The Jousting Life

Friday, September 28, 2012

Announcement for "The Tournament of the Phoenix 2012"

From a press release for “The Tournament of the Phoenix 2012”:

“The Tournament of the Phoenix”™ is a two day invitational jousting tournament where highly skilled jousters compete for the coveted Phoenix prize. This event is not a performance or re-enactment. This is a sports contest, the original 'extreme' sport. This year's tournament will take place in Poway, California, USA on October 26-28th. Six jousters from the USA, England, Canada and France will compete against each other in foot combat with axes, mounted melee and four sessions of jousting.

Jousters(photo provided by “The Tournament of the Phoenix”)

The popular “Festival of History” complements the Tournament, providing a host of activities for all ages and interests. Costumed interpreters inhabit fully outfitted period camps spanning Rome to the Renaissance. With live music as well as demonstrations from blacksmithing and falconry to glass blowing and gladiatorial combat, this event provides fun, food and excitement for all!

New for 2012
  • Skill at Arms competition – 8 West-coast competitors demonstrate their prowess with lances, swords, spears and other weaponry as they accumulate points in 9 events over 3 days.
  • Gladiators! – Watch authentically armoured gladiators fight in 2 demonstrations a day.
  • Glasswork – Stained glass and lampwork demonstrated on site.
  • Local artisans – This year, the tournament has made a commitment to assure most vendors are local artisans. Start your holiday shopping and support a local artist!
  • Pony rides and petting zoo from Zoo4You.
  • More than 8 registered charities have been given free spaces to spread the message about their focus: Make a Wish, Uganda education, animal rescue, historic horses, birds of prey and more.

The name of this tournament was coined during the first WorldJoust Tournaments™ event in October 2007. When the Witch Creek fires devastated Southern California, most of San Diego – including the event organizers and an early arriving competitor – were evacuated, and it seemed the event would have to be canceled.

A decision was made to put the event on anyway, and hundreds of area residents turned out to enjoy an entertaining day away from the cares and worries that had plagued so many. Surrounded by a sea of smiling faces, English competitor Dominic Sewell declared,”We thought the fires would defeat us, but instead we have risen, phoenix like, from the flames.” And so "The Tournament of the Phoenix" was named.

Since that first tournament in 2007, the event has grown, adding more competitions, displays and exhibitors every year. It has established itself as a unique and valuable opportunity for students and their families to experience history.

You can find out more about this event by visiting "The Tournament of the Phoenix" website.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Joust For Fun: How to Clean Your Armour

A knight at the laundromat (photo by Unknown)

I found this funny photo floating around the internet. If anyone knows who took this picture, please let me know so that I can give them the credit they deserve.

UPDATE: According to Fred, the image comes from a promotional poster for Jacques Chocolate in Belgium. Thanks for the information, Fred!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Random Pic: Knight at Night

This dramatic picture of a jouster at night was taken by Marcin Lipinski of Studio A during the 2012 tournament at Gniew Castle.

Unknown jouster at Gniew Castle 2012(photo by Studio A)

If you know who this jouster is, feel free to make a comment identifying him, and I will update the caption on the picture.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Charlie Andrews and the Knights of Mayhem at "Run to the Cascades 2012"

Charlie Andrews and the Knights of Mayhem put on a jousting tournament at the biker rally "Run to the Cascades 2012" which took place September 7 - 8. Unfortunately, due to violence breaking out between rival biker gangs who were attending the biker rally, the event had to be shut down, and the tournament was never completed. However, here are a few pictures of Charlie Andrews and his Knights of Mayhem while they were at the "Run to the Cascades".

Many thanks to Pashaa Sanwick of Dreamline Photos and Pamela Morgan of Pamela Morgan Photography for sharing their pictures.
(click on the smaller pictures to embiggen.)

Jason Armstrong and Charlie Andrews joust at "Run to the Cascades 2012"(photo by Pashaa Sanwick)

photo by Pashaa Sanwick photo by Pamela Morgan photo by Pamela Morgan

Joe Ambrosius and Fast Eddie Rigney unhorse each other(photo by Pashaa Sanwick)

photo by Pashaa Sanwick photo by Pashaa Sanwick photo by Pashaa Sanwick

Jason Armstrong and Greg Boxma joust(photo by Pamela Morgan)

photo by Pamela Morgan photo by Pamela Morgan photo by Pashaa Sanwick

photo by Pashaa Sanwick photo by Pamela Morgan

Fast Eddie Rigney and Joe Ambrosius joust(photo by Pamela Morgan)

photo by Pamela Morgan photo by Pashaa Sanwick photo by Pamela Morgan

To see which photographer took the smaller photos move your cursor over the image and pause. Text stating who took the photo should appear.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Shane Adams Wins Overall Championship for “Estes Park 2012”, While Kryssi Jeaux Miller Becomes the First Female Jouster to Ever Win a Daily Joust at “Estes Park”

