allow the grappling stuff, which basically is totally unhistorical. Or they allow the grappling stuff and it creates safety issues for people who don't have that training. It's a very kind of complex phenomenon that has all these fantastic things in it. I think really what would be ideal is if they just dropped the “H”. And they don't even try to make it historical. Because it isn't. There's nothing historical about it. The weapons aren’t historical, the equipment isn’t historical, and then it could become its own thing and become a really well structured, well run tournament environment where martial artists can go to have that experience.


Alexander Fürgut:  That's super interesting that you mentioned that because I had the discussion with another trainer like a week ago and we talked about historical fencing and sports fencing. And he said, well, actually there should be sports fencing and you should divide it in the Olympic, like foil, epee and sabre and like other weapons, longsword, rapier. Stuff like that. But that's, as you say, it's sports fencing. We created a sport and we were fencing like sports fencers with different rules. But I mean, it's about winning in the environment of a certain ruleset and it's just other weapons.


Guy Windsor: When I say things like that people often interpret that as I'm somehow against the tournament scene. I'm not. I just wish it would become its own thing properly and get a bit more professional about how it's run so that it's more consistent. Like a sport fencing tournament with Olympic fencing is fundamentally the same. Wherever you go, the rules are the same, the equipment is the same. The safety regulations are the same. It's established. And because it's so well established and has been established for so long. You can be a professional fencer. You can win chunks of money. And actually, you know, and when the stakes are high, you get a different level of pressure. Which is just fascinatingly useful to anyone who's interested in training martial arts. Because one of the biggest problems we face is how do we recreate pressure in a way that doesn't kill people? One simple way to do that is just to raise the stakes. Like, let's say you. I mean, I hope if I'm ever in Dresden we will cross swords in a friendly and fun fashion and whack each other about a head and shoulders with longswords. Because why not? And that would be fun and interesting and useful. If we wanted to put some pressure on it we could simply say, well, OK, we each put €500 down and the winner keeps it. And that would suddenly change it completely. And it would change it from being collegial to being truly competitive. I'm not suggesting that would be a sensible thing to do because I have no particular interest in competitive fencing. I did my sport fencing in the eighties and nineties. I don't need to do it in the 2020s. But you know, when the stakes are high, people behave differently. I was at Lord Baltimore's Challenge in July, fantastic event and the real function of the event is to get the SCA and historical martial arts people together because we have a lot more in common than we do have differences and the area of overlap is enormous. And so it was the first day was all tournament. And I was the ring director, the way I run a ring is, if whoever got the hit is not absolutely clear, I just throw it out. I don't discuss it. I don't try to figure out what happened. Because the point of all this fencing experience is to get better at fencing. And when a really good fencer is up against someone who's much less good than they are and they just effortlessly control their opponent’s blade and hit them however they like it is obvious to everyone what just happened, there's no question. So in the tournament, if the purpose of the tournament is to create better fencers as I think it should be, if there isn't a major cash prize. Then I'm not going to waste everybody's time going, well, actually, according to the rules, then maybe this thing coming over here has slightly more priority, I think. I don’t give a shit. And I explain to the fencers you must assume that I am drunk, blind, biased against you. You must make it so I cannot deny you the hit because it's so obvious even to a drunk, blind, biased person where the hit went. And if you don't make it that obvious, I'm just going to throw it out. And it was great. I mean, we got through so much fencing. I mean, I personally presided over it must have been 70 or 80 bouts that day. That's a long day.


Michael Sprenger: I can imagine.


Guy Windsor: But yeah, but there was lots of fencing going on because they knew they couldn't get away with scrappy shit. We got some really good fencing out of these people. Because the environment we created demanded it. You're not going to score a hit if it's unclear, right? So get control of the situation in such a way that is obvious. Which creates better fencers. But there were some people that from the so-called historical martial arts crowd who were expecting something more like a classic HEMA tournament. Where the coaches like who get to discuss judgement calls with the referees and whatnot. I’m not having any of that, I don't care. I don't care. If they didn't clearly control their opponent’s weapon such that is obvious to everyone you got it kicked out. Do it again. Do it better. And so the environment that we create when we're running a tournament pretty much determines the behaviour you're going to get and it determines whether people come out of it as better fencers or better competitors, which are not necessarily the same thing. Sorry I went on a bit of a ramble, I kind of lost my thread. What are we talking about?


Michael Sprenger: We're talking about HEMA tournaments and becoming professional and the HEMA tournaments scene becoming more professional. And what would it make or what would it take to become a professional HEMA tournament fencer.


Guy Windsor: I have a little anecdote there. When I was producing my book The Theory and Practice of Historical Martial Arts, as I normally do it, when I publish a book I sent out some copies of the I was hoping somewhat finished draught to a bunch of beta readers. And it had a section on it on to win tournaments, which is really, really simple and straightforward. What you do is you look at the rules. You figure out how you're going to apply your strengths to winning according to those rules. And you watch carefully how your most likely opponents are going to get you kicked out of the tournament, because they're going to beat you, how do they fence? And you construct a strategy for defeating those specific people and you train that with your coach. And the whole thing is soulless and not historical martial artsy at all. But that's how actual competitors actually win actual serious tournaments. You only have to read Johan Harmenburg’s Epee 2.0 to get the inside track on how he got two Olympic gold medals? He was so dedicated to that that he knew he was most likely to face one of his team-mates in the final for the men's individual final. And so every time he fenced that person in training, he used a particular approach. And then in the final, he had a completely different approach prepared. So that guy was expecting him to fence a certain way. And he slaughtered him because he fenced in a completely different way that he had prepared because he had anticipated this moment of being in the Olympic final for the men's single. He knew it was likely to be this particular team-mate, and so he created a strategy for defeating that particular person. And the guy came out saying, you didn't fence like that in practise and he replied, that wasn't practise. Dude, take it seriously, be content with your silver medal. And so I basically summarised the approach that serious competitors take to winning serious tournaments in the book. And one of the most significant bits of feedback I got from it was Guy, that's horrible. It's just horrible. And so I added a big chunk of this is how you win tournaments, but this is how you should use them for your development as a martial artist. Which is not the same approach at all.


