Episode 134 Broadsword for Kids, with Andrew Newton

Episode 134 Broadsword for Kids, with Andrew Newton

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Andrew Newton lives in the Annapolis Valley in Eastern Canada. He is a historical fencer and mounted archer and runs the Annapolis Valley Historical Fencing Club, teaching broadsword, sabre and cutlass. Andrew was also an officer in the Air Force, so of course there’s a bit of plane chat. In our discussion we talk about the business end of running a club: how to make money, effective marketing tips, and why even if you’re a non-profit you still need to have a business-like approach.

Andrew is running very successful youth classes, for both younger kids and teenagers. He talks about how to teach children and why it’s not that different to teaching adults. We discuss the importance of getting youngsters into HMA.

Useful links:

Guy’s Farfalla di Ferro drill video: https://vimeo.com/540592226

Sea Winds horse archery: https://www.seawindshorsearchers.ca/

Cateran Society broadsword: https://cateransociety.org/

This is Guy’s lengthy and ultra-geeky post about stretto: https://guywindsor.net/2018/06/freedom-to-strike-a-lengthy-discussion-of-largo-and-stretto/




Guy Windsor: I’m here today with Andrew Newton, who is a historical fencer and mounted archer and runs the Annapolis Valley Historical Fencing Club. So, Andrew, welcome to the show. I should also point out that Andrew is one of the people who actually pitched to me to come on the show. And so let this be like a gentle reminder to those of you out there who think that maybe you have something interesting to say. You are welcome to pitch. I may say no, but you are welcome to pitch. So my first question as usual, whereabouts in the world are you?


Andrew Newton: I'm in the Annapolis Valley, which is in Nova Scotia, Canada. On the East Coast.


Guy Windsor: Oh, really? Yeah. Oh, I saw Annapolis, and I just assumed that was like Virginia.


Andrew Newton: Maryland, but no.


Guy Windsor: Maryland. Okay. Yeah, that bit of the world.


Andrew Newton: That valley is about 2 hours outside of Halifax, if you have a look at a map.


Guy Windsor: Okay.


Andrew Newton: So quite a rural area which makes a fencing club interesting.


Guy Windsor: Okay. So how do you find running a fencing club in the middle of nowhere?


Andrew Newton: Actually. Really well. Really good. People are looking for something to do, especially since Covid kind of closed a lot of a lot of things. A lot of clubs having to kind of re-establish themselves in other events. So we kind of came to the right time to start filling a void. I started teaching January 2021.


Guy Windsor: Oh, wow. Quite recently. So you actually started your club just after lockdown?


Andrew Newton: Yeah, I've been toying with it and had an earlier attempt, but that's when I got serious about it.


Guy Windsor: So. So I'm assuming that isn't when you began historical martial arts? It does sometimes happen. Many, many clubs begin when somebody really wants to get started and realise they need friends to hit and so they start a club and so that is not actually that unusual for. “Yes, I started running a club in such and such and such and that's when I started doing historical martial arts. It just happened.” So how did you get started?


Andrew Newton: In 2015, I saw a poster in my post office just on a community bulletin board, and someone was asking if people were interested in historical fencing. And it had a picture of two guys with rapiers and, yeah, absolutely. I ended up emailing the guy and it turns out he was part of the SCA, had just moved into the area was getting a group started so I took some rapier lessons and got started there. After a little while, I wasn't getting the instruction I really wanted because in the SCA it's very region dependent on what kind of instruction you get. Some regions have great instructors, some regions have no instructors and I wasn't really enjoying just poking each other with metal sticks without really feeling I knew what I was doing, but one of them there kept talking about Saviolo that he'd been reading.


Guy Windsor: Oh, right. I love Saviolo.


Andrew Newton: So I went looking and actually I came across Capoferro and the Duellist’s Companion.


Guy Windsor: Okay.


Andrew Newton: Yeah, that was kind of my intro.


Guy Windsor: Really? Okay. So you started working off my book?


Andrew Newton: Yeah.


Guy Windsor: I shouldn't be surprised. I mean, that's exactly what I wrote the damn thing for. But it's really nice to hear that that is actually useful to people. Are you still working with it?


Andrew Newton: No, actually, the main weapons I work with are Fiore’s longsword and Scottish basket hilt broadsword.


Guy Windsor: Okay, we'll get back to those. Tell me more about how Saviolo entered the picture.


Andrew Newton: It was just one of the other fencers had been reading it and kept on talking about Saviolo like he was the greatest thing ever. And so I started reading about other fencing treatises.


Guy Windsor: Okay. So he was like a gateway drug into, oh there's more than one way of doing this.


Andrew Newton: Yeah, I never actually read Saviolo. I moved quickly into Capoferro.


Guy Windsor: Honestly, it's a lot easier to get a working fencing systematic out of Capoferro that it is with Saviolo. I tried with Saviolo for some years in the late nineties and it was like yeah, but actually really? Because it feels like you're supposed to parry a cut to your head just by batting it away with your left hand. And it's like, I think we're missing something here.


Andrew Newton: Yeah, absolutely. I did come across that very quick. I went with the path of least resistance with most weapons, really. So Capoferro. And then the Cateran Society was my intro to Broadsword.


Guy Windsor: Oh, okay. The Cateran Society. Remind me of the name of the chap who runs it.


Andrew Newton: Right now it is Mathew Park. He's the third president.


Guy Windsor: Who was the first one?


Andrew Newton: Heiko Große was the second. The first is something Thomas.


Guy Windsor: Scott.


AN: Maybe. I have his book on a shelf. I should know.


Guy Windsor: Yeah, because I remember a long, long time ago, maybe 20 years ago. The Cateran society chap, do you know what I'm going to cheat. I’m just going to do a quick search and edit as necessary because this is nuts. Where are we. We've got to have his name. Come on.


Andrew Newton: I literally have his book right here. Christopher Scott Thompson.


Guy Windsor: There we go. Christopher Scott Thompson. That's it. Yes, yes. Because a student of mine was in Canada or the States or somewhere and was training with Christopher and I'd interacted with him already because he sent me a draft of one of his books to have a look at. And I actually have a book of his in its sort of printed out photocopies and comb-bound stage. So yeah, we sort of lost touch or inspired me to actually get back to have another look at Saviolo and also to get back in touch with Christopher Scott Thompson because I think he is a really nice bloke. I think I gave him some very bad advice on his book because my advice was to the best of my knowledge at the time, but looking back from the vantage point of 20 years, it's like, oh, I don't think I did him any favours there.


Andrew Newton: Well, he didn't stop. He's published a few books now and he has a good online presence. They have an online mentorship programme for people that are training by themselves.


Guy Windsor: Okay, that's good.


Andrew Newton: That actually led me to more sources. So I started diving into the sources of broadsword and my broadsword class is actually based on Roworth.


Guy Windsor: Roworth? Yes. Yes. I love Roworth. Like he's so simple and straightforward. And, you know, I think what he says about the traverse it is basically to break measure for people who don't like giving the appearance of a retreat.


Andrew Newton: Well, like I said, Roworth was very accessible for me.


Guy Windsor: Because it’s in English. That really helps.


Andrew Newton: That really helped. Yeah. But he's also very thorough as compared to other broadsword sources. Earlier ones are a bit more sparse in the specifics.


Guy Windsor: Yeah, I see. You know, I still use the one, two, three, four, five, six kind of cutting when I'm doing backsword, broadsword stuff. I mean, if I was to teach a backsword or broadsword class these days, it would be probably 90% Roworth.


Andrew Newton: Yeah. And like I said, I use it as the basis of my beginner class. And then in our intermediate class we started talking about other sources, or other ideas.


Guy Windsor: You fact. So is your club officially part of the Cateran Society, are you affiliated?


AN: No.


Guy Windsor: So you were training in rapier stuff and hanging out with fellow sword people in the middle of nowhere in Canada before the pandemic. What happened when everything closed?


Andrew Newton: Well, I'd kind of taken a break from training with other people by 2019, I think. But when the pandemic happened and I was at home a lot, especially with the first lockdown with my kids, I picked swords back up and start training by myself.


Guy Windsor: Okay. Training what? Training how?


Andrew Newton: Oh, actually, I followed your solo training course. I bought that as soon as you released it. I try to keep myself a bit of routine.


Guy Windsor: Okay. Be completely honest. And if you say something mean about my course, I will just edit it out so you can be completely frank. How did you find it?


Andrew Newton: It helped me get on track. It reminded me things that I'd learnt years ago in like university fitness classes, things about like working on fundamentals and getting the basics down before you try to do something advanced, as simple as my hamstrings are always tight. I need to work on that. Because it doesn't matter how much I want to do some of the more advanced moves, if my hamstrings are too tight, I'm just fighting against myself.


Guy Windsor: Yeah. Okay. Yeah. Good, good. I'm glad it was helpful. And so then you started your Annapolis Valley Historical Fencing Club.


Andrew Newton: Yeah. Beginning of 2021. I started in the fall, but we actually started classes in 2021.


Guy Windsor: Okay. What did you actually do to set up a club?


Andrew Newton: Um, I didn't want to be the instructor at first, actually. I had found someone who was good at teaching rapier, and we were lining that up. We were collecting weapons, and I had a few extra masks to provide people and we found a location. It turns out the only day the location was available was the one day the instructor couldn't teach and I had to decide whether I wanted the club now or I was going to wait 6, 12 months and try and find a better location. But locations were difficult at the time because most community centres weren't renting out to anything because of COVID. One of the few people I found that would rent out was fire halls.


Guy Windsor: Fire halls? What are those?


Andrew Newton: Most places in Nova Scotia have volunteer fire departments instead of full time fire departments. And they always have like their own community hall that they rent out to things.


Guy Windsor: Really? Yeah. So, sort of like the equivalent of in England, like all churches tend to have church halls they rent out for various purposes.


Andrew Newton: Yeah, exactly. We have church halls, we have community halls and then we have fire halls.


Guy Windsor: Okay. Yeah, we don't have those in the UK as far as I'm aware.


Andrew Newton: Okay. But yeah, they're very community oriented. They want people to use their space.


Guy Windsor: Okay. So you chose the space over the instructor?


AN: Yes. Okay.


Guy Windsor: I would do the same thing because ultimately you need to get out and get moving. And in Canada, particularly in the winter, you need to do that indoors or you're going to die.


