Welcome to the only authentic knight school for youth (ages 8 – 14) in Canada, where knightly skills are taught in a safe and engaging environment by Academie Duello’s trained instructors. Knight Camp has been voted “The Best Children’s Camp” by the Georgia Straight and takes place at our beautiful 5,000 square foot facility in Downtown Vancouver. Since 2008 we have had more than 1000 children participate in Knight Camp, with a growing group of graduate Knights who now play a role as senior students and camp instructors for the next generation of Knight Campers.
The five-day camp curriculum is focused on the skills of becoming of a knight – from martial arts of the longsword and sword and shield – to the practice of knightly virtues such as courage and integrity. Students at Knight Camp learn about history, leadership, heraldry, archery, medieval games and more.
Everyone uses properly weighted and balanced synthetic swords that give the authentic feel of the real thing – while staying safe and easy to manage. Students will also get the opportunity to interact with real swords and armour as well as create their own shield. At the end-of-week finale, each student will graduate to their next rank.
Check out a video of our camps in action!
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- Students learn about the weapons of Knight Camp as a complete martial system. Lessons begin with a review of stance, footwork, and basic guard positions. Students are then taught how to wield several weapons, each of which emphasizes the development of different sets of skills. The two handed longsword lays the foundation for learning the basics of attack; the quarterstaff develops students’ strategy for defence and deception; lastly, the sword and shield introduces students to unified defences.
- Only nylon training swords are used during lessons. These are weighted and balanced to feel like a steel sword, allowing students a high degree of authenticity as well as safety in their practice
Camps run from 10am to 3:30pm Monday through Thursday, and 10am to 4pm on Friday, with before and after care available (8:30am for before care, 5pm for after care).
Each week will begin with all of the students swearing an oath to their training on Monday morning, and will end with a grand tournament and finale on Friday afternoon.
Each day begins with a warm-up and a discussion of Knightly Virtues. Students then learn a variety of the martial and practical skills that the knights of old had to know:
- Posture and footwork
During lunch, students learn and play a variety of medieval games.
The day wraps up with sparring (controlled practice swordfights, with protective equipment) and the virtue circle, where the students and instructors nominate each other for their virtuous behaviour throughout the day.
On Friday, all of the students show off their skills in a grand finale: a combination of tournament, heraldic display, and show of skill-at-arms capped off with the graduation of each student to the next rank. Parents, friends, and family are of course welcome to attend the finale!
|10:30||Block I||Block I||Block I||Block I||Grand Melee|
|01:00||Block II||Block II||Block II||Block II||Review|
|02:30||Playbuilding||Sparring||Tournament||Pas d’Armes||2:00 – 4:00 Grand Finale!|
Households – On Monday morning, after the oaths are sworn, the camp will be divided in half. Each half of the camp will be formed into a household, like we have done in the All-Stars sessions of previous years. Each household will choose a name for itself, and each name will have a surname attached, either “dalle bande nere (of the black bands)” or “dalle bande rossi (of the red bands)” (IE – The Windowside Warriors dalle bande nere) The households will train and learn together, and come together as a camp at the beginning and end of each day to learn about the big concepts of camp, like virtue, how to spar, how to challenge, and about history.
Academics – Every household will begin with heraldry, and can choose the next lesson after everyone has a shield painted and constructed. The following lessons can be of any type preferred by the students within the regular knight camp curriculum (Archery, Leatherwork, Polearms, Tactics)
Martial Lesson – Every household will begin with longsword, with subsequent lessons to be determined at the discretion of the leading master
Block I – Household I does a martial lesson, Household II does an academic lesson
Block II – Household II does a martial lesson, Household I does an academic lesson
Learning about knightly principles and virtues can help children contend with today’s modern, ever-changing world. Knightly Virtues are an integral part of the Knight Camp curriculum, which encompasses a wholesome approach to knighthood. Knightly martial skills are taught along with history and virtues such as justice, mercy, charity, nobility, integrity, and courage.
What makes Knight Camp special is that students are not just taught these virtues as abstract principles. Instead, these virtues are deeply instilled by formally recognizing and encouraging benevolence in fellow students. At the end of each day, students and instructors form what is called a “Virtue Circle,” during which children take turns to appreciate each other by recognizing what knightly virtues they demonstrated that day. This small “award ceremony” helps the children recognize value in kind and altruistic behaviour and makes them strive for it in the future.
