If you are looking for a sport with true medieval roots, the new TV show Full Metal Jousting might be for you. Based on the traditional jousting competition performed during tournaments in the later Middle Ages, this show offers some modern twists.
Full Metal Jousting premiered earlier this year in the United States, and has now started airing on History Television in Canada. Each episode features full-contact jousts in which competitors charge and collide at 45 kilometres an hour, with every moment captured by high-speed cameras. The 16 competitors come from a wide variety of backgrounds, including a marine veteran, a polo player, and a World Champion Steer wrestler. The winner from this group will receive a $100 000 prize.
The host of the show is Shane Adams, who represented Canada at 1997 World Jousting Championships. Despite that event being the first time he took part in competitive jousting, Adams won the event. Competitive jousting has gained popularity over the years, and received a considerable boost when Adams and the the sport was featured in a New York Times article from 2010. The day after the article was published, Adams said “my phone just blew up” as producers and television networks came pitching ideas to him. Eventually he decided to work with Pilgrim Studios, who created the 10 episode series.
So far the show has been pulling in big numbers – the premiere drew over 1.9 million viewers in the United States, to watch what Adams describes as “a unique gem of a real tournament and a real sport.”
Competitive jousting has differences from medieval jousting – there is a point system in place that awards contestants on which spot of their opponent’s armour they strike with their lance. Of course, knocking your opponent off his mount earns you the most points. Armour is also designed to be far more safe than medieval counterparts, and a lot of effort is made to make sure that injuries to competitors are minimal. The changes are necessary so that, Adams explained, “the sport of kings can be played out in modern days.”
Adams adds that is this not a reality tv show – this is a professional sport that requires years of training and dedication. He advises that anyone who wants to live out their dream of being a modern-day knight needs to get as much horse-riding experience as they can before contacting him through his company Knights of Valour. Adams adds that he is very thankful to all the fans who are now enjoying the sport, and is happy that after many years of hard work and sacrifice, “I’m living my childhood dream.”