Sword … Sorry, Lance Press from the USA

Snap Quiz:  What American state has ‘jousting’ as it’s state sport?  And why?  (http://www.msa.md.gov/msa/mdmanual/01glance/html/symbols/sport.html, http://marylandjousting.com/)

OK, pass your papers forward to the front.  While We’re marking them, you can start reading ahead with today’s’ offering.

For the past two years, those interested in things medieval have been teased with indications that something significant was brewing in the world of jousting … something dramatic, something … televised!    [NEW YORK TIMES (New York) 08 July 10  Is Jousting the Next Extreme Sport? (Dashka Slater) http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/11/magazine/11Jousting-t.html]

Three months ago, the National Geographic Channel debuted ‘Knights of Mayhem’ –  the on-field fighting and background ‘manoeuvres’ of a travelling troupe of experienced, Medieval-armed, full-contact ‘jousters’.

Coming next week, the History Channel counter-charges with its ‘Full Metal Jousting’ premiere – with the same high impact jousting results on the field – but using ‘tyros in modern armour’ that learn their trade as the programs progress.

Now if We stay with what is published in the ‘popular press’ (see links following), it seems that both the efforts are/will be meeting with wide acceptance and interest – most of us enjoying full contact sports between trained athletes demonstrating skill, agility … and if I may be so bold – endurance.

‘If’ these televised efforts do catch on, We hope there is potential for the WMA community to gain by it – with a renewed interest by the general public on learning just who these knights and men-at-arms were, and how did they learn to use the weapons and armour of medieval times.  The community may have to do some ‘management of expectations’ with the young person coming in through the salle door with aspirations of immediately picking up a mace and laying into the armoured side of someone slower – but We think that happens in most sports.

For most of Us, being able to afford the time, kit, supporting equines and ‘tilting space’ is … umm, difficult.  But you can still capture the ‘flavour’ of the medieval fighting effort by participating in one of the variety of on-foot, historical-fighting disciplines that WMA groups offer.

And if you’re absolutely, positively determined to go all-out in full-contact, but can’t get a horse to agree with you, We can recommend to you the various ‘qualification bouts’ necessary prior to fighting at the Tournament of Nations (http://battleofthenations.com.ua).

We would be remiss though if We did not mention that all is not apparently ‘wine and maidens’ within these two jousting programs.  As one reads deeper in the various blogs or industry-papers, there are indications that there are concerns with various combatants ‘acting for the camera’, of creating artificial personal conflicts for dramatic effect (shades of most ‘reality programming’), and that some of the featured combatants might have somewhat jaded if not outright created pasts.  Nobody however, seems to be of the opinion that the on-field action is any less than fully ‘real’.

Ratings will tell We guess … if the programs survive.  And hopefully, there may be a modest opportunity for those in the WMA community to guide those newly-interested in things medieval to our way of doing historical battle … and to all the fitness, agility, endurance, study and sportsmanship that goes with the Art.

STANDARD-EXAMINER (Utah) 14 November 11  Utah jouster on ‘Knights of Mayhem’ (Amy K. Stewart)


LA WEEKLY (California) 18 January 12  Full Metal Jousting: Will Riding Horses While Stabbing People Ever be Cool? (Amanda Lewis)


POST-INTELLIGENCER (Washington) February 12  History Channel’s Full Metal Jousting Serves Up a “Devastating Hit” (Kate Stanhope)


STAR-LEDGER (New Jersey) 04 February 12  Fairclough Jumped at a Chance to Joust (Nancy Jaffer)


Jousting: The Next Generation

THE CITIZEN (Gloucester, UK) 04 February 12  Coalway children take part in jousting session