One doesn't have to be a martial artist to be a Knight – but it helps.
Chivalry originated as a behavioral norm among elite warriors in medieval times. Variations of this warrior ethic can be seen in other cultures as well, and during other times.
From today’s perspective, we can separate the moral ethic from the caste and appreciate its multifaceted value. Chivalry-Now has much to offer anyone, no matter who they are or where they live. We consider its updated principles universal.
So, what do martial arts offer? Quite a lot!
First of all, they provide a vehicle for learning and self-discipline that is deeply rooted in the warrior ethic similar to that from which chivalry arose. They teach not only physical attributes, but philosophical and spiritual depth as well. This is what separates martial arts from martial sports.
We tend to think of martial arts as fighting styles from the East, such as karate, kung-fu, and tae kwon do. This is because in the West traditional arts declined in popularity over the centuries, while they proliferated in the East and spread all around the world. They are recognized as valuable for teaching confidence, moral justice, good manners, personal refinement, and spiritual aspects of life.
As Western sword fighting skills gain attention, this is changing. Our own brother, Ken Gauthier, exemplifies this with his Gauthier Sword Studio, teaching far more than physical skills, including the 12 Trusts.
If you read any books by the late Gichin Funakoshi, the man who originally brought karate to Japan, you will see how this venerable gentleman viewed what he was teaching. It was all about building dignity and character and avoiding violence. Such dimensions can only enhance chivalry, as they do with all aspects of life.
In conclusion, martial art training is not required of today’s Knight, but does provide chivalry-related attributes that are systematic and honor the warrior roots from which they came.
(See Gauthier Sword Studio at: https://www.facebook.com/1ModernSwordsman)