RoR: Route of Rigor, a New Journey

For Those Seeking to Own Their Own Journey

Last year we introduced a path for students of unusual situations, who, for various reasons, had struggled to make it through our Training Program in a reasonable time frame. We offered them the opportunity to progress through an accelerated learning course. We called it the Route of Rigor, or, “RoR” for short. It was wonderfully successful! Two more Swordsmen were added to the ranks of Order of the Rose and the other Students learned a great deal about hard work, self-determination, and perseverance.

We also learned a lot about student’s need for support and how challenging the extended program was to maintain. While the feedback from participants and administrators was overwhelming positive, the program also showed areas that needed improvement. So we are happy to present this thoughtfully revised version of RoR.

How does it work now?

RoR, originally designed fencers like returning crusaders, and Students stuck in the training program that were willing to commit to a unique style of learning, is not limited to those fencers only. We strongly encourage Swordsmen to participate. Any fencer who wants an intense course of study, and is willing to pair it with a strong commitment to learn will fit in RoR program. This is in line with the mentality of owning our own journeys and developing Citizenship. We want fencers to have more control over their learning and less dictated learning.

Under the direction of the Captain, through a RoR Coordinator, and with the assistance of sponsors, fencers will be able to choose a lesson each week to work on using all resources available to them including their sponsors. Fencers are expected to train, both mentally and physically, on their own, to learn the principles in the lessons. A mid-week check in will provide assistance and encouragement, and at the end of each week RoR participants will pass off the lessons with a RoR Coordinator as scheduling allows. This does not have to be at practice. So if work or life prevents you from attending you can still pass off your lesson for credit.

The RoR program will conduct sessions as needed through out the season, restricted to the months of April through September. Each session will run for 6 weeks during which students may pass off 6 lessons in a single Rank. Even if a Student only has a few lessons left in the Initiate Rank we will not be allowing that student to take classes from both ranks. Focusing in on one skill set will be sufficiently rigorous, we promise.

Who can join?

In short: Everyone. … Though it might not be for everyone.

Most Students will still best be served in regular Friday night practices. Wanting to join RoR simply to get through the Training Program quickly, or because a person has an inappropriate fixation on skill, are not good reasons to join RoR. Frankly they aren’t good reasons to fence either. Our training program isn’t a set of check boxes to be marked off.

However fencers who find themselves in unique situations, are willing to seek out learning opportunities, commit to a self-guided path, and work hard, will be considered for the RoR path.

Those interested in joining RoR need to be approved by any combination of the following: two Swordsmen, two Officers, or one Master Swordsman, as well as a final approval by the Captain. These approvers would be considered your “Sponsors”, who will be your primary source of help and support as you train from week to week. This approval process ensures that a fencer is capable of handling this style of learning, provides a support group of people to whom the RoR fencer can look to for help and guidance, and will ensure that members of RoR are properly focused on the 4 Levels of Importance.

RoR! A Fire Within

Order of the Rose is a dynamic Company. While its core values of Safety, Honor, positive Attitude, and Skill in service of the Terrasylvan ideal will never change, we embrace the opportunity to use the new tools of Citizenship and Owning Our Own Journey in this updated RoR program. We wish to assist all fencers on their journey especially when their desire to learn and grow is like a fire within. RoR is for them. We wish them a good journey.

The Route of Rigor FAQ

What is the Route of Rigor (RoR)?

The Route of Rigor is a path for all fencers who wish to jump start their progress through the Order of the Rose Training program, or would like to revisit it with a Swordsman’s perspective. Often these fencers struggle to attend Friday night practice. The success of RoR is entirely dependent upon the fencers own initiative to study and train outside of practice.

Does it replace the Training Program?

No. This is not a replacement or an advanced version of the Training Program. The same lessons will be provided for RoR students, and the same standards of Safety, Honor, Attitude and Skill will be expected.

Who does this benefit?

The RoR program was originally designed to benefit students of unusual situations (S.O.U.S’s). These S.O.U.S’s who, constrained by life, work, impending college/crusade departure, and other situations, never had the chance to earn the rank of Swordsman. It now includes a wonderful review training for Swordsmen and Officers, or any fencer interested in an intense course of study.

This intensive effort also benefits all the members of the Order of the Rose. Even if they are not directly involved in the program. When we take the time to individually help a struggling member we learn and grow ourselves. Someday that member will be empowered to strengthen the Order in return, where as before they could have fallen away from the group entirely.

How does the Program work?

The RoR program is run as needed throughout the season restricted to the months April through September. Over the course of 6 weeks a student may study 6 lessons of their choosing. They will train both mentally and physically at home enough to learn the principles and skills in the lesson. They will then pass off the lesson with a RoR Coordinator as scheduling allows. Additionally, there will be a mid-week check in with a RoR Coordinator to receive assistance and encouragement. But fencers should primarily work with their Sponsors to receive guidance and practice.

Why should we consider this model of learning comparable to Friday night model?

