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 Vancouver has been voted "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 graduated Knights who now play a role as senior students and camp instructors passing on their knowledge to the next generation of Knight Campers.
The five-day camp curriculum is focused on the skills of knighthood, from the martial arts of the longsword and sword & shield, to the practice of knightly virtues such as courage and integrity. Students at Knight Camp learn about history, leadership, heraldry, archery, medieval games & dance 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 in our museum as well as create their own wooden shield with a unique coat of arms. Each week finishes with a grand-finale tournament and demonstration where they get to show off all of they've learned to their parents and friends.
Students who visit Knight Camp more than once progress through a series of levels from page and squire to guard and captain. Each level features special skills, new arts, and opportunities to deepen what they've learned before. Finally students who have passed all of their levels are tasked with a series of knightly trials before being inducted into our knightly order. These trials require students to demonstrate knowledge of history and heraldry, show leadership skills, perform service in the community and at home, and demonstrate their application of knightly virtues. Becoming a knight is no small order.
Check out a video of our camps in action!
One week of Knight Camp:
Cost: $425 + tax per child
Before & 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
For a speedier registration/drop-off process, please bring your kids on the first day with filled-out forms.
When making an account please make it for the attendee (your child) rather than yourself, to keep camp rosters accurate!
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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 & shield introduces students to unified defences at swordplay sports.
- 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 swordplay practice.
Camps run from 10am to 3:30pm Monday through Thursday, and 10am to 4pm on Friday, with before and after-care available (from 8:30am for before-care; until 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 for parents and family to attend 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 all knights of old studied:
- Posture & 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 elevation of each student to the next rank level. Parents, friends, and family are of course welcome to attend the finale!
|10:30||Block I||Block I||Block I||Block I||Battles|
|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!|
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 which knightly virtues they demonstrated that day. This small “award ceremony” helps the children recognize the value in kind and altruistic behavior and makes them strive for it in the future.
Read More: Academie Duello School Bookings
Knight Camp Values
- 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.
Knight Camp Virtues
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 or yore 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. Knights were expected to show charity to the 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 they can do something well, and doesn’t need to brag about it.
- On the last day of the week, students have the opportunity to engage in great and mighty tournaments! They will begin the day with a “Grand Melee”; students fight individual challenges until only a single combatant remains on the field.
- After the Grand Melee, the campers will be split into two mighty hosts, who will meet their foes in battle across an open field!
- 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 knightly 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 are elevated to the next rank. Knight Camp students are able to study different subjects as they progress in rank:
- Paggio (Page): heraldry, history of the sword
- Armigero (Squire): Archery
- Ragazzo all’Armi (Gentleman/Gentlewoman-at-Arms): armour
- Spadaccino (Swordsman/Swordswoman): polearms
- Guardia (Guardsman/Guardswoman): leadership, tactics
- Capitano (Captain): instruction, courtly grace
Upon completing the level of Capitano, a camper becomes a Cavaliere su Veglia (Knight on Vigil), and prepares for the five Knightly Trials before they can achieve the rank of Knight. The Knightly Trials are:
- Trial of the Servant (volunteering & community service)
- Trial of the Warrior (leadership & swordplay skill)
- Trial of the Herald (public speaking)
- Trial of the Courtier (medieval games & knowledge)
- Trial of the Teacher (mentorship & teaching)
A Cavaliere su Veglia can return to camp as a student to study their choice of subject, or, if they’re at least 12 years old, as a volunteer to help other students on the path to knighthood.
My son went to Knight Camp three years ago and was instantly hooked. He still goes to Knight Camp a couple of times a year, takes youth swordplay lessons and attends each and every Open Floor. He loves the things he is learning and the sense of community and camaraderie he gets from Duello. I love the way his confidence has grown as he sees his strength, dexterity and skill continually improve through commitment and hard work. The instructors obviously love what they do and it shows.
Such a wonderful camp. The kids are treated with respect and learn so much! Ryan and Finn made new friends and their confidence is soaring! Thank you!
The qualities of Knighthood [taught in class] are an excellent touch, as it becomes more than just about fighting.
I liked the fact that I got to touch real weapons. I liked all the [instructors], especially Fraser. Knight Camp is the BEST camp I have ever been to. Seriously, swordplay is awesome!
Our son simply loves being able to work with the weapons whilst learning the history. The classes and camps that our son has attended over the past year have helped him to grow and mature. He has focus and dedication as a result of his Knight Camp experience.
I found it very moving when the leaders spoke to the students and honored their individual characters and virtues. I found the energy was positive, clear, and focused in terms of structure, speaking and directing the presentation.
Our staff range from 14-25 years old. They have been specially trained to capably and safely instruct Knight Camp attendees and 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.
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 from 8:30am each morning and from 3:30 to 5pm each aftgernoon.
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 (latter optional)
- 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 the class. Without these items, your child will not be allowed to fully participate in camp activities.
- protective sports 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 (lacrosse gloves are recommended)
- shin guards
- shoulder protection, such as those used in hockey or lacrosse
These items are available at most sporting goods stores, such as Sportcheck, Walmart, and Canadian Tire.
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, we offer curb-side pick-up and drop-off. Please speak to a staff person to arrange contacting us at least ten minutes before you expect to arrive, and we will accompany your child directly to your car when you pull up to the loading zone out front.
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Phone: (604) 568-9907