Since it’s start in 1997, The Knights of Valour have taken up the lance in one of sports most demanding and dangerous competitions – Full Contact Jousting.
Jousting was a martial competition from the middle-ages that set two mounted knights against each other in sport. They used such weapons as battle axe, dagger, sword and of course, lance.
There is no better symbol in the fantasy realm than that of the mounted knight in full armor! I was first introduced to the “legend and fantasy” of the Knight in the 1981 film, Excalibur, that told the fantasy story of King Arthur and Merlin. This fascination led me to Dungeons and Dragons, where my “nerdness” for the fantasy genre, lived out my dream of being a Knight on paper and imagination.
This summer, I was finally able to catch up to the this fascination of mine, when my family attended our first Medieval Festival. We have become hooked ever since! Most notably, we have become fans of The Knights of Valour!
How did you get involved in Jousting?
Shane:Jousting has always been a child hood dream of mine. Watching the old classic movies such as Knights of the Round Table, Ivanhoe, Robin Hood all the while living on a horse farm helped fuel the dream.
What is the Jousting that you practice?
Shane: I practice all forms of jousting and all Forms of jousting styles but what I am most recognized for is competitive Full Contact/Extreme Jousting. Its purpose to bring the reality of real jousting to crowds of thousands around the globe.
What qualities and skills should someone have if they are interested in becoming a Jouster?
Shane: To be a great jouster, sure you have to be an equestrian, Sure you have to be physically and mentally fit but most of all you have to have heart. You have to be able to not just stare at danger in the face you have to want to take it out to dinner with you too.
Is Jousting attracting female competitors?
Shane: Yes, jousting is attracting a lot of Female Equestrian athletes. Anyone can joust, Males, Females, no problem but they have to follow and fit the criteria of what makes a good jouster and for the women in the sport I have found that though they can compete with the men in the sport of Full Contact Jousting they have to work at their physical strength and conditioning twice if not three times as hard. Any woman with that much of a drive to live doing what most people just dream about, is welcome on my team anytime.
What kind of training is used when training your team?
Shane: Different types of training in horse riding disciplines are used as well as physical fitness. While training with Lance different drills are used to help the rider gain the proper technique needed to strike hard and with pin point accuracy. Many mounted training tactics that Knights used in days gone buy are still used today. Medieval mounted games like Ring Spearing and the quintain are used very often.
How are competitive tournaments arranged and delivered? How big is the International League?
Shane: There is probably over 300 Jousters World wide but out of those 300 there is really only about 30 men and women willing to compete in the North American Full Contact Style. Many Jousters overseas who Joust with precut Balsa wood say what we do is Dangerous and not necessary. I have been Jousting for over 20 years and have been at the forefront of bringing Jousting not just back to life but to Televisions around the World and to huge live event stages from county fairs and state fairs all over North America. I say that yes what we do can be dangerous but I also know it is necessary because it is what the paying public want to see.
At a recent event, the Master at Arms mentioned that you were out of Jousting for 2 years due to injury. What are some of the dangers of your sport?
Shane: I was out because I had a full rupture of my achilles tendon in my left leg. It took sometime to heal. But I didn’t do it Jousting I did it in the gym training. Most injuries are your standard broken hand, Dislocated shoulder, broken ribs, and concussions. Very similar to the same types of injuries you will find in High School football or hockey. If you play a sport, wear the proper equipment, get the proper training and learn from the mistakes our fore fathers have made in the past. You know it was just around 40 years ago that some hockey goalies weren’t wearing visors on their helmets or helmets at all.
Have movies such as Lord of the Rings, A Knight’s Tale and other fantasy films helped grow the interest in Jousting?
Shane: I like to think that the sport of jousting has put the interest into the minds of the producers who have made those films and with that said absolutely yes.
What are your thoughts on dinner theater jousting? Does it help the sport?
Shane: Dinner Theater Jousting is what it is, a dinner theater! Yes in the beginning when I first started out trying to build the sport 20 years ago, anytime I would mention jousting people would reply like the dinner show! No, not like the dinner show at all. That was then, This is now!
You were creator/producer of History Channel’s very successful “Full Metal Jousting” which was a reality show/jousting competition? What was the experience like and are you working on bringing the show back to TV?
Shane: What a great experience! Working with the people at Pilgrim Films and History was amazing, I couldn’t have put my baby, the sport of jousting, in the hands of anyone better. I watched my dream hit the television markets of country after Country and the success the show had was huge. Not bad for a kid growing up on a horse farm in Canada with a dream of wanting to be a Knight. Will jousting ever be on TV again, who knows but until then you can come out and see it LIVE!
I am thrilled that the sport of full contact jousting is on the rise and I highly recommend to anyone that is a fan of exciting fights to not miss out!