The Jousting Life

Monday, September 3, 2012

Video of Competitors Practicing for "The Grand Tournament of Sankt Wendel"

UPDATE 9-4-12: There is now an English transcript of the video. It is posted below the video.

This news video includes interviews with Thomas Wust(the organisatiounsleeder of "Das große Turnier von Sankt Wendel"("The Grand Tournament in Sankt Wendel")), Arne Koets(the organizer of the jousting tournament as well as one of the jousters in the tournament) and jouster Andreas Wenzel. It also shows the competitors practicing their jousting and melee skills before the tournament began.

(video by, GoPro footage: Ben van Koert)

If someone who speaks both German and English would be interested in creating an transcript of the dialogue in the video, it could be published here for those of us who don't speak German.

UPDATE 9-4-12: Both Arne Koets and Gesa Wellenstein were kind enough to send English translations of the video. The translation printed below incorporates both of their translations with a few editorial comments from both Arne Koets and TJL.

Thomas Wüst: During this tournament, there were 10 men [Arne Koets: Incorrect, one was in fact a woman, but we didn’t want to make a point of that, since we find sex a very unimportant subject(TJL: I think he meant that the gender of the competitors was unimportant. I believe most people find sex a very important subject.)] competing here from three different continents, from New Zealand to the USA. They had to travel from such distant places because there are only about 20 individuals who are able and allowed to participate in this sport at this level [Arne Koets: ! Note! Twice as many as we had in Sankt Wendel. We recognize that there are others who might be able to joust like this.] due to the high skill level required and the high risks inherent in this sport.

Arne Koets: The goal of this joust is to hit the opponent and to break the lance. I have the choice to choose my target on the body, i.e. the shield, where I have a good chance to break the lance. Or I can aim for the helmet, where I have a good chance that my lance will slip off and not break. If I can knock him out of the saddle, I gain additional points.

Andreas Wenzel: The potential risk is very high. This is not a re-enactment or a stunt show, this is real. This is the same sport as they did back then. We are using full wooden lances with a “war tip” on the end. [Arne Koets: Incorrect. It is, in fact, a three pronged coronel.] These weapons are made to kill somebody, and the only thing that keeps us safe is our armor. Our Armor is very expensive, extremely high quality, made from very hard steel, and only because of this armor are we able to do this. And of course because the competitors here are all very experienced jousters who have superb lance control. This is all very important to be able to try this.

Thomas Wüst: Worldwide there are about 300 people who are willing to sit on a horse and ride at one another with a lance. These are either stuntmen or hobbyist, and all of them are doing this only for show. That means their lances are fake. The lances are prepared to break easily or made from balsa wood. [Arne Koets: Of course, we know there are unprepared dowels in use as well, but this guy doesn’t know that. Suffice to say that these lances are much closer to the originals than the dowel is, and that they encompass much more wood.][TJL: If you read TJL, you know that there are quite a few other jousters and tournaments that see jousting as a competitive sport, and that they use a variety of lances, from foam-tipped to solid tapered wood.] However, we have here elite modern knights who are still jousting in the traditional style. There are maybe 20 individuals worldwide who are capable of competing in this sport on this level. It was not much different in the middle ages when the best knights were the superstars of their times. There were even sports knights who fought professionally in the 16th Century, who either made a lot of money or failed miserably.

Andreas Wenzel: The melee or behourt is, contrary to the joust, a mounted combat with side arms – swords, axes and so on – where teams of riders compete against each other. Here in Sankt Wendel, we are creating the biggest melee yet with ten fully armored knights attacking each other with swords and clubs. [Arne Koets: Incorrect, “Lysts on the Lake” was larger.(TJL: The “Lysts on the Lake 2011” melee involved 16 combatants, while the “Lysts on the Lake 2012” melee had 23 combatants.)]

Arne Koets: The better I can control my horse, the more options I have. When my team coordinates with each other, we can help each other out. However, for that to work, we need to position ourselves correctly, and that is very hard. When my horse is able to do flying lead changes and canter pirouettes, then I have a great advantage over those that cannot. However, when all of that needs to be done in armour, with one hand, because I have a weapon in the other, that is something else.

Many thanks to jouster Joram van Essen("Winner of the Great Honor Award" /tournament champion of the GTSW) for sharing the link to this video and to jouster Arne Koets(Organizer of the GTSW) and Gesa Wellenstein for providing the English transcript for it.


  1. I found this very interesting and informative. It is nice to see that there are women that take part in this extreme sport.

    I would love to see these knights in person competing at this high level of jousting.

    1. we kind of kept it quiet that alix was competing, because the press would eat it up. We think it is perfectly normal that anybody with the right attributes, equipment and skill could compete. It has to be said that you have to WANT to be hit by trees. many women woud not want to, unless they are proving a point. this proving of a point has been very detrimental to the inclusion of women in the sport. we need to stop caring.

      any competitor needs to be strong enough to handle the lance, any competitor needs to have the right mindset, any competitor needs to be able to function under stress and fear. this is no different from men to women. we should not have special allowances for either. we should also not lower standards to allow for a political gesture of having women on the team. an individual is capable or it is not, end of story.