Michael Sprenger: So speaking of books, I think you mentioned in the podcast with Daniel Jaquet that you get around half your incomes with the royalties that are sales from my books, something like this. So did the podcast actually help you? Like, did you see some other benefits besides the direct Patreon and so on? Like more book sales or whatever, or getting more known?


Guy Windsor: It's very hard to say. So far, I don't think so. I say that because, you know, every now and then I do try and actually sell a book through the podcast. Like, I'll run a discount on one of my books on my online store and people can go and buy it. And so far, not a single person has ever used one of those discount cards.


Michael Sprenger: OK. How often have you tried?


Guy Windsor: Often enough. And the thing is, it goes out to enough people that if that was going to work, it would work at least once by now.


Alexander Fürgut:  OK. That’s unexpected.


Michael Sprenger: So what you do is you tell the discount code in the podcast.


Guy Windsor: You know what I what I do is, I create what's called a pretty link, which is a redirectable link that is simple and easy to like. For example, the last one was guywindsor.net/TSG, The Sword Guy, 22 for the year. So they could type guywindsor.net/TSG22 and that would direct them to this place where I was selling actually the audiobook of Theory and Practise, because you like listening to audio about swords, maybe you would like an audio book about swords. Not a single person has used that discount.


Michael Sprenger: You need another method to sell it because that's how advertisers track their revenue when they do podcast advertisement.


Guy Windsor: Right. Exactly. And I don't know what it is. I don't know why it doesn't work the way it seems to work for everyone else. But I don’t fundamentally care because the purpose of the podcast is not to sell my books. I know it's doing other things because people come up at events, for example, and they tell me that, oh, yes, I got into historical martial arts because a friend of mine forwarded one of your episodes to me and I listened to it. I thought it sounded really interesting and obviously people like me are welcome. OK, that's exactly what it's all about.


Michael Sprenger: Oh, really? That's nice.


Guy Windsor: So I know it's doing that. And that's what I actually care about. I have other ways of selling books, you know, now Facebook ads or, you know my email list is what normally actually sells stuff. So when I launch a course to my email list, it usually does. And so the podcast doesn't make any money. I can tell. And here's the thing, August this year was the worst month of book sales I've ever had. Right. I mean, literally six years ago, I had no podcast, no email newsletters. None of that stuff. And I had half as many books. My August sales in 2016 were four times bigger than my August sales in 2022. That can't be just me. Because normally, book sales are up maybe 50% over 2016. So I think that was probably some larger cultural thing. It's like, oh my God, it's the first summer that we've had without COVID. So we can all go out and do stuff and not buy books. I think that may have had more to do with that.


Alexander Fürgut:  And so what does a good month and a bad month look like in book sales? I'm kind of curious. Just some ballpark figure like, do you sell thousands of books? Hundreds? Millions?


Guy Windsor: No, no, no, no, no. In a really good month I might sell 150 books. That’s a really good month. Maybe 200 books. I don't think I don't pay that close attention to the data. The only reason I actually looked at the 2016 versus 2022 thing is, because when I got my publisher compensation reports from IngramSpark, my biggest sales always in the U.S., the US sales were like that can’t be right, that seems to be missing a zero. It was ridiculous. It's like, no, there aren't enough figures there. There should be more figures there. So I went and

dug up the same report things from 2016. I was like, yeah, that isn’t right. Yeah, I guess in a really good month it’s maybe 200 books. Because I'm I publish them myself, well I don't publish all my books myself, but the ones that I really pay attention to, are the ones I publish myself, I'm not making 10% when a book sells, I’m making closer to 50.


Michael Sprenger: I see.


Guy Windsor: The way the deals are going now it is like a commercially published author selling ten times as many books.


Alexander Fürgut:  I mean, but if I get it right, if I remember it right. You started out with the classical route of going like getting some book deals. And then when you had some books out there, you had an audience, you had your mailing list, I guess. Then you started to go into the self-publishing route, right?


Guy Windsor: No, not quite. No. What happened was my first two books were published by Freelance Academy Press. And I signed a non-disclosure agreement about what exactly happened. But it is public record that in I think it was 2011, eight Freelance Academy Press, shit. Sorry Freelance dudes are absolutely fine. No. I got the name wrong. Chivalry Bookshelf was the one in 2016. Because Freelance Academy Press didn't even exist yet. If Greg, Christian are listening to me, I apologise. I misspoke. No, it was Chivalry Bookshelf published my first books and in I think it was 2011, eight authors published by Chivalry Bookshelf were involved in a class action suit against Chivalry Bookshelf for not paying royalties, basically. And one of the results of that suit, the rest of which I'm not at liberty to discuss, I got the rights back to those two books and so at the same time was around that sort of time Greg Mele and Christian Tobler were putting together Freelance Academy Press. And I didn't think they would probably want those books, they were quite old. So I thought, OK, I'll publish them myself. And I asked around - this is before self-publishing became a really kind of mainstream thing to do. So I had to like get a commercial account with Lightning Source because Ingram Spark didn't even exist yet. KDP when the paperbacks got either. KDP was also fairly young. Kindle came out in 2007, I think. So I published those two books. I basically paid someone to create printable files for me and I did a bit of updating work on The Swordsman’s Companion because it was very out of date and I published those and round about the same sort of time Freelance Academy Press published my Medieval Dagger book, but they dragged their feet on my Medieval Longsword book. They had it on time and two years later it still hadn't come out. And so I broke the contract with them because I can't afford to have my work just sat in somebody's computer for two years.