Our current Friday night model of learning asks for a person to be in attendance during a lesson for that lesson to be checked off. They are then responsible to implement what they have learned during the rest of practice and during Open Workshops.

In the RoR model students will be expected to put in sufficient time for physical practice and mental practice. They will expected to put in the practice they would have gotten at practice, throughout the week at home.

How can someone join the RoR program?

To join the program, a student must be recommended for it. Before a RoR session begins, a student must gain the approval of a combination of the following: one Master Swordsman, 2 Officers, or 2 Swordsmen. These approvals must be provided to the Captain, either verbally or in written form, before a conversation with the Captain can occur. The final approval for a RoR candidate will come from the Captain.

To gain approval, fencers need to have a conversation with those who can approve. In that conversation it should be determined if the fencer is in a unique situation that prevents a traditional course of learning. Or if they are prepared for this intense course of study if they have already completed the training program and are looking for more.

In the conversation the fencer should demonstrate a sincere willingness to seek out learning opportunities outside of practice. Such as having a plan to practice with the Captain, a RoR coordinator, Swordsmen, their Sponsor, or friends, that relies on the fencer’s initiative, not external motivators. Fencers also need to be able to express their willingness to commit to a self-guided path, and communicate effectively that they will work hard. A final conversation with the Captain will determine if a fencer is ready for RoR.

For those involved in the Approval Process

Students wishing to join RoR are striving to become Swordsmen. The Swordsmen should understand what it takes to become one. In the end a candidate will be measured against the 4 Levels of Importance, and that is what the Swordsmen should base their approval criteria on. For Swordsmen taking the Route of Rigor they should already be able to provide evidence that they are ready for this process. However the following may be a few helpful guidelines.

Some example reasons of why you might approve someone are:

  • They were in the Training Program before or have had previous fencing experience and need an intense refresh.
  • They have fallen through the cracks and have become stuck in the Training Program.
  • Sincere desire to become a Swordsman, and uphold the 4 Levels of Importance
  • They have a fire within driving them towards mastery compatible with the ideals of the group
  • They are internally motivated, despite their circumstances, to own their course of learning

Some example reasons of why you might not approve someone are:

  • They are inappropriately fixated on the skill of fencing
  • They haven’t developed an understanding of the meaning of Swordsmanship
  • They want to beat someone else through the lessons
  • They want to hurry through the lessons, ‘just to get them over with’
  • They aren’t capable of learning on their own
  • They assume, based on your relationship, that you will approve them

Please remember that these fencers are our friends and family. Those with approval power are not trying to stop anyone from learning. They are advocating for the student. Sometimes that will lead to an approval. Sometimes that will mean advocating for them to take a little longer in their journey by sticking with the Friday night course. In each case it should be carefully considered what is best for both the student and the Company, as the Swordsmen, Officers, and Captain discuss each candidate together.

What counts as Physical Training?

Physical training should be considered practicing the lesson enough to reasonably demonstrate the skill or principle. Some principles/skills will take longer to learn, and others less time. Students should take the time it takes to learn the skill, seeking out assistance when required.

What counts as Mental Training?

Mental training should be a thoughtful, focused introspection on the assigned lesson and will include actually reading the lesson from the website. Journaling about the lesson is strongly encouraged.

Other mental training could include, answering questions posed by Coordinators, asking/discussing their own questions with other fencers, recording their thoughts after physical training and reviewing them with a Sponsor or other Swordsmen. Some form of mental training must be demonstrated in order to pass off a lesson.

How much leadership effort is involved?

Most of the effort will be required of the student, hence the Rigor. Coordinators and Officers will have minimal administrative responsibilities. The Coordinator will provide guidance and criteria for what should be the focus of each lesson. while Sponsors will provide the primary support and help that students may need. As with traditional students, Officers will continue to test RoR students in their standard Rank Reviews.

If a RoR student attends a regular practice what do they do during Lesson Time?

During beginning instruction, RoR students can pass off lessons with a Coordinator and then jump in with their rank group to practice drills and participate in discussion. This will help them acculturate and practice with others of their same rank.

Who is running the Program?

All training and scheduling are under the direction of the Captain. That includes the RoR program. Kane is the current RoR coordinator. To become a RoR coordinator a Swordsman must complete all the lessons in the training manual in RoR sessions. As more coordinators graduate the sessions will be administered by them with schedules, individual, and Company needs carefully considered.

As a Swordsman, how can I support?

In the future, we will want a few more RoR Coordinators to help with training and administration outside of practice. If you are interested in becoming a Coordinator you will need to complete all of the lessons in the training manual during RoR sessions. This will help you understand a student’s position and needs in an empathetic way.

If you are not interested in coordinating, please take time to consider the approval process and what kinds of questions you could ask a fencer to understand their desire to join RoR.

It would also be helpful if you would consider being an occasional training partner for RoR students. Potentially volunteering your time to train with others they can attend practice and working with them on what ever lesson they are learning.