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Philip Montgomery




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PostPosted: Thu 08 Jul, 2010 1:28 pm    Post subject: Is Jousting the Next Extreme Sport?         Reply with quote

The NYTimes has an interesting magazine article on Jousting as an Extreme Sport.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/11/magazine/11Jousting-t.html?hp

Interesting article. Read it, draw your own conclusions. I would be interested to see what the members here have to say.

Philip Montgomery
~-----~
"A broken sword blade fwipping through the air like a scythe through rye does demand attention."
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Lloyd Clark




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PostPosted: Thu 08 Jul, 2010 1:42 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well, as one of the American-style jousters mentioned, I doubt that it will ever reach the level of interest in the American public that is needed for it to become "mainstream". I worked with Shane (and others) for years trying to get jousting on TV and get sponsors (yes, Museum Replicas used to be my main sponsor in the early 2000s) - but it was an uphill battle.

I agree totally that the level of injuries that is incurred jousting in what is callled the "realgestech" style is ridiculous. I spent a great amount of my time with broken bones, dislocations, and separations from jousting in that manner. This makes holding down a regular job quite challenging (and, in fact, I have lost a career position due to my jousting injuries - that was a real wake-up call!)

When Rod Walker stayed with us in 2004, and I became a member of the International Jousting Association (and, later, the International Jousting League) my eyes were opened to a less violent style of jousting. Could we sell that in the US? Jeff Hedgecock is working his butt off to make it happen, but for the most part, the only interest is among history buffs, most of which would rather spend their dollars at a Ren Faire.

I am returning to jousting after a 3 year break. If you wish, I can update you with my thoughts periodically on this.

Cheers,

Lloyd Clark
2000 World Jousting Champion
2004 World Jousting Bronze Medalist
Swordmaster
Super Proud Husband and Father!


Last edited by Lloyd Clark on Thu 08 Jul, 2010 2:10 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Philip Montgomery




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PostPosted: Thu 08 Jul, 2010 1:52 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Lloyd Clark wrote:

I am returning to jousting after a 3 year break. If you wish, I can update you with my thoughts periodically on this.


Thanks for responding. I would be interested in your thoughts and experience. So much warfare was in response to the horse, either by the offensive opportuntities or the need to defend against horsemen. I am also very interested in how horses respond to jousting or combat. Some horses, like people, seem to thrive on it. So, again, I would be very interested in what you and others have to say.

Philip Montgomery
~-----~
"A broken sword blade fwipping through the air like a scythe through rye does demand attention."
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R D Moore




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PostPosted: Thu 08 Jul, 2010 2:18 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

FWIW I'd rather spend my dollars on a Jousting tournament than a Renn Faire so please continue posting!
"No man is entitled to the blessings of freedom unless he be vigilant in its preservation" ...Gen. Douglas Macarthur
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Dan P




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PostPosted: Thu 08 Jul, 2010 2:48 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It doesn't count as an extreme sport until the horse barding, armor, and shields are plastered with bright corporate sponsor logos.

Seriously, safety issues. I noticed more than a few quotes in the Times article about spectators and participants drawn to the violence and chance to see people seriously hurt. Maybe these are the same people who watch car racing just in case there's an accident and explosion, but that always seemed like the wrong reason.
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Scott Hrouda




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PostPosted: Thu 08 Jul, 2010 2:59 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
Charlie Andrews ... is hard-pressed to utter a sentence that doesn’t include at least one profanity.

Eloquence need not apply.
Quote:
“I personally believe that Shane Adams and myself are the two best jousters in the world, period,” he says. “Anybody wants to argue it, you can come out and joust us or shut your pie hole.”

Very chivalrous indeed.
Quote:
Andrews ... doesn’t joust because he’s attracted to romantic notions of honor and chivalry or because he has an affinity for the medieval period. (“I don’t know jack about history, nor do I care,” he says.)

That clears things up for me.

I believe they're missing the point entirely. A sport for the sake of sport is fine, but professionalism, courtesy, and decorum don't need to be thrown to the gutter. American football is a tough, hard-hitting game. You follow the rules, or get a penalty. You try everything in your power to knock your opponent on his butt, and then offer him a hand up.

That kind of attitude is not acceptable in the SCA, nor would I think in any reenactment or WMA community.

A sport where an exceedingly high percentage of the competitors are incapacitated after every game or tournament will soon loose interest with the American general public as their favorite rider is out for 6 months healing.

