Jousters ‘needed skills of modern sportsmen’
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.