Scherma Nova Studiorum
Scherma Nova Studiorum is modeled on the student guilds in 11th century Bologna, which eventually led to the formation of the first university. The guilds were formed for mutual aid and protection by foreign students who had traveled to Bologna to study Roman law. They also functioned as a sort of union, in that they were able to engage in collective bargaining with the city to secure better treatment, and with groups of scholars that they hired to instruct them in various subjects.
For the purposes of our group, we extrapolate from that idea that a group of students may have also hired instructors to teach them fencing and self defense. Some of the Bolognese fencing masters were in fact also instructors at the university.
The ideas from the Bologna model that we find most relatable are 1) the secular focus, as most education around this time in Europe was religious in nature; and 2) the way it centers the students, rather than the instructors. Our group aims to be knowledge-seeking, rather than knowledge-imparting, in nature.
“The undersigned good gentles, having traveled together to distant lands to study the arts of defense, now seek to form together a Students Guild of mutual aid and protection. The guild members shall govern themselves according to the rules and policies set forth below. The guild may, when they see fit, engage the services of a Master, to instruct them in a useful art, the terms of this contract to be agreed upon by both parties, and appropriate compensation to be negotiated between them.”
Code of Conduct
The Scherma Nova Studiorum code of conduct consists of two sections. The first section establishes the expectations of behavior we want to set for our members, and the second outlines the types of infractions that may require a response from the Guild.
The goals of Scherma Nova Studiorum are based in collaborative learning, and mutual aid and support. These can encompass a wide range of learning approaches and projects, including:
- Working on drills
- Studying manuals (or translating one!)
- Applications from other martial arts
- Pedagogy - learning about learning/teaching
- Learning through observation and discussion (such as analyzing fight videos online, or observing fights in person - with prior consent of all involved)
- Taking a class, or asking someone else to teach you a thing
- Use of Guild learning materials
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