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Topic: Full Metal Jousting

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Subject: Full Metal Jousting
Date Posted: 4/4/2012 9:54 AM ET
Member Since: 7/13/2005
Posts: 5,201
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Has anyone else been watching this show?  I have become seriously addicted to it.  It is a modern revival of the medieval sport of justing.  Unlike theatrical jousting, such as you'd see at Renaissance fairs, this is real full contact jousting with real hits.  The suits of armor are modernized but still look very much like they did in the middle ages.  The hits are real and yes some guys have gotten hurt.  It's the only sport in which there is no defense.  The jousts are won or lost on points.  A competitor gets one point for a touch with his lance on his opponent's shoulder guard, five points if he breaks his lance, and 10 points for an unhorsing.  The champoin a the end will win $100,000.  Most of the competitors come from horse related backgrounds.

When the show started I felt obligated to pick a competitor named Landon as my favorite to win, because I have a grandson with that name.  But he was kicked out of the competition when he punched his horse in the head when it stepped on his foot.  They have a zero tolerance for abuse to the horses, so he was sent home.  So then I favored a guy named Rope (despite the stupid name) and he was heavily favored, but was surprisingly defeated in the quarter finals.  So now I'm rooting for Jake who has been a surprising success.  He was the last guy chosen when teams were picked and he's somewhat of a clown.  But he's won his jousts and is now in the semi finals.  I find myself riveted to this show and DH just shakes his head (though I sometimes catch him showing interest.)

Check it out, it is really fun - Sunday nights on the History Channel.

Date Posted: 4/17/2012 10:04 AM ET
Member Since: 7/13/2005
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Well you guys have missed the boat - the season finale of FMJ aired on Sunday with Josh K. being the winner.  He was not my choice for the champion but he did joust well and deserved the prize.  The $25,000 consolation prize was won by Rope, my favorite, whch I was happy to see.  I sure hope this fascinating competition comes back for another season, it was seriously addicting.  I just kind of wonder what kind of insurance policies the organizers had to procure in order to host this dangerous sport.

Date Posted: 4/17/2012 10:32 AM ET
Member Since: 3/14/2009
Posts: 9,174
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Clarinda,  I have heard about this but I rarely watch TV, so I did miss out.  I know that author Jeri Westerson was watching it and discussed it on her face book page.

Date Posted: 4/17/2012 1:04 PM ET
Member Since: 8/17/2009
Posts: 1,588
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I didn't see anywhere near the whole season, but I watched multiple episodes at a time, a few times, when they were running repeats back to back to back.  It was interesting. I didn't have a favorite. I wonder just how much better the average knight was compared to the finalists, having trained for this all their lives.  I mean, is it something on the order of NFL players v NBA players in a game of basketball (as in highly skilled athletes, but one trained in a completel different sport) or are we talking highschool JV basketball vs NBA player.

 

Date Posted: 4/17/2012 2:18 PM ET
Member Since: 7/13/2005
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Interesting question, sharla.  I think I would put these guys at almost the skill level of an average knight of old, since they are all in horse related professionls already.  A couple were professional rodeo competitors, several were horse trainers, and several were theatrical jousters.  I really hope they bring it back for a second seasion.  I thought the place they held the competition was really beautiful, though I guess I missed the very beginning where they said where it was.  When one of the guys was unhorsed during practice, the coach asked him if he knew where he was (to check for concussion).  The guy said, Mississipi and I thought, us oh that's bad, they're in Texas!  But I was wrong, it WAS in Missisippi.  It would have been nice though to allow more of an audience to watch the competition in addition to the other jousters.

Date Posted: 4/18/2012 9:50 AM ET
Member Since: 8/17/2009
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I saw some of the earlier eps when there were still doing more introductory stuff about the players so I'm aware of the backgrounds.  And they ARE very athletic and fit.  So from that aspect my first thought was more like the NBA player vs NFL player.  That it would be a great competition to watch, even if one player was clearly more skilled at this, specifically, than the other.  But then when I was thinking about the fact that these guys are training for jousting for what ... a couple months?  How can that possibly compare to those whose training is more or less constant (or at least consistent) from childhood.  Some no doubt pick it up faster, and just have more talent at it than others.  Probably those are the ones that rise to the top with a few months training. 

So maybe it's more like a comparison of a college player at one sport (the average knight, not a tournament champion contending knight) vs an elite player/athlete from a different sport. In other words, we probably are comparing modern jousters that are overall more talented, to less overall talent but far more trained.

I guess it all goes back to the old nature v nurture and talent v training debates.

 



Last Edited on: 4/18/12 9:56 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 4/18/2012 12:21 PM ET
Member Since: 7/13/2005
Posts: 5,201
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That's true that a medieval knight would train since childhood and these guys only trained for a few months before the competitions.  And I am certain that the medieval knights would be getting a lot more "hits" than their modern counterparts.  Some of the competitions in FMJ had disappointingly low scores.  However, the medieval knights would also have had a lot more injuries and even deaths.  While there were a few injuries on the show - including three guys who took a hit to the you-know-where in a row, from the same opponent - scary! - fortunately none of them were life threateneing or career ending.

Another consideration is that the medieval knight would also spend time training for other aspects of knighthood in addition to josting..  He would not be focused completely on that area, but would also train for other forms of combat and for the social skills of the day.  The modern day jousters concentrated solely on the jousting aspect.

There's also the skill versus size debate.  While for the most part in this sport, size matters - the winner was a big, husky, muscular man - still there was also a lot of skill required.  One of the competitors was a guy of smaller stature whom everyone assumed would be knocked out on the first pass.  But he did surprisingly well and defeated bigger guys because he had the skill to place the lance where it was supposed to go.

I worried about the horses.  Even though they had protection, I worried about one falling and breaking a leg.  It would have been heartbreaking to see any of those gorgeous animals having to be put down.  They didn't talk a lot about the protections used to safegusared the horses on the show but there was a more detailed video on the History Channel website about it that showed just how careful they were to protect the horses.  And they did immediatley disqualify the one guy who hit his horse - there was no excuse for that.

Date Posted: 4/18/2012 3:36 PM ET
Member Since: 8/17/2009
Posts: 1,588
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And I am certain that the medieval knights would be getting a lot more "hits" than their modern counterparts.

Oh, I agree.  A medieval knight missing altogether would be like an unforced fumble or a double dribble.  Sure it happens, but it's unexpected and remarked upon when it does.

Another consideration is that the medieval knight would also spend time training for other aspects of knighthood in addition to josting.. He would not be focused completely on that area, but would also train for other forms of combat and for the social skills of the day.

A good point.  Many of the other aspects of knighthood would also cross-benefit the jousting (hawking, other combat practice) but the same is true of the things these modern contestants did in their backgrounds. 

And that brings to mind: at the very beginning, I thought the theatrical jousters had a huge advantage, but it turned out not so big.  They were so accustomed to APPEARING to joust without really quite doing so, that making/receiving (especially receiving!) a solid hit with the real equipment (not "for show" stuff) was a bigger adjustment than expected. 

 

Date Posted: 4/18/2012 4:30 PM ET
Member Since: 7/13/2005
Posts: 5,201
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Oh and I forgot to mention - I entered the drawing for the prize giveaway of a full set of jousting armor - I wonder what kind of reaction DH will have if I win it and set it up in the living room!  The fact that it comes with $1000 cash helps.