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.
At each level of advancement, I will buy the students a new practice weapon. Because these weapons become more realistic and therefore more dangerous as the students advance, my judgment is part of the determination of whether a student is ready to advance, in addition to time and quest completion. A student who I do not believe will treat a weapon with the respect it deserves, and who will use it unsafely, is not ready to advance, and will need more time.
These virtues are by no means universal; chivalry was primarily distributed through poetry, and there are something like fifty virtues which the knights in the medieval period tried to live up to. No knight was able to be live up to all of them, so I chose seven virtues which I want my students to demonstrate, seven which I think are the core.
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.
Students at Swords of Chivalry are expected to give back to the community.
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.
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.
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.
Students at Swords of Chivalry are expected to avoid bragging, and to encourage others, not tear them down.
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.
Students at Swords of Chivalry are expected to be leaders in their schools and in their communities.
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.
Students at Swords of Chivalry are expected to follow all safety instructions given them, and to wear appropriate safety gear.
Skill with Weapons
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.
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.
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.
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.