A Free Scholar is a senior student, someone who has achieved scholar-level expertise with multiple elements of the art, the ability to fence proficiently with all of them,  and has begun developing the ability to apply the plays of the system creatively and dynamically in new situations; ie: they understand the underlying why behind the how in the tradition’s teachings. As the higher of the two “student ranks”, the IAS leaves it to its member academies to award the rank of Free Scholar, and recognizes that rank as if it had been awarded by the association itself. In turn, member academies agree to hold their Free Scholar candidates to the following minimal requirements, although each academy maintains the rights to add additional, internal requirements as they see fit.


Gold garter, worn below the knee.


Prudentia the Lynx (Prudence)


Primary objective

For the curriculum up to Laureato, the primary objectives are twofold: broaden the scope of the training to include all the unarmoured material as well as continue to improve upon the base, as well as provide training for Laureate to act as junior instructors in the transmission of the Art.

Secondary objectives

Secondary objectives include:

  • Honing tactical awareness to include both offensive and defensive tactical decision-making.
  • Improve the student’s understanding and application of tempo.
  • Improve execution of techniques and mechanics.
  • Improve the student’s contextual understanding of the Art.
  • Improve flow and extended phrases.

General Requirements:

A Free Scholar is expected to be versed in the core building blocks of l’arte dell’armizare, and be capable of performing techniques spontaneously and dynamically to the required level of execution, with the requisite disciplines. As such, the level of skill acquisition is that of proficiency.

  • Abrazare
  • Daga
  • Spada a un mano
  • Spada a due mani (largo e stretto)
  • Lanza (both the “common method” and the dei Liberi method).

As the lance – both as a spear and as the simple staff – is the logical bridge between armoured and unarmoured, short and long, the sword and polearms, it makes a logical companion arm at this level, although candidates are not required by the IAS charter to test or play their Prize in harness.


The candidate must complete a written test or series of tests encompassing the ensemble of core disciplines outlined below, as well as including material based on the reading requirements for this level, also outlined below.

Required reading

The Laureato is required to have read and understood the works that follow. The goal is not memorisation, but rather an understanding of the Art, the manuscripts, and the historical context in which it evolved.

Reading list: Primary material

  • Complete Fior di Battaglia (Getty Ms) translation
  • Complete Flos Duellotorum (Pisani-Dossi Ms.)
  • Filippo Vadi, De Arte Gladiatoria – Prologue and 16 Verse Chapters

Secondary Material:

  • Fiore dei Liberi’s Armizare, Robert Charrette
  • Flowers of Battle, The Complete Martial Works of Fiore dei Liberi, Volume One, Tom Leoni & Gregory D. Mele

Contextual Material:

  • Chivalry – Maurice Keen
  • Chivalry and Violence in Medieval Europe – Richard Kaeuper (the counterpoint to Keen)
  • Mercenaries and their Masters – Michael Mallet
  • Sword in the Age of Chivalry – Oakeshott

Pick One:

  • The Italian Renaissance – by Jacob Burkhardt
  • The Italian Renaissance – Peter Burke


As previously stated, Laureato candidates should have reached a level of Proficient for the technical requirements stated below, per the QoE skills model.


In addition to the requirements for Scolaro, the candidate is expected to be able to perform multiple steps smoothly and in sequence, incorporating directional changes and keeping a stable, balanced base. Laureate should also be able to maintain this footwork in a freeplay environment.


The Candidate must:

  • Demonstrate the ability to perform all the abrazare plays in a dynamic and spontaneous fashion, using control and in a safe manner.
  • Demonstrate falling ability in freeplay, including high falls
  • Demonstrate an understanding of structure and how it relates to balance
  • Demonstrate methods for breaking structure and balance in a dynamic setting
  • Demonstrate the three components of any takedown: unbalance, enter, throw.
  • Possess and demonstrate an understanding of poste and the grips and positions from which they derive.
  • Execute a number of syllabus and/or flow drills, as well as set plays in accordance with the school’s curriculum.

The Candidate must:

  • Demonstrate the poste: porta di ferro sempia, porta di ferro dopia, porta di ferro dopia incrosada, mezana porta di ferro dopia, mezana porta di ferro dopia incrosada, posta longa, posta dente di cinghale, posta frontale
  • Perform all the unarmed plays of dagger, specifically from remedy masters 1, 3, 4, 5, and 9.
  • Demonstrate the ability to fall safely with the weapon.
  • Execute a number of syllabus/flow drills in accordance with the school’s curriculum.
  • Apply the plays in a dynamic and spontaneous fashion, using control and in a safe manner.
Spada a due mani

The Candidate must:

