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The Seven Virtues

Whoever wants to excel in this art will need to acquire these virtues Namely - Prudence, Fortitude, Celerity, Audacity.     

     There are Seven Virtues that we hope to develop in the fencers at the College of Swords. Four  of these virtues Prudence, Fortitude, Celerity, and Audacity come from the late 14th century Italian fencing master Fiore Furlano De'i Liberi in his manuscript The Flower of Battle.

    The next three virtues are specific to the College of Swords. No more words of Fiore to guide us. However, the ability to grow beyond those who came before us is exactly the mentality we wish to instill in our students.

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Prudence --- Lynx

“No creature sees better than I, the Lynx, and I proceed always with careful calculations.” -Fiore dei Liberi

 

Wisdom is more than just our ability to make a good move or choice. It's also the knowledge to do so. As I always say — Knowledge is knowing that tomato is a fruit, Wisdom is knowing that you don't put tomatoes in fruit salad. Knowledge is knowing a thing - wisdom is applied knowledge. You can't have wisdom without knowledge. As students we expect you to apply yourself to the growth of your knowledge. At the College of Swords we seek not only knowledge of Historical European Swordsmanship but other sword styles, philosophy, physical fitness, & personal development and mastery. Taking this knowledge and learning to apply it in a wise and grounded manner. While we seek to develop knowledge of swordsmanship from many sources, we help students learn to study, make judgments, and Develop their own opinions on techniques, materials, writings, and many other topics, equipping them with the

ability and confidence to grow in other areas of interest.

Fortitude --- Elephant

“I’m the Elephant and I carry a castle in my care, and I neither fall to my knees nor lose my footing.” -Fiore dei Liberi

 

Fortitude is both the strength of body and will power of the mind. If at the onset of physical discomfort a student shies away from this discipline then perhaps this is not the place for them. Developing both physical and mental fortitude requires that someone endures levels of discomfort. We are not seeking to punish or overwork students, but there will be techniques that require extra time and devotion to master. At times the roadblock to development may be physical and as such the road forward will require some uncomfortable mental and physical pushing to grow. It is our hope to make a school that supports and helps students to find, plan, and attack such roadblocks so they can learn to overcome all mental and physical challenges in life.

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Celerity --- Tiger

“I’m the Tiger, and I’m so quick to run and turn, that even the thunderbolt from heaven can’t catch me.” -Fiore dei Liberi

 

Like fortitude, celerity has both a physical and a mental aspect. Knowledge and wisdom are vital, but in the application of martial arts and specifically fencing, one cannot take time to carefully weigh all the options before moving. You will be hit before you decide what to do. We hope to help each individual student look at their strengths and learn to trust their own instincts. This will allow them to make the best decision they can in as fast a time period as possible.

The goal is to balance the need to move and make a decision with the ability to read a situation and make the right decision. Celerity also means physical speed. Speed of action and of movement. We strive to help our students by giving them drills that will allow them to build the ability to strike in the moment of opportunity with strength and power. Furthermore, fortitude and celerity together make control. It is vital that each student develops the ability to control their weapon at all times. Control is more important than raw strength or speed alone. If you cannot control your sword you will never control your opponents and thus never control the fight.

Audacity --- Lion 

“No one has a more courageous heart than I, the Lion, for I welcome all to meet me in battle.” -Fiore dei Liberi

 

Audacity, boldness, bravery. As mentioned in fortitude, if one turns from physical or mental discomfort this art may not be the best fit. So is it of Audacity. If one is easily intimidated, fearful, or lacking bravery—this may not be the best place for such a student. Oftentimes, the best, the most wise decision in fencing is to step into or towards an incoming attack. At college of swords we seek to build in students the confidence, the boldness to step forward into danger. We hope to equip them with the wisdom, fortitude, celerity, and audacity to come through such danger with real growth. We strive to help students develop from each encounter and next time prevail. Then students can take this drive and audacity into everyday life and use it in facing the challenges of life.

Lion - Audacity.jpg
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Charity --- Side sword

I am the side sword, a noble weapon, and none other can show such charity as I. 

 

Charity is the ability to put another before oneself. In fencing this is developed in the ability to help another fencer grow, develop, and thrive; recognizing that when one does so, it helps them grow, develop and thrive. We seek to show charity in simple ways by not seeking to be the best and to never put down other fencers and most importantly to not intentionally hurt other fencers, physically or mentally. There is no excuse for such behavior. We seek to help our students have charity for each other and everyone. We seek to help them grow, develop, and thrive where they are and expect them to offer the same charity to other students and everyone in life. We all have knowledge to impart.

Honesty --- Messer

Honest and True, I am the messer. A sword of the honest working man.

 

Whenever a student of the College of Swords enters the ring, (or the place of pursuit ← Dojo) we expect them to act with all honor and honesty. Never will a student of ours argue with an opponent or judge on what did or did not land, what points should or shouldn't be awarded, or otherwise. We seek to develop students of personal integrity that know, even if they feel they landed a hit, if it wasn't seen or felt it only means we must fence cleaner and better. The judges are not against us, and our opponents are not dishonest. We give everyone the benefit of the doubt—see charity, and seek only to fence to the best of our ability. It is impossible to do so if we are not honest with ourselves and others. 

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Longsword.jpg

Meekness --- Longsword

I am the longsword and the most versatile weapon, and temptation to pride is my due. I am capable and strong, but only unsheathed for honorable reasons. 

 

Meekness is one of the most misunderstood words of western culture. Meekness does not mean to be gentle, to allow others to walk over you or to be humble. To be meek means to be able and know how to use your sword but to keep it sheathed. One who is destitute, gentle, and poor and can do nothing about it is not meek. One is meek when they are first strong, capable, and dangerous, and they then use those qualities for the betterment of others and not the detriment of others. The College of Swords strives to develop students into strong, intelligent, capable people. Then to equip them with the wisdom, charity, & honesty to use these abilities to develop others and themselves in every environment, situation, and setting they find themselves in.

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