Andrew Newton: Exactly. And that was that was really it. It came down to, do I want to do this now or am I going to wait until Covid allows other things open and I can find different days? And I just kind of like said I didn't initially want to be the instructor. I was going to run the club and he was going to teach. But I was like, well, I guess I'm teaching broadsword. That's what I'm most comfortable with. So that's what we’re going to start with. I can do this. I have experience teaching throughout my career in the military and it transfers over nicely.


Guy Windsor: Okay. Tell us about that because that. So what did you do in the military that involved teaching?


Andrew Newton: I was an officer in the Air Force. I was a tactical navigator on the Aurora aircraft. It's a long range patrol aircraft, kind of like the nimrods or the Poseidon.


Guy Windsor: You were a tactical navigator. I'm learning to fly planes at the moment. And I must say, navigating is the hardest thing to do in aviation by a million miles. Like flying the plane is the fun and the easy bit most of the time. But navigating without GPS anyway. Yeah, it is super hard.


Andrew Newton: Yeah. See, I came up in the air when we still practised without GPS. Just using a map. But now they don't do that. They just go straight to GPS.


Guy Windsor: Really? Not with the PPL. You have to do it with a map and a watch and time keeping.


Andrew Newton: On the Aurora it's a ten man crew. So the pilots kind of take care of most of the navigating point to point. Where my job came in is when we are out at a place doing a mission. So if we were hunting submarines, we got there and the pilots became bus drivers. You know, they don't like us saying that. But I say where we go and what we do. And I have a team of sensor operators that work with me and provide info and I collate it all together and draw up a picture on a map on the computer screen. And then there's a crew commander who's in charge and I make recommendations and he decides what we do with it.


Guy Windsor: Okay. So I'm just curious who on the plane is actually fundamentally finally in charge?


Andrew Newton: Depends on what part of the mission.


Guy Windsor: Really?


Andrew Newton: The crew commander is in charge of the entire everything. They're the ones who go up to the boss when you land. When it comes to safety the lead pilot is in charge. End of. So if the crew commander wants to do something then the pilot can veto for safety.


Guy Windsor: Right. Yeah, it's the same with like if I'm flying my little Cessna under visual flight conditions and I'm not instrument rated and air traffic control tells me to climb into cloud, which I'm not rated to do, I can tell them unable to comply. Not instrument rated. Basically request other instructions. And they can't force me to go do that because as the pilot, I am the person who is fundamentally finally responsible for the safety of the aircraft.


Andrew Newton: Exactly. There would be times during a mission I would want to go a certain direction and the pilots would respond, can't do that because of traffic or landmass or something.


Guy Windsor: Yeah. Okay. It's really weird to me to have this variegated chain of command on an aeroplane.


Andrew Newton: It is. But when everyone knows the system, it works pretty smooth. Generally, the crew commander is usually either the lead pilot anyway or the tactical navigator.


Guy Windsor: That makes sense.


Andrew Newton: Really, a lot of it just comes down to two, maybe three people. But you always know who's in charge at any given point.


Guy Windsor: Right. I guess that's critical. The basic skill then, tactical navigation, is its own thing, but you were taught to teach it?


Andrew Newton: I wasn't a formal instructor, but everything in the military is about mentorship and teaching the guy behind you what you learned. And through officer training there is a lot on teaching basic skills. Motor skills and intellectual skills and just had a lot of practise over the years. So when it came to setting up a lesson plan, I was comfortable breaking it down into intro, body, conclusion, prepping some questions and teaching a physical skill piece by piece.


Guy Windsor: Okay. Yeah. So that gave you sort of a structure and a framework which you then applied to historical martial arts.


Andrew Newton: Exactly. I mean, I was super nervous for my first couple of classes.


Guy Windsor: Oh, okay. I'll let you into a little secret. When I go and teach a class if it is not a group that I teach all the time, and everyone there is someone who I've taught many times before, I’m always nervous before my classes. I’ve had to appreciate this for a long time.


Andrew Newton: Yeah, but I had a written lesson plan, and I looked at my notes a lot the first couple of classes. But we got through and people started fencing.


Guy Windsor: That’s the critical thing, you do what you need to do to get them moving, right?


Andrew Newton: Exactly. They all knew where I was at. I was honest about it. And it just kind of went from there and things progressed quickly. The other think I took from my time in Air Force is lessons learned. You know what happened? Did it work? How can we make it better and just really working that cycle over again.


Guy Windsor: Yeah, actually this week, not as this goes out, it's going out in a few weeks’ time, but this week as we're talking and today is the 27th of September, I think, my How to Teach course comes out and in it for example, there’s a section on planning a beginners’ course. You plan out all of your classes for the beginners’ course and then each class plan has a section for the after action review. So at the end of the first class, you review what actually happened and use that information to then modify the second class plan. And as you go through that process, your final class is going to be completely different to what you actually initially planned. But you need that kind of framework to start with so that you can progress in a systematic and reproducible way.


Andrew Newton: Yeah, absolutely. I take that even a step further. And the last 5 minutes of my class, all of my students gather to sit in a circle. And actually I started this with my youth classes and I realised I should be doing this with adults too. So I added it and every person goes around the circle and every person has to say something they enjoyed or something they learn today and something they're struggling with that they're going to work on for next week. That's to really self-identify their own strengths and weaknesses. I use it with the kids to build confidence, but honestly the adults need to think critically about themselves as well. And again, that was something that we did on the aircraft every mission, at the end, we all sat around and we talked and then the last person to talk was the person in charge.


Guy Windsor: Let me just highlight that. The last person the talk was the person in charge. Yes, that's really important. That is not a minor detail. It has to go lowest rank to highest. Otherwise everyone is just going to copy what the higher ranked person just said.


Andrew Newton: Absolutely. And there are times where people that kind of don't really contribute much and they don't they might be called out like, no, come on, what do you actually think? And it was also considered a safe space to let one of your peers, because on the aeroplane they try and leave rank out of it based on your rank’s based on your position. So you have to let people know like this really didn't work when you ask me for this or I didn't get the information I needed in time to make this decision. We need to find a way to speed up this process or you screwed up a procedure and that affected the rest of us. So unfuck yourself.


Guy Windsor: That’s a good military expression. In civil aviation, there have been plane crashes caused by the pilot in command not understanding something that the co-pilot or navigator or somebody has said. And there’s some fascinating research on it. Like these days, even inside the cockpit, most countries, most national airlines, they speak English in the cockpit because English has a low hierarchy. Whereas if you have a language like Korean where there's a very strong in-built hierarchy in the language, it makes it more difficult for a junior officer to tell the person in command, “Actually, no, you have to stop what you're doing and pay attention to this thing. Otherwise we're all going to die.”


Andrew Newton: There's also, like, English being the language of aviation radio. The first was German actually.


Guy Windsor: Was it really?


Andrew Newton: Yeah, I believe in the thirties and it just didn't work because a lot of things sound the same. So they switched to English.


Guy Windsor: I can't imagine having to learn German to be able to fly a plane.


Andrew Newton: I don't think it was so much an international standard. I just think there was a lot of German speaking pilots. Or maybe it’s just that we won the war and we changed everything afterwards.


Guy Windsor: That could be a thing. All right, so you're doing this like after action review. Everyone is sitting around saying one thing that they enjoyed about the class, one thing they're going to work on the next time. I do something similar in my advanced classes, but actually also in my general classes, I do at the beginning as well, I ask each student to articulate what they are going to be concentrating on today.


Andrew Newton: Interesting.


Guy Windsor: Because that way they know what they should be paying attention to during the class. So let's say we have a student who is having difficulty with change of direction in their footwork. Having moved backwards a step, they find it difficult to move to the side or move forward or whatever. Just an example. Then whatever else we are doing in the class, any drill that has any footwork in it, as almost all drills do. The thing that they are trying to get right in that drill is that aspect of the footwork. So rather than the purpose of this is we’re going to learn the drill, we're going to use this drill as a place for you to practise this specific thing that you personally have decided that you are working on. And in more advanced classes, people will be working on entirely separate things, and hearing what everyone else is working on allows you to pair off with someone with a compatible problem.


Andrew Newton: Yeah, definitely. Definitely. I haven't quite gone that far with my students.


Guy Windsor: Your school is not old enough yet.


Andrew Newton: No, no, no. The longest I’ve had people is getting up to two years.


Guy Windsor: But it sounds like you're very interested in the teaching side of things.


Andrew Newton: Absolutely. I did want to be a teaching instructor for this at some point. I just didn't expect myself to be the first one.


Guy Windsor: You wanted a little bit of time training and stuff first before you had to dive in the deep end.


Andrew Newton: Exactly. Exactly. But trial by fire. Here we are. And now I'm at a point where I'm looking at my senior students and telling them I don't want to be the only instructor for much longer.


Guy Windsor: Right. Well, here's a thought. One thing I did fairly early on is students who wanted to teach, I gave them opportunities to teach long before they were technically ready to do so. But then, rather than giving them just a whole class, I would give them a piece of the class. So they tell me they want to learn to teach, we’d build up to it step by step. And so that way, relatively soon after starting my school, I was lucky because I had a couple of students with seriously deep martial arts backgrounds. So when I needed to go somewhere, I had experienced martial arts instructors to leave my school to while I was away. Which is not the same thing at all as leaving somebody has been training for six months in charge.


Andrew Newton: Yeah, that's the thing. I still have to be there for insurance purposes. I’m not at a point where I can let people just train without me. But it's like I’m not a fan boy, but I read all that in your book. And I started doing the same thing. Basically, my intermediate sword class overlaps my beginner sword class. So after the intermediates have been training for a while, the beginners show up and I would pick a different intermediate every day to go lead the warmup. I didn’t really give them a choice. It was expected that if you're coming to class for three, six, 12 months, you know how I run a warm up. Go for it. So they would lead the warm up for the beginners while I continued to work with the intermediates and then the intermediates would have some drills and some sparring time while I went and taught the beginners.


Guy Windsor: Yeah. If you make it really clear that the intention is that the other students will become able to teach classes then those are interested, it's actually quite straightforward to get them ready to run a basic class. Really what they have to do is make sure nobody dies. Once they can run a safe environment, how much they actually teach isn't really relevant, I think.


