Is Chivalry Dead?
To protect the weak and defenseless
The Chivalric Code of Charlemagne
To those who have been given much, much is required. Warriors have been given specific training in martial arts and in the knowledge of self-defense. Hopefully they have also been instructed in ways to, not only be able to defend themselves, but also to use their martial arts skills to defend others. Warriors have a duty to defend others when it is in their power to do so.
There are a lot of people who do not have the same training or skills that the warrior has developed over his years of training. They are not able to protect themselves, much less those around them. These people live their life depending on the goodwill of others. For various reasons, they have never developed the ability to fend off an attacker. Most have grown up in a fairly sheltered environment and really do not understand the psychology of the predator. The warrior is their only defense, other than depending on a police officer who may or may not be around when they are in need, or depending on the mercy of someone else.
Think, feel, and act like a warrior.
Set yourself apart from the rest of society
by your personal excellence.
Forrest E. Morgan
The warrior, on the other hand, has studied the art of self-defense. He knows the mind of the predator and what the criminal looks for in a victim. The skills that he has trained so hard to perfect are designed to keep him and his friends and family safe from those who would prey on the innocent. He has been given much knowledge; therefore he has an ethical a duty to use this knowledge to help the weak and the defenseless when he can. Wherever you are, those around you should be a little safer because you are there.
It is not only what we do,
but what we do not do,
for which we are accountable.
Of course this depends on the warrior’s sense of chivalry. Chivalry is mostly thought of in connection with the qualities of the medieval knights and how they were expected to behave towards women, but the ideals of chivalry also include qualities such as courage, honor, consideration for others, and loyalty to your code of conduct. I consider chivalry part of the warrior lifestyle, not just some outdated, romantic notion.
The master warrior is a man of character,
a man of wisdom and insight.
Forrest E. Morgan
Just as there was no actual “pirate’s code,” there was also no definite set of ideals that made up the qualities of the ideal knight, but there are traits which are generally accepted as chivalrous. Were there knights who did not live up to the “code of chivalry?” Absolutely! There will always be those who will not be willing to live a life of excellence, but instead will lower themselves to an inferior standard. This fact doesn’t negate the fact the chivalrous ideals are good qualities to aim for and to make a part of the warrior lifestyle.
The term “code of chivalry” could be interchangeable with the term “code of honor.” It simply means a code that one lives by. Your code of honor, if you are a warrior, will have ideals that you try to live up to, whether you are dealing with the local mechanic or with the elderly lady trying to get across the street. In meditating on your own code of honor, it may be good to consider some of the old codes of chivalry and the ideals which they fostered. Is chivalry dead? Not to those with the warrior spirit…
The 13 Principles of Chivalry
1. A true knight must be a gentleman but follows through with duty.
2.A True Knight must uphold the Dignity of Man and Woman, remembering that all are born free and equal in Dignity and Rights.
3. A True Knight’s manner of living is an example to the young.
4. A True Knight shall at no time act outrageously nor do murder or be cruel in any way to man or beast.
5. A True Knight respects and defends the rights of all men and women to hold and practice religious beliefs other than his own.
6. A True Knight takes no part in wrongful quarrel but at all times supports the Lawful rights of all men and women.
7. A True Knight’s word is his bond.
8. A True Knight must be honorable in all things and know good from evil.
9. A True Knight must be of modest demeanor and not seek worship unto himself.
10. A True Knight must seek out such Quests as lead to the protection of the oppressed and never fail in Charity, Fidelity and the Truth.
11. A True Knight speaks evil of no man. A slanderous tongue brings shame and disgrace to an Honorable Knight.
12. A True Knight never betrays a trust or confidence given to him by a brother Knight.
13. A True Knight must so order his life that by his contributions the people of the world may hope to live together in greater peace and tolerance.
The Order of the Grail