harter and Documents

The rapier community is experiencing a time of great wealth in historical resources, advanced rapier simulators available, and in communication between historians and practitioners all over the world. There is such a wealth that one can easily be overwhelmed by it all. The Defense Academy aims to serve as a communal network, to connect questions to answers and students to teachers. Furthermore, the Academy will seek to incorporate period study of the masters at every stage of learning, to better refine our practice. As a group, we can face a world of opportunities and find the path we are looking for. In this Charter, I intend to outline the structure and function of the Academy.

General Disclaimers:

  1. This is an additional venture for the rapier community. Participation is entirely voluntary, and there will be no social advantage/disadvantage to participating or not.
  2. This is not meant to challenge or replace existing conventions, such as the taking of cadets.
  3. The ranks within the Academy exist only within the academy. They do not reflect social standing, nor do they influence Kingdom Orders or Precedence.
  4. Some titles used for ranks are already in use by other organizations and Kingdoms. Distinction shall always be maintained, and Academy titles end outside of the Academy.
  5. The Academy is at the service of the Crown and Kingdom always, but does not seek to challenge personal ethics and inclinations. The Academy defers to the judgment of the Crown on matters of those worthy to serve as Provosts and Masters.
  6. Communal development of the community is the singular goal, through the group oriented study, practice, and refinement of historical research and application.
  7. There is no polling, and all communication is intended to be open and transparent.


Without delving to deep into history, many of the guilds and skilled trade groups through period adopted a system of ranks. These ranks denoted a general skill level or mastery of the trade. One entered as a novice, and through hard work and study, they could move to higher ranks as their abilities improved. Eventually, as their skills reached close to perfection, the guild might acknowledge them as a master and look to them as new teachers of the ranks below. The famed London Masters of Defense, along with many other schools in Italy and Germany, were skill trade schools in the art of fence, with rapier, sidesword, and even longsword. The Defense Academy will follow this example and adopt a similar structure.

The Academy is sectioned into five tiers, each with their own requirements to enter, expectations in behavior, and goals for the next rank. These ranks serve to identify and recognize efforts made and draw attention from those that might be able to assist or seek the experience of those recognized. Each rank will also bear a symbol, so that they might recognize their fellow members. Progression from one rank to the next shall be based on clear criteria, with the intention of encouraging that growth, rather than stand as unachievable or misunderstood standards. The ranks are as follows:

Scholar (Red)
  • This is the entry level position. It is meant for those new to fencing or just beginning to develop their personal style. Guidance will be readily available to this rank so they might develop quickly.
  • Granted by any Provost or Master of the Academy.
  • Must have their first authorization.
  • Must display an interest in the study of historical swordsmanship, as demonstrated by the knowledge of the basics of a period system that they are pursuing at the moment.
    "Basics" will be *very basic*, and will vary based on the period system being studied.
    Examples of Basics: The 4 guards of the Italian tradition or the stance, and movement theory of Destreza; Etc… The purpose of these requirements is to show an interest in studying period forms without providing a barrier to entry to the Academy.
Fellow (Green)
  • Members of this level are those that are growing in their study and practice. They have shown exploration into period study and some application of what they found. In addition, they are beginning to give back some to the rapier community, through service, or sharing knowledge, or a myriad of other methods.
  • Sponsored, at a minimum, by a Provost, and 2 free scholars.
  • Provost/Masters can stand in for Free Scholars, but are encouraged to only do so in the absence of local Free Scholars.
  • Must be authorized in at least 3 forms.
  • Must demonstrate a commitment to the rapier community. An example of this might be through service such as (but not limited to) becoming an MIT.
  • Must have entered at least one Tournament at an event.
  • Should be able to help teach, and supervise beginning fencers, and Scholars.
  • Should be able to collaborate with other Fellows.
  • >Must be offering guidance on period rapier, either at an individual, or local level.
  • Must have at least rudimentary knowledge of core pieces of a single period system
    Examples of core pieces: Italian – measure, tempo, the firm footed attack. Spanish – movement, atajo, etc
Free Scholar (Gold)
  • Members of this tier have started to piece together techniques and concepts that serve them in combat, developing a recognizable quality to their style. They are budding into leadership roles in the community, and have demonstrated solid knowledge of period systems.
  • Sponsored by a Mentor Provost, and 2 other Provosts of the Academy.
  • Exhibit the ability to collaborate with other Free Scholars.
  • Must be authorized in all rapier forms. (Does not include C&T, but is encouraged)
  • Must have entered at least one QRC or Baronial Championship.
  • Must have contributed to the community's knowledge of period rapier. Examples include teaching classes, entering A&S competitions, or writing papers.
  • Must have a rudimentary knowledge of at least two period masters or systems, or expertise in one.
  • Should be able to help teach, and direct new fencers, Fellows, and Scholars.
  • Must continue to offer guidance on period rapier, at an individual, or local level, and be expanding to the regional level.
  • Years of practice and refinement lead the fencer to notable prowess and respected service, such that the Crown makes special acknowledgement. The office of Provost is offered to those deemed worthy by the Crown to serve as Defenders of the White Scarf (and equivalent positions if gained from out of Kingdom). The Academy has full trust in the wisdom of the Crown and will honor Their decision without hesitation.
  • Expectations - Provosts are the champions of the Academy, serving as its strength and influence. Provosts shall oversee and ensure the consistent availability of practices within their regions, such that anyone wishing to fence is met with opportunity, within the reasonable capacity of the Provost. They shall serve as mentors to the free scholars, offering the guidance necessary for growth. Take note of scholars that excel, and always consider those worthy of sponsoring as a free scholar. Maintain open and transparent communication with all ranks, sharing experiences freely. Continually refine personal ability, as combatants, teachers, and servants of the Kingdom. Continue to develop familiarity with historical rapier resources, for personal development or to assist in the development of others.
  • Companion of the Order of the White Scarf, or Equivalent Rapier Award. Or must possess a Grant-level award that reflects dedication to the field of fencing and be accepted by a majority of the Provosts of the Academy by straw poll.
  • Masters of the Academy are those chosen worthy by the Crown so serve as Masters of Defense or Elevated to the Laurel for their expertise in historical combat. They serve as the binding force to maintain solidarity in the community and open and safeguard friendly relations with neighboring Kingdoms. As peers of the realm, they are expected to ensure the development of the highest quality of courtesy, etiquette, and demeanor by all, such that none may bring shame upon the Academy.
  • Prerequisite - the office of Master of the Academy is offered to those deemed worthy by the Crown to serve as Master of Defense or Historical Combat Laurel. The Academy has full trust in the wisdom of the Crown and will honor Their decision without hesitation.
  • Expectations - Members of this rank are expected to maintain the highest standards of prowess and behavior. They shall serve to guide and foster members of all ranks and ensure that the community as a whole is thriving. They shall oversee and refine the policies and conventions of the rapier community, in accordance with the appropriate Kingdom Officers. As peers, they shall continually interact with neighboring kingdoms to benefit fencing throughout the Society. Masters shall discern the needs of the Kingdom and develop strategies to serve those needs. They shall be, or endeavour to become, fluent in period styles, or be ready to refer to expertise elsewhere. They shall ensure that questions receive answers and that students find teachers, within the reasonable capacity of the individuals involved. They shall seek to find how best the rapier community can serve the Kingdom and Society as a whole, beyond matters of war and combat. They shall serve in all functions as outlined in Society Corpora for those members of a peerage. Above all else, they shall strive to ensure that the art and science of fencing remains a welcoming, enjoyable venture such that all those who wish to better themselves as students of fence are given opportunity to do so.