Andrew Newton: And that's true with youth HEMA. Or kids classes.


Guy Windsor: This is on my list of questions, like what is the difference in running kids classes and running them for adults? So you have anticipated me: go!


Andrew Newton: Oh, jump in there. Okay.


Guy Windsor: Yeah, go.


Andrew Newton: Open the door. I have to be more conscious of safety because the kids are going to be less conscious of it. And by youth, I mean anyone under 16, I consider youth. I do have a minimum age, but that's kind of shifted this September.


Guy Windsor: What is the minimum age?


Andrew Newton: It was eight, now it's six. And I did have a divided eight years old - 15 years olds, just a youth class, which I teach a simplified version of what I teach the adults. And I focus more on sparring to keep them interested. But in the youngest age group the 8 to 10 year olds weren't really sticking around and I think was a mismatch of expectations.


Guy Windsor: There's a big difference between a ten year old and a 15 year old.


Andrew Newton: Exactly. So now a ten year old and the 15 year old is still in the same class, but from six to age nine, they're in a different class, a kids class, which again is actually more games and sword based with activities that will develop sword skills as opposed to stand here, this is a outsider guard. This is a cut one. So what was the question?


Guy Windsor: That well, let's just dive into the whole how to teach children thing. I have kids and I have friends who have kids. And I have spent an awful lot of time sword fighting with children because what is more fun than sword fighting with children? I mean, really? But I've never actually run kids classes myself because living in Finland, my Finnish was never good enough to do it in Finnish. So some of my students ran kids classes sometimes and I have other students in other parts of the world who run kids classes regularly. But I personally have never run formal kids classes. So how do you set them up? How do you approach it?


Andrew Newton: My first thing going into it was the idea that kids have shorter attention spans and I want to address that right away and work with that. Even going into that, I have this idea of expectation management trying to tell people ahead of time what to expect, but also knowing what they expect coming to sword class. So gotta make sure they're hitting each other by the end of the first sword class. Because that's what they're there to do, they are there to swing a sword and hit each other. I use the foam training weapons from SPES. Go-Now I think it's called. And they have various sizes. They're actually sized for adults, but they're medium weight ones I use for the kids for the 10 to 15 year olds. I think I'm going to get slightly lighter weapons for the six year olds.


Guy Windsor: Okay. Yeah. I mean, pool noodles are a standard favourite amongst.


Andrew Newton: It's true. I wanted to buy something from a manufacturer because I'm asking their parents for a lot of money, and there's something to be said for how things look.


Guy Windsor: Absolutely.


Andrew Newton: I learnt that very quickly in my photography career. If I showed up with a bigger camera, people just respected me more, even though it didn't matter. Honestly.


Guy Windsor: Really?


Andrew Newton: Yeah. I showed up at a concert once just to take some photos for myself, and I had my big professional camera on a shoulder strap, like across my body. And the promoter for the show saw me and gave me a backstage pass. And he's like, you look like you know what you're doing. Yeah. So I went backstage and shot some photos on stage, backstage. I went wherever I wanted to in the show, it is amazing.


Guy Windsor: Fantastic. So having the right, proper, clearly made for the purpose equipment. Sends the right sort of message to the parents of these children who are the ones actually paying for it.


Andrew Newton: Exactly.


Guy Windsor: How much do you charge for kids classes?


Andrew Newton: I charge upfront. I charge them for three months. And it is $240, I believe, Canadian.


Guy Windsor: That's actually not that bad.


Andrew Newton: No. But also, compared to what other people charge for other activities, it's on the.


Guy Windsor: Higher end.


Andrew Newton: Above average. Yeah. But the difference is one thing I realise also talking to parents is I need to lower the barrier entry to this. So by having a higher price parents were okay with that when I provided the equipment. So for beginners. I provide masks to use and I provide weapons. So for the kids classes, I provide all the weapons.


Guy Windsor: Okay. So they're hit with relatively high monthly expenses, but not a great big upfront expense.


Andrew Newton: Exactly. And that seems to be a lot easier for them.


Guy Windsor: Also speaking as a parent whose children have taken up and dropped many hobbies, dropping a lot of money on equipment at the beginning is always a mistake because there's a very good chance the kid's not going to stick with it. And so you would much rather borrow or rent the equipment and not have to worry about investing so much all upfront. And then when they've stuck with it for a while and you are actually yes, they're really keen, then you buy them their own gear.


Andrew Newton: And that was very much in my mind from my own experiences as well when I set this up. So now after the first three months after they finished the beginner class, if they're still interested, they have to buy their own mask.


Guy Windsor: Okay.


Andrew Newton: They have to start investing depending on which weapon we're using, I switch weapons every three months. They may have to go buy a pair of gloves, like hockey gloves, which for kids are a lot cheaper than a pair of red dragons or better.


Guy Windsor: And with foam swords you don’t need much in the way of hand protection.


Andrew Newton: When I do longsword I teach them with lightsabers.


Guy Windsor: Oh, really? Okay. You teach them with lightsabers. That is genius. But no cross guards, right?


Andrew Newton: No. Exactly. So they're. It's mostly just kind of the zogho largo stuff. Like definitely when there’s blade on blade action, there's no cross guards. When it's the kids fencing, I tell them to ignore hand hits because we’re not here to swipe hands, I'm trying to teach them how to swing a sword. They can worry about that when they join the adult classes.


Guy Windsor: So what do you want the kids to have as they graduate from the kids classes and come to the adults classes?


Andrew Newton: I'm sorry. The last point on gear is everyone provides their own cup, because I'm not renting that out.


Guy Windsor: Fair, yes.


Andrew Newton: And everyone wears them regardless of who they are. Everyone wears it. It's just simpler that way. And then there's no question.


Guy Windsor: Yeah.


Andrew Newton: What do I want them to have when they come from youth to adults? Actually, I have three students moving up this month, which is actually really exciting. Done a year of youth class and now they're going to be joining the adult intermediates, not the adult beginners.


Guy Windsor: Okay, so they've learnt enough in the kids classes that they can jump straight into the intermediate class.


Andrew Newton: Exactly. Because the adult beginner class would just be a repetition of stuff that they have already learned, because it is an introduction to Roworth. So my adult beginners learn with a broadsword and they learn Roworth for three months because I wanted to learn one handed. I just found that easier. The kids have these curved foam sabres from Spes and I'm still teaching them Roworth.


Guy Windsor: Of course.


Andrew Newton: Yeah. So they understand how to stand and they understand cuts one through, well we use seven cuts, despite what Roworth thinks about that.


Guy Windsor: So it’s Roworth adjacent, not pure Roworth.


Andrew Newton: Well it's pretty close. I mean, I think the cut seven is the only thing I've added in.


Guy Windsor: Do you add that as a vertical cut or as a rising cut?


Andrew Newton: As a vertical cut. Roworth said the cut is probably either one or two, slightly off to the side. But when we're talking about defending against it with the St George Guard, I find it easier to set that up by telling them it's a different cut.


Guy Windsor: Okay.


Andrew Newton: Cut seven, come straight down and you know you're getting the cut seven, you defend with the St George.


Guy Windsor: Okay. So have you put together your own drills for Roworth?


Andrew Newton: I’ve put together some, and I’ve begged, borrowed and used.


Guy Windsor: Honestly, Roworth provides a lot of a lot of drills himself. It's been a long time since I've read him, but.


Andrew Newton: There's also a lot of people on the Internet that have developed how to teach. Roworth is becoming more and more common. So I like seeing what other people do. And you don't need to reinvent the wheel, you know?


Guy Windsor: Yeah. Honestly, I wish more people realised that.


Andrew Newton: I asked about in my class, I use a lot of Devon Boorman’s longsword drills. From the email series. So when I just need a handling drill to keep my students using a longsword, say if we're doing a block of broadsword training, I still make sure they get at least 20 minutes of longsword that day. I'll just use a handling drill from those emails and I'll tell them, you know, this is from Devon Boorman at Academie Duello.


Guy Windsor: You should get them doing my Farfalla di Ferro.


Andrew Newton: That is actually on the list. We're about to start a longsword block and that's what I've been working towards.


Guy Windsor: Really? Oh, my God. Good luck teaching that.


Andrew Newton: Yeah, that's why it's taken so long.


Guy Windsor: It’s funny. To me, because I developed it. I mean, I developed it with some of my senior students, but because it we developed a bit by bit over the course of about a month. And, if I explain the drill for the listeners, it's going to sound very, very complicated and difficult. So I'll do is I will pop a video of that drill in the show notes so people can see it. Basically it’s a twirly whirly drill with a longsword and it looks great, but it has this bit where you keep moving in a single direction, but halfway through the drill you turn so you're going backwards and then you turn again so you're going forwards and that's the bit that everyone seems to find difficult. So I'll be curious to hear later on when you've been teaching this to your students, how you managed to get them to seamlessly string it all together.


Andrew Newton: Well by Christmas they’ll either have it or they won't.


Guy Windsor: So that's slightly off topic. We were talking about kids classes and let's say you have a six year old, you're not going to be teaching them Roworth’s drills.


Andrew Newton: No. So the younger class is actually something I'm starting this year after realising I was losing the younger kids last year. I kind of sound ridiculous, but I kind of set it up a bit like a LARP, as a role play where I have a story that builds every week so that the drills have a context, a flavour text that they're excited about. It might be the same drill as last week, but we're doing it for a different reason this week because this week we got to go save this person. Right? Because the kids love stories. I mean, we all love stories. And using that, I can then use different drills to teach them how to move. But some of it is just simple games where they happen to have a sword in their hands as a start. It's about generating the interest. I'm not trying to create an expert swordsman of my nine year old daughter. I want her to have fun with the sword in her hands.


Guy Windsor: Yeah. Play is pretty much our best learning environment. It's like, this is how kids naturally learn stuff. They play with it and see what happens. And if there's a correct feedback mechanism in place, then they will learn very quickly.


Andrew Newton: And if I make small corrections every week, like, oh, that didn't work for you. How about you try hitting them like this. Or hitting your opponent like this? Maybe that will start sinking in. And then they kind of develop the technique as we go instead of me explicitly explaining technique.