Alexander Fürgut:  It's not a hobby project for you.


Guy Windsor: It's not an option for me because, you know, this is my job. And so I took it back from them, and then I crowdfunded it, crowdfunded publishing that myself, and that went pretty well and then got that into the system. By that point, I had a kind of a system for having written a book, I could get it edited, laid out, given a cover and everything, all the necessary things and then uploaded to the various platforms so they could be printed and distributed and all that sort of thing. Because one of the things that made this actually workable is print on demand technology. So I don’t have a stock of books in my house, I then distribute. When you went to a local bookshop and ordered one of my books they were putting in order. The order would go to the printer with the money attached to it and the printer would print it and then give me some of the money. It is completely automated.


Michael Sprenger: Those two experiences sound not exactly fun. Like the joy of an artist life.


Guy Windsor: Yeah. Really, my experience of publishers has been it's better to do it yourself. Also, I control it. Like if I want to update the covers, I have done. If I want to make an update to the inside, like the back matter, for instance, like when I produce a new book I should update the back matter for the other books so the new book is included in the back of the older books. That sort of thing. When I produce online courses, I put a link to my online longsword course into the back of the Medieval Longsword book so that people who like the book want to go for the course they can. They have a discount code and they can go find the course. Because I'm technically the publisher, I can update stuff whenever I want. I don't have to run it by anybody and so I'm in control of the whole situation.


Alexander Fürgut:  So I have one of your books here and I think it was one with a publisher because it's translated in German and the cover has some guy and some armour here.


Guy Windsor: Yeah. OK there’s a story there. Oh, my God. The book you’re talking about, let me grab it. Its Handbuch Schwertkampf.


Alexander Fürgut:  Yeah, exactly. This one.


Guy Windsor: This is The Swordsman’s Companion, as published in 2004 translated into German. The thing is, Chivalry Bookshelf did a deal with Wieland Bularget. I'm probably pronouncing that incorrectly. No, Wieland Verlag, Bularget is the Swedish thing. So Wieland is the publisher. And what happened was, Chivalry Bookshelf did a deal with Wieland that a book that Wieland had published would be sent to Chivalry Bookshelf, translated to English and published there. And my book would be sent to Wieland and published in Germany. I didn't know anything about it. I was not informed of this. One of the reasons why perhaps a lawsuit was not unreasonable. And the way they tended to do it was I would get royalties for the English language German book published by Chivalry. And the German also would get royalties for my book published in German through Wieland for reasons I cannot explain.


Michael Sprenger: Doesn't sound fair. OK.


Guy Windsor: No, it's fucked up. So then this book came out and one of my friends, I think it was Jörg Bernhausen, contacted me saying, Guy, congratulations on your book. And I was like, what do you mean? Fuck. But because they had changed stuff and they missed out a photo credit and they added that added pictures. On page ten, there's a very stupid picture of two, they look they look like they're doing some kind of re-enactment stuff. Maybe early Buhurt, something like that, with heater shields and helmets and stuff. Nothing to do with my book. Like completely unrelated. They just dropped that in off their own bat just because they think they have. I was absolutely fucking steaming. Firstly that it had been published without my knowledge or consent. Secondly, that not only have they published it without my knowledge and consent, they had gone and added shit right. I was so angry. Anyway.


Alexander Fürgut:  So I guess this kind of coloured your perception of why self-publishing is the route to go because then the stuff like this can’t happen.


Guy Windsor: Kind of well, OK. But again, there's a very important postscript to this. Not that long later, when I'd got my rights back from Chivalry Bookshelf. A chap working for Wieland contacted me to say, Guy, now that this all has happened, then obviously that deal with Chivalry Bookshelf is no longer in force. We're very sorry. We didn't know about you didn't know about it. We assumed that your publisher would tell you, and that was all right. But it means that, of course, that now you are entitled to the royalties from this book. Where should we send one and a half thousand euros? So Wieland in every aspect of this acted in good faith now and since then have published a couple of my books in translation. They've done Medieval Lonsword. They passed on Medieval Dagger and they've had the pictures and the text for doing The Duellist’s Companion. I reshot all the pictures because the pictures we had weren’t up to their specs. So I flew to Finland, organised photo shoot a reshot all the pictures for the Duellist’s Companion, so that the German edition would have nice new shiny pictures.


Michael Sprenger: So that was with your knowledge and consent.


Guy Windsor: That was entirely with my enthusiastic consent and complete knowledge. And yeah, I mean, it was when they contacted me and said, well, look, obviously you're entitled to these royalties, they made an honest mistake that was not their fault. And they are an entirely reputable and good company that I'm very happy to do business with. So but particularly as this is going out in Germany, right? I really want to emphasise, Wieland, top chaps.


Michael Sprenger: But did I get it right that your books are now printed on demand? So if I go to a bookstore and say I want to buy this book, then it's printed on that very day or in the next days and sent to me.


Guy Windsor: Yeah, yeah. Well, I mean, same as if you go to an online bookseller.


Michael Sprenger: Yeah, but there is no storage, stock.


