Monday, 20 April 2009
Royal Armouries, Leeds
Somewhere I've often thought would be a great day out would be the Royal Armouries, Leeds and as I was passing the other day I took the opportunity to stop. I did have the kids in tow so I took a bit of a punt but the upshot was a day we all enjoyed!
Of course I didn't get see half of what I wanted to as I really was 'on duty' but as this place covers 4 floors with two main sections per floor I think I'll be visiting again for a full day without kids! Having said that I feared that the museum was going to be an 'experience' and more directed towards kids entertainment with too many interactive features for the younger visitor. Not at all I found: there was a good mix of 'grown-up' pieces as well as talks by 'storytellers' about armour and archers and on the day we visited there was a joust! Amazing: The Royal Armouries has an outside arena for horse mounted japes such as this St George's celebration joust. It was a great bit of theatre and fun entertainment but impressive to see these guys in full armour displaying horse and fighting skills.
Jousting was a popular accompaniment to medieval tournaments which helped Knights hone their martial skills. I suppose like modern martial arts competitions and tournaments it was a good way to pressure-test technique. Although I find competing quite a scary experience it helps you look deeply at your technique in the run up to the event and also exposes you to nerves and adrenaline during the competition. Learnign to deal with nerves is an important aspect to martial arts and a good tool for life.
Having said that the jousting, for me, seemed sedate but was fascinating to watch and I can't wait for my next visit to the Royal Armouries! (No, I'm not being sponsored by them!)