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Many new recruits have never had a chance to play a game similar to Riverbend Combat Association. For them, becoming proficient-and more important, safe-with the weapons employed in this sport will take practice and time. Even those with natural athletic tendencies or martial arts backgrounds take a while to learn the kinematics behind swinging our weapons accurately and safely. Its also not just about physical ability. Experience plays a huge role in helping you to know what your opponent is likely to do next, so you can avoid striking him in the head. A huge helping of common sense thrown into the mix helps as well.

Some people, however, have been lucky enough to have done something like this before, or will catch on quickly. Riverbend uses a system of tests to allow people an opportunity to test out of their current class's weapon restrictions. Newbies may test into novice class restrictions, and novices may test with a specific weapon (e.g. longsword, two-handed sword, glaive, etc.). The details of these tests are described below.

Proficiency tests will usually be held at the end of the practice when regular fighting has been concluded. If you are interested in attempting a test, please see one of the group leaders sometime throughout the day and inform them of your intent to test. Do not wait until they have all their gear packed up and then ask them to test. Proficiencies are not permanent. If safety problems crop up, your proficiency status can be revoked. You may then retest for your proficiency at the next practice.

If you are visiting from a distant land, or if you need to take a proficiency test at the beginning of a practice for some reason, please contact the realm leaders beforehand. Make sure to show up early so that your test will not interfere with the group leaders running the fighting for everyone else.

Newbie Test

Newbies are restricted to blue swords of 30 inch overall length and round shields of 28 inches or less diameter. A newbie may test for permission to use blue swords up to 36 inches in overall length. Newbies who pass the test may still use group loaner gear, however loaner gear consists only of 30 inch overall length swords. If you achieve newbie proficiency, you will have to obtain your own sword, or else stick to the shorter loaner gear.

The test for Newbie Proficiency consists of three parts. The first part is the qualification phase. Newbies who fight in an uncontrolled manner (throwing excessive head shots, blind shots, etc.), exhibit poor sportsmanship, or do not take their hits well will not pass the qualification phase.

The second part of the test involves sparring with the group leaders and other experienced fighters while using newbie weaponry. They will observe your fighting style and determine if you have learned the correct motions of the swing and can execute them safely.

The third stage of the test is identical to the preceding stage, except you will use novice weaponry. The test has an identical aim as the previous one.

If you pass all three stages, then you will be granted newbie proficiency status. You may then use novice class weaponry while you are still a newbie. Once you become a novice, you may test for permission to use one weapon style not allowed by novice class restrictions

Novice Test

The novice proficiency test is nearly identical to the newbie proficiency test. The stages are the same, except in the final stage you will pick up the weapon class you wish to test for. Some examples of weapon styles that a novice might wish to test for proficiency in are: spear/polearm, longsword, red sword (two-handed), archery, quarterstaff, mace, axe, flail, large shield.

If you wish to test for novice proficiency, tell the group leaders as soon as you can. They will make every attempt to furnish you with the weapon you wish to test for. If you pass the test, you are granted Novice Proficiency for that type of weapon. Novices are not allowed the use of loaner gear, and so must provide their own weaponry.