Jousters ‘needed skills of mod­ern sports­men’

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - WORLD -

LON­DON — In me­dieval Eng­land it was one of the top com­bat sports as knights on horse­back com­peted against each other in joust­ing con­tests.

New re­search pub­lished by English Heritage and the Uni­ver­sity of Bath has re­vealed that com­peti­tors needed the fit­ness of pro­fes­sional soc­cer play­ers, top ten­nis stars and For­mula 1 drivers.

Mod­ern-day jouster Roy Mur­ray was put through his paces at the Uni­ver­sity of Bath, per­form­ing a range of phys­i­o­log­i­cal as­sess­ments com­monly used to mea­sure to­day’s Olympic ath­letes.

“The re­sults con­firmed the fit­ness lev­els and strength de­manded by the sport of joust­ing are com­pa­ra­ble to some of to­day’s most gru­el­ing sports and makes a jousted the ul­ti­mate all-around ath­lete,” said a spokesman for English Heritage, who hope to make joust­ing an Olympic sport.

Jonathan Robinson, sport sci­en­tist at the uni­ver­sity, led the tests and said he was im­pressed by the re­sults.

“What’s par­tic­u­larly re­mark­able is the high stan­dards of fit­ness demon­strated across a wide range of ar­eas. It is clear that jousters must train very hard in var­i­ous dif­fer­ent ways to main­tain this fit­ness in or­der to com­pete in such a phys­i­cally de­mand­ing sport,” he said.

On core sta­bil­ity and bal­ance, Mur­ray’s re­sults proved bet­ter than some pro­fes­sional swim­mers and his align­ment and bal­ance were com­pa­ra­ble with lead­ing ac­ro­bats.

“As in the Mid­dle Ages, to­day’s jousters need to be in­cred­i­bly strong to carry their 45 kilo­grams of ar­mor and pilot over half a ton of gal­lop­ing horse. A strong core and an acute sense of bal­ance are cru­cial in or­der to ride straight and stay up­right dur­ing a joust, all while car­ry­ing a 3-me­ter­long wooden lance and ab­sorb­ing the side­ways im­pact of a blow from an op­po­nent’s lance,” said English Heritage.

English Heritage is host­ing a se­ries of jousts at its cas­tle through­out the sum­mer as part of its Me­dieval Knights Sea­son.

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