For many years, as part of the “Longs Peak Scottish/Irish Highland Festival”, there has been a very popular jousting tournament, commonly referred to as “Estes Park”(since the event takes place in Estes Park, Colorado). This year the tournament was held on September 6 - 9 and included jousters from Shane Adam's troupe The Knights of Valour and the Knight's Edge Jousting Academy.

Shane Adams, from the tv show “Full Metal Jousting”, won the overall tournament championship.

Shane Adams with the award for Tournament Champion(photo by Suzanne DeMink)

Of course, he could not have won without the support of his trusty steed, Paladin, a 16 year old, 17 hand, black Percheron gelding.

Shane Adams on his Percheron gelding Paladin(photo by Suzanne DeMink)

Other members of the Knights of Valour earned second, third and fourth place overall:
2nd place – Robert Combe on the 12 year old, 17.1 hand Belgian Draft gelding Jake,

Robert Combe on Jake(photo by Suzanne DeMink)

3rd place – Zach Lovering on the 9 year old, 17.1 hand gelding Harland,

Zach Lovering with Harland(photo by Suzanne DeMink)

4th place – Ken Barton on the 13 year old, 17 hand gelding Phantom.

Ken Barton on Phantom(photo by Suzanne DeMink)

The tournament consisted of a Mounted Skill at Arms(MSA) Individual Events competition, a “Light Armor” competition and a “Heavy Armor” competition. Fifteen competitors participated in MSA – IE, 11 in "Light Armor" and 6 in "Heavy Armor". Awards were given daily for each competition, as well as counting towards the overall tournament title.

The “Light Armor” jousting competition involved using plain Straight Solid lances to hit the opponent's large hand held shield on its upper right hand corner. To make scoring more accurate, there was a target affixed to the upper right quadrant of each shield. Points were earned by hitting the red center of the target with fewer points earned for hitting the outer yellow area of the target. Before each pass, the squires would rub the end of each lance with black "chalk" which would rub off on the target if there was a hit.

Shane Adams strikes his opponent's shield and leaves a black mark in the yellow area of the target.(photo by Suzanne DeMink)

The “Heavy Armor” jousting competition involved using Straight Solid lances with Vamplates and Grappers attached to strike the opponent's Gridded Grand Guard which was bolted to their left shoulder.

Straight Solid lances with Vamplates and Grappers(left) Ken Barton with a Gridded Grand Guard bolted to his shoulder(right)(photos by Suzanne DeMink)

Points were earned for hitting the grand guard with the lance, breaking the lance against the grand guard and for unhorsing your opponent. Due to an error on Friday, the vamplates were screwed onto the lances instead of being taped on, which resulted in three jousters – Ken Barton, Rob Combe, and Zach Lovering – breaking their hands that day.

According to photographer Suzanne DeMink:
”They corrected the problem, but it made for an interesting weekend with everyone doing their best to try and hold the lances! That's also why, in some of my pictures, the knight's grip may look awkward.” – Suzanne DeMink

The female competitors from Knight's Edge Jousting Academy did well this year. Lauren Sturges, a recent graduate of Colorado State University, won the MSA Individual Event in rings on Friday by spearing all four rings.

Lauren Sturges tilts at rings during "Estes Park 2012"(photo by Suzanne DeMink)

And on Saturday, Kryssi Jeaux Miller made “Estes Park” history by being the first female jouster to win one of the jousting competitions. She took first place in the "Light Armor" competition, beating out Shane Adams who came first in "Light Armor" on both Friday and Sunday, and who earned first place in "Heavy Armor" all three days.

Kryssi Jeaux Miller takes aim at the quintain(photo by Suzanne DeMink)

According to photographer Suzanne DeMink:
”The weather was perfect, and the stands were packed every day of the competition. The judging was very professional and easy to follow, with the results of every pass announced to the crowd. All of the Knights of Valour and the members of KEJA that I met were very nice, and everyone helped. Overall, it was an enjoyable time for all.” – Suzanne DeMink

Many thanks to Suzanne DeMink for the information and pictures used in this article.

Friday, September 14, 2012

An Interview with Alix van Zijl: Competitor at "The Grand Tournament in Sankt Wendel"

Alix van Zijl was one of the competitors at “The Grand Tournament in Sankt Wendel”. It is interesting, though not significant, that she was the only female competitor.

