ARN - Training A Cadet (was Red Scarves)

Zimmermann, Leonard zimmerml at
Mon Jun 7 12:43:52 PDT 1999

On Monday, June 07, 1999 1:34 PM, Rufus Guthrie wrote:

> The thread has been very interesting and has made me ponder many ideas
> and opinions. Yet I am nagged by one situation. It was said 
> that when a
> non scarf is ready to become a cadet, it is usually their motivation
> that leads them to become a cadet in further hopes of becoming a Don. 
> My question is when does one know when they are ready to become a 
> cadet? Surely, they are influenced by outside forces. I 
> believe that it
> should be each individuals goals and knowledge of rapier combat that
> should lead one to becoming a better fencer. Is this the general
> consensus? Or should I have started looking for a Don long ago?

Perhaps this is something that bothers me the most. Often have I heard it
said that one need not be a cadet to become a Don. That being a cadet is a
personal relationship between a Don and a special student, not a rank or
statement of an individuals place in Societal structure. Yet we have all
seen, so far, something of a thought that says you should be a cadet before
becoming a Don, even though we do have ,very few, examples to the contrary.
(Although it should be noted that the majority of individuals who are cadets
tend to be among the most active in the community, so naturally we should
expect to see a good percentage of those receiving recognition coming from
those who are cadets.) Yet I must ask myself, why would someone only wish to
aspire to be a Cadet? Why not aspire to be a Don? Or better yet, let's
remove the labels and say, why not aspire to be those things we uphold as
our ideals of Honor, and Chivalry and Courtesy, all of the virtues we hold
so dear. No constricting labels, just aspiration to greatness.

Is it that we are so used to labeling things and following 12 step programs
to improvement that we must try to lace what we do in the SCA into that
vein? Is it not enough to aspire to the ideals? I won't say BE the ideals,
since I have known no one who could BE the ideals, except, perhaps, some of
the great prophets of religious literature and even they were always shown
to have some flaw, shown to be human. But if we do view the world in steps,
such as unscarved to student to cadet to Don, then would not, presumably, a
student be less than a cadet, who in turn is less than a Don? And if so, why
aspire only to the next step? Why not simply aspire to be a Don? Why not
aspire to the ideals we think of as being the embodiment of that specious
being, the "Ideal White Scarf", or "Ideal Knight/Laurel/Pelican", since all
we are really talking about is someone, or some groups, idea that someone is
close to the embodiment of those ideals for them? Why not simply aspire to
great virtue? 

If you feel a Don, or ANY other person, can help you to find those ideals
then that is when you should seek that guidance. In fact I say we should
always be seeking that guidance, no matter where it comes from. I say not
that you should have started looking for a Don long ago, but that you should
be happy that you were looking to better yourself and the lot of those you
love so long ago and that you continue to do so.

Honos Servio
Lionardo Acquistapace, Bjornsborg
(Lenny Zimmermann, San Antonio, TX)
zarlor at

be praised.
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