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Making the academy better: charter review

This fall makes 25 years since the Academy of Defense was signed into existence by their serene highnesses, Edward and Rylyn, prince and princess of the Principality of Ealdormere.

For context: in AS 32 (CE 1998) most fencers were using foils, epees and double-wide epees; the “sidesword experiment” (precursor to cut & thrust) had not yet started; whether or not fencing would be allowed in Ealdormere was a serious question.

As a principality, Ealdormere’s own awards (besides AoA) didn’t carry precedence.

The academy’s charter in AS 32 was written as a means to build community, build skills, and recognize the people excelling in that community.

Now, in a mature kingdom we have martial awards, and within the Society we now have a peerage for the Order of Defense. We have youth combat, fencing, and cut & thrust. We have rapier spears!

And Society wide, we’re more conscious of inclusivity: making people of all backgrounds and abilities welcome in our halls, and on the field of honour.

Happily, the academy continues to have a role for building skills and community. And it’s time to review the charter, consider what we want from Ealdormere’s academy, and how we can make it better.

Please read over the charter as it stands now, and consider: what you, as an academy member or candidate, want to see in the academy, and what you’ll pitch in to help it happen.

At War of the Trillium, we’ll break bread together, share a glass, and consider what we want from the academy for the next 25 years.

Some items already marked for change

These items don’t require a lot of discussion, bc I’ve gotten clear feedback already that they require updates:

  • remove requirement to publish planned challenges in the Tidings, in favour of publishing online, (in these hallowed pages)
  • update the list of weapons forms – preferably link to Ealdormere’s library page > rapier handbook as reference
  • make the text gender-neutral

Some items up for discussion

These items come out of proposed changes in the previous list:

  • how much notice is required for a challenge to make it happen, so that everyone interested can learn about it, and make plans to attend? Consider that:
    • Praeceptor needs to contact event stewards and marshals in charge to confirm there’s time, space and goodwill
    • Praeceptor also needs to confirm enough academy members are attending to support a challenge. As the ranks rise, the available participant list gets smaller, so this step takes planning
  • do we “link” ranks with number of authorizations in weapons forms? Maybe there’s a good way to make challenging in more accessible, even if you stick with 1 or 2 weapons forms, for any number of reasons
  • do we encourage challengers to use cut & thrust as as weapons form? how about if they want to do cut & thrust exclusively?

More ideas still

  • how can we make the research component of the ranks more accessible? Right now many people associate “research” with “write an essay”, and for right and good reasons not everyone wants to write an essay for their hobby. In fact, “research” can be a wide range of finished works: clothes, armour, weapons or accessories, a YouTube video, a handout. This perception is in part “just” about communication of requirements, but it’s a very persistent idea
  • do only higher ranks commit do research? what if you could start research earlier, and complete it at any point during your time in the academy?
  • how can we make the decision-making mechanism in the academy more accessible?

Needed: a process for changing the charter

The academy needs a way to update the charter in future, that is considered and fair. I’m hoping people can bring ideas to the discussion.

A good goal for a process is: not too hard (to either take part in, or run), not too easy (so not prone to whimsy or fads), just right for volunteers and interested members to manage.

I’m available to chat on FB, Discord and eaod-dot-praeceptor -at- gmail-dot-com.