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Wednesday, 6 June 2012
Last week we had the opportunity to attend a fabulous (and educational!) event.
(Sorry for the pun!)
The Knights of Valor came to a community nearby and we were able to spend the day in the medieval age (one of my favourites!0..
Knights of Valor are a jousting group, you may have seen their founder and some of the knights on History Channel's "Full Metal Jousting". These guys are the real thing... wearing authentic (mostly) armour and riding true war horses (large draft horses~ they were originally bred as battle horses, and only later, when mounted warfare with men in armour declined, became farm hands~ new fact to me!) and really hitting each other with lances.
The math was astounding.
A 200 pound man, wearing nearly 200 pounds of armour, on a 2000 pound horse, traveling at a 30 km/h canter and throwing all of that force behind an 11 foot lance of Douglas Fir to thrust at his opponent's chest.
Times two, since his opponent is doing the same thing.
The human heart can be stopped by 7 pounds of force.
These men are absorbing up to 600 lbs. of force.
The mind boggling rationale behind the sport aside, the knights were wonderful showmen, and also excellent educators. They were truly chivalrous and kind with the children, while being engaging and full of knowledge about their time period. They used demonstrations ~ for example, to demonstrate that swords were not terribly sharp, nor good for cutting they invited one brave lad to cover his arm in chain mail while the knight sawed at it with a real sword, to no effect. Had he chosen to chop at the arm, the same sword would have crushed it (inside its mail). The children were able to handle lances and battle axes and even to fire a trebuchet.
We were truly impressed with the quality of the day.
It began with a demonstration of birds of prey, followed by an exciting jousting tournament.
After lunch, the children cycled through 5 educational pods: war horse, the life of a knight, armour and weaponry, weapons of siege and birds of prey.
The highlight for Rowan was being chosen Queen of the Royal Court.
Children had been encouraged to come in costume.
Rowan wanted to be a knight, but not a boy.
By combining a girl's over-tunic with a knightly cape, belt, cowl and sword we made it happen.
When the knight in charge of choosing the court announced that the queen was a girl with a warrior's heart, Rowan's face lit up with hope... and she proudly took her seat on the Queen's throne and accepted the crown for the duration of the jousting performance.
I was almost in tears, so happy for my girl to see herself as strong and capable and to have the crown to prove it.
We came home bursting with facts like:
+ The sword was actually a poor weapon for a mounted soldier, unwieldy and ineffective from horseback, but it was chosen as the emblematic weapon of the knighthood because of its shape.. that of the cross.. at a time of Crusades and other religious warfare.
+ A woman could be a knight if she was the eldest daughter of daughters, there being no male to inherit a title~ she would train and earn her spurs just like the men. Although she wouldn't fight in wars, she would lead her men and fight in defense of her home. She would be titled 'Dame'.
And the fact that no matter how true you want to be to a historical period, there still may come a time when nothing but duct tape will do the job.... ♥
Knights of Valour tour throughout North America, so be sure to check out their site for upcoming shows.
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