The style of jousting followed by the International Jousting League as mentioned by Jeffrey Hedgecock seems much more intelligent to me personally.

My two cents.

...and that, my liege, is how we know the Earth to be banana shaped. - Sir Bedevere
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R D Moore




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PostPosted: Thu 08 Jul, 2010 3:27 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Scot Hrouda wrote:

"The style of jousting followed by the International Jousting League as mentioned by Jeffrey Hedgecock seems much more intelligent to me personally."

I totally agree. It has to be a sport and not a prize fight, but it shouldn't be a stage play either. Football is a good analogy. It'll be interesting to see what developes.

"No man is entitled to the blessings of freedom unless he be vigilant in its preservation" ...Gen. Douglas Macarthur
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JE Sarge
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PostPosted: Thu 08 Jul, 2010 4:20 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

In answer to the OP's question: I'd say no.
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Bryce Felperin




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PostPosted: Thu 08 Jul, 2010 5:04 pm    Post subject: Re: Is Jousting the Next Extreme Sport?         Reply with quote

Philip Montgomery wrote:
The NYTimes has an interesting magazine article on Jousting as an Extreme Sport.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/11/magazine/11Jousting-t.html?hp

Interesting article. Read it, draw your own conclusions. I would be interested to see what the members here have to say.


Damn, beat me to my post...should of read yours first before I posted. :-(
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Bryce Felperin




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PostPosted: Thu 08 Jul, 2010 5:18 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Scott Hrouda wrote:
Quote:
Charlie Andrews ... is hard-pressed to utter a sentence that doesn’t include at least one profanity.

Eloquence need not apply.
Quote:
“I personally believe that Shane Adams and myself are the two best jousters in the world, period,” he says. “Anybody wants to argue it, you can come out and joust us or shut your pie hole.”

Very chivalrous indeed.
Quote:
Andrews ... doesn’t joust because he’s attracted to romantic notions of honor and chivalry or because he has an affinity for the medieval period. (“I don’t know jack about history, nor do I care,” he says.)

That clears things up for me.

I believe they're missing the point entirely. A sport for the sake of sport is fine, but professionalism, courtesy, and decorum don't need to be thrown to the gutter. American football is a tough, hard-hitting game. You follow the rules, or get a penalty. You try everything in your power to knock your opponent on his butt, and then offer him a hand up.

That kind of attitude is not acceptable in the SCA, nor would I think in any reenactment or WMA community.

A sport where an exceedingly high percentage of the competitors are incapacitated after every game or tournament will soon loose interest with the American general public as their favorite rider is out for 6 months healing.

The style of jousting followed by the International Jousting League as mentioned by Jeffrey Hedgecock seems much more intelligent to me personally.

My two cents.


The problem is that Americans won't go to a sport like this unless there is some "Bad Ass" factor involved. I like how the article pinpointed the different attitudes of "manliness" that we have here and in Europe. The same reasons that professional wrestling, American Football and Ultimate cage fighting aren't seen in Europe is why American jousting style won't play there either. The psychology is just too different for violent sports.

Corporate sponsors also won't touch it unless it is consistently safe because they don't want to be associated with a "Brawl sport" where they're sponsored players might be badly injured or out of competition for a long time or the public put off by gross injuries or deaths. Also unlike most sports, there isn't any sport equipment company with any sort of synergy out there that has enough money to sponsor this. It's too much of niche activity at this level and armor or weapon makers at this point don't have marketing budgets big enough to sponsor these kind of events or teams.

My view is that in this case the Europeans are closer to a solution then the Americans like Adams or Andrews are, purely because they have a working "International" league rather than just a national one at present. Just like Canadian and American Football, it will have to eventually get worked out and combined.
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Joe Fults




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PostPosted: Thu 08 Jul, 2010 7:41 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I think I saw something to the effect of "...could get as big as NASCAR..." in the article which I find laughable. I think part of what makes the big money sports big, is accessibility and shared experiences. Many, many kids play basketball, baseball, football and even soccer. Almost everyone drives a car. I think an import part of the interest in sports is that many of us retain fantasies and fond memories of our sporitng experiences. I watch football and soccer because I played football and soccer. I watch MMA because I have a connection to it through wrestling. Same for Alpine Skiing and cycling...done them both so I'll watch both but I seldom actually seek that content out.