Guy Windsor: Right. You know what? These days, I almost never use an explicit technical correction. Almost never. Because if you give a technical correction, let's say you're teaching somebody to lunge and they are not extending before they lunge when they need to. So they say they're lunging on the bent arm and then extending. Classic mistake. You can tell them, extension then lunge, extension then lunge, extension then lunge. Stick your arm out, then lunge. You can tell them to the cows come home and they might get it. They might not. And if they do get it, it may well become a kind of fixation in their head. So what they're thinking about when they're lunging is sticking their arm out, not actually hitting the person. So what I tend to do is create an environment where let’s say I’m giving an individual lesson. That’s the easiest place to do this. If they extend first and then lunge, they'll hit me every time. And if they lunge on a bent arm, they won't hit me and I'll definitely hit them every time. Very quickly and without even thinking about it, they stop lunging or bent arm because it gets in their every time. So they stop doing it.


Andrew Newton: Nothing teaches you like a hit in the face.


Guy Windsor: Right. Exactly. This way their objective is to hit me and not get hit. And doing it the way I want them to do it means they hit me and they don’t get hit. Doing it any other way, and we don’t even have to talk about what other ways they might be doing it, because why advertise mistakes? People will then follow the advert and copy the mistake. It just really quickly gets rid of whatever the problem you're working on because it’s natural, whereas a verbal technical correction, it's just so inefficient.


Andrew Newton: Yeah. No, I'm going to have to work on that. I want to get more intuitive like that.


Guy Windsor: Well here’s a simpler one is because that's actually quite tricky. You have to be fairly skilled to make sure that you're paying attention to the straightness of their arm and hitting them as necessary. That that takes quite a bit of skill. Let’s say you want someone to lunge further. You can start right up against the target and just poke it with their own arm, extend their arm, hit the target, so they're onto the target. Take a little step back, do the same, taking a step back do the same, and keep working back until they are doing their lunge but their lunge is shorter than it needs to be. And, you know, because they are able to lunge longer, there's no physiological reason why they shouldn't do this. You get them to step back and they think it's too far away. And you just gently put your foot on their back foot and say, you can hit that, go hit that target. And they do it. They go up and they do that a few times and maybe edge them an inch or so further back. And they can still do it. An inch or so further back and they can still do it. Then after a while they just get like hooked on the idea that they're going to hit from further away. And the problem of the short lunge or the too short lunge is gone. Without you ever telling them lunge further.


Andrew Newton: No, I do see that would change the way they had adopted the motor memory.


Guy Windsor: Yeah. But okay. Back to children. If, let's say, I decided I wanted to run a kids class. What would be your top pieces of advice?


Andrew Newton: Start with older youth. Because this more similar to what you're used to teaching. You can teach more specific form work than you can with a six year old. With a 15 year old, if you get them excited about the fact that they're learning historically accurate techniques. Because for the most part, we're all a bunch of nerds. They're interested in that. They want to know how it actually happened. Second thing is. Stop talking so much.


Guy Windsor: That is my number one piece of advice to every instructor ever in any environment.


Andrew Newton: Yeah, I got really good at talking a lot less and getting them moving a lot quicker. And that has absolutely helped. And try to understand what their expectations are coming to class, even if you have to ask them or ask their parents. I try and say this is what I'm expecting to teach them and then I want to know what they're expecting. And honestly, what most people are expecting in a sword class is to hit someone else with a sword. So by the end of the first class, they are sparring with cuts one and two.


Guy Windsor: Right. Yeah. Just this weekend, there's a group called Suffolk Swords that trains occasionally quite near to my house. And I had a project gluing up in the workshop, and I knew if I stuck around in the workshop, I would start fiddling and I'd fuck it up. So I needed to let the glue dry. And I then discovered that, oh, my friends at Suffolk Swords are having a class or a session around the corner. So I went round and they had quite a few complete newbies, including a chap whose was there with his son and his wife and daughter were also there and his daughter was about five and she was too little to take part in the class. They didn’t have insurance and stuff. But I asked her mum whether the little one wanted to have a go and she was like, yes. So I borrowed a couple of the plastic swords from the club, so I was not part of it because they're not insured for this. So this was separate. I am not an instructor in this club. I am not connected to this club in any way. I'm not even a member of it, they’re just friends. Got the little one swinging it so she got used to the weight. Basically just she just tried to hit me and I parried most of it. And then let one through and then we did it again and I parried most of it. And then let one through. She was having a really good time, just madly swinging this sword at me. At least she wasn't learning any like specific technique or anything particular, or what she was learning was swords are cool, swords are fun. And I really like hitting people with swords, right? And that, that's like the first thing that they have to experience, I think.


Andrew Newton: Exactly. And that's where I'm aiming with my kids classes. Like I said, the youth are a little bit more patient to learn technique. And I do start adding more and more technique. But again, even the beginners classes are technique light and we can make corrections as they go along. So maybe after a couple of weeks, let's go back and review the exact angle of your inside and outside guard.


Guy Windsor: Right. Sure. I had a thought. And this is just completely came to me just now, so it may be rubbish. Kids come to swords because they see something on TV usually, right? Maybe it's Star Wars or Princess Bride or Three Musketeers or something like that. What about if they pick a sword fight that they really liked on TV? And then just say, well, okay, we're not gonna do the whole thing, but why don't we take this cool bit and have a go at recreating that? What that would do, is it would give them a reason to want to copy something precisely because they care about the model.


Andrew Newton: Yeah, absolutely. Actually, my three month blocks in the youth class especially, I give them specific names like when we're doing the sabre I call it a pirate class. When we’re doing Fiore it’s a lightsaber class. When we're doing broadsword and targe, but I use the heater shields, it’s knights. But yeah, getting a specific movie that they've seen.


Guy Windsor: Because then you can teach them technique. So at this point, he's cutting like this. So let’s all practise cutting like this and then so and so does this parry and strike. So let's practise this parry and strike. Now let's put those together. Now it looks like the film. Because really what we are doing as adults doing historical martial arts is we are imagining what that movie would look like, of Fiore fighting someone and then we’re taking it out of the book. And we're basically trying to create what it would have looked like if someone had been there with a video camera when Fiore was doing his shit.


Andrew Newton: I'm gonna explore that.


Guy Windsor: I have never thought of that before. And this is ridiculous because it sounds to me like it might be a good idea.


Andrew Newton: Well, and it really lines up with a lot of what I what I believe about running a club. You know, I think you should run a club as a business because without money it is not going to survive. But also this whole concept of expectation management, it just comes from my day job now where I'm doing business consulting and strategic marketing and helping people work towards goals. So like the first taste is free kind of thing, right?


Guy Windsor: Yeah, sure. Okay, so you're running your club. Is it a business or is it a non-profit?


Andrew Newton: No, it's an incorporated business. I am happy to talk about what I'm doing, but from my time in the military, I like a clear chain of command and this is my baby and I don't trust anyone else with it yet.


Guy Windsor: Fair enough. Yeah. I ran my school as a business from 2001.


Andrew Newton: I could use a lot. I talk about things, I get their input. But, you know, being in charge doesn't mean I don't give a shit what they think. It just means when it comes down to it, the decision is mine.


Guy Windsor: Yeah. But also, for me, it was my only job. So I had no other source of income. So it had to be a business because I didn't have time to go and get a proper job.


Andrew Newton: Yeah, I'm kind of trying to straddle two right now.


Guy Windsor: Yeah. I'm imagining that the business consulting thing pays a lot better than the sword fighting.


Andrew Newton: Yeah, there’s not a lot of money in swords, but as long as it keeps itself going and maybe gets a new sword every now and then.


Guy Windsor: Yeah, but you make a good point that clubs need money. And in fact, it's one of my first pieces of advice for anyone who's starting a club, because they're always like, but I don't really want to charge for it because I'm not a professional instructor. I don't know what I'm doing so much, and I'm just a beginner too. But you're not charging for a service, you're collecting dues so the club can work towards its goals and budget for things like equipment or hiring an instructor or sending someone to an event so that they can learn stuff and bring it back or whatever else it might be.


Andrew Newton: That's exactly it. I mean, I have three different sets of training weapons for kids, and I have two different sets of training weapons for adults.  I've invested a lot of money into training weapons to get started. And I'm bringing that back every few months as people sign up. But then there's other things like I bought all my students a t-shirt for Christmas.


Guy Windsor: Oh.


Andrew Newton: Well it’s a walking advertisement, it says ask me about swords. And on the back is my details.


Guy Windsor: Well, that's a very good idea.


Andrew Newton: Exactly. If someone says “Ask me about swords,” you’re going to ask them about swords, right?


Guy Windsor: Well, if they are interested in swords, certainly.


Andrew Newton: Exactly. And that's the right kind of people. Those are the only people I'm interested in talking to.


Guy Windsor: Right. Yeah, it's one of the advantages of having such a specific niche is it's very easy to filter out the uninterested.


Andrew Newton: Yes. You hand him a sword and see what they look like.


Guy Windsor: Yeah. If you are at an event or whatever and you have a table with swords on it. Some people will walk past and not do anything, and some people will walk past and look and not do anything. Others, it's like there's a magnet on the table that just pulls them in.


Andrew Newton: If they stop and look, I let them know that they can pick it up and give it a swing. They're not going to hurt the weapon. They might hurt themselves, but really, once they swing that sword, I tell them, I'm not here to convince you. You're going to tell me if you're interested or not.


Guy Windsor: I have never tried to persuade somebody to come to one of my classes, ever, and I've sometimes reassured people that it's okay to come when they're not very fit or have a disability or whatever. So reassurance when necessary. But like, it's not I know you really might enjoy it. You really should come. Not at all. Because if it is obvious that a sword fighting class is how you want to spend your time, then it probably isn't how you want to spend your time.


Andrew Newton: Yeah, I just think there's something visceral about that connection, the physical connection to having a sword in your hand and giving it a swing. And again, for a lot of adults, it reawakens childhood fun. Their body remembers that, even if intellectually they're not sure they want to sign up for a class.


Guy Windsor: I guess the real question is why did people ever stop? If they are swinging a sword around at the age of five and really enjoying it, why would they ever stop? I never did.


Andrew Newton: I'm making it accessible to kids around here. And actually, some of the great feedback I've gotten from parents over the past year that I didn't really consider was for some of these teenagers, they’re not into group sports. Actually, most of them, they're not into group sports. They're not out there being active.


Guy Windsor: I hated group sports with a fiery passion. I despise and loathe them because I was made to do them at school and I hated every minute of it.


