Masters & Apprentices

Scenarios, Trainings, or Activities

Once the lessons are done, we’ll turn the practice over to the Master Swordsmen who will run us through our very first arranged duels or Fight Club, and then through various other activities and scenarios.

Bearers of the Four Levels of Importance Scarves this week:

  • Safety: Edward
  • Honor: Jay
  • Attitude: Py
  • Skill: Sam

What is the Master/Apprentice Program

The Master/Apprentice Program is an opportunity for us all to learn from one another and to share our knowledge. Each individual has a unique perspective and understanding of fencing that should be shared for the benefit of others. We have found this exchange of knowledge most effective when using the Master/Apprentice model. That is where one or more fencers formally agree to become the students of another fencer. The teacher becomes the Master and the student(s) become the Apprentice.

Over a period of time, the Master will then work closely with their students to help them learn and overcome their individual challenges. They will also share their own knowledge and philosophies of fencing, which the students apply and tweak for themselves.

Each Master/Apprentice relationship is unique and the details of the arrangement is mutually determined so that the partnership may work for the benefit of both parties. Typically, the Master/Apprentice Program is reserved for fencers who have completed the Order of the Rose Training Program and have gained the rank of Swordsman.

The Master/Apprentice Program has been on my mind a lot lately as I begin a journey with two new apprentices. I’ve taken the opportunity to think back on all the lessons I’ve learned from my past Masters and what my experience has been with my previous Apprentices. I have to say that I learned the most about fencing and what my style is through being either a Master or an Apprentice. My goal and hope with this article is that you’ll be inspired to seek out a Master or an Apprentice and continue training with your fellow fencers, even after you’ve completed the Order of the Rose Training Program and achieved the rank of Swordsman.

Why Does It Work?

For me, it’s all about gaining experience and perspective. As an Apprentice, you will be learning from someone who you respect and has had experiences that you haven’t. This gives you an opportunity to learn and gain that experience directly from someone who has been through it before. As a Master, you have the challenge to teach and build up your apprentice. A Master’s goal is to help their students become the best they can be and to customize each lesson for each student.

This model works because both parties are dedicating themselves to each other. The Master commits to doing everything they can to support and teach their Apprentice what they want/need to learn. An Apprentice dedicates themselves to their Master, setting aside their pride and preconceived notions. The Apprentice bears their Master’s Honor and does everything they can to implement their Master’s teachings. This dedication brings out the best in both parties that otherwise is not their in a regular practice or lesson.

Notable Masters & Apprentices

The Master/Apprentice relationship is found all over the place, most recognizably in movies. I’ve listed out several of the most recognizable partnerships below. I hope that in each clip, you’ll be able to see how each Master & Apprentice relationship is unique, but the goal remains the same. The Master teaches the student to improve, while Apprentice learns and applies their Master’s teachings.

Yoda & Luke
Ben & Luke
Mr. Miyagi & Daniel
Shifu & Po
Bruce Lee & Student

Why You Should Participate in the Program

After completing the Order of the Rose Training Program, most Swordsmen will continue progressing for a time, but will eventually plateau. Plateauing means that you’re no longer really learning and gaining new skills. You’re simply remaining where you are instead of getting better. We all plateau, but the Master/Apprentice Program is the best way to progress after your formal training is over.

It’s in my opinion, that as soon as you become a Swordsman you should start considering taking on a Master. Using advice from the Master Swordsmen, you should be looking for someone who you look up to and feel that they have something you desire, but are currently lacking. If you feel like you have something to offer, seek out an Apprentice. From my experience, taking on an Apprentice was the best way for me to define my own style and solidify it because I needed to teach it to someone.

If you have never had a Master or an Apprentice, I would highly encourage you to find one. I recommend that before taking on an Apprentice, that you become yourself. Experiencing what it is like to be a student will give perspective and empathy for when you become a Master with students of your own.

We thrive in the Order of the Rose because we share our knowledge and we never stop learning. Each of us has a unique perspective and view of fencing that should be shared with others. It is through the Master/Apprentice Program that this can happen, so don’t miss out on the opportunity.