Guy Windsor: Yes. I think for the German ones, I think Wieland, they do short print runs because they are set up for printing books in runs of maybe a thousand copies or whatever and then storing them and then sending them out. I think the Wieland ones are short runs, but they're the publishers. That's their business, I don’t care. That's entirely up to them. I don't have the time and set up to be packing and shipping books myself. So, yeah, that's all entirely automated. I don't even see the books. I don't even find out that the sale has happened until whatever platform you buy it through, I get the reports from whichever printers printed it.


Michael Sprenger: And you just upload new covers or new information on them and they are like directly implemented. Super nice.


Guy Windsor: Yeah. There's the interior. Whether that's an e-book or print file, whatever. And then there’s a cover. And you can update either or both and you put it into the system and it's usually for print, it usually takes a few days because you need to check that the proof has actually worked, particularly if you're changing the interior file, you need to make sure that you have bollocksed it up in some way so that, you know, so you need to make sure it is actually printing correctly. So I usually do a print proof of that check that it looks fine and then approve it. That might take up to a week. But with the eBooks, it's instant.


Michael Sprenger: So the printers there are like all over the world, or is it shipped from Great Britain?


Guy Windsor: Ah, OK. This gets complicated. All of my books are up on IngramSpark, which has printers all over the world. I also have my books up on KDP, which is Amazon's self-publishing arm and they also now do print as well and they print locally as well. I think they use the same facilities. I am in the process of setting things up so that people can buy print books from me directly because I would make about 40% more per sale if people could do that. But it is not enough money for it to be worth me printing out books, packing them, and shipping them myself. The hourly rate doesn't work out to anything worthwhile and it’s tedious. Currently the issue is, you have a website that is the sales platform. Let's say Amazon is a popular example, right? And you have the printers that’s say Ingram. They have to be integrated in a way that allows a sale that occurs on Amazon to send the instruction to print which particular book and to send it to which particular address. Plus the chunk of the money that Amazon doesn't keep. And then that integration is the issue. So now, Shopify has created an integration with Lulu, which is good quality, but their print costs are astronomical. They're like three times as much as it costs to print the same book on Ingram or KDP. And there's also now a British company called Bookvault, which integrates with Shopify. So you can have a Shopify store, people buy the paperback, hardback, whatever. And all that sending of instruction and stuff is handled by the system. And the thing is Bookvault at the moment print in the UK only and ship out from there, and 80% of my market is in the US. But Bookvault is trying to find a printer who can do the printing work from the US to the quality that they need at a price that will work for the Bookvault customers like me and they're also looking into cheaper shipping options. So if instead of sending an individual book to an individual in America, they'll send a shipment of books once a week which then gets split up and sent out in America. And that is much cheaper. So because I mean, if you get it shipped from Britain to the United States, it's going to cost you maybe $10, $12 in shipping and people are being spoilt by Amazon's free shipping forever. And yeah, it's a problem. And of course, also I know I have readers in Brazil and Singapore and Australia and wherever else. And so what we’re working towards is getting a solution where perhaps Bookvault can print in other places and integrate with Shopify. Or I might use Bookvault for U.K. orders and possibly Lulu for American orders, but I don't want to be paying that much money in print costs. So, yeah, it's complicated. I mean, self-publishing is a relatively new thing in terms of this sort of automated print on demand stuff. I mean, people will be self-publishing for years, like Bertram Russell's absolutely classic philosophy of mathematics, it’s this gigantically important philosophy book that he wrote sometime early 20th century. Cambridge University Press didn't think that it would make any money, and so he paid to have it published. And then, of course it went on to become this mega classic that every university student doing maths or philosophy had to buy. And a friend of my dad, My dad’s a veterinary surgeon. A friend of my dad's wrote a book on Diseases in Pigs, which became the classic work. And of course, he said it round to various publishers and they were not going to touch it. So he published it himself and it became this classic. And every veterinary department in the world is teaching out of his Diseases of Pigs book when they're talking about pig diseases. And so these same publishers contacted him a year or two later saying, actually, can we publish your book now? And he told them to fuck off because he was making so much money. And that was like in the sixties, I think.


Michael Sprenger: If I understood it correctly, the difference is now that you can have you can start for very little money, like you don't have to pay big print runs. And the level of scale that you can get is quite astonishing because you can get it basically worldwide if you want.


Guy Windsor: Yes, yes. You can start for no money and you can get worldwide distribution. But a sensible person pays for an editor and if they're not a professional graphic designer, they pay for a book cover.


Alexander Fürgut:  Yeah, book covers are hard.


Guy Windsor: Yeah. And it’s a specialist thing. And I have a budget for when I produce a book, I expect to pay maybe a couple of thousand euros to get it to the level I want it to be at. Something around there. It depends on the book and various other things, but something like that.


Michael Sprenger: And I guess you expect to make this money back, right?


Guy Windsor: Yeah. And if I don't run a crowdfunding campaign in the normal sense, like Indiegogo, for instance, I often run effectively a crowdfunding campaign through my mailing list where I put up the current draft, so people can buy the current draft immediately and get sent a hardback when they're ready. So they get the basic book, which is going to be tinkered with and improved and edited a bit. But they get the basic information immediately. And they get the hardback when it arrives and they know that they're actually supporting the work, which is important to some people. Some very nice and lovely people who I completely depend on. So if you're listening, thank you very much. That basically it usually raises enough money to pay for all of the expenses of producing the book the way I want to produce it. But even if it didn't, are likely to get the money back because my books tend to sell. But not in August, apparently.


Alexander Fürgut:  Not in August 2022.


Michael Sprenger: So are the people who are supporting your crowdfunding campaign and they get the draft, do you expect or do you hope to get some feedback back to improve the draft? Like, is this part of beta reading or something?


