Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Ripper Moore an American Jouster!

Today I am offering a view into the life of an American Jouster-Ripper Moore. With more than 17 years of experience, he was gracious enough to share some of his story with Modern Medievalist. I would like to thank him for his time and for graciously allowing this interview in the first place.

Q: When did you start riding?

A: I actually started riding late. It was 1995, when I was 29. I learned to ride with the aim of learning to joust. So I started on Percherons and Belgians. The big boys are, to me, normal sized horses and all the others look small and frail.

Q: What was it that drew you to Jousting?

A: I really had no idea what I was getting into when I started training, but once I did I was delighted. What little boy did not dream of being a Knight in Shining Armour? Of course, the little boy has no idea how much work goes into getting the armour to shine, literally and figuratively, but I have never been allergic to hard work, and the goal was so worth it!

Q: Why do you think people, or the public think there is a difference between Jousting at a Renfaire environment as opposed to one of the International events based on a historic model?

A: I despair of the public sometimes. I find that no matter what you or the Master of Ceremonies actually says, the crowd never really listens. I do think however that they assume anything they see at a Renaissance Faire is an act of some sort, whereas they are more ready to believe that an Event is a real competition.

Q: Is your personal armour any different in construction or thickness than say any of the current "Medieval" jousters?

A: There is no 'industry standard' for armour, but most of us out here doing full contact agree that a minimum of 16 gauge stainless steel is necessary on the parts that are getting hit. 14 gauge is better. Also, there are not that many armourers capable of making a full suit of joust worthy armour, so with both these points in mind, the suits that do exist tend to have a lot in common. When I say 'most' that definitely does not mean all. There are those who maintain that well made mild steel armour works fine. I disagree. I have seen too many spring steel and high carbon steel suits torn up in just one full contact tourney. My own armour was made for me over sixteen years ago and is still going strong, although with many reshaping repairs and restrapping.

(c) Kathleen Bodgan

Q: You and Rod Walker of Australia were the two main coaches on Full Metal Jousting. How were you chosen and what was the criteria the producers used?

A: Rod and I were chosen specifically by Shane Adams, executive producer of the show. His stated criteria were the two guys he knew who were the most passionate about the sport. He also wanted two people who knew their stuff but had very different approaches and backgrounds.

Q: The armour that was used in Full Metal Jousting looked like it was an amalgamation of different styles and eras. Who designed the Harness' used in the show? For the casual observer the armour looked to be rather "chunky."-Was this an effort to over-engineer safety into the armour?

A: The armour on FMJ was deliberately designed to avoid a historic model. The show wanted to present jousting as a modern sport and avoid any stigma of reenactment or performance. Mind you, Rod did find a set of armour in a museum which closely resembled that used on the show, but that was just a coincidence. His point was there really is nothing new in armour design. Every functional option has been explored at some point. Still, History wanted a modern look and commissioned armour with that in mind. That said, the armour suffered from one basic problem, which was that there was no way to fit it to the individuals who would wear it, because we did not know who they would be until the show began. They made a lot of suits in a range of sizes and hoped for the best. For the most part, they were way too large. We fitted and modified them as best we could, usually by adding padding.

Q: What was the single biggest surprise or unexpected event you discovered or had happen to you during the filming of Full Metal Jousting?

A:The biggest surprise to me is just how different the world of television is. I have been involved in theatre one way or the other for most of my life and have been on innumerable morning show newscasts, so I thought I had some idea what participating in a television production would be like. I was WRONG. One of the executives, at the beginning, warned me that this was going to be like nothing else I had ever experienced, and that I was entering a whole new world. Even though it was a 'reality' show, I was constantly getting lessons on just how malleable reality is, and how carefully sculpted it needs to be to appear real. Mistake me not, everything that made it to the screen was absolutely real, but it still took a lot of management to present.

Q: What happened to the participants of the show?

A: After the show, most of the participants went back to their regular lives. Even the winner went back to his old job. Some of them, however, decided they liked full contact and have participated in some other tourneys and 'circuit' jousting. I even got to hit a couple of them myself!
Q:What have you been doing of late, and what do you see yourself doing in the next five years?

A: I myself pretty much went back to my old life, which was jousting here and there as opportunity presented. This year I jousted with Shane Adams and his troupe for the first time in a long time, and that was great. There is still some hope for a second season of FMJ, so I would really like to do that, but whether or not, I will keep breaking lances where I can with whoe'er I can. My personal motto is Dum Spiritus Durat, which means: While Breath Remains. So I intend to live up to that and keep being a professional knight in shining armour.

Once again, I would like to thank Ripper Moore for this interview. He is a gentleman in the truest sense of the word.

(c) Eclecstasy
Siobhan Elliott and Ripper

Video Links to Full Metal Jousting:

Ripper Moore vs Rod Walker in Canada:

Full Contact Jousting Ripper Moore vs. Tim Tobey POV:

Ohio Renaissance Festival 2012

All my best!

