It takes approximately 5-7 total training years to become a Free Scholar.
a) Must compose a book of at least 30 personal interpretations of fechtbücher techniques for their chosen personal weapon.
i) The defense of this book will involve a Q&A session with an Instructor lasting several hours. The prospective Free Scholar must be able to explain and defend their intepretation of each play.
b) Must have scored an 80% or higher on test questions from each of these three history books: The Book of Knighthood and Chivalry, The Book of Chivalry, and the Codex Guide to the Medieval Baltic.
c) Must have taught at least five full sessions of the Academics Class and ten sessions of the Techniques Class.
d) Must have taught both of the Leadership Training classes.
e) Must teach or co-teach a cutting class (cutting test targets with a sharp sword).
f) Must have an established presence in the HEMA community. Note: this requires frequent interaction on the internet.
g) Must own a steel trainer (or equivalent) for your chosen personal weapon. Must own any armor or other equipment needed to bout with that personal weapon.
h) Must own a high-end steel longsword trainer and a sharp longsword.
i) Must have successfully demonstrated a cooperative, scripted longsword drill with live blades (paired with an instructor).
j) Must have successfully mentored a student from Apprentice to Scholar rank.
k) Must have moderated or co-moderated at least one Knightly Virtues Seminar, and moderated at least one Imperial Dynasty Round Table. To moderate or co-moderate a Knighly Virtues Seminar, a student must have attended at least two previous seminars.
l) Must have taught at least one AoA Techniques Review, a full-day session covering the entire curriculum of the Techniques Class.
m) Must demonstrate all of the plays in the Techniques and Academics classes with at least 90% accuracy.
n) The prospective Free Scholar will engage in a Passage of Arms with existing Scholars, Free Scholars and Instructors from within the school and at least one combatant from outside the school. The matches will involve the longsword and personal weapon, and will be witnessed by the student body. The Passage of Arms is meant as a learning experience and no winner or loser will be declared. The event will be videotaped and the student will receive a copy of the tape, along with feedback from Instructors.
o) Upon completion of all requirements, the Scholar will be declared a Free Scholar. A Free Scholar may engage in unsupervised free play with the longsword or personal weapon.
p) Upon successful completion of all requirements, a new Free Scholar must choose a student to mentor from the Scholar to Free Scholar ranks.
q) New Free Scholars are encouraged to teach outside the school as either a guest instructor at another school or as a presenter at a regional, national or international event.
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