Guy Windsor: OK. Feedback is a tricky thing. You absolutely have to get qualified feedback. But firstly, most people have no clue how to give feedback to a book. They'll say, oh, that was really nice. I really liked it. Or no, I didn't like it very much. And that's it. Which is completely useless. You can't act on that. And also fundamentally, the only opinions that matter are the opinions of people who actually buy the book. If you find it in your friend's house and flick through it and don't like it, I don't care. But if you buy it, I want to make sure that you like it. That it's exactly what you are looking for. People will say they are going to buy it who don't, and people who don't say they're going to buy it, do. There's no way to know who's going to buy it unless you actually sell it to them. And so what I've been doing with these pre-sales is it creates a list, if you like, of people who are sufficiently interested that they are definitely going to buy the book, so much so that they actually already have bought it. So now I know that their opinion matters. And then I have either in the draft itself and or in an email or whatever that goes out, I have a link to a Google form where there is a list of questions that I want them to answer and a space for them to put if they would like to be credited in the acknowledgements, they need to write whatever they want to be credited as in that space. So then I have a file so when I'm doing the acknowledgements when the book's about to be published, I just copy and paste those things in and say the people who want to be acknowledged can be. And if 100 people buy the book in advance, maybe 20 will fill out the form. And of those, maybe 12 will put a name in that field.


Michael Sprenger: So I was on the side of not filling out the form. Once I got to teaching the, what's it called again? The full title.


Guy Windsor: Which one?


Michael Sprenger: The one about how to teach European martial arts.


Guy Windsor: Oh, the course?


Michael Sprenger: No, the book. What's it called?


Guy Windsor: I haven’t written the book about how to teach historical martial arts, yet. I'm in the process of doing so, but I haven't written it. I have got a course on how to teach.


Michael Sprenger: I mean, The Theory and Practise of Historical Martial Arts.


Guy Windsor: Oh, you were one of my beta readers for Theory and Practice, were you?


Michael Sprenger: Yes. I think I was part of the crowdfunding campaign, and I would have had the opportunity to give feedback, but I never got around it. And then at some point just came to yeah, it's finished. Thank you for your feedback.


Guy Windsor: I always put a date on it because I need it by a certain time that the book needs to get out into the world. Because what that does is with that list of questions, it makes it easy for that to give actually useful feedback. So I ask questions like, what was your favourite bit? What was your least favourite bit? Is there anything you think I should cut out? Is there anything you think I should add? Any other comments? One of the first ones is would you recommend this to your friends? And then the bits about acknowledgements and the name and then that sort of stuff. So that gives them a structure and they're just simply answering the questions. It's much easier for them to do that than it is for them to actually give a useful, critical feedback just with a blank email. And that's where the stuff about, you know, I need to expand my tournament section to make it a bit less cynical came from.


Michael Sprenger: And you do this for every book or is it just some of the books and not others?


Guy Windsor: Yeah, most books. I think for the last six years or so. I think I did it for the first time for well, it might have been Theory and Practise, actually.


Alexander Fürgut:  About how many books are we actually talking? How many books did you write?


Guy Windsor: Actually published books? I think we're at 12. Oh no, I missed out two, so 14.


Alexander Fürgut:  14 in how many years?


Guy Windsor: My first one came out in 2004 and it took me four years to write. The second one came out 2006, took me two years to write. Then I had kids in 2007 and 2008. So my next book came out in 2010. And that was Medieval Dagger. One thing I did for Theory and Practice and my From Medieval Manuscript to Modern Practice, both of those I wrote in discrete chunks. Like for example, for Theory and Practice, I wrote Seven Principles of Mastery, Choosing a Sword, Ethics, Breathing, a few other bits and pieces which were published as separate standalone short books like Preparing for Free Play, for instance, is like 10,000 words on skill development, and those were published as shorts, firstly to get some money because it helps to feed the children, but also because it gets readers interested in giving me feedback so I can improve it for when it goes into the book Theory and Practise. About half of it has been previously published as the seven discrete separate books. With From Medieval Manuscript to Modern Practice, fundamentally it is the sections of Fiore’s longsword material out of armour on foot, so sword in one hand, sword in two hands zogho largo, sword in two hands zogho stretto. Oh and there's a section of guards and blows. I separated that out. So like mechanics. Sword in one hand, sword in two hands zogho largo, sword in two hands zogho stretto. So mechanics, largo and sword in one hand were published as standalone e-books. And then I added the stretto stuff and a bunch of other stuff, and I published it together as a whole book. I find that it helps to break stuff down into chunks and if a book is going to take several years is actually really quite difficult because when you publish a book and people go, oh, I do like your new book, it's very nice. But it's difficult to keep going in isolation, but by publishing chunks of it, if they work as a standalone chunk, publish it as a separate thing and get feedback from that. It just helps keep the process moving along until the book’s ready. I don’t do that with every book. But with some, it seems to work.


Alexander Fürgut:  And are you publishing every book as a hardcover or paperback and e-book? Or either or both


Guy Windsor: Generally E-book, paperback, hardback. My workbooks are available as e-books and paperbacks. I think I probably ought to do a hardback version because it's easier to write on if it’s a hardback book. But so that's my Rapier workbook series, which is again, I produced it in four separate volumes and then I produced the combined volume. It's just easier that way. I've also got the first volume of my Armizare workbook series that's out and that they're both just paperbacks and ebooks.


Michael Sprenger: And the ebooks and the real books are they are the same amounts sold or is one superior to the other?