Andrew Newton: Exactly. But if they're not doing group sports, if they are not interested in hockey or anything.


Guy Windsor: Is it legal for a Canadian to not be interested in hockey?


Andrew Newton: Yeah, we don't talk about it. As long as you know a couple players’ names and have a favourite team, it's okay.


Guy Windsor: Okay.


Andrew Newton: But these kids don't have an interest in group sports, but also means there's not really much available to them. So one mother commented that she hasn't seen her teenager excited to get off the couch and do something active in years. You know, he wants to sit and play video games. He wants to see his friends.


Guy Windsor: This works for people in their twenties, 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s and up. I’ve had so many students come who are incredibly unfit and really needed some help getting physically started because they had spent the last 20 years sat in a chair playing video games or working on a computer. And physiologically speaking, there's pretty much no difference between doing your job at a computer and playing a video game at a computer. There's different levels of arousal, I guess, but in terms of physical activity there's not much difference there.


Andrew Newton: I want to introduce more physical training in my intermediate classes because I don't need to work them to death in the beginner class, I just need to get them hooked. And they realise they need to be more fit, to be honest. After 30 seconds, you're huffing and puffing like, shit, I need cardio. Then I hit them with, maybe we should do more exercise. Yeah, let's do that.


Guy Windsor: But like I said, I believe everything you teach a student should be a solution to a problem they have already experienced. Right?


Andrew Newton: It makes it a whole lot easier to swallow because, you know, if you show up to the first class and be like “we’re doing push ups”, people will think you're joking.


Guy Windsor: Well, I do include like push ups and stuff in my warmup in the first class, too. But the way I pitch it is, okay, you're going to need a certain level of physical strength for this. Now, you may need to start by doing the push ups on your knees and going down two inches and coming back up again. That's fine if that's where you need to start. If you have a fitness background of some kind, then by all means do regular push ups. But make it clear that okay, you are going to need to do this, but you don't need to start with 50 push ups on your knuckles. You can start with this version of the push-up that is adapted for your current level.


Andrew Newton: Yeah, actually I make the whole class start at an easier level than most of them can handle just because I don't want to leaving class thinking, oh my God, that that was so uncomfortable because people confuse discomfort with pain. So I have taken from Kaja Sadowski’s book where she said, start at the lowest level of a push up and then work towards a proper classic push up. I start everyone on the wall.


Guy Windsor: Yeah.


Andrew Newton: The first class will do wall push ups and then we'll lean a little further away and do more wall push-ups. But that's all I'll do with them for push ups. I class the next class, I'll start increasing it. Maybe we'll do more wall push ups and then maybe we'll go to knees and eventually they're doing classics and then maybe we'll do feet up on a box.


Guy Windsor: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Kaja’s book, Fear is the Mind Killer. Do you know what the first sentence in that book is?


Andrew Newton: No, I don’t remember.


Guy Windsor: This is one of the best martial arts books written this century. No question. It’s in my top five list books every martial artist should read. The first sentence of this book: “This book would not exist without Guy Windsor.” Kaja and I are old friends. And I was sat in a restaurant with him in Vancouver some many years ago. I said, Kaja, why haven't you written a book yet? And then he eventually got around to actually drafting one. And then I sort of mentored him through the process. And we had like deadlines and stuff and discussed aspects of it and light edits and whatnot. And I sort of mentored him through the process of getting his first book out. And I was like, I was a little bit taken aback. Because when I read it, I was like, fuck, this is your first book? How the hell are you going to top this?


Andrew Newton: Got to save some for next time.


Guy Windsor: Yeah. Yeah. Great book. Fear is the Mind Killer. Everyone should buy it, everyone should read it. Full of good advice. Like start everyone at a level that everyone can do.


Andrew Newton: Yeah. And just kind of instead of like having this is the standard, you can go to a lower standard if you need to. Just psychologically it's very different. Starting at this is a starting point. Everyone, if you can do this, then try the next one. But if you can only do this, that's okay. That's what we're here for this week.


Guy Windsor: Yeah. When I'm gently making a point to a large class who don't know me very well, we do push up, twisting squat jump burpees. These are great. Okay. What we do, we start on our knees and just do like a gentle little half push up, then get to our feet, stand up and then get back down, do another little gentle push up on our knees and stand up and that's where you start. Okay, now if this is comfortable, then you do a squat and then you drop into a push-up position and you do a regular push-up, and then you jump out of it and stand up and drop down. And so you're doing this push up and squat. And then if that's comfortable, the standing push up becomes a little jump. And if that's comfortable, it becomes a jump, lifting your knees up to your chest and then down into the pushup. And then if that's comfortable, as you jump up bringing your knees up, you turn 180 degrees in the air and drop down, and then you jump up and turn the other way and drop down. And that's the full exercise. So that's what we're aiming for. But this is where we start. And then I get to practise that exercise at whatever level they are comfortable with. And then I say and of course some of my really fit students add a clap in the push up, which I can't do. Which kind of gives them something ridiculous to aim for if they want to do. Everyone is starting with the super basic. It's not like this is the standard. It is this is the exercise. And here are the various ways you can practise it, depending on your current level of fitness. And very often, if I'm running like my morning trainalongs or whatever. I'll have it twisted my knee the day before, or done something stupid in the workshop or something like that. I am very often training on an injury and so I might be doing these stretches with a chair to support because right now is not a good idea to not have the chair. And so I use a chair and so on. You do it at a level that's right for you today, which may be better or worse or the same as you were yesterday. Well, so I went off on a bit of a rant there. So we discussed the kids classes up to a point. I do have to ask about the horseback archery because I've done it once and it was bloody good fun. I was doing it at a walk with the horse being led by Jennifer Landels. So how did you get into mounted archery?


Andrew Newton: Off a Facebook ad.


Guy Windsor: Really?


Andrew Newton: Yeah. There is a horse archer in my area about an hour from me.


Guy Windsor: Which in Canadian terms is next door. Yeah.


Andrew Newton: Oh, yeah. An hour I'll do any day. I mean, even 2 hours I would have gone for it. But then he was going to start his first training camp and he'd been training for a couple of years I gathered from his Facebook page and he was bringing over the Hungarian master, Lajos Kassai. And Kassai is the Hungarian who really brought horseback archery into modern times. There are other countries that have been doing it, but he seemed to have made it an ever growing popular sport. He's been doing this since the early nineties, so he came over to lead this training camp. I didn't actually participate in the training camp, but I met the host. Fascinating guy. And then I saw an ad two years later doing another training camp. He was just going to be leading it, there wasn’t another a guest instructor. It was going to be ten days. And this was 2020, just after our first lockdown had ended, where we had a little bit more freedom here in the summer. I had recently been separated. I had my kids full time. I needed a break.


Guy Windsor: Every parent can sympathise with needing a break.


Andrew Newton: So I signed up for the ten day training camp. And it was incredible. His property is 200 acres of ocean fronts on the Bay of Fundy which is the highest tides in the world. So the water level is incredible as it comes up and down through the day, it's pasture. The horses roam freely. There's woods and trails for rides after training day. And we camped there. And I just spent the entire ten days, barely any cell reception, no electricity, I was charging my phone in my car. And we ate together. We did some cooking together. And we trained together all day, every day.


Guy Windsor: What did the training look like?


Andrew Newton: We would start breakfast around eight and then in the morning when it was cooler, we might do some riding. Depending on the day and the people's skill. At the beginning, it was all just ground training all week. All you did was firing the bow on the ground for the first couple of days and then try to get comfortable on the horse separately.


Guy Windsor: Did you have a riding background at this point?


Andrew Newton: No.


Guy Windsor: Oh, my God, so you’d never ridden. This is your introduction to Learning to ride. Oh, wow. Okay.


Andrew Newton: Yeah, that was interesting. Still a work in progress, but we just trained. We went through drill after drill all day long. We stopped for food when we were hungry. Usually by the end of the afternoon it was so hot and gross, we'd go for a swim in the ocean, which is very cold. Well, it's actually great. You know, you want cold therapy after a long, hard workout. The ocean salt is great for you. And then we train in the evening when it's cool down, we get the horses out again. So they, you know, kind of just relax from the heat mostly. And then we'd have a campfire every night and some boss had a guitar and there was libations as he chose. And then we did it again for the next day.


Guy Windsor: That sounds like a really good way to spend ten days.


Andrew Newton: It was incredible. I absolutely needed it. Did me a world of good. And at the end of it, I asked him what was next, like what continued training is there and he said none. Well, he had been running training camp for three summers and had done a bit of winter training with some students, but had never actually kept it going. And I said, okay, look, I do business development and you need to develop this. And for about a year we met up every Monday for a couple of hours in-person. We'd have coffee, we’d chat, and then we'd get down to business. And I helped him develop this idea in a couple of months to the point where he became the first professional horse archer in Canada. He was making a living teaching horse archery in winter in a horse arena. So you’re out of the wind, but it’s cold in the middle of winter. We're talking minus ten Celsius.


Guy Windsor: I learned to ride in Finland during the winter, so I understand. Those are big old buildings in the manege, but they ain’t heated.


Andrew Newton: So but people are wearing their winter jackets and they might have them open depending on how much they're doing, but they're only learning ground archery all winter long. So six months after we started working together, he had 80 students showing up week in the cold to fire arrows.


Guy Windsor: Wow. In the middle of nowhere in Canada.


Andrew Newton: Yeah. In a rural area. We just worked through some ideas and a lot of them worked out like they're supposed to. Some of them didn't. But that's also part of the process. And then it just kind of evolved from there. And this past summer, he was one of the two Canadian locations, actually North American locations for qualifications for the Korean World Horse Archery Federation competition next year. The people from North America have to either go to the east coast of Canada to us or the west coast of Canada to one of the friends and compete there to qualify.


Guy Windsor: Wow.


Andrew Newton: Yeah. And now he runs competitions and training camps during the summer. He brought in another Hungarian master to teach this spring. So he's able to bring in high level instructors. He set a new Canadian record himself.


Guy Windsor: So what does the competition actually look like? What do you do?


Andrew Newton: So it depends on what kind of style you're doing. At this club, because he started learning under Lajos Kassai, it's mostly this Hungarian style where you're on the horse. The track is 99 metres long, and in the middle of track there's a target that rotates and of course someone's rotating the target for you. So it's always facing you as you ride, whether you're looking forward on the horse or whether you're looking backwards on the horse.