DS Baker

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

To my readers-

Rumors of my demise have been greatly exaggerated-Mark Twain.

I have had some family issues and a whole host of other events happen in the last week. I promise to that end I will post another interview later tonight/early tomorrow morning.

All my best!

Modern Medievalist will return shortly!

DS Baker

Saturday, October 6, 2012

France: Oudart Renty & Tempus Fugit!

(c) Pattin

Today we speak with Arnaud Pattin.-Known to many of you in the 14th Century Reenactment world as Oudart de Renty. We speak about his reenactment and living history efforts, recreating the Knight who originally had as his Mensie, the village Pattin lives in today.

Q: How long have you been doing medieval reenactment?

A: I have been involved in medieval reenactment since 2005, But I wanted to do such things many years before that.

Q:What made you choose the time period you reenact?

A: I choose the beginning of the 15th Century as it was the period of my first group -"la compagnie de Saint Martin" and also because it is an interesting time period in European history, the middle of the Hundred Years War and the rising of a new land: Burgundy.

Q:Has it been difficult to find or buy equipment?

A: At the beginning it was very difficult to find good equipment. We wanted to be as near of history, of the artifacts, of the period, but very few manufacturers or merchants were doing such things. 

(c) Pattin
Box and Seal of Oudart de Renty

Q:Do you make any of your equipment, or do you purchase your clothes and such from a medieval style merchant?

A:So we decided to make ourselves the most part of our equipment, and to sew all of our clothes, and our shoes, by hand, in the same manner of the middle ages. For that we first used such books as, "The Medieval Tailors Assistant" and then, more and more serious books about excavations and archaeological searches. Only arms and armours were made by professional skilled workers.

Q: When doing your reenactment-do you have rules about what can or cannot be seen?

A:When doing our reenactment we have only one rule: Everything shown to the public must be strictly historical, proved by finds, and from our area-(south Flanders and northern France.)

Q:How many years has it taken for you to achieve the level of reenactment that you have?

A:It has taken many years to reach our actual level. I had to wait more than two years for my actual armour, so I didn't wear it for four or five years of reenactment. Every year we try to do better.

Q:Tell us about  "Tempus Fugit." What is its purpose?

A: "Tempus Fugit" is my own group. I've created it because I've discovered a special character:

messier Oudart de Renty who was a very noble man-at-arms at the beginning of the 15th Century, and was the landlord of the county, and the village where I actually live. With "Tempus Fugit" we're trying to recreate his retinue. It's quite the same goal as the "Bell Company" has in the United States.

Q:How many people are in "Tempus Fugit?"

A: There are six adults and four children currently.

(c) Pattin
(c) Pattin
Mensie of Oudart de Renty
Q:Do you use "Tempus Fugit" as a vehicle to teach others about history?

A:Yes, absolutely. When I do not reenact, I am also proposing "Conferences" (Speeches) on this subject, because I used to be a history teacher at the ULCO (University of Boulogne/Dunkerque Northern France)

(c) Pattin
                                                                      "Assaulting the Wall"
                                                                 Festival D'Histoire Vivant
                                                                           6 July 2009

(c) Grunwald official site
Oudart de Renty, Przemyslaw Rey, Piotr Niemiec-Miskiewicz, and Pavel Ferenc
2010 Battle of Grunwald

Q: Recently you went to Churburg Castle in Southern Tyrol. What was that like?

A: I went to Churburg (Castle Coira) to visit the famous museum and armoury with some friends of mine who live there and are involved in "Gesellschaft des Elefanten" or "Company of the Elephants." Which is a very good group who reenact the same period as us. They also organize each year, in October, a tournament in South Tyrol-(Laurin Tournament) This trip to the  South Tyrol was planned many years ago. I was very happy to discover the armours we are trying to copy.  The country around the castle is also fabulous. It is what we call  "ferrique" or fairies in French.

(c) Pattin

Churburg Castle Gate House

"Tempus Fugit" Also have a video link of their efforts:

Oudart de Renty and "Tempus Fugit" can be seen at their website:
I would like to thank Arnaud Pattin for his time, and for his willingness to share his pursuit of history. Merci Beaucoup!

All my best!

DS Baker

Monday, October 1, 2012

Profile of Excellence: Przemyslaw Rey Banner Leader & Museum Director

(c) Arkadiusz Rutkowski
Przemyslaw Rey is today's subject for Profile in Excellence. From Gdansk, Poland.

Q: When did you begin to study or show an interest in things medieval.
A: I don't know. I have always lived with history. I come from one of the more famous Polish families. One of my ancestors was the first Polish Poet to write in Polish. For me it was a natural thing.

-His ancestor once said, "Let it by all and sundry foreign nations be known that Poles are no Anserinae they have a language of their own."-Mikolaj Rej.
*Anserinae are a family with which Geese and Swans are labeled.
Coat of Arms
From the Seal of Jan Rey

A: Cont.-When I look at history, there has always been a male family member involved or mentioned; like the Battle of Grunwald, I had an ancestor there.

