The Jousting Life

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Jarek Struczynski Wins the "Tournament of the Phoenix 2013"

Editor's Note: My deepest apologies for the lateness of this article, and my sincere thanks to everyone who provided information/pictures for it. They were prompt in delivering their help; I was late in delivering the article. My life was a bit complicated for a while.

This year's annual "Tournament of the Phoenix" was held the weekend of October 18-20 near San Diego, California, USA. The jousting competition included six competitors from five different countries: Jezz Smith of New Zealand, Wouter Nicolai of the Netherlands, Jan Gradon of Poland, Jarek Struczynski of Poland, Jeffrey Hedgecock of USA and (as a last minute replacement for the injured David Young of USA) Marc Hamel of Canada. In addition to the tilting(what most people think of as the actual jousting) competition, there were also a mounted melee and pole axe duels as part of the overall tournament competition.

Jarek Struczynski, Tournament Champion(photo by Clarence Alford Photography)

Polish jouster Jarek Struczynski earned the title of tournament champion, just beating his fellow Pole Jan Gradon by three points. Here is what Jan had to say about the tournament:
"I was invited to the TotP["Tournament of the Phoenix"] for the second time. I won the tournament back in 2011, and was very happy to come back together with Jarek Struczynski. I was really looking forward to jousting there as I really enjoyed the joust in 2011. I knew I was going to ride again on Petrus who is a great horse. I knew all the competitors except David Young, whom I never jousted before. Unfortunately, he damaged his hand prior the event and couldn't compete. Marcus Hamel, who was to be the Knight of Mercy stepped in.

Prior the tournament, we had a great time in California. We rode a cowboy trail with Chad Waldhauser, who also provided horses for the TotP, had some roping practice, and did a trail in Grasslands preserve. We also did some kayaking in the ocean, and organized probably the first kayaking joust ever.

Left to right: Jezz Smith, Wouter Nicolai, Jan Gradon and Jarek Struczynski - kayak jousting
(photo by Leslie Chappell Britt)
The competition at the TotP was very fierce, with many hard hits. For most of us, the weather was the challenge, as most of the Competitors came from much colder weather. For me, the foot combat was the most tiring event. After having fought 3 duels. I couldn't continue as I couldn't catch my breath, and this is when Marcus Hamel became my champion and fought my last duel and won for me. I'm very happy, that through the whole tournament, me and Jarek were very close in points and ended up on 1st and 2nd place. Of course I hoped to win the TotP, as it would be the first time that someone got the Phoenix prize twice, but still I'm very happy with Jarek's victory as he deserved it." – Jan Gradon

Jarek Struczynski(left) and Marc Hamel(right) joust(photo by J. Javier Camacho)

Jan Gradon(left) and Jezz Smith(right) jousting(photo by Brad Holderman)

More photos of the tilting by J. Javier Camacho(click to embiggen):

Photos of the tilting by Brad Holderman(click to embiggen):

During the course of the tournament, Marc Hamel, who had originally traveled to the event with the intention of being the non-competitive Knight of Mercy, ended up competing in the place of several jousters in both the tilt and the Pole Axe duels. Marc was already in California when David Young notified TotP that he was not going to be able to compete due to an injured hand. Marc had not brought his own distinctive armour, but was willing to compete in David's place if a suit of armour could be found to fit him. Fortunately, one of Jeffrey Hedgecock's old sets of armour fit Marc quite well, so he was able to step in and take David's place as a competitor.

Marc Hamel in Jeffrey Hedgecock's old jousting armour and shield(photo by Brad Holderman)

Later, during the pole axe combat, he not only fought his own/David's duels, he also stepped in to fight in place of Jan Gradon and Jezz Smith when they were unable to continue. Marc tied for first place in the pole axe competition with Jarek Struczynski and Jan Gradon(Marc obviously did a good job as Jan's champion).

Jarek Struczynski(left) and Marc Hamel(right) in a pole axe duel(photo by J. Javier Camacho)

More pictures of the pole axe duels by J. Javier Camacho(click to embiggen):

Here is what Marc Hamel had to say about the tournament:
“It was a great tournament. David Young let me ride his horse Hardy in his place, and the first session was excellent. We went for the poleaxe session – I was trying to forget that famous hit in the face that I received last year. I made all my 4 duels plus 2 others for Jan Gradon and Jezz Smith (they were too exhausted). Let's just say that I didn't rest much.

The second session of jousting was more tough. Jarek and I hit on each other like trains, and I injured my hand seriously and had to withdraw for the remainder of the session. The second day was good as well. Jarek and Jan were at the top of their game. As for me, I couldn't break my lances with efficiency, but I kept going because I could still provide a good target for my opponents.

