Introducing our instructors

renaissance fencer

Kaja Sadowski (he/him)

kajaswords.com

Equal parts dumb jock and pedagogy nerd, Kaja has spent a lifetime playing with movement. He has been a physical instructor since 2004, teaching figure skating, climbing, and mountaineering before starting martial arts in 2010.

Kaja is a co-owner and coach at Valkyrie Western Martial Arts Assembly, where he's taught since 2012. He hass also taught martial arts and self defense workshops across Canada, the U.S., and the UK.

He loves both historical and modern arts, teaching and practicing recreational martial arts, practical self defense, and even professional use of force, having worked with the Vancouver Police Department’s Force Options Training Unit from 2015-2020. There, he participated in hundreds of tactical training scenarios and taught for the Force’s Special Municipal Constable program.

Kaja’s core martial art is historical swordplay. He is equally comfortable with sword in one hand, sword in two hands, dagger, and two swords, and also practice unarmed striking, modern knife combat, and grappling.

He holds an MA in English Literature, and did his graduate work on medieval chivalric romance. Kaja taught at the undergraduate level in literature, history, and medieval studies. As an independent scholar, he leveraged their academic training to do better martial arts research.

Kaja is super interested in how people learn to move. Motor learning always came easily to him, and he's spent their teaching career working to understand and serve those who struggle. He believes that learning should be fun, and that good community is essential to good martial arts.

Kaja is at the forefront of carving out space for all those who’ve traditionally existed at the fringes of martial arts — especially women and queer and trans people. His goal is to build lasting social infrastructure that lets us all get the most out of the arts that we love. He wants everyone to experience the joy that comes from understanding what your body can really do.

renaissance fencer

Justin Aucoin (he/him)

justinswordfit.com

Justin Aucoin (aka Remy) is the product of when a five-year-old boy who fell in love with Zorro and The Three Musketeers grows into a mostly functional adult. His life-long love of athletics and swashbuckling has led him down the road to practicing the art of historical fencing.

He’s the founder of Boston Academie d’Armes, a hybrid in-person/online fencing school for HEMA & SCA historical fencers, with a focus on French and Italian rapier, smallsword, and dueling saber. He puts an emphasis on good body mechanics and helping his fencers to improve their physical fitness, athletic ability, and fencing skill while operating within their current physical limitations.

As a competitor, Justin has won numerous rapier tournaments in the SCA -- both in singles and in group melee -- including Carolingia's Baronial Champion, East Kingdom Crown Champion, and named 6x to the Pennsic Champs team. He is 15th member of the East Kingdon’s Order of Defense, holds a Silver Broach and Maunche for his historical martial arts research, and a Silver Wheel and Silver Crescent for his coaching.

Outside of the SCA and the Academie, Justin teaches rapier at Athena School of Arms, has taught workshops at events such as Iron Gate Exhibition (IGX), and is a certified personal trainer through NASM. You can follow his historical martial arts research at https://justinswordfit.com/

On social media, you can find Justin under the moniker of theTavernKnight, a reference to one of Rafael Sabatini’s earlier adventure novels.

renaissance fencer

Guy Windsor (he/him)

swordschool.com

Consulting Swordsman Dr. Guy Windsor is acclaimed and respected both as a teacher and a pioneering researcher of medieval and renaissance martial arts. He began his professional historical martial arts career when he founded The School of European Swordsmanship in Helsinki, Finland in 2001.

Awarded a PhD by Edinburgh University for his seminal work recreating historical combat systems, Guy has written numerous books for historical martial artists, such as The Medieval Longsword: A Training Manual for , The Medieval Dagger, From Medieval Manuscript to Modern Practice, The Art of Sword Fighting in Earnest, The Duellist’s Companion, The Swordsman’s Companion, The Theory and Practice of Historical Martial Arts, The Rapier Workbook series, and The Armizare Workbook.

He has traveled the world as an in-demand teacher and lecturer, and even developed the card game Audatia – bringing the thrills of historic swordfighting to the modern gaming audience.

He has also created a huge range of online courses, covering medieval knightly combat, sword and buckler, rapier, remedial training, and even how to train alone.

Now, Guy splits his time between researching historical martial arts; writing books and creating online courses, teaching students all over the world; and working as a consulting expert for media and entertainment professionals. He runs the popular historical martial arts podcast The Sword Guy, interviewing historical martial artists and experts from a wide range of related disciplines.

You can find him and his work online at swordschool.com.

renaissance fencer

André Hajjar Sesé (he/him)

destrezanova.ca

André always had a passion for martial arts; he did judo as a kid, and later on Kung-Fu Korean style. In 2008 he started doing Historical Fencing in “AEAS”, a club linked to the “AEEA”, the biggest Historical Fencing association of the world at that time. There, he learned the Verdadera Destreza Rapier Sword style from Aleix Basullas, a great sage master specialized in the treatise of Lorenz de Rada (1705). As well, André learnt from Sendo Espinalt, a free-styler Master who taught him the will of the warrior that cannot be learnt in any book. In 2015 André, with Aleix, co-founded the club AEACC and his fencing career started having his highlights in Europe. Later on, André moved from Spain to Canada where he joined several clubs and became rapier instructor at La Compagnie Médiévale, a club which he collaborated with to create the Montreal Sword Meisters, an ambitious project of tournaments and workshops with international reach.

During the Pandemic Years, inspired by the ideology of Manuel de Brea (1805), André “coined” the concept of Destreza Nova. DN is an innovative and pragmatic view of Rapier fencing, based on concepts of Verdadera Destreza with the addition of many other historical fencing styles. Its goal is the teaching and divulgation of Historical Fencing knowledge in a functional and entertaining way, away from dogmas and toxic competitive movements.

Along his career, André did in-person seminaries in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, China… Moreover he participated in many tournaments and won several international competitions that put him, for some time, at the head of the rapier rankings in his country. Despite all, tournaments are something he does not like to brag about, André does not believe competitions to be a way of measuring Historical Fencing knowledge.