RoR Criteria for Success

As students of the Route of Rigor program, it is your responsibility to study and train both physically and mentally throughout the week on your chosen/assigned lesson. Listed out below are the criteria for success for each of the Order of the Rose Training Program Lessons, at the Initiate and Novice levels, along with a practice idea. Your focus should be on the designated criteria, since that is what the RoR coordinator will be testing you on, but do not limit yourself to just these specific things. Lean upon your support group and Sponsors to explore each lesson and dedicate yourself to them throughout the week.

Additionally, as you begin the journey along the Route of Rigor, consider doing the following activities that may prove useful along the way:

  1. Find and establish a dedicated Fencing Journal
  2. Find a sword substitute, if one is not available
  3. Create an Account on the Website
  4. Figure out the best way to contact your Sponsors.

If you have any questions or comments, please reach out to your Sponsors or leave a comment below. Good luck!

Initiate Lessons

Breaking Shots

To be successful while studying Breaking Shots, you will want to focus on the following:

  • What is the difference between Gauging and Breaking a Shot, as well as the defining principles of Gauging/Breaking a Shot?
  • Define each of the 3 primary methods to break a shot, and demonstrate each against a stationary target.
  • Demonstrate each of the 3 primary methods to break a shot against a moving target.
  • BONUS: Consider ways that you can improve your ability to gauge your shot so that you can reduce how often you would be required to break your shot.

Stab a Rock

Find a hard, stationary surface and settle into a basic stance, in range. Slowly practice stabbing the hard surface so that minimal noise/impact can be detected. Proceed to then decrease your range, increase speed, etc… so that you can practice performing each of the primary breaks and gauge your shots.

Basic Offhand

To be successful while studying Basic Offhand, you will want to focus on the following:

  • What are the main safety concerns/rules of using your Offhand in a fight?
  • Demonstrate the basic hand position and method of using your offhand.
  • The ability to implement your offhand consistently in a standard duel.
  • BONUS: Consider the value/drawbacks of using your Offhand in a fight and how you can incorporate it more into your fencing.

Wax On, Wax Off

Settling into basic stance, place your offhand in a standard position. From there, slowly practice the motion of moving your offhand to catch and block an incoming strike. As you become more comfortable, increase speed and place your offhand in different position, taking note of how it influences how you would block a strike. Proceed to incorporating strikes following the offhand block.

Multiple Attacks

To be successful while studying Multiple Attacks, you will want to focus on the following:

  • Define the primary safety concerns of Multiple Attacks, the “Sewing Machine” and how you can avoid them.
  • Demonstrate the ability to throw multiple attacks at a variety of targets in a controlled, but quick manner.
  • Demonstrate the ability to strike at varied targets when called out by a partner.
  • BONUS: Consider what your strategy is for throwing multiple attacks and how your choice of targets may help or hinder your offensive effectiveness.

Target Practice

With sword in hand, practice making strikes various locations on an imaginary target. Start with the classic targets of chest and head shots, but then proceed to incorporate strikes toward smaller targets. As you become more comfortable, increase speed and chain strikes together at various targets.

Block/Attack Combos

To be successful while studying Block/Attack Combos, you will want to focus on the following:

  • Explain why Block/Attack Combos are so effective within a fight.
  • Demonstrate each of the Block/Attack Combos associated with the 8 Basic Blocks with minimal prompting.
  • Demonstrate the use of Block/Attack Combos within a duel.
  • BONUS: Consider which Block/Attack combos would be more effective against specific attacks or specific opponents.

Riposte Repetition

In stance, proceed to practice each of the 8 Basic Blocks followed by their accompanying Attack combo. After each attack, reset before moving onto the next Block/Attack combo. As you become more comfortable, increase speed or eliminate the reset between each combo.

Range & Placement

To be successful while studying Range & Placement, you will want to focus on the following:

  • Define the differences between Range and Placement, along with how you can find your own range and starting placement.
  • Demonstrate the ability to judge your own range and starting placement as you attack a stationary opponent
  • Demonstrate the ability to judge your opponent’s range and placement as they attempt to attack you.
  • BONUS: Consider what affect various placements have on a fight and what may influence you or your opponent’s range throughout a fight.

