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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Full Metal Jousting Versus Top Shot

This is Steven Petrick posting.

One of the shows that both SVC and I watch is "Top Shot." I have an interest in watching people shoot because, well I was an infantry officer and had a vested interest in people on my side being good shots. (Trust me, you always hope the other side has poor shots.) Sometimes on "Top Shot" they will bring out some archaic weapons. While I would hope to never be in a situation where I might have to pick up some of those weapons, I always watch with some interest when there is a chance that that weapon, or something like it, might be something I could encounter.

Thus I have an interest in spear throwing, because circumstance could cause my life to depend on that (say a plane crash or a ship sinking leaving me marooned). But I have no real interest in learning how to use an Atalatal. A spear is something I might fashion, but the Atalatal is beyond my rough skill set. So I am content to see the weapon demonstrated, but have no interest in watching a series of shows where expert Atalatal users vie for the top score or do trick throws or what have you. Having watched the show, I now have a good idea how it was supposed to work and would not be out of my depth if someone started a conversation about the weapon.

I am more interested in the various other weapons displayed. Pistols, machineguns, grenade launchers, cannons. But not especially interested in crossbows, and bows and arrows. The latter I had some training in, but have only rough ideas how to fabricate one out of materials on a desert island or the middle of a forest.

This brings us to Jousting.

The Discovery Channel (I believe it was) rounded up a few guys and ran a demonstration how knights actually employed their lances. This was interesting to me at the time (after all, it was something I had only read about and this was the actual mechanics). I watched the show and then set it aside.

Now the History Channel is running a series called "Full Metal Jousting" in an apparent effort to build up a "sport." I have absolutely no interest. I find it stupid. It has no modern military value. (SVC says that firing a flintlock pistol has no modern military value because of the skill needed to keep the weapon on target while waiting for the flame to actually ignite and fire the ball, I disagree because some anti-armor weapons in my experience actually do require you to keep the cross hairs on the target after launching the missile). I see absolutely zero chance that I am going to find a random horse that is going to let me ride it at someone while holding a long pointy stick, much less that I am going to have the skill to control the horse while doing so.

My basic interest in jousting ends at that point. I do not find it a militarily useful skill. (Perhaps after civilization collapses it will make a comeback, but until then.)

Worse, despite the padding and armor, the small group of people participating have had more (from what I have seen in passing) people sent to the hospital during the show than a major football team does in a full season (near as I can make, I am not really keeping track of either). So I just find the whole concept of "Full Metal Jousting" (falling headlong off of a horse if your opponent lands a good lance hit) stupid.