Q:When did you decide to begin reenacting?
A: It was in 1996

Q: What type of reenacting was this? Was it more akin to SCA or living history?
A: It has always been more living history than SCA.

Q:Jumping forward a bit, what did you study at University?
A:Management and Marketing.

Q:Was that a help in your Modern Medieval career?
A: Yes. It helps me every year on the battlefield of Grunwald. I'm the Commander of the Great Banner of Cracow and Babilon. (This is the main Polish encampment and the place where most of the foreign fighters stay.) As the Banner Commander I am responsible for all of the logistics, recruitment, finances, accommodations. It also helped me find my present Job, I am the Director of Grodzisko Owidz, an early Slavic village used for historical interpretation and teaching.

Q: How long did it take you to go from beginning reenactor to Banner Commander, which I would think of is a small army?
A: Ten years. It is a sort of small army. In 2010 the 600th anniversary of the Battle of Grunwald I was in charge of 120 fighters from 14 countries, but this was a special event. Normally I have 60 fighters from roughly 10 countries to deal with.

Q: Which countries sent you their fighters?
A: I had fighters from; Belgium, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Lithuania, Poland, Germany, Slovakia, Hungary, Italy, Portugal, Ukraine, UK, and the USA.
(c) Przemek Czyzowski

Q: During the 14th Century armies had support personnel regardless of what they may have been called. Do you have these people helping out in your encampment?
A: If you count the cooks, helpers, spouses or other family, our ranks will normally swell to right at or just over 300 people during the 2010 event, but last year I had exactly 198 persons including fighters.

Q:How many groups do you work with?
A: I belong to four groups. I interact with another two, but for Grunwald I worked with over 40.

Q: How many people attend the Battle of Grunwald, that are not actually part of the reenactment?
A: In 2010 we had an estimated 180,000 to 200,000 visitors. Since then we manage to get 50,000 to 100,000 visitors depending on the weather.
(c) Arkadiusz Rutkowski


Q: That is an amazing amount of visitors! Do they pay anything to view the battle?
A: No it is free, except they may have to pay to park their cars or buses. It should be noted that everyone in the reenactment groups are volunteering too. None of us are getting paid. Rather we pay for playing out of our own pocket.

Q: How do you see Polish reenactment evolving?
A: In the 90's it was sort of Hollywoodish. We used to wear tights... now we make hose and try to research everything before we come out on the field.

Q: Speaking of research, what can you tell us about your new adventure in time?
A: Grodzisko Owidz is a center for medieval knowledge and a bit further past that. It is designed to recreate Polish life from the Xth Century through to the XVIIth Century.

Q: How are you attracting reenactors for your stronghold?
A: I have started a "rent free" program, where they can come to the stronghold and they can stay there as long as they stay in persona, wear period clothes, and do their interpretative work while keeping their house open to the public.

Q: What direction do you see Grodzisko Owidz going towards?
A: We are in the process of signing an agreement with the Polish Academy of Sciences. I also want to make links and agreements with other universities, museums, learning institutions, and various reenactment groups that I know.

Q:Sounds like you are having to do a lot of work...
A: Yes. There is a lot of work. Paperwork, building the stronghold, I even sometimes have to be the stronghold goat herder!-Which is one of the reasons I love being the Director.

I suspect that Przemyslaw Rey will continue to live a historical life, a medieval life, while staying very much in touch with this modern one. I want to thank him for his time, and especially his patience.

All my absolute best!

DS Baker

Battle of Grunwald Official Website:

Here are some video links from You Tube for the 600th Anniversary of the Battle of Grunwald:

Przemyslaw Rey's websites:

Grodzisko Owidz:

The Modern Reenactor-By Jason O'Keefe

For those of you who have not heard or read my posts on Facebook.-Where oddly enough most of my contacts come from, This blog is about profiling those that are putting their best foot forward. This might mean they are world famous in a Modern Medievalist sort of way. It might also just mean to a circle of people they are well known. In any case I believe with my heart and soul, one of the reasons people are feeling the way they do, is that the tearing down of others, and their works has become all too easy.

You don't have to adopt my views on things. However I believe that if you are one of those persons out there that is honestly trying to do something, it never hurts to read about someone else who is going through or has gone through the same trials as you.-Whether this is in a Modern Medievalist context or not.

My grandfather once told me, "Courtesy costs nothing. But the lack of it can cost more than you will ever know."

It is easier to tear down than it is to build. That being a sad statement I want to change in my life, I have decided to show examples of those who are working hard at having fun!

Jason O'Keefe is a man who has been around the UK reenactment world for a long time, 25 years to be exact. I don't know what possessed him to start his own magazine?-(This is not one of my usual interviews) But it is a very cool online magazine with some amazing links, and a nice listing of international groups by country.  He has also begun trading at the odd reenactment event.

Here are links to his endeavors:

A XVth Century Archery Unit based on the Welsh Marches:

All my absolute best!

DS Baker