At the «St. George’s Tournament» arrived famous knights of Moscow, St. Petersburg, the Netherlands, Germany and Australia. Russian fighters Andrew Kamin, Dmitry Savchenko, Yuri Bogunov, Sergey Zhuravlev, Victor Ruchkin and a young squire Cyril Sutormin crossed spears with Wouter Nicolai — representative of the strong Dutch school, Luke Binks — a knight errant of Australia and Arne Koets — an idol of russian public and an old friend of the «Ratobortsy».
St. George’s Tournament
The tournament has ended, the knights have broken their camp and departed to their countries to heal wounds, repair armor and train for the next tournament. Here is a report about the tournament, fair and medieval camp around the arena.
Men of steel and their sport
At the beginning of each tournament day the herald represented the participants, the judges and the ladies. After that guests watched courtly performances of the XV century — «The Miracle of St. George» on the first day and «Novel about the Heart» in the second. By the way, the author of the play was Rene of Anjou, celebrated king and troubadour and an expert in tournaments. Theatrical interludes preceded the matches. On the 1 of May knights competed in jousting and melee. On the 2 of May the second round of jousting and fighting with poleaxes were held.
Terrible blows broke shields, tore shoulder pads, crushed breastplates, plate gloves and helmet peepholes. «St. George’s Tournament» is one of the few world tournaments, where knights compete on solid wood lances. One could earn points not only breaking his lance or knocking the opponent out of the saddle.
The Ladies’ Court was observing knights’ manners: how they treat their competitors, squires, field services, judges and the audience. Once a day, each lady could send a ring for her favourite. Then the chosen knight should hook it on his lance in full career. If succeeded, the knight received one point.
According to XV century tradition, in intervals between the knightly fights, there was an amusing «jester jousting». Jesters wriggled and mocked knights and chased each other, fighting with brooms.
Knightly Tournament is a living organism, there is much unpredictablility. Armor breaks, knights withdraw due to injury, one can fail to deal with his horse. In the unmounted fight the knights broke oak poles of their poleaxes and switched over to two-handed swords. It was all of a sudden, now the knights showered with a barrage of punches to each other, because the speed of a sword is higher. When poleaxes were repaired, people on the stands roared, demanding to keep on fighting with swords.
Everything is fair at the tournament — if you control your emotions and the horse, accurate, tough, strong, and has good luck — you will be the winner. This is a hard-edged sport of men of steel — in the XXI century as well as in the XV.
Moscow defended the field
Foreign knights showed superb fighting: Luke Binks won the evening jousting on May,2. Arne Koets with several sniper attacks smashed Dmitry Savchenko’s shield and injured his shoulder. Arne, in turn, missed shattering blow of Sergei Zhuravlev, was knocked out of the saddle with a concussion. Alas, he couldn’t participate in this competition any more.
Andrew Kamin, a knight from St. Petersburg, abandoning his rest, fought for himself, and for Arne, dedicating him the most successful blows. And Andrew’s blows were so hard, that one can call him «The Destroyer»: he smashed three shields, crushed wamplates, helmets and armor of his opponents. Andrew took the third place, having earned 19 points. For the selflessness and loyalty to the knightly brotherhood he was awarded a glass cup and applause of spectators.
Second place was shared by Muscovites: the organizer of the tournament Dmitry Savchenko and romantic Yuri Bogunov, scored 20 points.
The winner was Sergei Zhuravlev, а knight and a blacksmith from Moscow, he scored 32 points. The mighty hand of the hammerman crushed rivals in the equestrian and foot competitions. Sergey is one of the few knights in the world who managed to knock out of the saddle Arne Koets, such a great master! Sergey dedicated the victory to his wife — incomparable Catherine Zhuravleva.
Results of the tournament:
- Wouter Nicolai — 4 points.
- Arne Koets — 8 points.
- Luke Binks — 12 points.
- Victor Ruchkin — 18 points.
- Andrew Kamin — 19 points.
- Dmitry Savchenko — 20 points.
- Yuri Bogunov — 20 points.
- Sergei Zhuravlev — 32 points.
The winner of jester jousting was awarded too. The most prankish jester got married a she-donkey for sheer fun of onlookers. With this joke ended the «St. George’s Tournament–2016».
The champion received a gilded cup-horn — an exact copy of the XV century tournament prize from Strasbourg. The decoration of the horn symbolizes the universe. The horn is twined with ivy and oak leaves, encircled with borders and filigree like the mythical cornucopia. This symbolizes the earth, that gives rich gifts. Below there are gargoyles, the inhabitants of hell. And above, «in heavens», there is a delicate bow with two bells and the emblem of St. George. The horn is based on the human figure with a broken branch in his hands. The meaning of this symbol is hidden in the mists of time.
A young squire Cyril Sutormin took part in the Tournament. He had a chance to replace knights — the competition was so hard, that several fighters were injured. Cyril demonstrated good jousting and won the praise of the masters. In the video, he shares his impressions of his first tournament.