Guy Windsor: Generally speaking. I make the most money by mile out of the paperbacks. Hardbacks do sell, but not very much. And I sell most of those to the early adopters who buy the book before it comes out. And eBooks. I sell some, I don't even really track them because I don't really think of e-book as a proper product, because I am of the generation that predates e-books by quite some time. And I've never been able to actually really read on an e-reader. It just doesn't work to hold my attention. So to me, paper is the thing. But if you look at it from a business perspective, if you have three products or three different prices, people will usually pick the middle one. I while ago, in January this year, I think, I ran a series of Facebook ads, too. I put the Medieval Longsword e-book up on my online course platform thing as a because it has all these various things that you can do and free stuff you can add it. And I ran Facebook ads to that and it did OK. Yeah, quite a few people bought it. But the most common question I got was, is a paperback version available? To which I would happily reply ,why yes it is. Go to wherever and buy it. And yeah, actually I think I sold more copies of Medieval Longsword in paperback that month than any other month ever. Just because the Facebook ads seem to work and I need to run some more Facebook ads, obviously, because if my August sales are anything to go by, I actually need to do some work to get people to actually go buy my stuff.


Alexander Fürgut:  I find it a bit curious that you don't consider Theory and Practice of Historical Martial Arts would be a book about teaching.


Guy Windsor: Oh it has a section of teaching in it. Yeah, but it's not just about teaching. About a third of the book is how to do the research that's not teaching, that's research.


Alexander Fürgut:  And I think it's something that instructors should know.


Guy Windsor: That's a whole other question. Teaching is its own separate skill.


Alexander Fürgut:  That’s the differentiation because I looked at it as a book that instructors could and should probably read because there's a lot of stuff in them in it for them. So I kind of put it the teaching column.


Guy Windsor: Right, and I'm very glad that you think that because that's pretty much what I intended. But people can do research and not be able to teach and people can teach and not be able to do research. They are two fundamentally different skills. And so the research actually is that for people who want to do research. And hopefully that includes quite a lot of teachers, but it also has also, as you know, it has sections on mechanics and skill development and breathing and various other things. And it does have a section on how to teach class, how to teach individual lessons. Basically my course is coming out this month, How to Teach, is those two little chapters from Theory and Practice expanded out into basically an entire book length worth of material unto itself because teaching is its own separate thing.


Alexander Fürgut:  And will you write a book about teaching specifically as well, or is it just the course?


Guy Windsor: At the moment it's just a course. I set out to write a book and it wasn't coming. And it wasn't coming and it wasn't coming and it didn't work. And I couldn't get it to work and it just didn't bloody work. And then I thought, well, why don't I make it a course? And then it just wrote itself. So I was like, OK. So in my head apparently that’s two different things and. Actually given that this course is mostly audio, of course I wrote everything out first and then I read it carefully into the microphone and then carefully edited it in the studio and that's the idea. So it is a book’s worth the material for sure. But because I'm trying to communicate a skill, it has exercises and things in it. Like, you know, you're supposed to download class plans and fill them out in a certain way and you're supposed to, like, plan a whole beginner's course. And get an idea of your class, ideas about how to run the first class with your after action review section. You then use that to modify your plan for the next class. And one of the exercises is to see how your original beginner's course plan changed as it met the beginners.


Alexander Fürgut:  Well, it's like if you wrote it out beforehand, you could call it an audio book.


Guy Windsor: Yeah. Yeah. But the thing is, my audio books don't sell at all. I’ve produced two. And nobody buys them. I don't know why. I paid a professional actress to narrate Theory and Practice, Kelly Costigan. Two years later, I have not yet sold enough copies of the audio book Theory and Practise to get the money back that I paid to the narrator.


Alexander Fürgut:  That's a shame.


Guy Windsor: Yeah. Well, you see, I think it will come. People are getting more and more used to consuming audio about various different things. And they just don't know to go look for an audio book about historical martial arts. So I think eventually it will take off like my George Silver audiobook. It sold not brilliantly, but OK in the crowdfunding campaign. And I've got the original pronunciation version with Ben Crystal, who is a world class Shakespearean actor doing original pronunciation, 16th century London accent reading George Silver’s book is absolutely brilliant. And Jonathan Hartmann, who is a modern Shakespearean actor, doing the kind of modern pronunciation of George Silver’s Paradoxes of Defence. It raised just enough money during the crowdfunding campaign to pay for the narrators. Hasn't made me any money since. So my months and months of work went into that, I’m not being paid for. But yeah, I think it was a good idea and I’m not sorry I did it. The thing is, if I produce this How to Teach as an audio book, it will make no money now. Honestly, it’ll make no money because no one will buy it. And if no one buys it, no more hear it and if no one hears it, the standard of teaching in this whole historical martial arts worldwide is not going to go up. The reason I produced this is because it's really obvious to me that a lot of people are teaching historical martial arts because they're the person who happens to know the most in that particular room and they don't necessarily particularly want to be teaching or if they do want to be teaching they don’t particularly know how to do it. So they're just doing their best and it will make their lives an awful lot easier if they have a clear sort of a class A process for actually acquiring the skill of teaching.


Alexander Fürgut:  So I think you're absolutely right on it also. I mean, you can find information out there, but it's bits and pieces here and there. But you have to put it together yourself. And if you have just one place where all the bits and pieces are already prearranged, that fits for historical European martial arts, it should make life easier.


Guy Windsor: Exactly. Exactly. And then eventually, when hopefully the course has made plenty of money and I can, you know, feed my children and keep flying aeroplanes, then I might produce a book to kind of go with it, like my Windsor Method, the principles of solo training, that book grew out of my solo training course.


Alexander Fürgut:  Which book did you say?


Guy Windsor: The Windsor Method: The Principles of Solo Training. Basically, how do you train yourself to be good at the things you want to be good at.