Baseball was not my thing...watch it not so much. Ditto basketball, track, hockey, tennis, golf, sailing, skating, horse racing and whatever else. Sometimes I'll watch the stuff if its on but I'll do that with the weather channel from time to time so I'm just as likely to skip that content outright!

Safety issues from the article aside, I just don't see jousting as a high school sport. Not even as a club sport for that matter. The risks, liabilites and costs of equipment are just huge barriers that I don't see going away. To me, this means the sport of jousting will be doomed to remain a niche interest at best.

So no, I don't see it as the next extreme sport and I honestly suspect that the Wii has a better chance of pulling that feat off based on what kids are spending time doing today.

"Our life is what our thoughts make it"
-Marcus Aurelius

"Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable."
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Last edited by Joe Fults on Fri 09 Jul, 2010 3:03 pm; edited 1 time in total
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T. Hamilton




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PostPosted: Thu 08 Jul, 2010 9:41 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'd pay to watch, but doubt it will ever catch on in the U.S. Sad One point I'd like to make: A lot of the posts talk about injury and not being accesable to the general public as hinderances to the sport. It got me thinking, what's the difference between jousting, and say bull riding (which ALWAYS seems to be on TV)? Both are dangerous, and I don't know of too many people busting broncos in the backyard.

IMO, European-style jousting has the best shot of making this happen because it's safer. A contest where the participants are consistently maimed (or worse) will never be more than a fringe sport because: 1.) It will run out of participants rather quickly, 2.) If the jousters are always hurt, it's impossible to build a fan base, 3.) Without fans, there will never be corporate sponsorship money, 4.) There is a certain knightly "something" that comes to mind when I think of a tournament/joust, and those guys in the article don't inspire it. Take that out of the equation, and all you have left is two guys on horseback carrying big sticks.

"What we do in life echoes in eternity."


Last edited by T. Hamilton on Thu 08 Jul, 2010 10:47 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Sam Gordon Campbell




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PostPosted: Thu 08 Jul, 2010 10:36 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
“I want to see another guy get paralyzed,” a boy in front of me squealed, waving a toy sword...


Yeah, no.

I mean unhorsing does happen, it happened back-in-the-day and perhaps they did award points for it; but to actively go out of your way to intentionally cause harm, especially to
Quote:
... a 54-year-old retired Marine who was jousting competitively for the first time.
, that is the exact thing that I, personally, wouldn't want/go see.

The whole article seems to contradict itself! Excuse me as I get my rage on.

So American style like in that article, no. American style that is better and "more safe" (*cough, cough*) yes. I'm not agaisnt solid lances (I'd like to give it a go), but they also (back-in-the-day) had lances and armour designed to explode, look awesome, still hit well and be safe.

By the way, what system does Australia use? European I'd imagine...

Edit:
Quote:
... North American- and European-style jousters can spend all day criticizing one another’s style of competition, and they frequently do. The “full contact” jousters find the I.J.L. style froufrou and weak, dismissing their combat as “a sorority pillow fight.” I.J.L. jousters, for their part, portray the full-contact jousters as a bunch of ego-driven braggarts who have substituted brute force for safety, elegance and finesse. They dismiss the Americans’ lumberyard lances as “closet poles,” their armor as looking “like a trash can” and their draft horses as “tractors with four legs.” (Both Hedgecock and the Europeans use swifter draft crosses rather than the full-blooded drafts used by American jousters.)...


I believe that that is what is called 'getting told', 'snap', or 'touche' Laughing Out Loud

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Sander Marechal




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PostPosted: Thu 08 Jul, 2010 11:18 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Joe Fults wrote:
So no, I don't see it as the next extreme sport and I honestly suspect that the Wii has a better chance of pulling that feat off based on what kid are spending time doing today.


Extreme Wii? I'd pay to see that! Laughing Out Loud
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Peter Lyon
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PostPosted: Thu 08 Jul, 2010 11:51 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The article put both sides pretty well; as a member of the IJA and IJL myself, it should not be surprising that I side with the "European style". The heavy-hit proponents have been around for a while, since the WCJA days, but there have never been that many of them, partly because the rate that competitors break themselves, the pool of experienced people cannot grow large enough to create critical mass. By contrast in Europe there is a large and healthy jousting community, and some of them are professionals who can make a decent living through their historical/jousting activities. Europe will always have the advantage that the history is right on their doorstep (often literally) so it is easy to joust in an historical context; without that context, the only basis in the US is as a competitive pure sport, at which point it has to compete with so many other sports, like race cars, bull riding, football etc.
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F. Carl Holz




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PostPosted: Fri 09 Jul, 2010 7:31 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

perhaps one day it will take hold enough to become a more widely recognized sport, but i doubt jousting will ever approach mainstream.

