It takes approximately 3-4.5 total training years to become a Scholar.
a) Must pass 11 preparatory tests covering weapons and vocabulary. Scores of at least 80% required.
i) Ten technical exams cover principal guards and plays of the AoA non-longsword weapons (dagger, grappling, spear, pollaxe, halfsword, sickle, messer, sword and buckler, and staff) as well as the breakfalls in the curriculum (all falls and rolls are tested on concrete). Techniques are demonstrated at full speed and require moderate precision.
ii) In the vocabulary test, students give the spelling, pronunciation and meaning of all words from the AoA Audio Dictionary.
b) Must pass the Scholar test with 80% accuracy. This is a large test that takes 5 hours.
i) Oral portion of the test covers detailed questions about the history and theory of our combat system, breakfalling, AoA bouting rules, medieval history, the Knightly Virtues, first aid and cpr, leadership training classes and our 40 end-of-class discussion topics.
ii) The technical portion of the test covers:
a) Techniques taken from the longsword plays in the Academics Class. Techniques are demonstrated at full speed and must be executed with high precision.
b) Demonstrations of techniques taken directly from the source material (both text and illustrations) upon which the 55-play Techniques Class is built.
c) Students must also execute the Grand Sword Flow Drill (a kata that combines all of the longsword flow drills).
iii) The Scholar test can only be taken by a student once per training cycle (about once every 10 months). If a student fails, they must re-take the test during the next cycle. A student is only allowed to attempt this test a total of three times.
c) To qualify for the Scholar rank, a student must journey to another school or event outside the region, and return to teach a full or partial class, imparting that new knowledge to AoA students. This material must be relevant to a German medieval weapon system.
d) Must have taught five full-length sessions of the Techniques Class.
e) Must have adminstered at least one Apprentice test.
f) Must have a current certificate of free play.
g) Must have participated in a test cutting with a sharp weapon.
h) Must own a steel training longsword with period handling characteristics and must have safety gear adequate for fencing with steel.
i) Must have attended the yearly Knightly Virtues Seminar (a special class to discuss the chivalric values).
j) Must have scored an 80% or higher on tests covering our three history and culture topics: Life in Medieval Times, Medieval Arms and Armor, and Medieval Science and Technology.
k) Must have attended at least one of our Imperial Dynasty Round Tables.
l) Must have successfully mentored a Novice to the rank of Apprentice.
m) The prospective Scholar will engage in a Passage of Arms (a series of formal bouts) with existing Scholars and Instructors from within the school, as well as one or more combatants from outside of the school. The matches will use the longsword 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.
n) Upon meeting all requirements, the Apprentice will be declared a Scholar. A Scholar may engage in unsupervised longsword sparring, but free play with other weapons must remain supervised.
o) A new Scholar will choose an Apprentice to mentor and must successfully help that student progress from the Apprentice to Scholar rank.
p) Scholars are expected to help teach Apprentices and Novices.
q) A new Scholar is expected to contribute to the school’s online forum.
r) A new Scholar will begin an original interpretive study of techniques for their chosen personal weapon.
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