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10 Steps to Not Getting Knighted
[11/13/2002] [Randall]

Knighthood is the most coveted award in Amtgard, and much has been written about how to go about earning the white belt. Advice, guidelines, and spiritual insight is available all over the place – even on e-Samurai – for those who aspire to be knights.

But what if you don’t want to get knighted? What if your goal in life is to earn a few masterhoods and win a few tournaments while pissing off both king and knights to the point where you’ll never be a member of the peerage? Many people work at this, but few admit to it, and that’s why there has never been a clear guide on how to stay beltless. Until now.

10 Steps to Not Getting Knighted

1. Sir Whines-a-lot

Listed first because it’s the most critical step in the process of avoiding a white belt, whining is so potent that it can almost do the job all by itself. It’s simple, easy, and anyone can do it without any training or help. Without getting too technical, the step of whining can be accomplished by constantly wondering aloud why you’re not a knight. This will serve to remind people of your accomplishments in the game and will garner you several other awards, such as titles, masterhoods, and orders, but it will definitely put a stop to any possibilities you may have of getting knighted.

Whining is also the most poetic method to avoid knighthood and can be a very Zen experience if done correctly. Everyone has heard someone say, “How come I’m not a knight after everything I’ve done?”, but few appreciate the simple beauty inherent in the self-answered question. It’s like the sound of one hand clapping.

2. Be Cheesy

How can there be whine without cheese? Nobody likes a cheater, but at least the cheater is honest – and that’s why everybody hates it when someone gets cheesy. Find a rule and bend it so hard it’ll start a debate about political correctness on the Rising Winds list. I’m not talking about a little cheese here, either. I’m talking about heavy, stinky, year-old, stanky-ass limburger cheese. Don’t use a flail when you can go florentine great-flail. Don’t use swords when you can use 50” Zulus. Don’t backstab when you can backstab en masse with your company when you’re all wielding spears. You know the kind of cheese I’m talking about, and so does the knight’s circle, and that’s why it’s important for you to be as cheesy as possible if you’re serious about not being a knight.

3. Wear Crappy Garb

Also known as the Sin of Sloth, wearing crappy garb has killed more modern knighthood prospects than almost any other strategy. Nothing says “Not a Knight” like a ratty-ass tabard, jeans, and pants on your head. Avoid putting personal symbols on your garb, too, since that shows that you care about your appearance – stick with one-color garb. And did I say tabard? I did, because tabards are important. If people can’t see the t-shirt under your garb – or, better yet, the love-handles – than you’re in danger of getting knighted and only a black tabard that hangs open on the sides can save you.

Shorts are okay, though – so don’t wear them. Stick with jeans or sweats (preferably black, just like your tunic) and you’ll do fine.

4. Brag About Your Accomplishments

How are people going to know you don’t want to be a knight unless you tell them? The problem here is that humility is a knightly virtue, so merely claiming you don’t want the recognition won’t help. That’s why you have to speak in code. Make sure to always talk about how many tournaments you’ve won, how many masterhoods you have, and how many orders you’ve picked up. This will work especially well if the awards were questionable to begin with. Trust me. Once everyone hears about how many qualifications you have, they’ll understand your code-speak and will, with a knowing wink and a nod, strenuously avoid knighting you. For the best effect, brag in the presence of the king. This saves time, since you don’t have to brag to each and every knight in the kingdom, and is undoubtedly one of the best ways to dodge the white belt.

5. Wear A White Belt

This one – the Sin of Envy – is great for avoiding stumbling into the peerage. There are many knights who don’t mind, but you’ll find that the vast majority take the symbols of knighthood very seriously. Take advantage of this! Nothing will prove to the knights how much you disrespect knighthood by wearing a white belt. For added effect, make sure that it’s not all white so you can claim it’s a company or persona belt. This not only keeps you safe from any knightings, but it also makes the knights who hate your belt look petty and elitist, which means you can mock them for that, too. With verbal insults and a white belt around your waist, nothing can make them put ‘Sir’ in front of your name. If you want to make sure, though, wear a knight’s chain and put a little medallion on it. That really whorks ‘em off, and a whorked off circle of knights means a lot of ‘no’ votes when your name comes up.