Alexander Fürgut:  Yeah. And so it was after the course was running for a while?


Guy Windsor: Yeah, I produced the course in 2019 and then COVID hit in 2020.


Alexander Fürgut:  And so more relevant than ever.


Guy Windsor: Yeah. And if you're stuck at home and you can't get to a sword club, you're going to go mad if you're a sword person. So I thought this might help. And so I made it widely available by dropping the price by 95%. So pretty much anybody could get it. And then if they couldn't afford the $20 I was asking for it, then they could email me. And I was OK because it was a shitty situation and it was something that might help. And it did help some people.


Alexander Fürgut:  Did people take you up on the offer?


Guy Windsor: Over 1000 people.


Alexander Fürgut:  Really? OK.


Guy Windsor: Yeah. And a bunch of people contacted me to say, you know, because I was offering you also for free, could they send me $100 or whatever to cover five free places? That was super nice, and some blessed people actually just paid full price for the course as well. Which was even better. Because all my seminar teaching income disappeared in 2020. It's a major part of my business ecosystem is actually showing up and teaching. That is my favourite thing to do and I would do it for free if, you know, I could afford not to charge for it. But none of that was happening in 2020. So yeah, so the course was already there and people were engaging with it and contacting me about it. And so I produced the book last year, 2021. Because basically an online course is usually a bunch of videos or audio or whatever else, and you kind of go through it perhaps in whatever order you want. And it's. It's difficult to get a clear picture of the overall kind of intellectual structure of it. Books are really good for that. They are linear and compact. They're good for sort of taking this pattern out of your head and laying it down so that people can see it. So I produced the book and it's funny, the course did really well and the book has hardly sold a single copy. There's no way to know. There is absolutely no way to know. Like nearly ten years after it was first published, Medieval Longsword had its best month ever. And in its year of publication, The Windsor Method: The Principles of Solo Training did almost no business. I mean, it paid for itself. It paid for its layout and cover design and well.


Michael Sprenger: That's pretty surprising. I would have really thought you had that process figured out because you're at it so long and you have so much experience.


Guy Windsor: Right. But then you see I don't write to market, I don't figure out what's going to sell and then write that, I figure out what I want to write next and write that. My Vadi translation, the Art of Sword Fighting in Earnest, which is just translation and commentary and introduction and all that sort of stuff. It’s made no money. Just because why would it? How many people actually want to read Vadi? Lots of people want to swing swords around in a Vadi-like way, but they don’t want to read the book. But I didn’t write it because I expected it to make money. I wrote it because I wanted to understand Vadi. So it did what it supposed to do and yeah, it pays for its expenses and it was part of my PhD and stuff. So it had all sorts of other knock-on benefits. The books that actually consistently actually make money are invariably books that make it easy for you to swing swords about.


Alexander Fürgut:  Yeah, we kind of started this about the podcast and now we have gone down this rabbit hole into the Guy-verse. You have done a lot of stuff, really.


Guy Windsor: You ask the questions, I’ll answer them.


Alexander Fürgut:  You have. I’m perfectly happy to hear. It's impressive how much stuff you did over the years and there are many points that we didn't even cover like the card games.


Guy Windsor: Yeah.


Alexander Fürgut:  So maybe let's look in the future. You already mentioned that you're working on the course about teaching, is something else coming up?


Guy Windsor: OK. The How to Teach course, the first phase of it is done, right. It's ready to go out to the first cohort of students who will then tell me they need to have a section on this or tell me that they didn't understand the section on that and that would give me some. These things they, they tend to improve over time, but it's fundamentally done. The thing that's coming after that, I have a couple in my head, but they're both in a very delicate stage where if I let them come out of my mouth, they’re probably going to break. This is this is not this is not me being cagey. This is not a privacy thing. It's just when an idea begins, it needs to kind of crystallise and become clear and robust before is ready to be looked at outside the head. So I don't have a project that's coming next down the pipe that is sufficiently developed at the idea stage, that I can say, yes, it's a book about this or yes, it's a course about that, that hasn't happened yet. But yes, there will be stuff coming. Of course. Historical martial arts is huge. And I mean, one thing I would like to do, Jessica Finley was supposed to come out to the UK in June but for various reasons that didn't happen. But I'm planning on doing at some point if I can hold Jessica's feet to the fire or I may maybe just fly over to Kansas and do it there. Fiore’s wrestling stuff, I'm not a good enough wrestler to really teach that to wrestlers.


Alexander Fürgut:  We're talking a course here, right?


Guy Windsor: Yeah. This would probably be a video course thing. That would be very cool. To get Jessica and I because I know that Fiore stuff inside out backwards and Jessica knows the wrestling stuff inside out and backwards and together we can get a solid, this is how these techniques work. That's the easy bit. Then this is how we train to make these techniques work. And then this is how these techniques to apply in those situations, that sort of thing that I would like to do with Jessica. And I'm also working pretty hard on my private pilot's licence, which is taking out quite a lot of my thinking space.


Michael Sprenger: Guy in the sky.


Guy Windsor: Absolutely.


Michael Sprenger: I forgot to ask one question that you keep asking your guests, and I'd like to hear your take on it. I'm not going to phrase it like you did. Can you ask yourself your final question for the podcast?


Guy Windsor: Oh, OK. I think the question you mean is, what is the best idea you haven't acted on?


Michael Sprenger: Exactly. Beautifully worded.


