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Philosophy

The Guild of Saint Michael is a modest part in the age-old chain of European martial tradition.

As a guild we attach great importance to the comprehensiveness of the martial tradition. The physical aspect is challenged, as well as mental and social resilience is forged.

How do we follow "The Noble Art" of the sword and what does it entail? Read below what the guild aspect means!​

“He is a brave man who fights his own weaknesses”

[Master Hanko Döbringer]

Virtues

A life's worth

What is chivalry? This question has been central for centuries and is equivalent to the question "What is good?" As humans, we are constantly looking for how we can do justice to our lives.

For us as a school, chivalry first and foremost means service. A description that the 13th century knight Ramon Llull supports. Which also ties in with the etymological meaning of the word 'Knight' as a servant. As serving society.

We shape the martial code in a way that is appropriate for today. The old path must be actualized in its essence. On this basis, nine virtues emerge that we focus on:

1. Measure
2. Wisdom
3. Justice
4. Courage
5. Loyalty
6. Humility
7. Honor
8. Compassion
9. Truth

Virtues are there to direct our minds away from everything that distracts us. They cannot possibly exist without trust, purpose and daily application. The virtues are a practice. They train us to act from the Heart.

The etiquette we follow is a collection of agreements and rules that express this chivalrous mentality. They demonstrate the virtues and are an exercise in this.

The Noble Art

Ars Gymnastica - For Body and Soul

As a guild, we largely focus on the 15th and 16th century German fencing tradition, with the masters, who base themselves on the teachings of Master Johannes Liechtenauer , as the guideline in our lessons. These masters speak of the knightly art of fencing as Ars Gymnastica; a noble science, which not only benefits practitioners' physical abilities but also gives them a renewed sense of values such as honor, perseverance and dedication.

The martial art we learn, the weapons we use, are from an earlier time. It speaks to something deeper in us, where we can only fantasize about their importance. This knightly art is one of discipline. Where a sharp sword can decide the difference between life and death, art requires discipline and knowing your own skills and character.

Anyone who constantly tests their own limits, lives by the sword and perseveres in the chosen path is more than welcome with us. In our art we strive for perfection and completion. A path that involves struggles with one's own weaknesses.

Self-confidence, dedication and determination are qualities that develop over time.

"but we cannot all be friars, and God brings His children to Heaven by many paths: Chivalry is religion."
[Miguel de Cervantes] 

The Guild life

Brotherhood: With one another

Being a member of the Guild of St. Michael goes beyond the doors of the fencing hall. It is about creating a close-knit community  in which there is room for every person.

Just like with the Old Guild, the word 'brotherhood' is central. A word that refers to the social connections that are so important between people. A brotherhood where people can find each other outside the fencing hall and mean something to each other. This social dimension is the basis of what a guild is and human existence.

The motto "Iron sharpens iron" applies to the three dimensions; physically, mentally and socially.

When Antwerp fell to the Spanish government in 1585, during the Eighty Years' War, the Spanish government wanted to know all the names and numbers of Protestants in the [predominantly] armed guilds. This also applies to the members of the Guild of St. Michael. However, here the feeling of brotherhood turned out to be more important than that of religion. The Guild of St. Michael did provide the numbers, but refused to give the city council the names of their members. Thanks to documents that have survived, we know that the Guild of Saint Michael consisted of about three hundred men at the time.

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