6. Work For It

Knighthood is aptly described as the most coveted award in Amtgard, and it is the sin of covetousness, also known as the Sin of Greed, that will help stop you from getting knighted. Simply put, let it be as obvious as possible that you’re working for a white belt. This may seem like reverse psychology, but I assure you that it works. You don’t even have to be sneaky about this one, either, so just come out and say it. “One more term in office and I’m qualified for my crown belt.” “I gotta win this tournament so I have a Warmaster towards my sword belt.” It works, I promise you, and here’s why – it makes you seem like you think you deserve it. You know better, of course. Hell, you don’t even want it! But by making the king and the knights believe you’re arrogant enough to think you deserve it, you’ll guarantee that any work you do will be seen as cynical belt-grasping...

7. Act Like You Deserve It

...but there’s more to acting like you deserve it than obscenely working for it all the time. You have to change the way you talk. It’s never “a” belt – it’s always “my” belt. This is the Sin of Pride, and it works wonders towards avoiding a white belt. Remember, if humility is a knightly virtue, then pride is not knightly, so make sure to act like you’re the best thing since sliced bread. You’re not just a good fighter. You’re the best fighter in the kingdom and have been robbed by sluffers. You’re not just a two-term king. You’re the best king ever. This works even better if you have friends who are knights, because then they can tell you why you were voted down... giving you a whole new reason to act upset that you’re not a knight.

8. Acting Upset That You’re Not a Knight

Bitch. A lot. This is more reverse psychology, but it works. Bitching about it makes it seem like you think the king and the entire circle of knights made a mistake by not knighting you. It’s even better if you do it reign after reign after reign, because then it’s not just the king and the knights who are wrong – it’s the entire populace that keeps electing the king. People will eventually get tired of your bitching and tell you to put up or shut up, but they’re wrong. They think you’re not a knight because you’re not qualified. You know you’re qualified, but you just don’t want it. That’s why it’s crucial for you to ignore this so-called advice and keep up the bitching, because without constantly reminding people that the knights, king and populace are mistaken fools, there’s always the chance that one of the three will want to knight you. Don’t take that risk.

Bitching is also part of the Sin of Wrath, so make sure to be wrathful as much as possible. Yell at people on the field. Lose your temper whenever possible. It’s little things like this that’ll give the knights an excuse to vote ‘no’ when your name comes up.

9. Sluffing Your Way Out of Knighthood

Everyone talks about how knights should be honorable. Unfortunately for a would-be non-knight, most people realize that knights are only human and will sometimes not take a shot that they should’ve... so you really have to kick this one up a notch. Since most people get knighted based on good works and good reputation, and you already have good works under your belt from avoiding getting knighted, it’s absolutely imperative that you sully your reputation by sluffing whenever possible. Not taking shots is kind of like that old joke about the fence-building Scot and his sheep... you might have walked on water for your kingdom, but sluff one shot, and you’re suddenly Johnny Shotsluffer. Nobody will remember anything about you except that you’re that one guy who sluffed a lot, and that will almost certainly guarantee that you’ll not get knighted. Just make sure you sluff a lot. There are lots of knights who have reputations for not taking shots. If they can get knighted, then so can you, so you have to sluff that much more.

10. Whine Some More

This step is so important that it’s listed twice. If you’re not a knight, whine about it. Whine to your friends so the king hears it second-hand – the only thing that is worse than whining is shady whining. Whine to the king and the knights, too. It puts them in an uncomfortable position and makes them dislike you for it, and nothing stops a white belt in its tracks like making the king and knights dislike you. So whine, whine, and whine some more.

And there you have it! Knighthood isn’t for everybody, and if it’s not for you, try any or all of these ten easy steps to avoiding knighthood. Once you’ve mastered them, you can be sure that you’ll never be burdened with a white belt – except when you’re wearing your company colors. It might be rough for awhile, but it only takes a little bit of effort to go a long way... a short regimen of white belt avoidance will keep you knight-free for years to come.

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