Guy Windsor: OK. I have two. I've had 1 billion dollar idea in my life. And as we discussed it in my episode with Jo York and it is the fundamental problem of collaboration in any kind of artistic project is splitting up the money. It's really hard because copyright persists for 75 years after your death or whatever. And let's say the three of us wrote a book together and it gets published, then the publisher, which might be me, might be one of you, whatever somebody else has to split up the money and give it to us. I give it to our heirs for 70 odd years after you die, assuming that the book continues to sell. And also, wouldn't it be nice if, let's say you're writing a book and you want professional help with the editing or whatever, wouldn't it be nice if you could say give the editor their fee or a slightly reduced fee and a percentage of the proceeds assuming the book makes money? I mean the person who edited the first Harry Potter book made probably a couple of thousand credit for their editing work. And that's it. How frustrating is that? If they've been given maybe 1% of the proceeds, they could retire. To retire to a pretty fancy big house. So anyway, so what I would like, this idea that I haven't acted on because it is basically it would require finding the right people. It is absolutely not something you can do it by yourself is to build a service where creators can register projects with the service, register who owns what percentages of the project, and then all the money generated by the project goes through the service and is then distributed according to the percentages that the creators have agreed on.


Alexander Fürgut:  That's a pretty good pitch because then also as an editor, for example, you can take some risks. Like if you really like something and it sounds very promising, you can say, you know what, I'm doing a reduced rate. I believe in this project. And then you give it the extra effort, right?


Guy Windsor: Right. And of course, so this service would be funneling huge amounts of money if it does well. And of course, it would be taking a its own percentage of that, maybe 2% or whatever. And providing the service so that more creative collaboration can happen.


Michael Sprenger: Self-publishing is on the rise. There is a growing need to get in touch with editors and so on.


Guy Windsor: So it's a fundamental good because it allows people to work together who otherwise maybe couldn't. And it's a fundamentally good business idea because it means basically getting control of a gigantic cash flow.


Michael Sprenger: Yeah, I like it. Good idea.


Guy Windsor: It's a really good idea. It's probably $1 billion idea I’ve ever had. And the other one, I think it was Mila Jędrzejewska, who asked me this when I interviewed her for my show. And it was the, what would you do if you had millions of euros improving historical martial arts worldwide? And it was also the best idea I haven’t acted on, which is a social media platform that you pay for, which will eliminate 99% of the shit. Because there would be no need for algorithms or any of that sort of stuff and there'd be no advertising, it is all paid for. But it's a non-profit paid for service so that sword people can interact with each other in a safe and useful online space. Now, I have a discord server that my online students use, and that is something a bit like that. But what I have in mind is much bigger, like at the moment most historical martial arts events, they just have a Facebook page. That is a shitty awful situation. Because Facebook can pull that page at any time. They can change their terms of service and your stuff just disappears. And for various sensible reasons, quite a lot of the people who are on my mailing list, for instance, will not go to a Facebook page. They will not go to an event that they can only find on Facebook because they will not create a Facebook account to get into the website so that they can actually see this event.


Michael Sprenger: And on the other hand, about 90% of the email crowd is probably only still on Facebook because of the HEMA stuff.


Guy Windsor: Exactly. Exactly. They've all shifted to Instagram and other places. So a historical martial arts specific, paid for, but non-profit social media thing so that you can have mentoring programmes, you can run events, you can do all the social media stuff that you normally do. You can post pictures of your cat if you want, but that's also where you'll find. Like on my discord at the moment. You might find like Michael Chidester and Cornelius Berthold discussing some incredibly abstruse aspect of medieval manuscripts

and no one is ever going to see that except the people who happen to be on my discord, who happened to be of that section of it at that time or happened to scroll back through it and find it. But it's not really searchable. It gets people talking to each other and that's a good thing. But it doesn't have the kind of the benefits that you get with a forum.


Michael Sprenger: It's not an archive. You can’t find the old stuff. They talk about it and it's gone.


Guy Windsor: Yeah. So it would take a lot of money to set it up, to build it properly. Because you need apps and, you know, iOS app and various other apps and it has to work on people's phones. It has to work the way people currently use social media now. But it would eliminate all of the nastiness that you get with classic social media. So that's another idea I have not acted on because I am totally unqualified to act on it.


Alexander Fürgut:  Interesting. I am running an event calendar for Germany, Austria and Switzerland for that reason so that people can get away from Facebook and the non-Facebook crowd because the younger viewers are not on Facebook. Because why should they join maybe Instagram or TikTok or whatever? So they were excluded from events, not because participation as there’s usually some other way to get there, but they didn't know about it. Like how could you figure out, if you are not on Facebook.


Guy Windsor: Oh, yeah. So make sure you send me a link to put in the show notes.


Alexander Fürgut:  It's easy. It's Hema.events.


Guy Windsor: That is easy.


Alexander Fürgut:  Simple, straightforward.


Guy Windsor: That is a really good URL.


Alexander Fürgut:  I was surprised that it was still free. Yeah.


Guy Windsor: Obviously of course if you have a URL that is that general you have to expand it to include the American events and Australian events and the Singaporean events and the Indonesian events.


Alexander Fürgut:  And well, the site is not even a year old yet and I could imagine expanding to other countries. But you have to get it working in one place because if there's just one event in Poland and one in France, it doesn't work. But if someone says, please do it for my country, we will support it and we actually will go and do that. Maybe that's a positive.


Guy Windsor: And that's a really good idea that you have acted on. Yeah, well, it has been great talking to you guys. Thank you. We have run massively over time.


Alexander Fürgut:  Thank you very much for your time.


Michael Sprenger: Yeah, that's probably no, that's not probably. That is the longest Schwertgeflüster episode we have done so far.


Guy Windsor: And it is probably going to be the longest Sword Guy episode too.


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