  • Demonstrate the 12 poste and their variations, as well as an understanding of their relation to one another and their tactical usage.
  • Demonstrate cutting ability with the longsword
  • Demonstrate tutta volta, mezza volta  and volta stabile of the sword in accordance with the interpretation of the IAS.
  • Demonstrate a minimum level of fundamental fencing knowledge
  • Demonstrate an understanding of tempo and line by demonstrating actions in the following tempi:
    • dui tempi: First and second remedy master actions, rompere di punta, rebatter deflection
    • mezzo tempo: attacking into a guard change, actions on the sword from the bind (volte of the sword)
    • primo tempo: demonstrate an understanding of how to initiate an attack and properly develop it.
    • contratempo: attacking the advance target (hands, arms, leg), single-time actions: scambiar di punta, first remedy master, stop-thrust, single-time countercut.
  • Execute a number of syllabus/flow drills in accordance with the school’s curriculum.
  • Demonstrate all set plays from the zogho largo section of the manuscript.
  • Demonstrate a selection of zogho stretto sections of the manuscript, at the tester’s discretion.
  • Demonstrate ability in applying the spada a due mani plays dynamically and spontaneously, with control and in a safe manner.
Spada a un mano

The Candidate must:

  • Demonstrate the un mano poste as well as an understanding of their relation to one another and their tactical usage.
  • Demonstrate cutting ability with the single sword (see “cutting”, below)
  • Demonstrate the use of tempo per the longsword requirements.
  • Execute a number of syllabus/flow drills in accordance with the school’s curriculum.
  • Demonstrate all set plays from the un’mano section of the manuscript, including those from the equestrian section.
  • Applied Armizare: Demonstrate how to apply the canonical plays from the other defensive (left side) poste of the sword in one hand. The candidate will also demonstrate how to use the sword from the offensive (right side) poste as inferred from the source material.
  • Demonstrate ability in applying the spada a un’mano plays dynamically and spontaneously, with control and in a safe manner.

The candidate must:

    • Applied Armizare: Demonstrate the “common method” that opposes dei Liberi’s method:
      • poste of breve serpentina, serpentina lo soprano and bastarda serpentina lo soprano
      • fundamental attacks of  punta portata, punta slanciata, punta cambiata, blow with the pedale, blow with the half-spear, shortened thrust
      • Basic parries from breve serpentina, winding between breve serpentina and lo soprano and the “universal parry” from the bastarda position.
      • Demonstrate the cavazione
      • Demonstrate the cambiamento
    • Canonical Armizare: Demonstrate the “dueling method” taught  by Fiore dei Liberi:
      • Six poste and their tactical usage
      • fundamental attacks of punta portata, shortened thrust, blow with the pedale
      • Demonstrate the canonical corpus of set plays  with emphasis on the scambiar and rompere from various starting poste.
    • Demonstrate the ability to move from the Common Method to dei Liberi’s method, either spontaneously or using a form/flow drill in accordance with the school’s curriculum.

Free Scholars are expected to be able to perform compound attacks with the dagger, longsword and sword in one hand from all guard positions, with both true and false edges (for swords), as well as an ability to choose the proper cut in a tactical decision-making environment (freeplay). Free scholars must also posses the ability to cut suitable targets with multiple attacks, as per the requirements outlined in the requirements for Free Scholar. Further, thrusts should be delivered in proper tempo from all quadrants of the body as well as the center, and the candidate should be able to perform cavazione (disengage). Precision and control are requirements.

  • Cuts and thrusts must be developed in proper order (true time), without bobbing up or otherwise compromising the mechanics of the cut.
  • The Laureato candidate should be able to demonstrate basic cutting ability by severing a cutting medium (generally tatami omote) with basic cuts along several lines, employing proper balance, lines and footwork. Patterns include:
    • Pattern One: Simple Mandritto Fendente
    • Pattern Two: Simple Riverso Fendente
    • Pattern Three: Alternating Mandritti and Riversi – 4 cuts total
    • Pattern Four: Mandritto Fendente, Riverso Falso sottano, Riverso Fendente
  • Cuts must be appropriately developed in proper tempo according to the established quality of execution for cuts.


Free Scholars must possess the ability to perform compound set of plays and counters related to their level in a fluid manner as well as dynamically in a freeplay environment versus non compliant partners. The level required for Free scholar is “Proficiency”.


The Free Scholar candidate must abide by the qualitative criteria established for his rank level. The criteria can be found on the Testing Requirements page.


The Free Scholar is expected to be able to teach their school’s entire Scolaro curriculum in a group format. Further, the Free Scholar should be capable of developing and executing a lesson plan within the bounds of the curriculum. Pursuant to this, the Free Scholar should be able to see and correct mistakes in execution, both technical and mechanical, and provide basic feedback to students regarding tactical and strategic consideration. The Free Scholar must work under the direction and guidance of a Provost or Magister. It is imperative that the student understand that rote verbatim is not required, but rather demonstrate an understanding of the various components of the Art, their tactical application, and their interconnection as part of a holistic system. Finally, as Free Scholars are considered to be assistant instructors, a candidate must possess the ability to demonstrate the material in a coherent and cohesive manner in a group lesson as prepared above.