Alix van Zijl(photo from Facebook)

In jousting, as in many equestrian sports, competitors are not separated by gender, and both male and female participants must meet the same requirements. For that, and other reasons, the organizers of "The Grand Tournament in Sankt Wendel"(GTSW) chose not bring attention to the fact that one of the participants was female.

Alix was kind enough to answer a few questions about her experiences during the GTSW.

How did you become involved with “The Grand Tournament of Sankt Wendel”?

Alix: I've known Arne Koets for a long time, and he asked if I could supply two jousting horses for Sankt Wendel, and if I I wouldn’t mind bringing my armour along as a spare rider. In the end, there were two people who couldn't make it for the melee, so I could join.

Tell me the name of and a little about your history/relationship with the horse you rode in the GTSW.

Alix: The horse I rode is a 5-year old Andalusian stallion, called Torero. I bought him a year ago in Spain. He is a very willing horse, and very sensitive, which makes him a charm to ride in the melee. You just have to think what you want, and he'll do it for you. In the joust, he goes straight as an arrow and as fast as well.

Alix van Zijl on Torero(photo by Hanno van Harten)

Please describe the person, place or thing that made the biggest impression on you when you first arrived at/during the days leading up to the GTSW.

Alix: I was really impressed by the whole group, how much people still want to learn, even though they are in the top 10 already. Most impressed I was with Petter Ellingsen, who had to change horses on the (very early) morning of the first show day.

Petter Ellingsen(photo by Oliver Dunsch)

He did a wonderful job, adjusting fast to the horse, and growing in the joust itself, ending with a spectacular double hit with Per Estein on the last day.

Please describe one or two of your favorite non competition related moments during the time you were in Sankt Wendel.

Alix: Well…meet Arto Fama, and you’ll know enough about the joking around.

Arto Fama(left) and Max Knegjens(right)(photo by Hanno van Harten)

Please describe one or two of your favorite moments during the competition of “The Grand tournament of Sankt Wendel”.

Alix: I was more than impressed by the riding of Joram van Essen during the last melee. I know his horse Zogo very well, and I know he is a bit “stug” as we say it in Dutch, a bit unflexible. The fact that he succeeded to do as an example: flying canter lead changes, not once but regularly, is impressive.

Alix van Zijl(left) and Joram van Essen(right) ride together during the final melee at "The Grand Tournament of Sankt Wendel"(photo by Wendy Van Harten-de Bruin)

And my ears are still ringing from the blows I got on the second day. Without a doubt, I was out. So much fun!

What was it like to be the only female in the competition?

Alix: It is an honour to be part of a group with such high standards. The fact that I am a female doesn't really count with these guys, which suits me very well. In a way it doesn’t matter, as long as one is safe and does a good job, has the right attitude and has a good armour, one is welcome. That is the way it should be. I do my best to be strong enough to handle the lances and the weapons just for the horses' and riders' sake alone.

Left to right, Wouter Nicolai, Per Estein Prois-Rohjell, Alix van Zijl, Andreas Wenzel, Joram van Essen, Wolfgang Krischke, Arne Koets, Toby Capwell, Petter Ellingsen, Dominic Sewell and Luke Binks(photo by Hanno van Harten)

Why did you compete in the melee, but not in the joust?

Alix: For the joust with solids I am not ready, yet. My armour needs a grand bascinet, not an armet[types of helmets], and the arret[lance rest] wasn’t even attached, yet. My horse and I can present a good target during the joust, but for lowering the lance safely… I need this winter to get ready and safe. If Arne would have lacked a jouster, I wouldn’t have minded to be a target, but hitting others… No, not yet.

How did you feel about keeping your gender hidden from the audience?

Alix: I didn’t really mind. I don’t like the attention if it’s just about my being a woman… If it’s about my skill that is a different thing altogether.

Arne Koets was chosen by the Ladies Jury as the “Winner of the Prize for Highest Bravery”. Why do you think he was chosen?

Alix: Arne won that title with good reason. He was bothered by hurting Joram, and showed it this way. It is the way he jousts/fights/plays.

Arne Koets(photo by Rozemarijn Keuning)

Andreas Wenzel won the “Joust of the Squires”. What would you like to say about his performance during the tournament?

Alix: It is impressive what Andreas could do together with his horse. Sigi is not an easy horse, and Andreas just did it – the joust, the melee – as if he had been working with that horse for years, and I know for a fact that he hasn’t.