Touch the Line, but Don’t Cross It

With a stationary partner or target, start out of range and advance towards them until you maneuver into range. At that point, stop and attempt to land a strike against your partner to verify if you were in range. Reset and repeat with the intention stopping at the exact moment you maneuver into range. Proceed to then increase the speed of your advance or have your partner slowly move about the training space.

Draw & Tip Cuts

To be successful while studying Draw & Tip Cuts, you will want to focus on the following:

  • Define the differences between a Draw and Tip Cut, along with the criteria that make up a proper cut.
  • Demonstrate the ability to perform both Draw and Tip cuts against a stationary target and within a duel.
  • Demonstrate the ability to call invalid cuts performed by yourself and from an opponent.
  • BONUS: Consider how the design of a rapier plays into the use of Draw/Tip cuts along with how you can better implement cuts while you focus on what rapiers were designed for.

Practice Your Knife Skills

With your sword, find a surface that you can practice each of the cuts against. Practice making the cuts at various angles and heights, ensuring that you are following all the criteria for a valid cut. Adjust range to experiment with making cuts at various distances.

Line Fighting

To be successful while studying Line Fighting, you will want to focus on the following:

  • Define how a basic line is setup and what your focus should be while in the line.
  • Define and demonstrate what are the easiest ways to kill your opponent while fighting in a line.
  • Define the differences between a Reckless and Cowardly Cowboy are and how you can avoid them yourself.
  • BONUS: Consider the role you play as an individual line fighter and in ways you contribute to the overall success of your team in a melee.

Doodle Along the Line

Grab either a pen and paper, or several small game pieces (like checkers) and visually experiment with what might happen in a line fight. Practice setting them up in various ways or scenarios. Ask yourself what might happen if someone in the middle or end of the line were killed. Play through a variety of hypothetical situations and record what you learn or realize.

Two on One Tactics

To be successful while studying Two on One Tactics, you will want to focus on the following:

  • Explain the specific safety concerns that should be considered when using Two on One Tactics.
  • Define and demonstrate an understanding of the principles to remember when in a Two on One situation
  • Demonstrate a 45 Maneuver against an opponent.
  • BONUS: Consider Two on One Tactics from the perspective of the “One”. How might that perspective help you implement Two on One Tactics more effectively?

Two on One Chess

Grab two Pawns and a Queen from a chess set and play around with several hypothetical, two on one situations. Consider what should happen vs what you’ve experienced in the past. Run through and discuss with others the principles of Two on One Tactics and ways that help face two on one situations effectively.

Death From Behind (DFB)

To be successful while studying Death from Behind (DFB), you will want to focus on the following:

  • Define and describe the most important safety rules when considering or performing a Death from Behind.
  • Demonstrate clearly how to perform a proper DFB with minimal prompting, against a stationary target.
  • Demonstrate how to perform a proper DFB against a moving target participating in a duel.
  • BONUS: Consider the influence that Death from Behinds has on a fight. In what ways can DFBs encourage higher awareness of the fight and displays of Honor?

DFB In Motion

With or without a partner, walk through the motions of a proper DFB, describing each step out loud. Include the safety concerns and the measures you will take to avoid them. Proceed to then increase speed as you become more comfortable with the actions. Imagine scenarios where you would or wouldn’t want to perform a Death from Behind.

Initiate Review & Test Match

To be successful while preparing for your Initiate Review & Test Match, you will want to focus on the following:

  • A basic understanding/familiarity with all of the Initiate Lessons and the ability to demonstrate key skills.
  • A solid grasp of the Four Levels of Importance and how you can apply them in your own fencing journey.
  • Ownership of your own Fencing Journey and an understanding that there is still much to learn when it comes to these Initiate Lessons.
  • BONUS: Consider what impact being an Initiate has had on your fencing journey and how you might be able to give back to the group with what you’ve learned.

