Having passed the test for Scolaro Minore, the student should have reasonably strong fundamentals, know how to strike with power (tempered by the lynx for self-control), understand the use of both edge and point, and know the main ways one can deal with the opponent's sword from the incrosa. Now comes a new kind of level, where the focus moves from knowledge to integration. Therefore, this module is sparring-heavy.
A central concept at this point in the learning and development process is the idea of Fiore's l'Arte d'Armizare as an Aristotliean, principle-based approach where human creativity is harnessed to avoid predictibility. The cervino or lynx becomes very important at this stage. From the incrosa, which volta should I use--or would I be better served with the punta? The right answer is the quickest response (subito) that achieves control over the opponent's weapon, thus producing cover (me coverta), an enabling creative employment of any or a mix of the cinque cose--the "five things," categories into which all of Fiore's myriad attacks fall--breaking, binding, throwing, disarming or striking.
Combatants are encouraged to engage in considerable numbers of entry drills, our high-tempo variable repetition exercise that builds confidence and motor skills through large numbers of fast-paced, semi-random encounters. Kinesiological research has shown that random and semi-random practice builds both motor learning and tactical skills, and, having surveyed much of the scientific literature, we have created a number of exercises designed to help beginning and intermediate students incorporate what they know into what they will do in a fight.
Students also engage in focused sparring, which is sparring that self-restricts the actions to fall within the spectrum of the technique(s) that need to be worked on and integrated. This counters the combatant's tendency to rely on a few crutch-tricks that work, instead seeking to integrate other responses so that a wider array of tools are usable.
Opening sparring and competition are now harnessed. Open sparring, a more informal encounter where the technical and tactical choices are open, give a sense of what kinds of each a combatant is comfortable with. Competition, on the other hand, adds stress and usually very new movements from unknown combatants. At the least, the most experienced of their usual practice-mates will be able to show new levels of speed, strength and creativity that often shock the intermediate combatant.
To ensure that the responses are not over-coded to a particular type of simulator, students are encouraged at this point to work with other kinds of simulators, at least on a limited basis. To ensure that the principles also are not tied too much to the dynamics of the sword in two hands, students are expected to work on a breadth weapon, showing all the ellefante and zogho largo plays with that weapon. The sword in one hand, spear, daga and sword and buckler are usual choices, though sword and shield, poleaxe and other weapons have been done.
During this time the student is also expected to read about conduct in tournaments,(usually Brian R. Price's Book of the Tournament) and have read at least one romance, one chronicle or knightly handbook and delved a little deeper into Fiore's world and his fighting treatise. They must also be able to compare Fiore's work either vertically (same tradition, later time) with Filippo Vadi or horizontally (different tradition, same time) through the "Dobringer" 1389 treatise.
Often at this point the student will begin teaching novices (zugadore--the Ellefante course) and compagno, deepening their understanding of the fundamentals while freeing the more senior students and instructors to work with the intermediate and advanced student base.
Ideally, the students should have at this point a zuparelli (gambeson), medieval shoes, a helmet, gauntlets, and such elements of armour as are appropriate for the 14th or 15th centuries, all as historically accurate as expenses and availability allow.
Finally, the testing for this level is unique. The student must produce some kind of essay, ideally but not necessarily academically in form (it does not have to be a masterwork!)--and alternate formats such as video are certainly possible), linking the historical ideas of chivalry with modern practice in some way. In addition, they help to organize a small tournament, at which they will both participate and "hold the field" against all comers during one of the intermezzi. The fights will be observed and/or filmed for consideration by the instructors. If successful, the combatant is deemed ready to participate in tournaments, are known as a scolaro, and may be recognized with a green belt.