Andreas Wenzel on the Spanish stallion Sigismund(photo by Oliver Dunsch)

Even though he was injured and unable to complete the competition, Joram van Essen still won the overall tournament, in part due to other competitors contributing to his score. Arne Koets gave Joram enough of his own points to put Joram in first place ahead of Arne. Please explain how and why that happened and what part you played in this point exchange.

Alix: Joram won with thanks to Arne and Petter, but I think it was very well deserved. His horse was very good during the joust, well trained. He hit regularly and safely.

Joram van Essen jousts on his Murgese stallion Zogo(photo from the GTSW website)

And during the melee he fought well too, with the last melee as a beautiful example how good.

What would you like to say about/to the squires, ground crew and/or others who helped you during your participation in the GTSW.

Alix: The ground crew did a marvelous job. And as I was grooming as well, I know how short an hour is to change from jousting gear on a horse to melee gear. That was honestly amazing!

Alix rests between acting as both competitor and ground crew
(photo by Hanno van Harten)

What would you like to say about/to Arne Koets and the other organizers of the GTSW?

Alix: It is great that this tournament came to be! It was very well organized, not just the joust itself, but everything around it as well.

What would you like to say about your overall experience at the GTSW?

Alix: Againagainagain!

Alix van Zijl(photo by Hanno van Harten)

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Quebec Team, Order of the Dragon Wins “Le Tournoi du Lys d'Argent 2012”

Thanks to Steve R. Gagnon for providing the following information and pictures about “Le Tournoi du Lys d'Argent” which took place September 1 – 3, 2012 in Lachute, Quebec, Canada:

Gruelling Competition!

Like the spectators, after sitting under a scorching sun, watching the proud fighters of La Compagnie Médiévale and l’Ost du Québec doubling efforts and courage to overcome their opponents, we also witnessed the fierce jousting bouts of the sport division. The final scores were very close, but Jessy Dufresne managed to get the better of his fellow competitors.

The Tournament of the Lys d’Argent concluded on on a tight but well deserved victory by the Order of the Dragon’s team. The tenants were Marcus Hamel, Patrice Rolland and Steve R. Gagnon. The venants' excellent team of jousters included Luc Petillot, Jan Gradon and Jarek Struczynski. The all-Québec team ended up winning the much and around the world coveted Lys d’Argent rings.

You can get all the scores and details at:

Patrice Rolland, Steve Gagnon and Marcus Hamel of the all-Quebec team, Order of the Dragon, winners of Lys d'Argent 2012(photo by Pascal Ratthe)

Joust at Lys d'Argent 2012(photo by Michel Filion)

Joust at Lys d'Argent 2012(photo by Pascal Ratthe)

Melee at Lys d'Argent 2012(photo by Pascal Ratthe)

Monday, September 10, 2012

An Interview with Dr. Tobias Capwell: Jouster at "The Grand Tournament in Sankt Wendel"

One of the jousters involved in “The Grand Tournament of Sankt Wendel” was highly regarded academic writer and museum curator, Dr. Tobias Capwell, known as “Toby” to many in the jousting community.

Dr. Tobias Capwell(photo by Ulrike Otto)

According to “The Knights” page of the official GTSW website:
An internationally-acknowledged expert on medieval and renaissance arms and armour, Dr. Tobias Capwell has been competing in major international jousts and tournaments for nearly twenty years. Recently, he has participated in events in the UK, USA, Switzerland, Denmark and Australia. Originally from the United States, Toby has been resident in the UK since 1996, where he has relentlessly pursued his passion for chivalric culture, both in the library and on the back of a horse.

When not roaming the world as a 'knight errant', Toby is Curator of Arms and Armour at the “Wallace Collection” London, which includes one of the world's great collections of medieval and renaissance weapons and armour.

He is the author of numerous books and articles on the fascinating subjects of knights, armour, weapons and horsemanship. He also appears regularly on television as a documentary presenter and interviewee.

Many of Toby's numerous books can be found listed on his author page though for some reason, his book,"Masterpieces of European Arms and Armour in the Wallace Collection"(which is listed under "Recommended Books" on the TJL sidebar) is not currently included on the page. [Yes, I filled out the form to have it added.] Meanwhile, Toby was kind enough to take time from his busy schedule to answer a few questions:

How did you become involved with “The Grand Tournament in Sankt Wendel”(GTSW)?

Toby: I was approached by my academic colleague Dr. Alfred Geibig, curator of the Kunstsammlungen der Veste Coburg and historical adviser on the project. I then recommended that he speak to Arne Koets and Wolfgang Krischke about making the dream of an authentic joust a reality.

