Podcast 60: Chivalry Makes The Lyst

The organizers of the 2012 Lysts On The Lake, Steve Hemphill and Scott Wilson, discuss this upcoming event that combines the sport of competitive jousting with the burgeoning interest in the field of Western martial arts and historical sword combat, and talk about what role chivalry will play in this year’s event. Plus: A look at the centennial of the Titanic’s sinking and the lessons of chivalry and courtesy to be learned from that fateful “night to remember.”

Quicklinks: Use the links below to learn more about the books, programs, and products mentioned in this episode of the podcast:

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Recently the martial arts of medieval Europe have been undergoing nothing short of a Renaissance – moving away from the theatrical pomp and play-acting of scripted jousting shows, and staged sword-fight displays, and toward the more serious study and practice of real, authentic combat on horseback and foot, with lances, swords, and other realistic weapons.

image of Steve Hemphill
Steve Hemphill is president of A Plaisance Ltd., and coordinator of the Lysts On The Lake jousting tournament

Not one, but two recent television series have focused on the growing practice of live, competitive sport jousting. And there is an exploding number of conventions and symposia for practitioners of 14th and 15th century fencing, wrestling, and armed combat.

All of these martial arts were, of course, practiced by knights, and those of knightly status in the Middle Ages – back in the days of real chivalry. (That is to say, when chivalry was a current, contemporary concept – not a topic for debate about historical accuracy.)

But for someone of “knightly spirit” in the 21st century, getting a solid grounding in all of these martial arts is difficult. After all, few of us have a castle courtyard where we can go for private lessons with our masters of horse and sword.

But, on May 8th through the 13th, if you’re in the vicinity of Austin, Texas, you can have the next best thing – because that’s when both of these styles of medieval chivalric sports are going to come together in Taylor, Texas at the East Williamson County Event Center, and the Taylor Rodeo Association Arena as spectators, students, and competitors come for the Chivalric Martial Arts International convention, and the Lysts On The Lake jousting tournament.

image of Scott Wilson
Scott Wilson is chief sword maker at Darkwood Armory, and coordinator of the Chivalric Martial Arts International Symposium.

Of course, watching these instructors, students and competitors gather to wrestle, hammer, slash, stab, and joust with one another is certainly exciting and colorful. But in these practices of the martial arts of the 14th, 15th and 16th centuries, will they be exploring the ideals of chivalry, or simply proving that a sense of honor goes out the window once the swords are drawn and the lances come down? Will spectators come away with greater respect for the ideals and practices of chivalry in a competitive environment – or is this merely an exhibition of the obsolescence of the knightly code.

Scott is joined by Steve Hemphill and Scott Wilson, organizers of the event, to discuss how the ideals of chivalry are viewed by the participants in these events.

You can purchase tickets to the event in advance (at a discount) through the Lysts On The Lake website.

See the promotional video for the 2012 Lysts On The Lake jousting tournament and Chivalric Martial Arts International Symposium below.
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