The Jousting Life

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

An Apology

To all of the readers of The Jousting Life, I'd like to extend an apology for not keeping up with things lately. I have been struggling with some health issues -- both physical and emotional -- and simply have not been able to write articles or even edit ones that were already in progress, or that others have written and sent to me for publication. I am hoping that I will manage to overcome these issues sometime soon, but I honestly do not know how long it is going to take.

I really appreciate all of the support that I have been given by the jousters, tournament organizers and others involved with the sport as well as those who simply enjoy reading about it, and I feel like I am letting everyone down. I owe articles about the Final Weekend Jousting Tournament at Sherwood Forest Faire, the Queen's Jubilee Horn Tournament (aka Leeds Easter Joust), Lysts on the Lake, the St George Tournament in Moscow and others which have recently occurred or will be occurring soon. I will do my best to get those articles written, edited and published, but I do not know when I will be able to do that. I am very sorry.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

How to Get Involved with the International Jousting League

written by Frederic Piraux, head of the International Jousting League
edited by Zhi Zhu

How Do I Get to Play?

You probably wore out your old VHS tape fast forwarding to the jousting scene in Ivanhoe.... You know A Knight’s Tale better than the script girl who worked on it.... And ever since you saw that tournament at the renaissance faire a few summers back and actually got to chat with a guy sweating in armour by the paddocks, you knew that the sport of jousting was for you! Your childhood dream could be fulfilled.

After buying the ‘made in China’ Henry XVth suit of armour from the discount website because it perfectly matched the crusader helm you so proudly and victoriously won from the auction on e-bay. And after spending a ton of time training your mighty jousting horse -- the one you originally bought for your daughter’s future international jumping career when she turned 13 -- over the past three weeks. Well... except for the one week when the arena was flooded by rain.

Even though you had to practice on your own after the first day because your sparring partner -- who didn't win his e-bay auction -- got maimed by the broom stick you had extended with PVC tube(for obvious safety reasons), you persevered.


And the world better acknowledge it, since you scored 75% on that Facebook quiz.

It is understandable that personal enthusiasm can easily overwhelm sound judgement, and you can easily feel frustrated when you find out that most of what you figured out on your own needs serious revision.
"Why don't those pricks invite me to their tournaments? Are they scared of me?"
Yes! They are!

Just because you’re ready to risk life and limb in a sport that you are NOT adequately prepared for, does not mean that I’m willing to be the one to rip your head off in front of a live audience(and all their cameras). It also does not mean that I am willing to let your lance come any closer to my horse than the rack in the far corner of the arena! It does mean that, as a tournament organizer, the professionalism I expect from the other competitors, I also want to be able to expect from you.

You might be tempted to re-invent the wheel(and probably make it sturdier using duct tape), BUT… I can only encourage you to first find out what others have already figured out. Seriously, this sport/re-enactment is a very dangerous activity when your preparation is that "approximate". Our ancestors found that out the hard way and committed all the basic mistakes they could so that you would not have to do the same.

Don't be afraid to ask for help from those who have already done their research, both historical and practical, and are now respected, experienced jousters. If you approach politely, they will not snub you. Most jousters within the International Jousting League are cool guys(and girls) who will answer all your questions for free!

Frederic Piraux (in red) watches Stacy Wasson joust against her opponent at  Brooks Medieval Faire Jousting Tournament 2014 (photo by Grant Zelych)
Frederic Piraux (in red) watches Stacy Wasson joust against her opponent at 
Brooks Medieval Faire Jousting Tournament 2014 (photo by Grant Zelych)

Their concern is that you don’t get injured and give our game a bad name.
Their concern is that you don’t hurt a horse and give our game a horrible name.
Their concern is to bring you into the sport safely, so that you can continue to play with us. The more the merrier!

I promise you no one will expect you to prove five years of experience prior to the job (we are not your first employer after college) or noble ascendance through four generations before you are allowed in. But you will be expected to have shown commitment and consistent sound judgement before being considered for invitation to any jousting event.

NOW, you should be ready... to get started!

It's easy and free to join the International Jousting League. Just fill out the application form and send it in.

Each IJL event is independently run by its own organizer.
He’s the one to contact and he makes the management calls.
He’s free to choose :
- number of participants
- historical period or style of the joust
- jousting rules
- riding level expectations
- soft kit style
- camping or hotel ?
- solid lances, hard wood tips, balsa tips, pool noodle…

Do you want to participate in an IJL tournament?
Look for the year and then event links on the IJL Tournaments page.
Do you fit the event requirements?
Send the organizer an e-mail!

It is quite standard for tournament organizers to contact the IJL Secretary with questions like: "I'm looking for one European (from preferred country or countries) with 15thC armour, willing to joust with hard tips – Would you please send list of recommendations?"
The answer is always based on the knowledge we have of the affiliate.

Frederic Piraux, head of the International Jousting League  (photo by Andrzej Wiktor)
Frederic Piraux, head of the International Jousting League 
(photo by Andrzej Wiktor)

International Jousting League website
IJL Individual Affiliation Form (downloadable pdf)
IJL Tournament Affiliation Form (downloadable pdf)
Email the IJL

Related articles:
International and National Jousting Organizations
Modern Medievalist Interviews International Jouster Frederic Piraux
A New Kind of Frangible Lance Tip: Spiral Cut Pine Tips

Friday, April 3, 2015

Opening Night at the Royal Armouries Leeds Easter Tournament

The Thursday night before the Leeds Easter Tournament (aka the Queen's Jubilee Horn Tournament) was to begin on Good Friday, there was a special opening night event by invitation only. The author of the Judge-Tutor Semple blog(whose articles about jousting tournaments have been referenced before) was there and did a nice write up of the evening.

I have already written about this year’s Tournament a couple of times, the most recent introduces this year’s competitors. Tonight I attended an opening evening at Royal Armouries by invitation. It was an honour to be asked along. There was a talk on the history of Tournament and a chance to get a closer than usual look at some of the exhibits.

The Royal Armouries are very keen to keep improving the Tournament. This year they have invited more Knights than in recent years, there are both individual and team events and a mounted melee for the first time. The mounted melee involves all six knights being involved at once armed with wooden clubs.

Jouster Ben van Koert holds his helm(his left hand) and the original helm(his right hand)  that it was based on (photo from Judge-Tutor Semple)
Jouster Ben van Koert holds his helm(his left hand) and the original helm(his right hand)
that it was based on (photo from Judge-Tutor Semple)

Ben van Koert, a member of the Burgundy team, showed me the helm he will be using in the melee. He pointed out a small dent and told me that iot was sustained from a full force blow from a pollax. The dent really was quite small, an impressive helm indeed. Ben and his helm came face to face with the original upon which it isd based. The similarities were very obvious and more impressive given that the armourer that made it for Ben had only photos to work from. The original is in Ben’s right hand.

To read the rest of the article, click here.

Related articles:
Three Teams of Jousters to Compete at the Queen's Jubilee Horn Tournament 2015

Andy Deane and "How to Train a Knight"

An Interview with Jouster Mark Caple, Champion of the Queen's Jubilee Horn Tournament 2014

Mark Caple Wins the Leeds Easter Jousting Tournament 2014

The First Day of the Leeds Easter Jousting Tournament 2014

Nice Blog Post About the Easter Joust at Royal Armouries Leeds 2013