All fencers shall have opportunity to prove their value and worth, and skill shall be readily acknowledged. Upon first authorization, a willing fencer shall be offered position as scholar of the Academy by a Provost or Master of the Academy. As the scholar continues to grow, Provosts and Masters will look for verification of the outlined criteria above, and upon consensus of three Provosts or Masters, the scholar may be raised to the rank of fellow, or free scholar. At each of these circumstance, a prize tourney may be organized to serve as a display of the abilities of the candidate and to assist meeting more members of the community. Prowess displayed during these prize tournies is not necessarily grounds for further evaluation, although the tournies are a fine venue to demonstrate the fruits of hard practice and refinement. Comportment and etiquette are of great importance as members of all ranks, along with the Kingdom populace, may be present.

The offering of Provost and Master of the Academy are dependent on the Crown’s judgement, as outlined above. The Academy will tolerate no further scrutiny, and all reservations shall be dealt with openly.The Academy values growth and development for all, and has no room for ulterior motives.


The Academy shall maintain a presence on social media in the form of a Facebook group.

All discussion will be open to the entire Academy, and constructive commentary is encouraged. No derogatory, demeaning, or slanderous commentary will be tolerated. Participation and inclusion within this forum is completely voluntary.

The following paragraph details the birth of the academy. The outlined design did happen at the Historical Rapier Schola, with the support of the Atlantian Academie d’Espee. It is preserved here for historical purposes.

The Academy shall be introduced with a tournament at the conclusion of the Historical Rapier Schola. All members of the populace that do not have grant level or peer level recognition for fencing are invited to participate in the tourney. The format shall be determined pending the number of entries. All who participate in the Schola and the tourney, if they wish, shall be offered the rank of scholar and the appropriate badge. During the day, those members of the Provost and Master ranks shall observe the prowess and conduct of the scholars, to provide feedback and begin evaluating those worthy of the rank of free scholar. While no free scholars will be made that day, discussion shall be initiated quickly and candidates identified within as brief a time period as possible.


I would first like to thank the assistance of the Atlantian Academie d'Espee, that serves as a fostering sister to the birth of the Defense Academy. Members of every rank have offered support and enthusiasm for this venture, and strong ties are already being formed. The two groups shall always serve to support and strengthen the other, lending experience and a helping hand. The Defense Academy has modeled its structure off of the Academie d’Espee, and will recognize all ranks laterally. It is the intent of the Defense Academy to work closely with the Academie d’Espee in developing the rapier community across borders.

The Defense Academy wishes only for the betterment of the community through communal effort. It is our hope that everyone find a welcoming home within the Academy. The experience and wisdom of all members are necessary for the benefit of all. I, as merely a voice for the many that comprise the Academy, take great honor in inviting all to consider participation in the birth and growth of the Defense Academy.