Saratoga County

Area grad in medieval jousting TV contest

A graduate of Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake High School will be going medieval on The History Channel on

A graduate of Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake High School will be going medieval on The History Channel on Sunday.

Paul Suda, a 2003 BH-BL grad, will be one of 16 contestants on “Full Metal Jousting” — a new reality competition show.

“It’s going to be the most violent competition ever shown on TV,” Suda said Friday from Los Angeles, where he now lives.

Modern men will charge at each other on horseback, wearing suits of steel, trying to “unhorse” opponents with 11-foot lances made of Douglas fir. The winner gets $100,000.

Suda, 26, the son of Luke and Joan Suda of Division Street, had never jousted before, though he has had a longtime interest in things medieval.

He attended a “Medieval Times” dinner theater show in Toronto when he was 16. It made a big impression. After graduating from Emerson College with a degree in theater in 2007, Suda got a job at the “Medieval Times Castle” in Chicago, where he worked for three years.

“That’s where I finally learned to ride a horse,” he said. “My mom had made me take riding lessons when I was eight, but I really hadn’t liked it. I was a timid kid.”

Suda also discovered he liked fencing, though he never jousted.

After he moved to LA in 2010 to pursue acting, audition calls for the new show began appearing on medieval history forums. He applied.

A lot of interviews and physical tests later, Suda was selected as one of those agile enough and tough enough for the knock-down competition.

“It was fun. It was terrifying,” he said. “We did our best to hurt each other. But I found that after the most violent encounters, the people I was involved in them with I liked and respected them more.”

Suda describes himself as a “geek,” and said he hopes through the show to make geeky people feel more comfortable with themselves.

“In high school I was a geek. A big, athletic geek, but I was still a geek. I like fantasy and science fiction. If you can be a geek and own it, it can be good for you,” he said.

The 10-episode series premieres at 10 p.m. Sunday on The History Channel.

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