Provost (Rettore d’Armizare)

A Provost is the first of the upper ranks in the guild system, and the first formal teaching rank. Provost generally act under the guidance of a Master, and can teach as heads of chapters or specific programs. It is the first rank that is conveyed directly by the IAS, except in those cases where, for lack of a sponsoring academy, the association has directly awarded the rank of Free Scholar, as noted above. First and foremost, the Provost must have a proven track record in the instruction of the art, and is skilled in all weapons as described by Fiore dei Liberi’s treatise. Key responsibilities of the Provost are the training and teaching of students, the contribution to the general operations and/or administration functions of their home academy, standing as coaches, mentors and examiners in the creation of At-Large Free Scholars, and as Challengers in any Provost’s Prizes. A Provost must be capable of teaching all of the core elements of the FS curriculum and have experience in the breadth of the full use of the art on foot, and conduct original research or technical development of the art.

garter_lionBadge:

Dark red garter, worn below the left knee.

Symbol:

Audatia the Lion (Courage)

Provost Requirements

A Provost must be capable of teaching all of the core elements of the Free Scholar curriculum, have experience in the breadth of the full use of the art on foot (including armoured combat), and conduct original research or technical development of the art. They  must swear to the IAS Instructor Code of Conduct, abide by the rules and constitution of their home academy, and agree to the and promote the principles of historical European martial arts within and without organizations that are focused on the formalisation of these arts. Upon successful completion, an official teaching license is granted by the IAS to those who have successfully prized at this rank. Provost candidates will be considered if the following criteria are satisfied:

GENERAL

  • Minimum time of five years since receiving the rank as Free Scholar;
  • Minimum of at least 30 years of age;
  • Candidate’s instructor formally makes the request to the governing body of his/her intention for the rank of Provost. In the case of independent, or “at large” candidates, please refer to “Referral and ‘At large’ Candidates”.
  • Is willing to swear to and abide by the IAS’s Instructor’s Code of Conduct (see Appendices) and any complementary requirements of their home academy.

ACADEMIC

  • Can demonstrate a knowledge of the individual treatises of the Dei Liberi Tradition and their variances;
  • Possesses a solid analytical understanding of the historical treatises relevant to the art of armizare;
  • Has submitted an approved, peer-reviewed research to the IAS testing body -(see below). or
  • Has built a teaching curriculum for historical martial arts in keeping with the defined parameters for Quality of Interpretation.
  • Has a solid, working knowledge of the cultural milieu and martial history of early Renaissance Italy, and contemporary arms and armour.
Required Reading

In addition to a research project or curriculum submission, reading requirements form part of the qualification criteria for a candidate seeking Provost status.

ARMS AND ARMOUR

  • Armour – Claude Blair
  • Archaeology of Weapons – Ewart Oakeshott

CHIVALRIC CULTURE

  • Knights Own Book of Chivalry – translated by Elspeth Kennedy
  • The Book of the Order of Chivalry by Ramon Lull – translated by Noel Fallows
  • Book of the Courtier – Castiglione

TOURNAMENT CULTURE

  • Tournaments – Richard Barber & Juliet Barker
  • Deeds of Arms – Steve Muhlberger
TECHNICAL

The following technical requirements must be met by Provost candidates. In addition, the candidate must possess the ability to apply the lessons and tactics of the canonical plays creatively and spontaneously, as demonstrated in public examination, and this for the whole of the Art, both armoured and unarmoured.

Footwork

Provosts should perform to free-scholar levels, with the addition of maintaining a solid base in harness, with appropriate footwork and carriage throughout.

Abrazare

The Provost candidate must possess knowledge of all canonical plays of abrazare and be capable of demonstrating them in a dynamic environment. In addition, the Provost candidate must demonstrate:

  • 4 basic holds and how to break them: mutual arm hold (symmetrical or asymmetrical), collar/neck and elbow hold, back hold (high and low), diagonal hold (pinch grip tie)
  • Demonstrate a selection of throws/takedowns from the 5 takedowns implicit in Fiore’s manuscripts (backward, inside, outside, reverse and forward) These should be demonstrated statically and dynamically (in movement, not against an actively resisting opponent)
  • Demonstrate ability in at least two, 3-minute abrazare bouts.
Daga

Performance must be dynamic and demonstrate proper footwork, use of tempo, measure and technique, while remaining a safe partner.

  • Demonstrate  any of the canonical plays required in the Free Scholar exam upon command;
  • Demonstrate the entire corpus of plays of armed dagger, specifically the Second, Sixth, Seventh and  Eighth Remedies.
Spada a un mano

Candidates should  be prepared to demonstrate any of the plays or exercises previously required in the Free Scholar exam upon command, with performance  to be evaluated as discussed above, under daga.