A lance shatters against Marc Hamel's ecranche during the joust(photo by J. Javier Camacho)
I want to raise my lance for Wouter Nicolai. On the scoring board he may have finished last, but he rode a horse who was not easy to ride and never took any chances to break his lances unless it was perfect. I think of him as an excellent technician, with a great sense of honor, with clean runs every time. Jarek won the tournament with grace and humility, and I hope to be like him one day.” – Marc Hamel

Based on his honourable behavior throughout the tournament, Wouter Nicolai of the Netherlands was chosen to receive the Chivalry Award for 2013.

Wouter Nicolai, Chivalry Award(photo by Clarence Alford Photography)

Here is what Wouter had to say about the tournament and winning the Award of Chivalry:
"Participating at "The Tournament of the Phoenix" was a very good experience. I found it both a fun and a high quality event. I found it very difficult to adjust my riding style to a western horse(Spot). Despite my problems riding Spot, I found him an exceptionally good horse for jousting and melee. He is brave and responds well. While I enjoy doing jousting competitions, I am not really a competitive jouster. The reason that I joust is because I like the history of the tournament. I try to get as close as possible to experience a 15th century tournament. This makes the Chivalry Award for me personally the most significant prize. I am greatly honoured to be chosen to receive it." – Wouter Nicolai

As part of the overall tournament competition, there was also a mounted melee which was fought using wooden clubs. Jeffrey Hedgecock earned the most points during the mounted melee.

Jarek Struczynski(left) and Jeffrey Hedgecock(right) exchange blows during the mounted melee
(photo by Brad Holderman)

More pictures of the mounted melee by Brad Holderman and J. Javier Camacho(click to embiggen):

A short video of the mounted melee:

Tournament of the Phoenix 2013: Mounted Melee(video from the Tournament of the Phoenix Facebook page)

The final scores of "The Tournament of the Phoenix 2013"
(photo from the Tournament of the Phoenix Facebook page)

The jousters of "The Tournament of the Phoenix 2013"
Left to Right: Wouter Nicolai, Jezz Smith, Jan Gradon, Jarek Struczynski, Jeffrey Hedgecock and Marc Hamel (photo by Brad Holderman)

In addition to the six jousters who competed in the main jousting tournament, there were six other competitors who participated in a Mounted Skill at Arms competition. Joel Hill of USA won the MSA competition.

Joel Hill stabs the "pig" during the MSA competition(photo by J. Javier Camacho)

Here is what Joel Hill had to say about the Mounted Skill at Arms competition:
"The competitors[main jousters] did not participate but rather acted as our mentors, gave us advice and cheered for us. Ann Schilling was the only competitor to hit the boar with the crossbow which was a big accomplishment." – Joel Hill

Ann Shilling during the MSA competition(photo by Brad Holderman)

The final scores of the MSA competition
(photo from the Tournament of the Phoenix Facebook page)

You can see more pictures from the tournament in the Tournament of the Phoenix 2013 album in Brad Holderman's Flickr account.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Joust For Fun: Aussie Jousting

This one is for all the jousters down under.

Kangaroo joust(image by unknown)

I found this fun image posted on Facebook. If anyone knows who created it, please let me know so that they can be given proper credit.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

I apologize for the delay in posting articles

As you may or may not know, a pipe broke in my bathroom and caused fairly severe water damage to my house. I've been trying to deal with that for the past few weeks and have not been able to finish several articles that I had gathered information and photos for. Unfortunately, it looks like the repairs to my house will take another six weeks or so. I will try to finish the articles that I have started as soon as I am able, but I really don't know when that will be. I appreciate your patience and apologize for the delay, especially to those who were kind enough to provide information and pictures for the articles.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Announcing the "Rossfechten Symposium 2014"

The following announcement was written by Jack Gassmann, one of the organizers of the Rossfechten Symposium:

As most riders know, baroque Dressage is martial riding as descended from the teachings of riding masters such as Pluvinel, Cavendish and Xenophon, who taught fighters the riding skills crucial to success. HEMA has in the last 20 years made huge steps both in practice and research towards recreating and understanding Europe’s martial arts. The jousting community has led the charge in recreating armour, ceremony and martial skill. The next step seemed to us naturally to be, to combine what all of these three fields (classical dressage, HEMA and jousting) bring to the table, and so the idea of a symposium took form. A way to bring the expertise of each of these groups together, for each to benefit from the other. We chose the name “Rossfechten Symposium”. In the German fencing manuals, mounted combat is referred to as Rossfechten, not just “mounted combat” but mount rider fighting as one against their opponent.

