The word derives from an Old German one meaning, more or less, "boy" ("knecht"), and were well trained, if undisciplined,soldiers who could fight on horseback or on foot. They were equipped with a full suit of armor and adept with several weapons (mainly sword and lance). Knights were, for all practical purposes, the lowest members of the nobility. They were "dubbed" (usually with the tap of a sword on the shoulder) by their king or some other senior noble. The overlord that made them a knight was usually the man they were sworn to support for life. Training for knighthood usually began in childhood. As a lad of eight or ten would become a page, or body servant to a knight. In adolescence he would become a squire, responsible for maintaining the knight's equipment and supporting him in battle. Commoners who were trained and equipped as knights were called "serjeants." Proper knights and serjeants together were termed "men at arms." In the late Medieval period, attempts were made to prevent commoners from becoming knights. But because so many nobles avoided the rigors of training for, and performing as, knights, this was not successful. Thus we constantly hear of commoners being knighted on the spot, usually as a reward for particularly heroic service, and usually involving someone above the common sort of commoner, such as a merchant prince's son. St. Francis of Assisi was on this career track when he experienced his religious conversion. Knights were supposed to be skilfull, brave, pious, genrous, kind, loyal, and chivalrous . Most usually managed to miss a few. But knighthood survives as a award of honor in many modern countries, including France and Italy as well as England and other monarchies.