Initiate Test Match

Preparing for your Test Match with the Lieutenants is about focusing on what you’ve learned as an Initiate and how you’ve built your foundation as a fencer. Much of what you’ll learn as a Novice and beyond starts with these Initiate lessons and the Lieutenants will help you identify ways you can strengthen that foundation before moving forward.

Novice Lessons

Dagger

To be successful while studying Dagger, you will want to focus on the following:

  • Describe what a Dagger is and what role it plays within fencing.
  • Demonstrate the use of a dagger as an offensive side in basic stance and in refused, as well as in close range against an opponent.
  • Demonstrate a basic understanding of how to face an opponent who is wielding a dagger.
  • BONUS: Consider the dynamics of both wielding and facing a dagger. In what ways does it influence the mental and physical experience of a fight?

Wax On, Wax Off with a Knife

Similar to practicing offhand, place your dagger in a standard position. From there, slowly practice the motion of moving your dagger to catch and block an incoming strike. As you become more comfortable, increase and place your dagger in different position, taking note of how it influences how you would block a strike. Proceed to incorporating strikes following the dagger block or stepping in to strike in close range.

Deathstick

To be successful while studying Deathstick, you will want to focus on the following:

  • Describe what a Deathstick is and what unique characteristics it has.
  • Demonstrate the use of a deathstick as a defensive side within a fight
  • Demonstrate an understanding of how to fight against a deathstick, wielded by an opponent.
  • BONUS: Consider what the strengths and weaknesses of a deathstick are. What types of fencers would benefit from its use or have difficulty facing it?

Dance of the Deathstick

Find a deathstick, or suitable replacement if one isn’t available, and practice going through imaginary fights. Imagine how you would use the deathstick to block incoming shots, take control of an opponent’s blade, or clear a line of attack. Walk through the motions slowly before increasing speed and complexity of the actions.

Buckler

To be successful while studying Buckler, you will want to focus on the following:

  • Describe what a Buckler is and what impact it can have on a fight.
  • Demonstrate the use of a buckler as a defensive side within a fight.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of how to fight against a buckler, wielded by an opponent.
  • BONUS: Consider the defensive capacity of a buckler, despite its size. How can positioning influence the defensive capabilities of the buckler?

Dance of the Buckler

Find a buckler, or suitable replacement if one isn’t available, and practice going through imaginary fights. Imagine how you would use the buckler to block incoming shots, deflect strikes to one side or the other, or how you can defend specific targets. Walk through the motions slowly before increasing speed and complexity of the actions.

Cloak

To be successful while studying Cloak, you will want to focus on the following:

  • Describe what a Cloak is and how it influences your fighting experience.
  • Demonstrate the use of a cloak as a defensive side within a fight.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of how to fight against a cloak, wielded by an opponent.
  • BONUS: Consider the advantages of cloak and where its true strength lies. What benefits do you think the average fencer might be missing when it comes to cloak?

Dance of the Cloak

Find a cloak, or suitable replacement if one isn’t available, and practice going through imaginary fights. Imagine how you would use the cloak to block incoming shots, capture your opponent’s blade, or how you can control the cloak in various ways. Walk through the motions slowly before increasing speed and complexity of the actions.

Long Sword

To be successful while studying Long Sword, you will want to focus on the following:

  • Define what constitutes a Long Sword and the safety concerns of having a longer range.
  • Demonstrate how to perform a Snipe with a long sword against a stationary target.
  • Demonstrate the ability to use a long sword within a duel, safety, and effectively.
  • BONUS: Consider in what situations the extra inches may be an aid or a hindrance to you, as well as the impact it may have on your overall endurance.

A Few Extra Inches

A few extra inches can make quite the difference in fencing. Grab a long sword and practice going through the 8 Basic Blocks and a series of basic attacks to familiarize yourself with those extra inches. Incorporate long swords into other, more complex drills.

Case

To be successful while studying Case, you will want to focus on the following:

  • Demonstrate the basic positioning when wielding case along with an explanation of the general strategy of using two swords.
  • Demonstrate the ability to wield case in tandem during a duel, using a variety of techniques.
  • Showcase the use of case in a melee setting with an understanding of Case’s strengths and uses in the fight.
  • BONUS: Consider the advantages and challenges of case. In what ways can you develop the ability for your hands to work in tandem or what may be holding you back?