For my part i see that being a lot more likely via the IJL. Injuries aside, the aura put out by those leading the charge for the American style is one that i want less than nothing to do with. Not to say that it permeates, but if that is the image that is put forward than it is a likely image to be maintained; and it hits me closer to "bully" than to "sportsman".
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Scott Hrouda




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PostPosted: Fri 09 Jul, 2010 8:51 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Lloyd Clark wrote:
Well, as one of the American-style jousters mentioned, I doubt that it will ever reach the level of interest in the American public that is needed for it to become "mainstream". I worked with Shane (and others) for years trying to get jousting on TV and get sponsors (yes, Museum Replicas used to be my main sponsor in the early 2000s) - but it was an uphill battle.

Did you ever consider mirroring the smaller rodeo circuits? There seems to be considerable similarities with regards to horses, trucks, trailers, 1st aid needs, etc. The logistics seem very similar.

I can see sponsorship being a real problem. The reporter did a good job describing the investment required vs. the payoff. We wouldn't have small rodeos all over the U.S. without major sponsors.

"Health Partners - Our Urgent Care physicians can expertly remove lance shards!"
"ABRA Paintless Dent Removal - We service 15th century breastplates too!"
"Mills Fleet Farm - Your one stop shop for horse care products, sheet steel and lance lumber!"
"Old Country Buffet - After a hard days jousting, treat the whole team to our endless buffet!"

Enough silliness. Wink

...and that, my liege, is how we know the Earth to be banana shaped. - Sir Bedevere
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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Fri 09 Jul, 2010 9:03 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Interesting article. I doubt jousting will become mainstream because there is not consensus on what makes a good joust. There are multiple camps, each with a different focus: hard-core competition (safety and historical accuracy be damned), hard-core entertainment (not always competitive, not as interested in accuracy, pretty safe), and historically accurate (which is accurate, safe, and competitive, but the hard work that goes into making it such won't be noticed by many).

We see some similar things in the edged weapon world (speaking in very general terms): sport fencers (competitive, pretty safe, not historically accurate for the middle ages), SCA-types (tries to portray another time with varying levels of success, has plethora of artificial rules to make it safe/fair), HEMA folks (accurate, as safe as the people involved can make a lethal art, but whose accuracies won't be noticed by many).

With all these, there are people and groups that run in multiple circles or in their own altogether.

Jousting will entertain some. Just like with movies/TV accuracy takes time and money to achieve and, unfortunately, most people won't know the difference or care. More people are drawn to car wrecks than a properly made 15th century gothic harness.

Happy

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Peter Lyon
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PostPosted: Fri 09 Jul, 2010 1:02 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Personally I hope jousting doesn't ever become "mainstream" if it means having to go down the "heavy" route; for me the history inspires me as much as the perceived risk, the idea of emulating (albeit in a lesser way) my forebears. The "big hit" jousters have thrown out that aspect, so lose the pageantry and colour that can make a show great. That colour and crowd interaction can also cover up for the occassional lacklustre show too; but if all there is to see is repeated runs in enclosed lists, one after the other, it is hard to sustain that for long.

I don't mind seeing my own jousting as a financially losing position; to try to make a profit off it would be extremely hard in any circumstances, but the continual need to be out there will take a physical toll pretty soon. A friend of mine, who spent about 8 years in the upper levels of jousting in Europe, running his own troupe and stables, did so many tourneys that he has back and shoulder problems from the continual impacts, even though it was the so-called "soft" style. Bear in mind here that it is relative, even the balsa-style joust causes unhorsings and injuries.

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Michael B.
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PostPosted: Fri 09 Jul, 2010 1:19 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

WIth the right marketing, it could take off I think. At least for a short time. Throw some fog machines, lasers, rock music, and a jumbotron and you have yourselfs a sports show. Look at the popularity of "Medieval Times" in Vegas, now mix that showmanship with the hard hitting sport and you may have a hit. (no pun intended)
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