Spada a due mani
  • Review: candidates should  be prepared to demonstrate any of the plays or exercises previously required in the Free Scholar exam upon command, with performance  to be evaluated as discussed above, under daga;
  • Candidates should know and be able to execute all plays of zogho stretto found in both il Fior di Battaglia and De Arte Gladiatoria Dimicandi
Lanza

Review: candidates should  be prepared to demonstrate any of the plays or exercises previously required in the Free Scholar exam upon command, with performance  to be evaluated as discussed above, under daga;

Spada en arme
  • Demonstrate the poste: breve serpentina, serpentina superiore, vera croce, croce bastarda, porta di ferro mezzana, sagitarria; 
  • Execute a number of syllabus/flow drills in accordance with the school’s curriculum.
  • Explain and demonstrate how to fight from each posta, as described in the Flower of Battle;
  • Demonstrate the canonical plays of armoured swordsmanship as described in the Flower of Battle;
  • Apply the plays in a dynamic and spontaneous fashion, using control and in a safe manner.
Azza
  • Demonstrate the poste: di donna, finestra, dente di zenghiaro, croce bastarda, vera croce 
  • Execute a number of syllabus/flow drills in accordance with the school’s curriculum.
  • Explain and demonstrate how to fight from each posta, as described in the Flower of Battle;
  • Demonstrate the canonical plays of armoured swordsmanship as described in the Flower of Battle;
  • Apply the plays in a dynamic and spontaneous fashion, using control and in a safe manner.
Applied Armizare

To demonstrate their understanding of armizare as a system, candidates will be challenged to apply the first principles and canonical corpus of armizare to new situations. Some possible examples might include:

  • demonstrate variations of how a canonical dagger or abrazare play ending in a lock or takedown might be finished on the ground, when such a finish is not supplied  by the source material;
  • demonstrate how the plays from coda longa in the spada a un mano can be executed from a draw from the scabbard;
  • using one’s knowledge of abrazare, dagger and sword, expand upon the bastoncello lesson in the Flower of Battle;
  • using one’s knowledge of sword and spear, expand upon the ghiavarina lesson in the Flower of Battle
Cutting

Possesses sound body mechanics, edge awareness and control of a sharp weapon, as demonstrated in test-cutting and in teaching basic test-cutting. The Provost candidate should be able to cut using multiple cuts along varying lines with either edge in quick succession at a suitable target (generally accepted to be tatami omote), with both passing footwork and statically (or volta stabile).

  • Pattern Five: Three consecutive mandritti fendente
  • Pattern Six: Mandritto Fendente, Riverso Falso Sottano, Mandritto Fendente
  • Pattern Seven: True and false edge mezani

QUALITY OF EXECUTION

In addition to all the previous requirements, Provosts should be able to adapt the plays and principles thereof and apply them to varying conditions (changing measure, different line of attack, etc.) in a dynamic manner. Further, the level of execution required is that of “Mastery.”

QUALITY OF INTERPRETATION

The Provost candidate must be able to provide interpretations of specific plays according to the qualitative interpretation guidelines set out in section VII. A suggested minimum is one play per required discipline (i.e. abrazare, spada a una mano, spada en arme, etc.)

INSTRUCTIONAL

A Provost must be capable of teaching all of the core elements of the Free Scholar curriculum, have experience in the breadth of the full use of the art on foot, and conduct original research or technical development of the art. They should be able to provide proper feedback on mechanical and tactical issues students may have, and institute corrective measures.

FURTHER REQUIREMENTS

  • Has fulfilled home academy’s specific internal requirements for promoting to the rank of Provost;
  • Demonstrated teaching skill in both private lessons and group instruction;
  • Has delivered instruction in regularly scheduled classes at their home academy;
  • Must be able to teach the entire Free Scholar curriculum.
  • Has taught outside their own academy in a large, public venue, such as the Western Martial Arts Workshop, Vancouver International Swordplay Symposium, Longpoint, Swordfish, etc.

TESTING AND PRIZE PLAYING

Testing will be via a public examination and Prize Playing, as noted in Section II of the governing document. Academic components will be tested by written examination, and technical and instructional components via in-person, physical examination. Should the candidate successfully pass the examinations, they will be eligible to move on to the final testing stage: the Playing of the Prize. (Although not strictly necessary, it is expected that Examination and Prizing will occur on different dates.)

The Challenge for the Provost’s Prize will be played as follows:

  • Against no less than three Challengers
  • Unarmoured Combat: No less than three, 3-minute bouts at each of the following weapons: spada a dui mani, spada a un mano, lanza.
  • Armoured Combat: No less than three, 3-minute bouts at spada en arme, and either lanza or azza.
  • Although the dagger is not individually taught within the Prize bouts, both Prizors and Challengers will wear daggers and may transition to them as needed during  bouts.
  • Given the difficulty in arranging armoured combat, public deeds of arms may be employed to showcase such ability in lieu of formal testing.

Upon successful completion, an official teaching license is granted by the IAS to those who have successfully prized at this rank.