Chaining Together

With two swords in hand, practice alternating between making an attack and a block with the designated Striker and Blocker, respectively. As you become more comfortable using one sword as the striker and the other as the blocker, switch the roles and repeat. Chain together sequences like strike-strike-block or block-strike-block in various ways to develop flow and consistency.

Advanced Blocks

To be successful while studying Advanced Blocks, you will want to focus on the following:

  • Explain the differences between the Advanced Blocks and the 8 Basic Blocks.
  • Demonstrate each of the Advanced Blocks with minimal prompting.
  • Demonstrate the use of the Advanced Blocks within a duel.
  • BONUS: Consider the benefits of each of the Advanced Blocks. Which ones could you incorporate into your fights more?

Progressive Blocking

In stance, proceed to practice each of the Advanced Blocks followed by a reset. Afterwards repeat the set, but remove the reset. Once you are able to complete the set consistently, incorporate a strike after each advanced block and then reset.

Probing Your Opponent

To be successful while studying Probing Your Opponent, you will want to focus on the following:

  • Define the principle of Probing Your Opponent and the various methods to do so.
  • Demonstrate what a bait is, how to do it, and what to look for in case your opponent may be baiting you.
  • Demonstrate the use of the “Chess Game” within a duel.
  • BONUS: Consider a simple 2-3 step chess game that you can train and prepare for practice. What situations could you implement your chosen chess game?

Know Thy Enemy

In your fencing journal, jot down notes of every fighter you can think of. Include any patterns or commonalities you see. Afterwards, consider ways that you might be able to discover new things about each fencer or ways that you may be able to exploit what you’ve noticed. If you are unfamiliar with a particular fighter, ask around and see what others might know.

Fighting w/a Disability

To be successful while studying Fighting with a Disability, you will want to focus on the following:

  • Describe what it means to fight with a disability and its impact on the fight.
  • Demonstrate how you lose a hand, arm, and legs.
  • Demonstrate the ability to fight with each of disability and how to fight an opponent with each of the disabilities.
  • BONUS: Consider ways that you could overcome losing a hand, arm, or legs. What mental shift do you need to make to stay in the fight?

Increase the Difficulty

In your training, force yourself to start with a disability already assigned. Practice the 8 Basic Blocks and Basic Attacks with your non-dominant hand. Figure out how you would adjust to compensate for a missing hand or arm. Become familiar with fighting while legged and performing various blocks and attacks

Rush Attacks

To be successful while studying Rush Attacks, you will want to focus on the following:

  • Define a Rush Attack and explain how it differs from a Charge or a Press.
  • Demonstrate the basic steps of a Rush Attack against a stationary target, with minimal prompting.
  • Demonstrate a controlled Rush Attack within a duel.
  • BONUS: Consider what small adjustments make an effective rush. What can you learn from Rush Attacks you’ve seen from other fencers?

What’s the Rush?

In basic stance, practice a basic rush by walking through each step, one by one. Take note of the differences between the motion of rush vs a charge or press. Start slow and increase speed as you become comfortable with each action, reducing the time between each step.

Falling Wedge

To be successful while studying Falling Wedge, you will want to focus on the following:

  • Describe what a Falling Wedge is and what its overall goal is within a melee.
  • Describe how to set up, perform, and fight against a Falling Wedge. Include the key details and strategies.
  • If possible, participate in a Falling Wedge as the lead fighter within a melee.
  • BONUS: Consider what makes an effective Falling Wedge? When would you implement a Falling Wedge and how could you avoid some of the common pitfalls?

Doodle a Falling Wedge

Grab either a pen and paper, or several small game pieces (like checkers) and visually experiment with what might happen while performing a Falling Wedge. Practice setting them up in various ways or scenarios. Ask yourself what might happen through a variety of hypothetical situations and record what you learn or realize.