- Welcoming. Academie Duello is inclusive and friendly. This is a place where youth of all backgrounds and abilities can engage with history and historical European martial arts.
- Physical. Students are sent home pleasantly sweaty and satisfied from our classes. This is swordplay in the real world not just in your heads. Fitness and activity are the keys to our physical well-being.
- Authentic. The arts we teach are based on a historic tradition. We honour this history by using historic training tools and by practicing a true martial art with the care and discipline expected by its first teachers. In turn we foster an environment for our staff and students to be their truest and best selves.
- Empowering. We give students the tools to be their own best teacher, and encourage them to realize their capabilities and their own personal power to shape their character.
- Professional. Our space and staff keep a polished, clean, and neat presentation. Classes start on time and run on a schedule. We do everything we can to make sure our customers have the most consistently excellent experience possible.
Every day at Knight Camp the students learn about and practice two knightly virtues. At the end of the day, students nominate each other for virtuous behaviour.
- Obedience and fealty both mean loyalty. As Pages you show obedience to the Instructors. Obedience is a good thing to practice everyday. We should be obedient to people in charge, like our parents, teachers, policemen etc.
- Nobility is showing notable behavior. By trying as hard as you can or by helping others be the best they can be you show ‘Nobility’.
- Mercy is not taking revenge on people who may have done something wrong. Mercy can also mean not getting angry at someone who may have hurt you by mistake.
- Justice is having a sense of what is right and wrong. Laws help people to know what is right and what is wrong. Knights helped to make sure that justice was maintained in the kingdom.
- Integrity is being as honest and truthful as you can be in everything you do. Integrity is when you admit to doing something wrong and try to make it better.
- Valour is bravely doing what is right against all odds. You can show valor by stopping a fight or getting an adult to help if something is wrong.
- Charity is giving to those who have less than you. It can be sharing your sandwich or helping someone out. It was important for Knights to show charity to their people.
- Faith is believing in yourself and trusting in those around you. You can show faith by supporting others if they are having trouble learning. Knights had faith that their soldiers would support them in battle, and had faith that their lords had good plans.
- Courage is making wise decision even when you are afraid. Courage can be going into a dark room even if you are afraid of the dark. You can show courage by trying even if you are not doing well at something.
- Humility is not showing off when you can do something well, but helping others to learn it too. A Knight is satisfied when he or she can do something well, they don’t need to brag about it all of the time.
- On the last day of the week, students have the opportunity to engage in great and mighty tournaments and feats of arms! They will begin the day with a “Grand Melee”; students fight individual challenges until only a single student remains on the field, who shall be named “Champion of Courage”!
- After the Grand Melee, the campers will be split into two mighty hosts, who will meet their foes in fantastic single combats across an open field, astride a noble steed, or behind a sturdy bow. The feats of arms are a place where campers can practice individual valour, and call upon the nobilty of their opponents.
- With a morning of battle behind them, campers are assembled in the afternoon for a tournament of martial skill and virtue. All friends and family are invited to watch and be part of the gallery where they can see the skills and projects that the campers have been working so hard on during the week.
- Following the tournament, all of the campers who successfully completed the tasks laid out before them are elevated to the next rank. Campers are given a few gifts before leaving camp, and return home ready to share and spread virtue to the world.
Students of Knight Camp advance their way through six ranks. Named for titles and stages of development in the training of knights and soldiers in Late Medieval and Renaissance Italy, the ranks reflect a student’s physical abilities, martial skills, knowledge of materials taught in class, and practice of knightly virtues.
New students begin in the first rank, Paggio. Every time a student completes a week of Knight Camp, they have a rise in rank. Knight Camp students are able to study different academic subjects as they progress in rank:
- Paggio (Page): Heraldry, History of the Sword
- Armigero (Squire): Archery
- Regazzo all’Armi (Gentleman/Gentlewoman-at-Arms): Armour
- Spadaccino (Swordsman/Swordswoman): Polearms
- Guardia (Guardsman/Guardswoman): Leadership, Tactics
- Capitano (Captain): Instruction, Courtly Grace
Graduates of the program become a Cavaliere su Veglia (Knight on Vigil), and prepare for the five Knightly Trials before they can achieve the rank of Knight. The Knightly Trials are:
- Trial of the Servant (volunteering and community service)
- Trial of the Warrior (leadership and swordplay skill)
- Trial of the Herald (public speaking)
- Trial of the Courtier (medieval games and knowledge)
- Trial of the Teacher (mentorship and teaching)
Cavaliere su Veglia can return to camp as a student to study their choice of academic subject, or, if they’re at least 12 years old, as a volunteer to help other students on the path to knighthood.