Guy Windsor: Right. Okay. So it rotates helpfully.


Andrew Newton: Yes. Yes.


Guy Windsor: Right. Okay.


Andrew Newton: It should always be pointed at you as you ride so that any arrow you fire toward the target ideally will hit the target. And you have to canter a horse down this 99 metre track and you have to do it in under 20 seconds. And you have as many arrows as you want. So for a beginner, that often looks like one.


Guy Windsor: Yeah, I think I can just about manage one.


Andrew Newton: Honestly, I'm not even I'm not even comfortable cantering and shooting yet. I got very good on the ground and I continue taking riding lessons. I also spent a week Academie Cavallo with Jen Landels last year for her Intensive, which was incredible.


Guy Windsor: I bet. Jen was one of my early guests on the show because she and I go way back.


Andrew Newton: It's funny because I missed that episode when it first came out and then I went back to it kind of like beginning of August last year, and she mentioned Carosella  and the Intensive that she ran. I was like, I wonder when that is? Oh, shit, it's in three weeks and I made it work. I went.


Guy Windsor: Hang on. So the podcast episode that you listen to is what got you to go to her event.


Andrew Newton: Yeah. And probably, like, my last five book purchases.


Guy Windsor: Fantastic. I'm guessing most of those were not my books.


Andrew Newton: No, no, everyone else’s.


Guy Windsor: No, everyone else’s. Yeah.


Andrew Newton: What actually was really cool was when I went to Carosella  and meet Jen Landels, Jess Finley family was there. I knew she was going to be there, so I took her book and got it signed and didn’t fanboy at all.


Guy Windsor: Excellent. Yeah, well, honestly, honestly, if you're going to fanboy somebody in historical martial arts, Jessica Finley is a good place to start.


Andrew Newton: And now I'm bringing her here to teach us medieval wrestling this February.


Guy Windsor: Fantastic, excellent. That's really good. So slight distinction. We were talking about competition. So how do you win? Is it the number of arrows you shoot or does each arrow have a potential to score and whoever gets the highest score?


Andrew Newton: There's a bull's eye target and there are seven scores per ring. And you have to get at least one arrow on the board to score, because also how fast your horse is determines your score. For every second under 20 seconds, you get a point.


Guy Windsor: Okay.


Andrew Newton: So the joke is you need to get more points than your horse. For some people, yeah. If you're on a slow horse and the masters who fire 15 arrows ride slower horses because they want all 20 seconds to fire their arrows. People who are beginners usually want to slow horse because they need time to load shoot their 1 to 3 arrows and then you get this kind of intermediate level where people are fast enough shooting, reasonably accurate, fast horses do better for them because then the horse gets a bunch of points and they get a bunch of points. When you get an arrow on the target you get two target points. But the horse did the run in 12 seconds. That's eight points the horse got. That’s ten points for your run instead of two.


Guy Windsor: That's really clever.


Andrew Newton: Yeah. And it just depends on your skill level, how you game the competition, really.


Guy Windsor: Okay. So your friend. What's the name of this chap and this place?


Andrew Newton: Lance Bishop, he runs Sea Winds Horse Archery at Baxter's Harbour, Nova Scotia.


Guy Windsor: Say the name of his club again.


Andrew Newton: Sea Winds.


Guy Windsor: Sea Winds? Sensible, because they're on the coast. Fair enough. You know, it might be interesting person to have on the show.


Andrew Newton: He would be fascinating. He's good friends and I just love what he does.


Guy Windsor: I shall will do some research and give it some thought. Do you have any, like, competitive ambitions when it comes to horse archery?


Andrew Newton: I don't really have competitive ambitions to begin with.


Guy Windsor: Me neither.


Andrew Newton: It's not really my thing. I've started competing in tournaments both as a personal challenge to conquer my own fears, but also because I realised I would be doing a disservice to my students if I didn't ever compete, because then I wouldn't be able to tell them what it's like.


Guy Windsor: Right. Yeah. I think that every martial artist should compete at least somewhat seriously in something or at some point during their career. Like, you know, I did competitive sport fencing at sort of, you know, university level, on the university team in the nineties. I've done a little bit of historical martial arts competition in the very early aughts. But I learned what I needed to learn from the tournament scene and it doesn't hold much usefulness for me anymore, I think, for me personally. But I do encourage my students to go and have a go at tournaments and see how they like it. Because there are things you only learn under that specific kind of pressure.


Andrew Newton: That was exactly what I realized. Some my students were asking questions about tournaments and I wasn't the guy to answer them and I would refer them to someone 2 hours away who definitely is the person to talk to about tournament fencing. But they never kind of did it. They stuck with what they knew, to the point where some of my students now live 2 hours away for school and drive back every weekend for my class. That's a high compliment, you know. For a student paying for gas.


Guy Windsor: Particularly these days.


Andrew Newton: So last year I travelled to Carosella and I competed for the first time and I did absolutely poorly and I picked holes in my own training and the way other people were training differently and it was exactly what I needed to change the way I started teaching.


Guy Windsor: Was that tournament at Carosella run the same way as you just described the previous one? 99 metres in 20 seconds.


Andrew Newton: Oh no, at Carosella I didn't compete on the horseback archery. They said sidesword and buckler, but they allowed me to use a basket hilted broadsword.


Guy Windsor: So it's not just the mounted combat stuff. Have you ever done swords on horseback?


Andrew Newton: Well, that's what I was there for originally, because Jen Landels ran a week or a four day intensive where you took a riding lesson in the morning, then you took a riding lesson in the afternoon. Then you did something on horseback that evening, either sword or spear or actually the ground person has a spear. You have the sword on the horse. So yeah, we did mounted combat every day for four days, had a day off. And then there's this three day seminar, weekends, Carosella, which had a bunch of different classes. Incredible. And then the last day, there was a tournament. And the tournament is multifaceted, from grooming the horses to horseback archery to longsword, spear and sidesword and buckler was what we had that year.


Guy Windsor: That’s a very comprehensive set of things.


Andrew Newton: It is. And there's overall winners for how many different things you compete in and how well you do.


Guy Windsor: Fantastic. I like the idea of that because I think every serious horse person knows an awful lot of the riding thing is done in the stables with the horse. Like grooming it and checking its legs.


Andrew Newton: That was the other class we had during the intensive was horse care. So I had a riding lesson and then I had a class on horse care. Before we even touched a sword that day.


Guy Windsor: Yeah, yeah. It's essential. And it's one of those things where it’s not obvious how it works, but people who spend a lot of time around horses tend to be better riders than people who just show up and ride. The time on the ground makes you better in the saddle.


Andrew Newton: Yeah. I think it even just makes you more intuitive with the horse. You just understand their behaviour so much more when you are around it all the time.


Guy Windsor: That's probably it. Okay, now we have reached the point in the interview where I have a couple of questions, which you as a regular listener to the show, you are probably expecting. Also I sent you a list of questions in advance because I do for all of my guests. So what is the best idea you haven't acted on yet?


Andrew Newton: Creating a mastermind for club owners to help each other.


Guy Windsor: What is a mastermind in this context?


Andrew Newton: A mastermind is a hosted or facilitated peer to peer mentoring group, usually fairly small, often 5 to 7 people. The host or facilitator curates the groups so that they get together with people at their own level, or maybe slightly different levels. But you don't want a new club owner with someone who's been running a club for ten years. They don't have the same experiences right now. The younger instructor doesn't have much to provide to the older instructor. But if you get people at around the same level, they really start to feed off each other.


Guy Windsor: So it's like sort of more curated and instructive version of my coach's corner things that we did last year.


Andrew Newton: You know, they are touted by incredibly successful people for decades. A mentor of mine …. and she joined up here and just keep going because she still gets so much value out of it. [Note: audio quality is lost here.] And maybe it's just like an offhand comment every now and then. That is a big win for you. I went to a similar type of programme locally and someone made a comment once when I was leading a brainstorming session and that made me $10,000.


Guy Windsor: What was the comment?


Andrew Newton: Have you considered changing the way you present this to become a course and get a grant from the local government?


Guy Windsor: That's clever.


Andrew Newton: It was.


Guy Windsor: That's very clever. And it's funny how these offhand comments, stuff like that. I remember one time I took a trip to an event and somebody there, we were discussing zogho largo, zogho stretto, and he said something that I already knew. ‘Stretto’ is the past participle of ‘stringere’. I knew that. Of course. Italian and whatnot. But I knew it, but I hadn't paid attention to it and it just brought it to my attention. Then it was like maybe a week later, two weeks later, with that, this whole largo stretto thing just exploded in my head and suddenly it was completely obvious, not why Fiore divides his treatise up the way he does with the sword in two hands, on foot, out of armour, being divided into the largo plays and stretto plays. Not that, precisely, but because of the way he divides it up there is a way of knowing what action you should be doing at any given time based on what your opponent is doing.


Andrew Newton: Right.


Guy Windsor: Which was like before that, OK you’re doing the stretto play. You could do this one or that one of this one or that one or this one or that one or 23 of them to choose from. The stretto crossing has occurred, boom, off you go to do any one of these things. But after that comment just got everything to kind of shake up around in my head and it all kind of came clear. Incidentally, if people are interested in what exactly I’m talking about, it’s in at least two of my books and there’s a blog post about it on my blog so they can read up all the details. It is long and detailed and involves lots of Italian stuff. But the thing is when it became all about the blade relationship and aspects of the blade relationship, which made it absolutely abundantly obvious at any given time why you would do one technique or another. And it explained why we have techniques that look like they belong in the stretto section because they're up close and personal, in the largo section. And this was in like 2009, maybe, something like that, maybe 2010. Just that one little remark, of course, ‘stretto’ was the past participle of ‘stringere’, which I already knew.


Andrew Newton: Yeah, and that's all you need. The other thing a mastermind can provide is accountability to your peers. And that does wonders for a lot of people. The issues. I mean, some people don’t want to share with strangers. Some people are very secretive of what they do. I like to believe there’s no new ideas on the Internet. So let's talk openly, especially in a fairly close knit group, I can be honest about business struggles.


