The ceremonies and ordinances attached to the guild

Fencing traditions come alive

Within the Guild we strive to uphold and revive fencing culture as part of the endeavour to revitalise these martial arts. 


Our ceremonies are in place to show appreciation for the dedication it has taken to reach the ranks and to celebrate that occasion, but also to uphold the traditions and pay hommage to those who came before us. We do not disclose the details of the actual ceremonies here, but they are based on historical rituals during ranking.

Fencing Oath, Paris, 1520-40

LA PROMESSE que, au maistre font,
Sans tarder ils l’accompliront:

Tous escolliers premièrement,

De bon cueur et volunté franche,

Lever la main bien haultement

Doibt l’escollier, sur l’espée blanche,

Puis affirmer certainement

Qu’il accomplira l’ordonnance,

Disant: Vous jurez en créance

Et vostre part de paradis,

Que ce jeu honneste et requis,

Ne le apprendrez nullement

Pour donner empeschement

Contre l’église, ne la foi,

Ne pour aller contre le Roy

Nostre Sire, ne pour meurtrir,

Guetter boys, ne faire mourir

Aulcuns qui passeront leur chemin:

Ne pour faire larrecin,

Ne faire tort et desplaysir,

Ne pour filles violer

Femmes ravyr ne efforcer,

Ne pour faire aulcun effort,

Si n’estoit que on vous feist tort,

Sans cause, et par entreprise

Vous oster vostre marchandise.
PREMIÈREMENT, sçavoir tu doibs

Que quand tu fais le serment

Six blancs payer te fault comptant,

Et les mettre sur la croisée

De la dague, ou de l’espée,

Ou bouclier et par révérence,

Le maistre dira la signifiance;

Pinte et pain tu doibs payer

Car c’est le droict des escolliers;

Et quand en roue tu veulx passer,

Six blancs aussi te fault payer;


English translation

The promise which they make to the master,

they shall make without delay:

Firstly, all the scholars

with good heart and of free will,

raise their hands up high;

the scholar shall, upon the white sword

affirm with certainty

that he will abide by the ordinance,

saying: Do you swear on your faith

and by your place in Paradise

that you are not learning

this honest and necessary game

in order to do harm

against the Church, nor the Faith,

le Roy nor to go against the King

our lord, nor to commit murder,

to lurk in the forest, intending to kill

those who travel on their way;

nor to commit robbery,

nor to commit wrong or misdeeds,

nor to violate girls

nor to ravish or oppress women

nor to commit any act against another

unless they mean to do you wrong

without cause, attempting

to deprive you of your property.

Firstly, you should know

that when you take the oath

you must pay six blancs in cash

and place them upon the cross

of the dagger, or of the sword,

or the buckler; and with reverence,

the master will tell you the meaning.

For bread and drink you must pay

for this is the right of the scholars.

And when you pass onto the rolls,

you must pay six blancs as well.


Guild Objects

The images to the right are historical guild objects from craft guilds. Similar objects were used by fencing guilds from the medieval period an onwards, together with specific objects tied to their practise, like laurel wreaths, gloves and sharp swords.

Lists — a list of apprentices, a list of journeymen, a list of masters, a list of aldermen

Guild chest — contains documents, lists, insignia, welcome goblet etc. Traditionally had three keys (for the Alderman and two helpers). When the chest is open, the meeting is open.

Guild book — contains rules and events of the guild, for example winners of tournaments, club events etc.

Alderman staff (schafferholtz, ferule, klapholtz) — used as a symbol for the alderman. Used to knock on chest three times at opening and three times at closing of meetings.

Signet — stamp for the club or guild

Welcome goblet — Used in ceremonies to welcome students to new ranks

Banner — guild insignia to use when competing or meeting


Schaffer holtz

Guild chest

Welcome goblet

Journeyman letter

Sigill stamp

Money box

Beating of journeyman during initiation ceremony

Parading the journeyman

Guild sigils, 1585