978-393-1134 | Scott@SwordsofChivalry.com | 380 Massachusetts Avenue, Acton, MA 01720
Though the reason that students come to Swords of Chivalry is to practice a martial art, the way that they advance is by demonstrating Chivalric Virtue. Each student will be given quests based upon these virtues, and completion of these quests is one requirement for advancement. Quest completion is recognized by a colored stripe on the student's practice sword.
When students begin with swords of chivalry, they use less realistic, safe foam swords. When the student shows that they are ready, they are handed more and more realistic swords. Our most senior student is about to move on to using a plastic sword, the David Rawlings Xtreme Sword.
Students at Swords of Chivalry are expected to give back to the community.
A knight was considered to be noble, a peer of the realm. As such, one of the most important virtues, and one of the few which showed up on every list from every country and time period, was charity. Because you have more, it is expected that you give back to those who have less.
Charity quests have included raising money for cancer research and performing community service.
Students at Swords of Chivalry are expected to smite the barbarians of homework and other teenager-related stresses, and to get done what needs to get done.
This virtue has changed in meaning over the centuries, and I intend for it to include all meanings of the word. A knight was expected to be strong and tough, but more importantly, knights were expected to do their duty even when it was unpleasant to them. If there was a horde of barbarians between them and their destination, they were expected to march through that horde, smiting any barbarians who got in their way.
Fortitude quests tend to focus on fitness goals.
Students at Swords of Chivalry are expected to avoid bragging, and to encourage others, not tear them down.
Knights were the strongest, smartest, fastest, and best of the people who lived in Europe, but that didn't mean they needed to act like they were better than everyone else. Knights were expected to recognize the strengths of all those around them, and to give thanks for the help which was provided to them by anyone, even those who were not of equal rank.
Humility quests are individually tailored to particular students' habits, and usually involve a prohibition on a particular thought being spoken.
Students at Swords of Chivalry are expected to be leaders in their schools and in their communities.
On the battlefield and at home, knights were expected to be leaders. On the battlefield, they would cry from the backs of their horses both strategic advice and words of encouragement. More importantly, though, they were leaders at home, responsible for the livelihood of large numbers of people who lived on the land they owned.
Leadership quests are surprisingly rare. Students at Swords of Chivalry tend to demonstrate leadership without needing to be told, and the yellow stripe is often given without a quest.
Students at Swords of Chivalry are expected to follow all safety instructions given them, exercise good judgement, and to wear appropriate safety gear.
This is the most important virtue in the modern context. Knights didn't need to be reminded that safety was important; if they got hit in a sword fight, they would have broken bones or possibly die. Because we use safer tools for practicing than a knight would have, those risks are much smaller, but they still exist. As much as a sword is a tool of protection, it is also a tool designed to hurt people.
Safety quests tend to involve acquiring personal safety equipment, rather than relying on the loaner gear provided by Swords of Chivalry.
Students at Swords of Chivalry are expected to use their resources of time and energy efficiently to complete the most important tasks before them: their schoolwork.
This is probably the virtue which has evolved the most over the past two millennia. Knights were expected to use the resources of their land and people efficiently in times of peace, and to lead their soldiers to safety in times of war.
Wisdom Quests universally revolve around a student's grades in school.
Students at Swords of Chivalry will be trained in numerous weapons, and will choose a weapon with which to train more extensively, above and beyond what is taught in class.
Knights would have been masters of numerous weapons, though which weapons would have varied from place to place and from century to century. Swords, spears, and daggers were always part of a knight's arsenal, but what those weapons looked like changed drastically over the centuries.
Skill Quests are the last quest I assign to students who have every other stripe. If they have not demonstrated superior skill at one of our infrequent tournaments, then students are asked to teach a class on a weapon of specific interest to them.