Rossfechten Symposium 2014(image from "Rossfechten Symposium" website)

We have been amazed by the response we have had from all over. Horsey Hema people from Canada to Russia to Iran and all over the US and Europe have contacted us wanting to attend workshops or teach them. We have such prominent HEMA names as Scott Brown and Alex Kiermayer doing workshops on fencing. Researchers such as Matt Galas and Daniel Jaquet have contacted us about holding lectures. Riders, oldstyle Californios, Dressage experts, professional stunt riders (Suzanne Struben and Jolly Sera who have more than 40 years of film experience) and polo players will be giving riding workshops. Riders of note – such as Douglas Wagner – hope to make it from the US to teach.

Douglas Wagner(photo by AzulOx photography)

Many other riders, teachers and researchers will be present besides. Our goal is not just to provide an event for high-level practitioners, but also as an instrument for people entering the discipline from any direction to get their feet wet and get the support to continue, and for current practitioners to take their game to the next level.

The Symposium will be taking place next year in the picturesque and historic Saarland region of Germany, a four-day event with workshops, lectures, tournaments and presentations from July 24th to 27th. You can be sure to expect good beer, good talks and good times besides. All participants are welcome!

For more information, check out the Rossfechten Symposium website.

Accommodations and location information

Workshop information

We’ve got great things planned, but with your help we could do even more. If you or your company are interested in sponsoring the Rossfechten Symposium, please contact us.

combat training(image from "Rossfechten Symposium" website)

Monday, November 4, 2013

Jeffrey Basham Wins Tournament Champion at Lysts on the Lake 2013

The "Lysts on the Lake 2013" jousting tournament consisted of three days of competition, October 31 - November 2. The tournament involved five sessions of Tilting(what most people consider the actual jousting part of a jousting tournament), a Chivalric Equitation Obstacle Course(Mounted Skill at Arms course) and a Mounted Melee. There were 9 jousters who participated in all three competitions and were therefore eligible to win Tournament Champion. Based on the points he earned during these three competitions, Jeffrey Basham of Katy, Texas, was declared the overall Tournament Champion for "Lysts on the Lake 2013".

Lady of Honour Dawn Hemphill ties a white scarf around Jeffrey Basham's arm to symbolize his winning of Tournament Champion for "Lysts on the Lake 2013"(photo by The Jousting Life)

Jeffrey is an extremely modest man who wanted to make sure that the horses he rode during the tournament were given their due credit for his win. Without the partnership of a capable and willing horse, no jouster would be able to compete. Throughout most of the tournament, Jeffrey rode Pooh Bear, his own quarter horse mare. However, on the last day of the tournament, Pooh Bear lost a shoe and could no longer be ridden until her shoe was replaced. In an act of friendship and good sportsmanship, fellow competitor Scott Wilson loaned Jeffrey his appaloosa gelding, Tanner, so that Jeffrey could continue to compete.

Tanner(left) Jeffrey Basham(center) Pooh Bear(right)(photo by The Jousting Life)

Riding Pooh Bear, Jeffrey won the Chivalric Equitation Obstacle Course(MSA course) on Friday. You can see the video of their run in a previous article. Jeffrey also won the Tilting competition.

Jeffrey Basham with the prizes for both MSA and Tilting tied around his arm by Lady of Honour Dawn Hemphill(photo by The Jousting Life)

Jeffrey rode Pooh Bear for the first four sessions of Tilting, then rode Scott Wilson's gelding Tanner for the fifth and last session. It is much easier to joust consistently if you ride the same horse throughout the tournament. Switching horses, especially switching to a horse that you have never ridden before, makes things much more challenging. Though Jeffrey did say that Tanner had the smoothest canter of any horse he had ever ridden.

The fourth and fifth sessions of Tilting were held on Saturday during "Fable Fest" at Milburn Park in Cedar Park, TX. The Mounted Melee portion of the competition was also held at "Fable Fest" between the fourth and fifth sessions of Tilting.

Saturday's Mounted Melee during "Fable Fest"(video by The Jousting Life)

Dave Wise of Houston, Texas, won the Mounted Melee portion of the tournament. Throughout the competition, Dave rode his new mare Nocona. Nocona had never actually competed in a jousting tournament before. In fact, the very first time she had a lance broken against her rider was during the warm up Thursday morning before the first Tilting session. That she did so well throughout the tournament is a testament to both her and her rider.

Dave Wise, winner of the Mounted Melee for "Lysts on the Lake 2013"(photo by The Jousting Life)

Many jousting tournaments also have a special award that is not based on points, but is instead based on the quality of character that a competitor displays during the course of the tournament. Some jousters consider this award – the Award of Chivalry – to be more important than any other tournament prize. Lady of Honour Dawn Hemphill had the difficult task of choosing who would receive this year's Award of Chivalry. Based on her own observations, as well as statements given to her by jousters, squires, ground crew and anyone else involved in the tournament, Dawn chose Australian jouster Sarah Hay to receive the Award of Chivalry.