Guy Windsor: Yeah. And actually, one of the best bits of advice I ever got was give your best ideas away for free. I mean, honestly, ideas are cheap and anyone can happen. It is the execution that matters.


Andrew Newton: Exactly. And I'll sit here and I'll talk marketing with anyone about, you know, whether it's horseback archery or whether it's HEMA and give people ideas of how they can maybe do better a little financially with their clubs so they can do more.


Guy Windsor: Shoot.


Andrew Newton: The way I've set up my recruiting is I run Facebook ads, which is the most popular source here. And I'm not looking for HEMA people. I'm looking for people that want to become HEMA people. So I changed the words I use, and I get them to sign up to a free event. I call it a try class, a try night. And I actually just had one last night and so I ran these ads locally. They're not actually that expensive on Facebook. I had about 100 people indicate they were interested on the Facebook event and you're not going to get a whole 100. But I had 46 go to my website and sign up and register, gave me their email address so I can contact them and give them updates.


Guy Windsor: Wow, that is a hell of a lot. Of a hundred who are interested on Facebook, 46 actually went to a website and actually filled out the form and actually gave you their email address. That is a really good conversion rate. May I ask how many impressions those ads had? So what was the conversion rate from impression to registering? Ball park.


Andrew Newton: Oh, God, I don't even have the number offhand. But again, I'm in a very rural area. By the time I narrow my targeting, I'm only advertising to about 20,000 people.


Guy Windsor: Right. Okay. So maybe 1000 impressions or something like that?


Andrew Newton: I could give you the stats after this conversation.


Guy Windsor: Sure, I’d be interested.


Andrew Newton: They come to this try it night and again they get a sword in the hand and they know right away with it whether they got to join. I also use an email sequence leading up to it to like a nurture sequence where I answer a lot of frequently asked questions. I address a few things I wanted to bring up before they showed up. I added a testimonial every time so that they could see what other people had said.


Guy Windsor: That's smart.


Andrew Newton: Yeah. Get testimonials in front of people.


Guy Windsor: People. I ought to hire you as my business manager.


Andrew Newton: Well, actually, I just listened to the conversation with Mila, and I'm going to email her too. We're kind of working different angles in the same sphere. And so then they're prepped. They come to this try it night. They play with swords for an hour. Then I give them a bit of time to handle some steel. And then ask questions and they always kind of filter out. And before bed that night, I had a few sign ups.


Guy Windsor: Okay.


Andrew Newton: And when we're talking about a sign up is two, three people sign up both their kids, you know.


Guy Windsor: Wow. Yeah.


Andrew Newton: And from there, I follow up with an email sequence because it's one week between the try it class and the start of my class session. And that is very deliberate. You know, you want to strike while the iron is hot.


Guy Windsor: And I would guess that your actual class is on the same night of the week as the trial session. Because if they are free on Tuesdays and they come to the free one on Tuesday, you want the class to be on Tuesday because they might not be free on Wednesdays.


Andrew Newton: Absolutely. That's exactly it. And so I'll follow up this week. And let them know sign up is now, limited spots. I only take ten people per class. So ten kids, ten youth, ten adults for the different classes. And I'm doing that in two locations. So, I mean, I'm almost at two years, but I've gone from my first class of five people to trying to recruit 60 new people this fall. On top of the people that have stuck around.


Guy Windsor: Wow. You certainly know the business side of things. Okay. So, if I may, what one piece of advice would you give me as how to make more money because honestly, I could use it. Planes are expensive.


Andrew Newton: Planes are expensive. Your e-mails have gotten better. So I don't know. There’s a consistency in that kind of thing.


Andrew Newton: I've been reading them for a couple of years. Um. You already hired someone to run your social media. So that was kind of like the other big thing. The thing is, if you don't like doing it, don't do it. Get someone else to do it.


Guy Windsor: But yeah, honestly, I've been doing that consistently pretty much since the beginning. Like when I moved to Finland, there was no way I could handle accounting in Finnish. Handling accounting isn't my thing anyway. Handling Finnish is a whole other order of difficulty.


Andrew Newton: I learned how to do my books and I don't like it. And now I know what I pay for.


Guy Windsor: Right, exactly.


Andrew Newton: I know exactly what I'm paying someone else to do.


Guy Windsor: Yeah. And it turns out that, you know, for what I could make teaching swords for a weekend, pays my accountant to do my accounts for the year. So I would spend an extra weekend teaching swords and I got all my accounting effectively for free. It’s great.


Andrew Newton: How long would it have taken you to do the account yourself? Weeks? Months?


Guy Windsor: Well, if we if we count extracting the hammer from the computer monitor. God knows.


Andrew Newton: Your time is better spent elsewhere, with swords.


Guy Windsor: Yeah.


Andrew Newton: Not so much for you, because you are targeting your market. You're talking to HEMA people when you're trying to courses and books. You find a lot of clubs have names, coat of arms, other advertising material is also talking to HEMA people. Not people that are going to become HEMA people. Language becomes a barrier to entry.


Guy Windsor: Incidentally, I intend swordschool.com to be open in that regard. So I don't want it to be for HEMA people only. I want it to be for anyone who likes swords, who thinks this might be something that they could stumble across and go, oh, that looks like something I would like to do.


Andrew Newton: Yeah, it's pretty self-explanatory.


Guy Windsor: But have you spotted any language or iconography or anything that is likely to keep people who aren’t already historical martial artists out?


Andrew Newton: Actually, even in my own club, I started off with the name Annapolis Valley HEMA. If you saw the word HEMA, hopefully you'd be willing to risk a Google search and find out what HEMA is.


Guy Windsor: But it’s a Danish department store, isn’t it?


Andrew Newton: No idea. But I realised when I was talking to venues and trying to get other businesses to work with me when I was describing what I was doing, no one knows what HEMA is. Then I said I was doing historical fencing and they're all like, “Oh”, and it just got them in the ballpark of what we actually do. So they're like, oh Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones, yeah, that. But we use historical manuals and real sources and then they have a much better idea of what we do. So again, I don't want the club name to be what attracts HEMA people. I'm trying to attract other people to risk trying it. So I changed the name to Annapolis Valley Historical Fencing. And there's been no questions really about what we do or when they ask questions, we’re in the ballpark already.


Guy Windsor: Yeah, that makes sense. All right. So this mastermind, would you be running it as a business or as just a get together with colleagues or?


Andrew Newton: First taste is free.


Guy Windsor: Okay.


Andrew Newton: I'd be interested in developing the idea, but ideally it would be run as a business. There's just something different when you pay for something.


Guy Windsor: Yeah.


Andrew Newton: There's less skin in the game and it's treated differently. And I think if you're actively trying to run your club like a business so you can do more things, like you have club money to send people away.


Guy Windsor: I should point out that running your club in a businesslike way does not necessarily mean it is an incorporated business being run for profit and you're living off the proceeds. It just means you are taking the financial side of running your club seriously.


Andrew Newton: Yes, because if you don't take finances seriously, you're not going to last. Volunteer burnout is huge. You won't have money to get a venue in the middle of a Canadian winter. You won’t have money to invest in new weapons that allow other people to come try this with a lower barrier. That's how you get more people in the door. And the flip side of that is, just because I run my business, my business is incorporated, doesn't mean I can't take people's advice like in a non-profit. Doesn't mean I have to be secretive about everything. It comes down to when it comes to finances. I have a budget. I have expectations for growth. And then I try and make that a reality.


Guy Windsor: Okay. So do you think you're going to act on this?


Andrew Newton: If I find the right people, I mean, cost is a barrier for a lot of people. There’s not exactly a lot of money in swords. The cost doesn't need to be exorbitant, but it does need to reflect, ideally, the level of help from the masterminds. And it's just finding the right people to curate into the right groups. So far, no one knows who I am.


Guy Windsor: No. Well, maybe you'll become famous in the historical martial arts world when this podcast goes out.


Andrew Newton: Why listen to me. I'm just another guy.


Guy Windsor: Well, honestly. I would be fairly inclined to take your opinions on teaching seriously. I wouldn't take your word for historical interpretation if I had a different opinion, you would really need to convince me that you were right.


Andrew Newton: That's fair.


Guy Windsor: But on the business side of things, you obviously know a lot more about it than I do. So, I would say people should be listening to you if they actually want to have a financially healthy club.


Andrew Newton: And some of it works, some of it doesn't. And then the rest is just testing. And having that mindframe.


Guy Windsor: Okay. So while we're on the subject of money, if somebody did give you that mythical million dollars to spend the spirit in proving historical martial arts worldwide, how would you spend it?


Andrew Newton: Besides my sword collection?


Guy Windsor: You’re not allowed to spend it on your sword collection.


Andrew Newton: But I swear it helps people. No, seeing as we’re talking about youth HEMA. I thought about this and it would be fascinating to help youth HEMA to grow. A lot of people are hesitant, whether it's because of instructors, they don't want to work with kids or they don't want to play games, they’re there for the seriousness of the sources. I don't think teenagers get enough credit in that regard. I mean, you don't have to teach six year olds how to play play tag with a sword in their hands. You don't have to do that. But I've got 15 year olds that I would put up against adult beginners.


Guy Windsor: Honestly, I had a student who started training at the age of ten and he was just legendary from day one. And by the time he was 13, he was sparring with the seniors. No problem. And by the time he was like 16, 17, he was one of the best in the school. And yeah, the way I did it, because I never ran kids classes, is if somebody has an underage person who wants to come and join the class, the parent or guardian or whatever would have to watch the class to be there in the room while the class ran. And at the end of the class, I would say yes or no. The kid would say yes or no. The parent would say yes or no. Three yesses, the kid could join the class. And in several cases there would be a yes from the parent and yes from me but the kid was like, nah, it's not really what I want to do. Fine. And in some cases it was a yes from me and a yes from the kid. But the parent was like…. But yes, in his case, he was perfectly mentally capable of handling the class of ten. And he was honestly he was pretty physically capable too. You know how beginners’ classes sometimes have a sort of for some reason they tend to fit within a certain demographic in that particular course. Like this particular one had a lot of mid-twenties, skinny, blonde computer programmers. And there was this little kid. And we were doing this exercise up, down, around, around. Where you hold the sword out and go up, down and spin it around a couple of ways, and it's just a handling drill. And I was leading them through it, and I was just playing around a little bit. It was day one of a beginners’ course. This was a long time ago, when I was a little bit more gatekeepery about it, you know, I wanted people to be willing to work hard. It’s not like you had to keep going or you were out or anything like that. But it was just I wanted to make it reasonably hard in the beginning so that they would understand that it was going to be reasonably hard. Anyway, a minute or so in, most of these 20-something skinny blond computer programmers are literally leaning on their swords because their shoulders have given up. And this little kid is there, same sword, steel longswords all round. Yeah. Great kid.