Kill Pocket

To be successful while studying Kill Pocket, you will want to focus on the following:

  • Describe what a Kill Pocket is and what its overall goal is within a melee.
  • Describe how to set up, perform, and break a Kill Pocket. Include the key details and strategies.
  • If possible, participate in a Kill Pocket within a melee.
  • BONUS: Consider what makes an effective Kill Pocket? When would you implement a Kill Pocket and how could you avoid some of the common pitfalls?

Doodle a Kill Pocket

Grab either a pen and paper, or several small game pieces (like checkers) and visually experiment with what might happen while performing a Kill Pocket. Practice setting them up in various ways or scenarios. Ask yourself what might happen through a variety of hypothetical situations and record what you learn or realize.

Flanking Maneuver

To be successful while studying Flanking Maneuver, you will want to focus on the following:

  • Describe what a Flanking Maneuver is and what its overall goal is within a melee.
  • Describe how to initiate, perform, and defend against a Flanking Maneuver. Include the key details and strategies.
  • If possible, participate in a Flanking Maneuver as one of the Flanks within a melee.
  • BONUS: Consider the differences between the original Flanking Maneuver taught in the lesson and the updated Flanking Maneuver used within the group. Why was the Flanking Maneuver update and what are the benefits for each method?

Doodle a Flanking Maneuver

Grab either a pen and paper, or several small game pieces (like checkers) and visually experiment with what might happen while performing a Flanking Maneuver. Practice setting them up in various ways or scenarios. Ask yourself what might happen through a variety of hypothetical situations and record what you learn or realize.

Wall of Swords

To be successful while studying Wall of Swords, you will want to focus on the following:

  • Describe what the Wall of Swords is and what its overall goal is within a melee.
  • Describe how to set up, perform, and attack a Wall of Swords. Include the key details and strategies.
  • If possible, participate in a Wall of Swords within a melee.
  • BONUS: Consider what makes a strong Wall of Swords? How can you individually contribute to the overall success of the strategy?

Doodle a Wall of Swords

Grab either a pen and paper, or several small game pieces (like checkers) and visually experiment with what might happen while performing a Wall of Swords. Practice setting them up in various ways or scenarios. Ask yourself what might happen through a variety of hypothetical situations and record what you learn or realize.

Basics of Command

To be successful while studying Basics of Command, you will want to focus on the following:

  • Describe the four basic parts of an army and their distinct role within a battle
  • Demonstrate the ability to plan a tactic by choosing a scenario from the Melee Board and explain how you would go about the scenario as the commander.
  • If possible, lead out in a melee scenario at practice, ensuring that you are commanding and leading out on decisions.
  • BONUS: Consider what makes a good Commander and the ways that you can become more comfortable leading out in scenarios. What things do you think a Commander should be aware of as they plan and lead in a melee?

Create a Playbook

In your fencing journal, list out your favorite melees you can think of or find on the Melee Board. Under each one, develop what your plan would be if you were a commander. Consider the people you would want on your team and what you’d take into consideration depending on who was leading or fighting against you. As you get opportunities to command in these listed scenarios, take note of what happens and update your plans to include what worked and what didn’t.

Novice Review & Test Match

To be successful while preparing for your Novice Review & Test Match, you will want to focus on the following:

  • A basic understanding/familiarity with all of the Novice Lessons and the ability to demonstrate key skills.
  • What the Four Levels of Importance mean to you and how you hold yourself to them, both on and off the field.
  • Ownership of your own Fencing Journey and an understanding that your journey doesn’t end when you take your Swordsman’s Oath.
  • BONUS: Consider how your time as a Novice has prepared you for being a Swordsman. In what ways can you build upon your momentum and continue your Swordsman’s Journey on the right foot?

Novice Test Match

Preparing for your Test Match with the Captain is about focusing on how you can convince and prove you are ready to become a swordsman. However the Captain decides to test you, it your responsibility to prepare yourself as best you can, considering everything you’ve learned and done, along with why you think you’re ready to move on from the Training Program.

Do you have any questions on any of these criteria for success?

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