There was another candidate for knighthood — Ilya Pavlov, yet as a servant, who helped in the kitchen, carried logs, cleaned manure. Ilya is a participant of «A Knight’s Tale» project, and next year he will have a chance to cross spears with the best knights of the «St. George’s Tournament».
Life and entertainments of the medieval camp
Next to the stages of the tournament there was a medieval camp for visitors. They fired an arquebus, used bows, and siege artillery against castle defenders, photographed in the armoury, minted coins, made engravings on the printing press and took calligraphy lessons. An experienced soldier gathered children in groups and cast them to storm the fortress, kids took off rings, imitating knights in a race, learned how to fence.
Visitors played board games on giant boards and kambok — medieval hockey. Swiss mercenaries taught how to combat with pikes and two-handed swords. In the «Witch’s Pharmacy» one could eat a wonderful medieval drug. There doctors in leather masks dissected a corpse and told about the symptoms of bubonic plague.
Revelry at the entirely authentic fair
In the tents, that had been made according to XV century sources, merchants offered dishes, jewelry, felted hats, honey, spices. Artisans of «Ratobortsi» presented the latest collection of wooden galoshes-pattens, saving from dirt of medieval towns. Alas, due to excellent weather, sales were not successful.
Pretty peasants kneaded dough, pounded salt and spices and baked rustic loaves in a clay oven. Especially popular among the guests were bread with lard and turnips on birch patellas. Between the rows walked a donkey loaded with brooms for sale, and children treated grey workaholic with carrots from greengrocer’s shop. Fathers placed their children in wooden cars and raced across the glade, and mothers weighed babies on a giant scale.
Folk groups Drolls, Teufelstanz, Il Ricercare, Wallace band gathered crowds of fans.
The results of the «St. George’s Tournament–2016»
The tournament was a success! The knights pushed themselves to the limits, the crowd was buzzing with excitement and applauded as the winners and their opponents — one can’t stay indifferent, seeing the risks for the fighters, hearing clatter of blows. Dmitry Savchenko injured his shoulder, Arne Koets got a slight concussion when he fell from a horse, Victor Ruchkin ripped his chin — all this doesn’t include countless bruises of all fighters. The knights showed miracles of generosity, replacing brothers-in-arms, refusing to have a rest
On the whole 45 000 people visited the tournament, the fair and the medieval camp. On the first day the stands were filled at 80% and 90% on the second. Almost all tickets have been sold — this means that we have something to put in the «St. George’s Tournament–2017». There will be more knights, more beautiful scenery, more variety of content, better service!
The success of the «St. George’s Tournament–2016» has proved: knightly theme is extraordinary spectacular, captures the audience and has great potential. «Ratobortsy» are willing to hold jousting tournaments not only in Moscow but throughout Russia and abroad.
Comments on the Tournament
Wouter Nicolai, a Dutch knight:
«St Georges tournament was awesome, a big thanks to everyone involved! I probably haven’t felt this bruised and broken after a tournament».
Luke Binks, an Australian knight:
«Well the Russian Tournament of St George is over and im still alive. Its difficult to know what to say about it really. It was one of the hardest tournaments i have participated in but with so many fantastic people. I had a great time although being rather beaten up. Today was two sessions of jousting and one of foot combat in between and all were very intense. Now though it is time to rest, heal and get back home!»
Arne Koets, a German knight:
«so just back from my latest adventure in Russia… what can i say?
i love this event! it is surely very very hard, running many passes of historical solids, steel axe footcombat and 3 melées.
all the cool stuff.
but also look at the camp… look at the court of ladies, look at the massive crew in very good kit… every rider had at least two squires… and then the army of grooms…
the armourers, everything-
I don’t know the numbers this year but last year we had 120 people in kit alone… not counting all the market stands and support crew.
the riders and fighters have spent a lot of effort in quickly joining the rather exclusive club of historical solids jousters and are people who you can have a laugh with… but who take criticisms very seriously and act upon things to make them better…. from riding to kit ot the event… everything you say will be taken into account.
the road to Rome was not built in a day… but this is some speedy roadbuilding.
the event is organised by the Ratoborski event agency who are not only great fun together… they know how to set up an event… run it smoothly, professionally, but also without compromise to historical accuracy. The level of commitment is without equal… and let’s not forget… nothing comes for free… these people have sweated and worked for where they are now….loads of hours.. loads of money… loads of risk…
I hear about 20.000 people were through the gates… so a succes indeed.
of course ’they ordered good weather’ is an often heard joke… but here it was true…
The city of moscow secured good weather for the day spending 86 m rubles on sun…. seriously… they made the rain go away….
only in Russia…»
Cyril Sutormin, a Russian squire:
«So, my first tournament is over. And this is really a life-turning point, and today’s birthday should be a beginning of the new life».