Arriving in Texas Brian let me know that he wanted to do a compagno test with me before I left the states. Naturally I was thrilled at the opportunity, but also a bit apprehensive, would I know enough to pass the test?
As the days rolled by I was more and more sure that I was not ready for it, surrounded by the best sword fighters of the world it seemed that I had barely just scraped on the surface of the Fiore Dei Liberi system.
Saturday night there was a compagno testing, at first I was sad that I was not invited, and then as I sat and listened to the in depth questions asked, I was glad. Having studied on my own I might have some of the basic technique down but I was unsure if I had the theory behind it. I told Colin Hatcher, my sensei, mentor and friend that I did not feel ready for the test. He was very encouraging and told me that maybe I was mistaken about my prowess.
Sunday morning, I step nervously onto the list field for my first Pas D’armes, It was the first time for me to ever spar with the longsword, first time to put the stuff I’ve read to the test. It worked, I lost most of my bouts but I could feel that the system worked and that I had it in me. I was fighting carefully and slowly, trying my hardest to make sure I was fighting within the system, looking for the plays so that I could use the responses I knew. Knowing that everyone was watching my every move didn’t help to aleviate my nervosity. But it was fun. Everyone was courteous and chivalrous. The whole Pas D’armes was fought in good spirit and with a large portion of humor. I think everyone that was there both fighters and spectators enjoyed it.
After the tournament was finished awards was given to the fighters who had proven themself in the Pas D’armes by showing prowess and virtue. I was called up and awarded the yellow belt of the compagno, there was no bells and wistles but the power of the moment, simple as it was, brought tears to my eyes.
I had been tested in the passage of arms and deemed worthy.