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Charter of the Practitioner – Via Bruxellensis

  1. The club is dedicated to the practice of Historical European Martial Arts, a discipline consisting in the study of fighting techniques out of historical sources to practice them in a modern context.
  2. It is a martial art. The end goal of the practice is not to become stronger and better than someone else, but to become a stronger and better version of ourselves. Our only enemy is ourselves, the other practitioners are friends and practice partners.
  3. There is no obligation at following all the classes in an intensive way, I come and practice based on my availabilities and abilities. It is clear on the other hand that faster and better personal evolution is correlated to a larger personal investment in my practice.
  4. I am responsible of my own advancement in my practice. It is an art of self-development, I must not hesitate at asking to other practitioners for advices and tips to improve myself. The other practitioners have on the other hand to respect my own bubble so that I can focus on what I do. But if I have the slightest doubt or hesitation, I must ask my question, the other members will be there to benevolently share their experience and knowledge, whatever their level.
  5. As this other member, even more experienced, instructor included, I have to respect this personal space devoted to evolution and must not interrupt the exercise to give unsolicited advice, even if it’s out of sheer goodwill. The advice must be sought and asked for by the person herself/himself. Even if then I cannot perform properly my exercise, it’s not a problem, we regularly change partner.
  6. My responsibility as experienced practitioner is to perform my part of the exercise the most correct and accurate way. I always have something to improve, even on the most basic strike, be it my structure, my dynamics, my trajectory, my timing, etc., they must always be worked on for refining. If I maintain my focus on self improvement, I will never feel bored in classes, whatever the exercise. I only provide an intervention to my partner if she or he has explicitly asked for it, so that I respect her or his personal space and learning process.
  7. I must also adapt my intensity, strength and speed to the capacities of my practice partner. I must offer conditions that will allow roughly 70 to 80% of success rate. Make it too easy and the person will learn nothing new. Make it too difficult and the person will learn nothing. I adapt myself through my actions.
  8. The only case where I’m allowed to do unsolicited remark is for situations that could result, on short term or long term, in health and safety hazards.
  9. During my practice, my main focus is on safety, the others as well as mine. Be it through my strikes intensity and their control, the accuracy of the targeted sport, my proper body structure to go easy on my joints and tendons, etc.
  10. Outside of the classes, there are numerous events allowing me to practice even more. Part of them will be displayed in class, or even announced. It will be also put on te website (Events). I am responsible for looking at these regularly.
  11. Classes begin at a specific time and end at a specific time. Within that timeframe, I’m devoted to the practice of HEMA.
  12. When class start, the gear required for the practice (weapon simulators, protective gears, drinks, etc.) are prepared around so that I’m not losing time during the class to get them.
  13. The club is the sum of all its members. The club needs the involvement and help from everyone to make it, year after year, a success benefiting to everybody.
  14. When I practice, I’m in full control of myself, I’m not diminished by the use of psychotropic substances, alcohol included. In the same way, the use of doping substances will not help me move forward on the martial way and is strictly forbidden, as it represents a hazard to myself as well as to my practice partners.
  15. For safety reasons, others, and mine, I don’t wear jewelry, watches, necklace, earrings, etc. during the classes.
  16. Although I handle a weapon simulator (wood, plastic, steel, whatever), I treat my tool with the same respect and defiance as if it was a real weapon made to wound or to kill. I don’t put the tip on the ground or on my foot, I don’t carry it in a way that could potentially hit someone around me. I always stay aware about the use and carry of my gear. I don’t let my sword fall to the ground. Penalties (in push-ups) will apply.
    This respect applies to the rest of my gear, to the gear provided to me and to the venue.
  17. When an exercise is explained, I focus my attention to what is said and shown, the majority of the information on the exercise lies in the demonstrated moves, more than in the pronounced words. During these explanations, I don’t chat with someone else, that would deprive many people, including myself, from the information on the exercise.
  18. Unless for safety or health reasons, I stay physically and mentally present during the class. I stay physically active (I don’t go sitting) and mentally (I stay aware and focused), it is part of the improvement of my martial discipline. Even if I will never end up in a fight, I prepare myself for it. And in a fight, there is no room for inattention and rest. If I need to rest, most of the time, a gentle walking with deep breath will be more efficient to my body than seating.
  19. I salute at the opening of the class. I salute at the closing of the class (or when I leave if I have to leave earlier). I also salute my practice partner at the beginning of a paired practice space, to signify her or him that I will do my best, while respecting the person I face. I salute my partner at  the end of the paired practice space to thank her or him for the time and energy devoted to me.
  20. If I feel like something is odd, or wrong, or going bad, be it towards me, towards another practitioner, towards the class or towards the club, I share my concerns and question to the people responsible of the club as soon as possible.
  21. I provide to the people more recent in the club than me all the benevolence and goodwill I have received when I arrived in the club. The welcoming spirit of our club, the atmosphere of sharing and caring is a recognized strength of our club.
  22. I use appropriate gear for the practice of HEMA, meeting the safety standards. If I’m not totally sure about some gear, I ask to the people responsible of the club and/or to the most experienced people. Ideally before buying than after.
  23. Historical sources are THE source for our practice. It might happen that someone, instructor included, may give an explanation going in a different way than the source. Don’t hesitate to mention it, we all can interpret in a wrong way or remember it wrongly. By going as often as possible in the sources, I will be better at my HEMA practice and I will not fall in the trap of the “modernism” bias of the practice.