Andrew Newton: Yeah. And actually, one thing I noticed with the teenagers, and actually, just the kids in general, it's the girls learn faster.


Guy Windsor: Really? I've noticed that when teaching shooting. When teaching pistol shooting. I've taught half a dozen women and a dozen or so men how to shoot straight with a pistol. And in every case, it's a very small sample, but it seems pretty consistent. The blokes were hopeless because they'd seen Rambo or whatever.


Andrew Newton: There’s two reasons I’ve come to believe why it's easier for these girls to learn. And the first is the younger they are, the less they've been socially programmed not to want to hit people. And the other is they actually listen to instruction.


Guy Windsor: That's it. Same with shooting. The women would just do exactly what I told them to do as best as they could. Whereas the boys, they wanted to do the thing they seen on TV.


Andrew Newton: Well, they already know how to sword fight. They've been doing it for years as kids. The real key in the first few classes is when I explained to the girls, well I explain it to everyone but the girls listen. Yyou're not trying to play with their sword. You're trying to hit them in the face.


Guy Windsor: Yeah.


Andrew Newton: So the boys are still like play sword fighting and the girls wait for their opportunity and smack the kid in the face.


Guy Windsor: Excellent.


Andrew Newton: We ran a friendly tournament in house and this 13 year old skinny girl tied for first and she was leading the whole way through the tournament. There's no question that she's one of the best fencers and the most dedicated fencers there and honestly also young and athletic enough that sometimes she gives me and my assistant instructor a run for our money if we've been teaching all day.


Guy Windsor: Excellent.


Andrew Newton: I’m excited to see where she goes in the next couple of years if she sticks with it. She has three more years until she's an adult.


Guy Windsor: Until she's in the adult class.


Andrew Newton: In the adult class. Yes. So by the time she starts fencing adults, they're not going to be ready for her.


Guy Windsor: Yeah. Okay. So how exactly would you spend the money? We know what you would spend it on. But how would you actually deploy the cash?


Andrew Newton: Creating age appropriate lesson plans, with professionals that are ready for this kind of thing, or even just allowing, giving new other clubs, some mentorship, on that like how they can turn their current curriculum into something more age appropriate. And I value people's time, and I think whoever is helping with that should get compensation for that. Second thing is subsidise set up year. A club could apply. Say, we're starting this youth programme. We're already developing our lesson plans. We can prove that we're already working towards this and actually probably are working to organisation towards this. We would like help buying gear and I don't see it as a grant for here's ten swords, here's ten masks, go for it. I think it should be subsidised because I really have this belief in skin in the game. Even if they find $100 and you get a grant for $1,000, $2,000, they're more likely to see something through than if you just give them it. And make it accessible. It's hard to teach when you don't have the swords. It's hard to teach when people can't afford a mask. Yeah, it's really a full set and that's like my beginners classes. The only thing they have to pay for is the class and their cup. Youth tournaments so don’t start at the top I'm thinking roots, start with the smaller tournaments, the regional tournaments, the clubs that have their thing invite the next five clubs over. Have your tournament there as these clubs start developing because once they're geographically spread out, that whole region is going to start bringing people.


Guy Windsor: Yeah. Well, if I had the money I’d give it to you.


Andrew Newton: Yeah. Whether that comes through sponsoring the events or providing weapons at the events or for what. I do see this as a problem you can throw money at and solve.


Guy Windsor: Yes. Some problems are amenable to cash. And getting kids involved in historical martial arts may be one of them.


Andrew Newton: And actually that's a problem having here is because HEMA is not recognised as a sport by our government like the sporting body that is responsible for grants and that kind of thing. My students aren't able to access two really important grants that a lot of people in the region use, the sports grants. You can apply and say, I earn less than whatever figure a year. I want my kids to play hockey this year. I need $800 for a year. And they mostly say yes.


Guy Windsor: Wow.


Andrew Newton: And I've had parents ask me if I was eligible and I'm not.


Guy Windsor: Well, you strike me as the sort of person who's able to fix that problem.


Andrew Newton: I've got an idea. Yeah. We need at the very least, a provincial organisation or for HEMA. And then once we're recognised by the provincial government, then we qualify for grants. But I'm the only club in my region, really, teaching kids.


Guy Windsor: How many clubs do you need?


Andrew Newton: Well for the provincial organisation, I'd like to get at least three out of the four we have in our province.


Guy Windsor: What's stopping them from joining?


Andrew Newton: Right now, they would get no benefit. They don't teach kids.


Guy Windsor: So these grants are only available for kids.


Andrew Newton: Yes. There may be other grants we could look at later on. And it's supposed to make it easier to access better insurance policies and affordable.


Guy Windsor: That might be a way to start. Because all of these clubs are paying insurance and if joining up together and. Okay. I have quite a lot of experience of the getting historical martial arts clubs to act together as a national level association type of thing. And it is really difficult because the defining feature of historical martial arts is we are doing our thing, our way, on our own. Everyone else can just fuck off. Like, I'm not having somebody coming in and telling me what kind of gloves I need to wear or what I need to put on the end of my sword so I can fence, or what kind of swords I'm allowed to use. Right? Because people tend to associate governing bodies as the safety police who will tell you you're not allowed to do the thing you're doing.


Andrew Newton: A lot of times that a part of the role.


Guy Windsor: Exactly. Exactly. That is part of it. Because the insurance is mediated through these people. So everyone has to conform to the safety guidelines that the insurers require or that have been agreed with the insurers. And that does cause a huge problem. But there should be a way of doing it so that it's kind of built in that the association of clubs together has no say on what is studied, what is taught, what equipment is used and whatever else. But at events run by the association, then these safety standards will apply. And of course, the association never runs any event so it’s not a problem.


Andrew Newton: Yeah, that's kind of my next year idea project. It is something I want to work towards. For now, if a parent comes to me and says, you know, can you qualify for this grant? And I say, no. I also follow up with saying I don't want cost to be the reason your kid doesn't do this. If you can't afford it, what can you afford? And people are honest.


Guy Windsor: Yeah. I mean, I do the same with all my online classes and stuff. There's the regular price, there’s half price and there’s free. People choose the one they wanted.


Andrew Newton: What’s the worst that could happen? Some parent lies a little bit. Saves themselves 200 bucks. And I teach kids how to play with swords. I'm out 200 bucks. Okay.


Guy Windsor: Ah, but you're not out 200 bucks because if you didn't do that the kid wouldn't get to play with swords.


Andrew Newton: Exactly.


Guy Windsor: So you're out 200 bucks anyway. I don't worry about people pirating my books. There are always like stupid free book websites or whatever, where people can download PDFs of books by all sorts of people including some of mine. And the thing is, you can't stop it. It's very difficult to prosecute for it. The thing is that it's basically advertising. If someone downloads one of my free books, one of my books, which I haven't set for free, but they have got it for free or whatever, and they like it, they're probably going to come to my website, they're probably going to buy one of my other books. Maybe they'll get that PDF, I really like this book, I want the hardback.


Andrew Newton: And what do sword kids do? They go to school. And what did you do this weekend?


Guy Windsor: Oh, I fought with swords with all my friends. Yeah.


Andrew Newton: That's just word of mouth advertising. And honestly, the way the parents have been honest, they may say they can pay half. So not only did I not lose out on $200, I made probably $100 and taught the kids and their parents give me a glowing review.


Guy Windsor: Right. Yeah.


Andrew Newton: Yeah. It's a long term outlook.


Guy Windsor: But there are definitely people out there who will maliciously take the piss. They do exist. Well, the thing is, if you structure everything to protect yourself against these relatively rare, malicious piss takers, then you create a totally different tone with everything. And it puts off people who are honest but maybe don't have much cash at the moment. My feeling is, my people, the ones who like the work I do and want to support it, will do so. And everyone else are irrelevant. It doesn't matter what they do. If they put a pdf of my book online or, download it for free somewhere where they shouldn’t or whatever. Those people are going to do that anyway. They're not my people. I don't care what they do.


Andrew Newton: No, time spent worrying about that is time wasted.


Guy Windsor: Exactly. And, you know, worst case, I may be out of a few books out here that. But those free downloads may very well get people in to buy my other stuff. Because that's how they came across my stuff. Okay. So we're going to spend $1,000,000 improving historical martial arts worldwide by introducing mentorship for people who want to run kids classes, class plans and stuff for them to use.


Andrew Newton: And then maybe even lessons on pedagogy for children. Some people are daunted by teaching kids, but really it's not that much different from adults. Even if you just need mentorship about that, to talk that through.


Guy Windsor: Yeah. I'm reminded of that scene in the movie Kindergarten Cop, where Arnold Schwarzenegger, the rusty tufty big police chap, ends up having to take a class of kindergardeners and they just destroy him. It is absolutely hysterical.


Andrew Newton: You got to set tone pretty quick. Yeah, but I also run a pretty relaxed class. I've had parents tell me, like, you know, you can yell at them, and I'm like,


Guy Windsor: Why would I?


Andrew Newton: Why? This isn't basic training.. I'm not an old school sensei. We're here to have fun and I don't need to yell at them to get them to do. I've raised my voice three times in the past year. One was because of bullying and twice with disrespect to the gear. And it was very quick. It ended. It's forgiven. And that's it. Even as simple as, “You there, bashing sword in the ground. Put the sword down. Go sit down.” That's it. Talk to the kid afterwards, once everyone's calmer and move on.


Guy Windsor: There is a whole topic here that probably requires a book to go into.


Andrew Newton: I’ll add that to my list, right?


Guy Windsor: Yeah. Excellent. Well, thank you so much for joining me today Andrew, it’s been great talking to you.


Andrew Newton: Yeah. Thank you very much for taking my pitch. To be fair, I did say find someone to talk about HEMA. And if you can't find anyone, I’m available.


Guy Windsor: Honestly, I liked your pitch. It worked. Thanks for coming.



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