In the trades there are three levels of accomplishment: apprentice, journeymen, and master. For comparison, at the college level, we have the bachelor’s degree wherein the person knows the basics about the chosen field, the master’s degree wherein the person knows everything about a specific area in the field, and the doctor’s degree wherein the person has contributed something new to the field. For HEMA, the trades seem more appropriate to me. Here the apprentice is the beginner/novice, the person who is interested and is trying to decide whether or not to continue this training. The journeyman is one who knows the basics about the weapons, the history, and how to use the basic weapon (the longsword) as evidenced in a simple written/online test and a willingness to spar. The master is an expert in this field (which, in our case, would be Meyer specific) as evidenced by an extensive written/online test or producing an article of scholarship and by prize playing where the candidate must win a large percentage of a large number bouts in rapid succession against his peers.
Now we have an understandable reluctance to use the term “master” as we can never demonstrate our ability in actual combat. So I will leave the name of each level for another discussion.
For the journeyman level, I’m thinking of a test of basic information plus ten sparring bouts. The tenth bout would be videoed and posted on our website simply as a reference for that member’s future growth. There would be four tests of 25 questions each (100 questions in all). The member would go online, select “test” and receive one of the four tests at random and then have ten minutes (to prevent looking up the answers) to answer 25 multiple-choice questions. The passing grade would be 80% or 20 correct answers. As soon as a member achieves a passing grade and has had ten sparring bouts, that member would be deemed a journeyman swordsman. The member can continue to take these tests with his highest score being recorded on the website. A journeyman swordsman should know all the answers at this level of testing. This kind of testing would have the effect of actually teaching these basics facts as the member takes the test(s) repeatedly until he passes and/or raises his recorded score to 100%.
I envision fairly simple questions like:
1. The foible of a sword is: a. the cross guard, b. the part of the blade farthest from the hilt, c. the part of the blade closest to the hilt, d. the center of balance of the sword
2. Meyer published his book first in: a. 1570, b. 1750, c. 1610, d. 1492
Meyer Freifechter Guild-South Florida
Don't mess with old men. They didn't get to be old by being stupid.