Our staff range from 14-25 years old, They have been specially trained to capably and safely instruct Knight Camp attendees; they work under the supervision of our Knight Camp Director, who together with the School Director have combined more than three decades of teaching experience. Staff are first aid-certified, empathetic, and well suited to work with kids.
Summer Reservations Are Open!
The reservations are available below without charge, and on a first come first served basis, camp spots are limited to 16 kids per camp due to COVID-19. We will contact you within 2 weeks of your camp to receive payment and confirm go ahead.
If the spots are fully booked in your chosen camp you are welcome to email us at email@example.com to add your child’s name to the cancellation list and we’ll contact you right away if a spot becomes available.
Below you’ll find the Knight Camp COVID-19 Safety Protocol.
One week of Knight Camp:
Cost: $425 + Tax per child
Before and After Care, 8:30-10:00 am/3:30-5:00 pm: $110 + Tax
Before Care only, 8:30-10:00 am: $60 + Tax
After Care only, 3:30-5:00 pm: $60 + Tax
Please bring your kids in with filled-out forms on Monday to facilitate the registration/drop-off process. Obtain forms here!
When making an account please make it for the attendee (your child) rather than yourself to keep registration lists accurate!
COVID-19 Safety Protocol
Our facility has been fully modified to allow for social distancing, new sanitary standards and our staff is fully trained and fluent in enforcing those policies.
A limit of 16 students in any week to reduce the frequency of contact between students
This is based on allowing 113 square feet per person, nearly double the government recommendation.
Daily verbal health screenings for staff and students.
Masks required for staff, volunteers and students.
Distancing markers on the floor of the studio
Plexiglass barriers for the front desk
Multiple daily cleanings of the lounge, washrooms, and other communal spaces and high touch surfaces in the studio
Swords, shields, masks, bows, crafting supplies, and anything used by a student will be disinfected after each use.
Students will have their own space to store their gear for the whole week
Before & After Care
To make things easier for parents with work and life schedules to contend with, we offer before and after care services starting at 8:30am each morning and from 3:30 to 5:00pm each day.
Kids in before and after care are welcome to work on activities provided during the camp, play games, or bring their own activities from home. This will be largely self-directed time with adult supervision but don’t worry: they’ll have plenty to keep them occupied after each day of camp!
Every student will need the following for each day of the camp:
- Lunch, plus one or two snacks and a refillable water bottle
- Clothing comfortable for movement and physical activity: sweat pants, track pants, or shorts along with a t-shirt and an additional long-sleeved shirt for sparring
- Comfortable and flexible footwear, such as an indoor running shoe, with non-marking soles
- Leather or cotton gloves
Tuesday through Friday the following equipment is required for sparring and certain sections of class. Without these items your child will not be allowed to fully participate in camp activities.
- Protective sport groin protection (jock or jill strap)
- Elbow pads and knee pads such as those used for roller-blading
The following are not required but are strongly recommended, and can greatly add to your child’s comfort:
- Padded gloves
- Shin guards
- Shoulder protection, such as those used in hockey or lacrosse
Gloves can be purchased at a hardware store or at the Academie Duello store. Other protective gear is available at most sporting goods stores, or at the Academie Duello store.
Head protection, in the form of fencing masks, is provided by Academie Duello, but students are free to bring their own fencing masks if they’ve got them.
Camps take place at our beautiful 5,000 square foot facility in downtown Vancouver. We are within 2 blocks of major bus routes, SeaBus, SkyTrain, West Coast Express, and accessible parking.
Address: 412 West Hastings Street, Vancouver, BC V6B 1L1
Metered parking is available on the East side of Richards Street and both sides of Homer. There are several pay lots close to our facility: an outdoor lot on the south-east corner of Richards and Pender, an enclosed lot on the south-west side, and a large lot, one block away, that can be entered from Homer (one block East of Richards), north of Hastings. Please be aware that there is no street parking on Hastings from 3-6pm.
If parking is an issue, then we offer a street pick-up and drop-off. Call us at least ten minutes before you expect to arrive and and one of our staff will accompany your child directly to your car when you pull up to the loading zone out front.
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