Chivalry lives

Medievalist and champion sword fighter Jeremy OneailPeople still do jousting? Yeah. There are different groups that try to knock each other off the horse. Most do it with soft tips. Just about everybody walks away with everything they came with.

What do you teach besides sword fighting? Our main focus is to teach people how they fought on the battlefield in the 15th century. We’re not trying to make sword fighters per se, as much as martial artists.

Tell me more about the Knights in Training program. I try to teach the kids about medieval culture itself, not just the fighting aspect – chivalry, heraldry, how armor was made, a little about horsemanship. Every kid has picked up a stick at some point and pretended to be a knight. Hopefully they can walk away with a moral code and a love of history that not many people have nowadays.

Is there a common thread among your adult students? Most people can quote Monty Python and the Holy Grail. It’s a love of the medieval. That’s what gets people through the door.

Are there other instructors like yourself? There are four or five schools locally. We all have different takes. I say my teaching is from the manuscript of “Fiore dei Liberi,” but I’m really teaching Jeremy.

It’s like you get to be a kid every day. I was one of those cool kids who played Dungeons & Dragons – not a lot of sun, a lot of Doritos and Mountain Dew. I took a trip to France, where you trained on the beach. I competed and won, and they invited me back. I’ve never lost a sword-fighting tournament, and I generally place high in the jousting.

Because you train hard, or because you’re a natural? I’ve got pretty good timing and the arm reach of a mountain gorilla. Last year, I went to France to tape a TV show. We visited all these castles, and I fought muay thai guys, professional gladiators. And I won that. This myth builds up. You don’t think about it until people go, “Oh, you’re Jeremy.” And I go, “You don’t know how big of a dork I am.’’

Source: boston.com

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