By Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira
The knight mobilizes his whole soul, perspicacity, reflection so that the adversary will take no step and make no movement [without being countered]… filled with vigilance and sacral discernment to perceive the occasion and strike the blow: behold one of the most beautiful traits of a knight’s soul.
Confrontation of knights in the countryside by Eugène Delacroix
Above all, the knight’s soul acquires an enthusiastic knowledge of the good for which he is fighting, an execrating knowledge of the evil against which he is fighting. Then the resolution arises in his soul to employ everything in this struggle. And as a result he is completely mobilized and acquires an extremely sharp attention, a very fine discernment and understanding of all opportunities, in a fiery and zealous desire to miss no opportunity and exploit it entirely.
Robert de Normandie at the Siege of Antioch 1097–1098
The knight is perfectly aware that this is not enough. While it is very good to be vigilant and perceive reality, it is even better, in addition to being vigilant, to be strong. Therefore, he must know how to attack. He must know that there are positions and attitudes in which he must know his own possibilities of action as he knows the weak points of the adversary. He knows what arm movements he must do to drive his lance deeper. He knows what degree of inclination his body must have, the position of his head, how his legs should hold on to the horse and his feet in the stirrup to hasten or spur his steed.
Saint James the Moorslayer painted by José Casado del Alisal
He knows the risks involved, because the saddle can turn from one moment to the next and he can be obliterated in the fighting. At the same time, he is aware of the weak side of his horse. In one glance he sees what the adversary does and he also observes all his weak and also strong and excellent sides. And mobilizing all the good that is in him and all his force of destruction, he controls everything with an extraordinary wisdom so that his blow is the most accurate and does the most harm to the enemy.
The word balance has been profaned so often by the lazy of our days that it has lost its true meaning. Balance is not the stability of a man sitting in a good easy chair, as I’m here now. True balance is that of a man who is riding a horse, and keenly aware of all the factors that go into a fight, as he rides he watches how some imbalance can happen on the side of the adversary and on his own side so he knows how to curb the imbalance and augment it in the adversary, making it the means of victory.
(Excerpt from a Saint of the Day of Friday, Feb. 16, 1990.)