Wolfgang Krischke on Olymp, his Knabstrupper stallion(photo by Oliver Dunsch)

Please describe one or two of your favorite moments during the competition of “The Grand tournament of Sankt Wendel”.

Toby: My joust against Joram van Essen on the second day was one of the best sets of my career. It included a strike to the helm (me), and several broken lances (mostly him), with at least one where the lance broke into three pieces.

Toby Capwell(left) jousts Joram van Essen(right)(photo from GTSW website)

This was particularly satisfying for me, as the three-piece break is what is often illustrated in historical depictions of jousts well fought. I have some impressive bruises on my hips and glutes from getting slammed hard into the cantle of my saddle.  I expect a bruise on the upper right arm. But not on the butt!

It was unfortunate that you were injured and unable to complete the competition. Could you please describe how you were injured, what was done for the injury and how you are doing now?

Toby: Yes, that was the only downer in an otherwise wonderful set. It’s a small thing – a coronel hit my hand in the first course.

A steel coronel on the end of a solid tapered lance(photo by Ulrike Otto)

Two of the tines missed me but the third struck me between the thumb and metacarpal plates of my gauntlet. I was injured on the first course of a four course set. I then completed the set, running the remaining three courses, and breaking a couple lances on Joram. So the last three of my four lances have blood on them, a little on the second, a little more on the third, a little more than that on the last, which is the one in the image. A nice German surgeon sewed me up, and I hope to be fine to compete in California in October.

Toby Capwell's injured hand with the lance from his fourth pass against Joram van Essen (photo by Oliver Dunsch)

The moral of this story is… use vamplates.

I suppose I should have known that, but we had a lot to think about getting this thing to happen. It's all the more galling from a scholarly point of view because the pictorial sources I used to reconstruct my jousting armour (the famous Inventario Iluminado of Charles V) illustrates vamplates as a key element of jousting armour of this type. This is what can happen when you overlook the little details I guess. It won’t happen again.

Even though he was injured and unable to complete the competition, Joram van Essen still won the overall tournament, in part due to other competitors contributing to his score. Arne Koets gave Joram enough of his own points to put Joram in first place ahead of Arne. Please explain how and why that happened and what part you played in this point exchange.

Toby: I don’t think that is what happened exactly. First of all, when Joram was injured, he was already so far ahead on points nobody could really have caught him. Furthermore, although the winner was one individual, part of this, by necessity, was a team event. Points were awarded to each member of the winning team in the tourney (or mêlée). Your team wins, you personally get points towards your total score.

After Joram and I were injured, we were still both technically on a specific team, so a call was made to continue awarding points to us in the team event, if our team won. We debated the rights and wrongs of it, and decided to go that way, although it would have been just as reasonable to eliminate the injured completely. The medieval and renaissance sources often talk about jousters being ‘counted as dead’, i.e., being eliminated because of injury or for some other reason. I didn’t really care either way.

Anyway, Joram deserved whatever extra points he got... (Arne may have given his points to Joram at this stage. I suspect this might have happened but I don’t know. It would be typical of Arne to give all his points away – to someone he thinks is better than he is, or to a beautiful woman, or a pretty flower, a cute puppy, etc etc)

Arne Koets(photo by Hanno van Harten)

...because of the way Joram rode in the final tourney.

It was really spectacular. Joram, no armour, no weapon, just acting as an offensive blocker for his teammates. The upshot of the matter is, Joram was the best man there, and he would have won regardless of nick-picking about points or token gestures from his brother jousters. Good jousters have little interest in points in my experience.

Joram van Essen riding in the final melee with an injured hand(photo by Oliver Dunsch)

What would you like to say about/to the squires, ground crew and/or others who helped you during your participation in the GTSW.

Toby: They were brave! There were a lot of very active horses on that field, ridden in some cases (like me) by guys who couldn’t see very well! And then there were the steel coronels flying through the air... They all worked their butts off, but then, they always do. It's part of what it takes to make these things happen.

Alix van Zijl and Onee Enerud carrying mounting blocks(photo by Oliver Dunsch)

They do a hell of a lot that nobody ever sees too. For example, the Team Capwell Crew Chief, Adam des Forges, was the one who took both me and Joram to the hospital, and sorted everything out with hospital staff who spoke no English, and kept our spirits up always. The infantry know that’s what goes with the territory when you get involved with cavalry, damn them.

Left to right: Wouter Nicolai, Toby Capwell, Arne Koets, Andreas Wenzel and Luke Binks(photo by Hanno van Harten)