Huntsman Academies are institutions in Remnant founded by the King of Vale after the Great War and are dedicated to training Huntsmen and Huntresses, warriors whose task it is to defend the Kingdoms from the Grimm. The Academies and their staff also play a significant role in organizing the defense of the Kingdoms. Secretly, the academies were also given the task of safeguarding the four Relics.
The main characters in RWBY are students who attended a Huntsman Academy.
Prior to the establishment of the four Academies, combat training came exclusively from the many combat schools throughout the Kingdoms. Almost 80 years before the events of Volume 2, the Great War came to its conclusion, and the peace secured at Vytal saw to the creation of the Academies, one to each of the four Kingdoms. The Academies would train Huntsmen and Huntresses, whose sole purpose it would be to battle the Grimm, and whose allegiance would not be tied to an individual Kingdom. Huntsmen and Huntresses would have the freedom to work for whomever they wished and choose whatever types of jobs they wished to take from mission boards.
The Academies were also given the responsibility to defend each Kingdom's Cross Continental Transmit tower, and each Academy hides a secret object known as a Relic. Qrow states that the academies were founded in part so that the Relics would be protected by highly trained warriors and to prevent humanity from using the Relics irresponsibly.
The Huntsman academies and the Kingdoms they correspond to are:
- Vale - Beacon Academy
- Mistral - Haven Academy
- Vacuo - Shade Academy
- Atlas (formerly Mantle) - Atlas Academy (formerly Alsius)
Atlas is the only Kingdom whose Academy is part of the state itself. After the Kingdom's capital was moved from Mantle to Alsius, Atlas Academy, the government and the military coalesced into a single entity known as the Kingdom of Atlas.
In honor of the peace of Vytal, students from the four Academies also attend the Vytal Festival, a biennial celebration of the diverse culture of the Kingdoms. In the Festival, students compete in a combat tournament against contestants from other Academies in order to prove their skills and motivate them to strive for excellence. This tradition continues into the present day, with Academies sending students to the host Kingdom every two years to compete in their name.
As institutions that train the next generation of Huntsmen and Huntresses, the future defenders of the world, Academies are vital to the security of the Kingdoms. The staff of the Academies are highly skilled Huntsmen themselves, and they work to protect the world from harm in addition to teaching and tutoring students. Groups such as Ozpin's group consist of senior staff from the Academies working together to keep the peace of Remnant safe.
Students are generally admitted to an Academy at age 17, though exceptions may be made for those with remarkable skill, but this is usually only by invitation. Before a potential student can attend an Academy, they must usually attend a Primary Combat School, which are institutions which teach more basic tenets of combat, such as forging a unique weapon. Known combat schools and the Kingdoms they correspond to include:
However, some students are accepted without having attended a combat school if they are skilled enough.
Initiation and Teams
Before classes begin, new attendees at Beacon go through an initiation, which involves some degree of genuine danger, such as retrieving "relics" from a Grimm-infested forest. Following the initiation, students are sorted into teams of four, with one leader.
The purpose of teams is to teach teamwork and empathy and to forge lasting bonds between members. Teams stay together for the four-year duration of their training at their Academy. Graduates have the option to stay with their team or pursue a solo career.
All four Academies group their students into teams of four, but it is not known if they are formed in a manner similar to Beacon's initiation or if they have their own methods of forming teams.
Although only the course at Beacon Academy is known in any detail, it can be presumed to be a typical representation of the other Academies' courses. The course at Beacon Academy lasts four years and consists of both practical and theoretical portions. Classroom lessons include courses on history as well as the various types of Grimm. For first-years, the practical component includes gathering of red sap samples for botany and fights against captive Grimm in a controlled environment.
In addition, sparring or practice matches are held between students; in the lead up to the Vytal Festival, these matches may include students from visiting Academies.
Students also go on real missions in the course of their training. First-year students generally go on lower-risk missions and are accompanied by a Huntsman or Huntress, but second-year and above student teams may go on higher-risk missions alone.
Some more dangerous missions may bring students outside the borders of the Kingdoms and involve actual combat with Grimm. Aside from providing students with valuable work experience, these student missions also serve to keep the Kingdoms safe from harm.
- According to series writer Miles Luna in the Volume 3 Blu-Ray extra "3, 2, 1, Begin!", one of the main reasons all the academies focus heavily on teamwork is because Ozpin dearly believes in it.