The early masters of the Art made a point of restricting their teaching to persons of proper character and rank. Some of that exclusiveness surely was born of class consciousness, but some was just as surely an attempt to not provide bullies and scoundrels with access to a deadly art.
The scholars of the Forteza Historical Swordwork Guild are not medieval people, but we can honor those long-gone masters but striving to exemplify the virtues recognized by their culture as worthy. Thus, we expect all scholars to seek greater stature of character by holding to the virtues of a knight.
While perfect adherence to such noble goals is rarely achieved, the stiving towards them enobles our spirits.
What are these virtues?
Not all lists of knightly virtues are identical. Different authors selected different virtues, and some defined those virtues differently. Almost all lists were strongly influenced by the Christian melieu in which they grew. We have choosen to adopt a list of twelve virtues of a knight which the Duke of Burgundy set down in the fourteenth century for the Order of the Golden Fleece.
How to they apply to us?
We have redefined our inspriational virtues, especially those virtues that were theological in nature, in the context of our martial studies and training.
We believe in the knowledge of the medieval masters who lived with the Art when it was flourishing. Their words, and the pictures they approved, are our guides. We strive to reflect their teachings as accurately as possible.
(Faith was originally a theological virtue requiring steadfastness in Christian belief.)
We strive to help others in the Art by sharing our skills, knowledge, and time.
(Charity was originally a theological virtue expressing selfless, unconditional, and voluntary loving-kindness.)
We strive to use the strength we gain only in the service of justice, never in personal aggrandizement or unwarranted aggression.
(Justice concerns proper judgment regarding individual human interests and rights as well as seeing that malefactors receive their desserts.)
We strive to practice sound judgement and clear thinking. We value the contributions of others, both within and without our group. We do not boast of our accomplishments because if we deserve it, others will do that for us.
We strive to act and speak carefully and with good judgement. We seek to resolve conflicts peacefully, resorting to the violence inherent in ther Art as a last resort.
We maintain a constant mindfulness of others and our surroundings. We practice self-control, in mind, body, and speech.
We strive to maintain our dedication to the accurate expression of the Art. We strive to honor all commitments.
We strive to be honest and fair, with ourselves as well as with others. We give credit where it is due, speak the truth as we know it, and do what is right, even when that is hard.
Liberality (Also known as Generosity)
We strive to be as generous we can be, with our knowledge, time, and person, in so far as our resources and other obligations allow.
We strive for excellence, bringing a zealous and careful nature to our actions and work.
We strive for resiliency, drawing upon the Art's physical and mental benefits to give us strength to weather doubt and despair.
(Hope was originally a theological virtue that was a ward against the despair that human failings create.)
Valor (also known as Courage or Fortitude)
We strive for forbearance under duress. We value endurance under stress, both mental and physical. We cultivate the ability to confront fear, uncertainty, and intimidation.