Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Knights of Mahem and the Sport of Jousting

I don't know if you're heard about NatGeo's new show on cable, but Knights of Mayhem, is a hard hitting show. It's all about Charlie Andrews who has been trying to turn Jousting into an almost UFC, mixed martial arts type of sport.

And he may be right. I watched the first show and started to believe. Right now I'm watching the season finale and I have to say, whether or not you like the NatGeo show or not, the idea of Jousting as a professional entertainment sport, is valid.

Don't mistake this sport for that of something like "Medieval Times", which is a great venue, and loads of fun, but it is show business, and this jousting, is a full contact sport. It has everything, it has horses (for many people we can stop right there), it has anxiety, danger, a quick decision unlike baseball and football, it has explosive action and the real possibility of damage and death. I mean, really, what more do you need?

Okay, there is also armor, shiny or black. And that armor has weight, and strength, both of which add to the events. The jousting poles, the lances, literally explode when they properly hit the other knight. There is really a lot more to it, than just riding along, point a stick at someone, and hit them. A lot more.

One thing I would argue with, is calling the contestants, "Knights". But even if we grant them that title, I do think it needs to be earned, perhaps more than they do now earn it. Of course, one could argue, if you've seen this, that just to get armored up, on a horse, take the lance and ride toward someone who is trying to knock you off your horse, might be enough to earn the title.

But if you look at it obversely, from someone who deserves the title, and look down from his position, you really need to earn it.

In the show, there is Charlie Andrews, the current World Champion, and his teacher, Patrick Lambke, three time World Champion. Lambke is the protagonist on the show to Charlie's hero slot. Lambke even is called the Black Knight and wears the obvious shade of armor.

But Lambke, one time reining world champ, has problems, no doubt about it. The others talk about him, and you wonder, but in seeing the choices Lambke makes, ignoring his talk, he does have problems and is on the decline.

Charlie himself is a real piece of work. Very aggressive, in any setting, but he has given everything up in his life for this idea of making Jousting a major full contact money bloodsport. He may just do it. I was just about full of all of them by the second to the last show of the season but then last week, it got real interesting. Tonight, the season finale, we find out of Charlie retains his World Title. But I would have to say, last week's show was the highlight of the entire season. Watching the season leading up to it certainly enhanced that, but it was still a powerful show.

I wasn't as I said, much of a fan of anyone on the show, but in tonight's show, Charlie does something that stunned me. I didn't agree with him at first, and I really had to think about what he did. But after giving it some thought, I realized two good reasons, that I agreed with, for why and did, and why he should have done, what he did. And from that, I wouldn't say I became a fan of his, but I have a lot more respect for him. A lot. 

Now that the season is over, I can only wonder, will it be back next season? Because if it is, that means there is enough interest to carry it over. And if it gets carried over, will it grow as an event, one that big bucks go into, like with mixed martial arts?

Only time will tell, but I have to say, I kind of hope it catches on. I"m likin' it.

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