Two American made program’s have recently caused me to ask the question is Jousting the next Olympic sport or is it just a fad?
Jousting is being whispered to be the next Olympic sport. It’s a long road from English Heritage events but people are talking about it seriously.
The American tradition of Renaissance Fair’s allowed the sport to re-emerge from obscurity and in 2012 Full Metal Jousting appeared on the History Channel, bringing modern competitive jousting its first international screening.
But does this sport have what it takes to come back to the fore amongst other equestrian sports. In those terms it would seem so, for after all it remained a popular activity all the way from about 1100 to the 16th Century.
The sport is still as violent as ever though. Although events in Britain, where the joust is an officially recognised sport, are relatively tame geared towards crowd pleasing than doing damage, there was one fatality in 2011 and fractures are as common as they are in rugby.
American professional jousting emphasises full contact and violence in the old tradition and injuries are rife, with the use of solid heavy lances made of hemlock in the case of National Geographic’s earlier show, aired in 2011, “Knights of Mayhem” which makes use of traditional armour unlike Full Metal’s modern “Iron Man” take on body protection.
Cutting edge outfits and reality drama aside I am not convinced that Full Contact Jousting will ever become a professional, popular sport until the risk factor is minimised. Polo is the closest thing to jousting today, it is fast, it is dangerous but it is also non contact and injury not as guaranteed, if you get injured in Polo you have probably broken the rules.
Jousting is the “polo” opposite where the infliction of pain is a necessary evil, but does it have to be? I don’t think so.
The Sport of Fencing is arguably much older than Jousting and in the 17th century the violent aspect of training to kill a man in a duel was removed and by 1900 formal rules had appeared.
Unless the practice of War aspect is eliminated from Jousting I don’t think it can progress much further, professional competitor Shane Adams has said what is missing from the sport is money, I would say that what is missing is safety, money will come when something big changes, for there are no more safeguards now than there was in 1300. Until that happens it will essentially remain an extreme sport.
How to resolve this? I think that jousting would make a great popular sport and by following the example of sword fencing I think it can attain this status.
By making the joust electric you instantly stop trying to hurt the opponent and start trying to score on him, this would further be improved by making the lances out of some sort of either easily breakable material or an incredibly bendy one, so as to lessen the impact. Perhaps there will always be a place for historic jousting but to make it a popular sport things have to change, because things have moved on and though we are sadly bombarded constantly by gratuitous graphic violence in the movies, the need to watch it live has yet to reappear. Traditionally points were awarded according to where you struck your opponent, and so it would be so again, so and so point awarded for shoulders, chest, waist and so on. By allowing the practice of war to be removed you are left with a modern (possibly Olympic) sport that can be enjoyed with as much adrenaline as any equestrian event but in as much safety as well.
These be my thoughts thanks for reading them, I suggest you stop now or who knows what will happen.
Though I haven’t yet written about anything prior or past the 17th or 18th Centuries AD I just want to make something clear about my reference to dates in Antiquity.
At some recent time, I don’t know when (ha ha), the traditional way of identifying time prior and post a certain date changed from BC and AD to BCE and CE (or sometimes ACE which I think you will all agree is a word not an abbreviation). Why I don’t know and frankly I don’t care, all that I care about is that you should know that were applicable, on this website all dates will be prefixed or postmarked Before Christ or Year of Our Lord (As the comment below says, After Death, is a popular memory hook, my thanks).
If you being fond of the newer appellations feel vexed about this then I’m sorry, you will just have to go through the same irritation that I have to every time I read a book with your favoured distinction in it. Call me what you like, say, your one of those guys who would wear a T shirt reading “When I was a Kid Pluto was a Planet” well I don’t have one of those shirts but it’s quite true nevertheless. Just as true as the fact that when I was a kid we used BC and AD and I like them.
Well having wasted enough of your time on my hang up, I’ll let you get on with your life. The author breaths out a long freeing sigh and relaxes.
Allow me to enlighten those of you who wish to know a little more about the mysterious writer behind this blog. First off, despite the title of this post I cannot speak French beyond ordering food and a few phrases I have picked up from history books. Now to the point shall we? After a long think of a few minutes I have come to the resolution that I cannot call myself a Historian, for the very good reason that nobody calls me that. If I had to give myself a title for semi academic purposes I would call myself a Historical Observer. Or perhaps Commentator, would be a good word, or better yet a melage of the two… What is a Historical Commentator/Observer? Well don’t ask me, I just invented it, but it seems quite self explanatory, I observe history and give my opinions about it (see its like a historian but not). Well that about covers it. True I may have sown more confusion than enlightenment but then I never promised not to do so, but hopefully this has given a certain reson dêtre (There’s that deceiveingly authoritative use of French again) for what I do here.
You sharp eyed visitors have probably noticed the stunningly awesome banners that are at the top of the page. It’s good that you have for a number of reasons. First because it proves that you can see, which can only enhance your experience here and second because they are rather eye catching, so the poor minimum wage freelance that I cajoled into doing them will be feeling very chuffed right now (well done, the pride of a job well done is yours). To the point then, they represent historical twitter accounts, that with the permission of the various Kings and Dukes and whoever else might appear in the future, have consented to appear here for publicity reasons and a very small yet substantial monetary donation. Right so now that’s out of the way please carry on to wherever you were going before this post distracted you.
Hello. Welcome to Adventures in Historyland. A rather informal place were I can annoy you with my thoughts about history. I tend to write allot about military subjects but as Lady Butler said not “For the glory of war… But for its pathos and heroism” and it isn’t all going to be soldiers and fighting. For more information and a better orientation please go to the About page. But I’d like to take this opportunity to say how nice it is to see you and if I may be so bold how nice you look today.