Sarah Hay seriously contemplates winning the Award of Chivalry(photo by The Jousting Life)

Since bringing one of her own horses from Australia would have been highly impractical, Sarah rode fellow competitor Dave Wise's jousting horse, Ladybug, throughout the tournament.

Sarah Hay on Ladybug(photo by The Jousting Life)

Congratulations to Jeffrey Basham, Dave Wise, Sarah Hay and to everyone who participated in this year's "Lysts on the Lake"!

Most of the competitors and ground crew for "Lysts on the Lake 2013"(photo by The Jousting Life)

You can see close up pictures of the tournament prizes in the article "DeSignet International Designs Custom Prizes for 'Lysts on the Lake 2013'"

More pictures and video from "Lysts on the Lake 2013" will be presented as they are processed.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Video from the Second Day of "Lysts on the Lake 2013"

Friday, November 1st was the second day of the "Lysts on the Lake 2013" jousting tournament. It included two sessions of Tilting(what most people consider the actual jousting)and the Chivalric Equitation Obstacle Course(a kind of Mounted Skill at Arms course). All of the participants who were competing for the overall tournament championship had to run the MSA course, but several of the people who had been acting as ground crew for the tournament also decided to give it a try. [Edit: I sincerely apologize to the women who competed in the MSA course who did not compete in the Tilt. Although they had indeed been doing the job of ground crew, they had actually come to the tournament to compete for ranking points within the IJL Skill at Arms Division. Arien Shipe, Kyli Ring, Medbh Scealgowan and Tiffany Parrett were kind enough to perform the duties of the ground crew when they saw that it was needed, but that does not mean that they were not serious competitors.]

It was a fairly complex course involving the ability to use the javelin, lance, sword, spear and bow. It also included several tests of riding skill, including standing still(which can be harder than you'd expect), backing up and a small jump. Not everyone was equally adept with all weapons and/or skills, but everyone seemed to have a great time attempting the course.

Here is Jeffrey Basham and his quarter horse mare Pooh Bear running the course:

Jeffrey Basham on Pooh Bear(video by The Jousting Life)

Friday, November 1, 2013

Video from the First Day of "Lysts on the Lake 2013"

Despite heavy rains the night before, "Lysts on the Lake 2013" started as planned on Thursday, October 31. The tournament will include tilting(what most people consider actual jousting), a Mounted Melee and a Chivalric Equitation Obstacle Course(similar to a Mounted Skill at Arms course). A total of 10 jousters are competing in this year's tournament:
  • Steve Hemphill -- whose company, a'Plaisance Ltd., produces "Lysts on the Lake"
  • Dave Wise
  • Federico Serna
  • Galen Bevel
  • Jeffrey Basham
  • Jim Myers
  • Peter Barclay
  • Sarah Hay(who came all the way from Australia to compete)
  • Scott Wilson
  • Sean Gulick

Several other people will be competing in the Mounted Melee and/or MSA-course, but will not be competing for overall tournament champion.

Here are a few short videos from the second session of tilting during the first day of the tournament:

Jeffrey Basham pats his horse after a nice pass against Federico Serna
(video by The Jousting Life)

Galen Bevel and Sean Gulick successfully break their lances against one another
(video by The Jousting Life)

Sarah Hay smashes her lance tip to pieces against Federico Serna(video by The Jousting Life)

The tournament will continue for two more days. The Mounted Melee and final session of tilting will be held as part of "Fable Fest" at Milburn Park in Cedar Park, TX, USA.

To find out more about this tournament, check out the "Lysts on the Lake" website.

Monday, October 28, 2013

The Free Lancers Competitive Jousting Tournament at the Maryland Renaissance Festival

On the final weekend of the Maryland Renaissance Festival, the Free Lancers jousting troupe held a competitive jousting tournament instead of their usual show.

Gene Martino and Leland Coleman joust at the Maryland Renaissance Festival
(photo by Neil Rothschild)

The competitors used their stage names during the tournament, but the competition was real. Here are the results of the tournament as posted on the Free Lancers Facebook page:

8th place---Sir Rogan Lors with 84 points.
7th place---Sir John DeVere with 86 points.
6th place---Sir Robin Knox with 87 points.
5th place---Sir Barchan with 93 points.
4th place---Sir Michael Stafford with 106 points.
3rd place---Sir Edward of Rigney with 109 points
2nd place--Don Martino Fernandez with 132 points

And congratulations to Sir Ian McFarland with a record setting 148 points!!!!

He is the Grand Champion!

The Free Lancers jousting troupe(photo by Neil Rothschild)