The Knowing Heart school is intended for use against enemies one does not wish to kill, whether out of principle, because they are friends who have been dominated, or because you intend to sell them as slaves. It specializes in disarming, paralyzing, entangling and otherwise disabling.
The Knowing Heart school began in a monastery, long after the destruction of the temple. The monks had retreated from worldly affairs to perfect themselves. To perfect their bodies, they studied the sublime way. To perfect their minds, they expanded their knowledge of all subjects. To perfect their hearts, they practiced reverence for all life.
Out of these three sources they developed a new martial path. One that required great precision and control, so as not to cause excess damage. Less-knowing warriors laughed at the thought of warriors who do not kill, but masters knew what a difficult task the monks had taken on.
At first the inventors taught their way to any who would learn. The first students who came were much like their teachers, but the second wave was more practical. Police, for whom ending brawls and taking prisoners are simple matters of duty, came to learn. Some served honorable nations, and some served the tyrannical and corrupt. From the latter, the art spread to slavers, to whom damaged merchandise is money lost. The monks were greatly saddened, and resolved from now to teach only the worthy, but a secret cannot be re-kept. For good and for ill, the Knowing Heart path is free in the world, and will remain so.
Behind the ScenesEdit
Many maneuvers here have saving throws where they might normally allow opposed rolls or skill checks. This serves two purposes. First, it makes these sublime versions a bit more powerful than their traditional equivalents (as befits techniques which require great dedication to learn. Secondly, it make Vow of Nonviolence an effective choice for a KnowingHeart-focused character.
The availability of touch of calm, especially for a single Martial Study feat, makes Frenzied Berserker a much stronger option. This shouldn't be game-breaking, as FB is not an especially powerful class, but a DM may wish to limit this.
Knowing Heart is made available only to swordsages because it derives from the Shadow Hand and Setting Sun schools (which are swordsage-only) and because its emphasis on motion and precision fit a monastic lifestyle best. Nevertheless, it might be made available to crusaders whose principles demand it.