Historically, ranking for knighthood took two forms: the socially-derived status, and the level of proficiency within the martial art. Social status was represented by it's own titles, quite separate from those found in the Martial Arts school.
The ranking system used in New Chivalry is derived from one traced across the martial institutions of Europe from the late Middle Ages to the Renaissance. In Spain, Latin terminology was still used until at least the early sixteenth-century1. In England, the London Company of Maisters of the Science of Defence2 were sanctioned by Henry VIII and patented also by succeeding monarchs. In Germany, King Maximillian sanctioned the Marxbrüder3 in a similar fashion to that institution of Arms in England. In Italy and France, a similar ranking system grew out of the aforementioned with preceded them. Hovering over the titles below will reveal the correlative ranks found across Europe in these institutions.
Within the modern martial art of New Chivalry, we use the following ranking conventions:
Tiro is the Latin term for an absolute beginner, or the uninitiated. This is the most basic level, and may be applied to anyone unfamiliar or ignorant of the Art of Combat (Modus Dimicandi).
Lusor is roughly equivalent to this modern meaning of 'student'. It refers to someone who is undergoing study.
Licentiatus (Licensed student)6
Licentiatus is the root-word from which we get the modern English word 'license'. With this in mind, it might readily be understood in terms of a 'driver's license'. The original meaning denoted a state of freedom associated with having reached a mature level of education. This level is roughly equivalent to a bachelor's degree within Academia, or a Black Belt (1st Dan) in East Asian Martial Arts.
A Lanista is an instructor, or one who manages instruction of others in the subject-matter. An instructor may generally be any level of student above Licentiatus. In Ancient Rome, he was the owner of the Gladiator school (and the Gladiators themselves).
This is the level associated with the highest level of proficiency and understanding of the Art of Chivalry. It means both a mastery of the subject-matter, as well as a mastery over oneself. This Latin term Magister is the root-word from which we inherit the modern English word 'magistrate'.
Progression through these ranks (known as 'investiture') is generally made based upon achievement of the requirements within the level.
Anglo (2000); The Martial Arts of Renaissance Europe, p9 ↩
Herbert (1991); The Noble Science: A Study and Transcription of Sloane Ms. 2530, Papers of the Maisters of Defence of London, Temp Henry VIII to 1590. ↩
Wassmannsdorf (1870); Sechs Fechtschulen der Marxbrüder und Federfechter. ↩
German: Neuling; English: Novice; Spain: Tyro; ↩
German: Schuler / Fechter; Italian: Scola; English: Scholar; Spain: Lusor; ↩
German: Freifechter; Italian: Scola Libero; English: Free Scholar; Spain: Licentiatus; ↩
German: Vorfechter; English: Provost; ↩
German: Meister; Italian: Maestro; English: Maister; Spain: Magistro; ↩