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An Introduction to the Basics of Jousting
When most people think of a joust, they conjure up images of ladies in fine silk robes, knights fighting with spear and sword, and the thundering hooves of horses kicking up sand in the arena. While the sport had its beginnings and popularity in the Middle Ages, it is frequently played today as both an exhibition and competitive sport. In fact, it’s even the official sport of Maryland! If you are interested in the sport, this article will serve as the perfect introduction to the basics of jousting.
One of the most difficult aspects of the sport is simply positioning and holding the spear, and maintaining proper positioning on the horse. Knights typically lean forward aggressively during a charge to minimize the target to their torso. Using the biceps, hold the spear 15 degrees above level and aim it directly at your opponent’s chest. Use the other arm to hold your shield towards your opponent.
For anyone new to this medieval sport, you will likely start practicing using the quintaine as a training tool. In simple terms, a quintaine is a kind of target that you aim for during a game, until you have developed enough skills to be able to face a real opponent. This may mean using a sandbag hanging from a pole, a shield attached to a pole, or a small ring that the jouster must pass the spear through to score.
The benefit of using a quintaine is that it allows a beginning jouster to learn the proper aiming, timing, and speed techniques required for competition. Aiming is by far the most difficult and important part of the sport, but a competitor must also have a feel for the timing and speed of the spear and the horse moving in unison. Working with a quintaine helps exhibition or competitive players master these techniques before the actual match.
Facing an opponent
When facing a real opponent, proper positioning and technique are essential. The jouster must maintain proper aiming technique, while bracing for the impact of their opponent’s spear thrust. Additionally, it often takes training to learn how to safely absorb the impact of the spear, ideally at a glance. Ultimately the objective for either player is to dislodge their opponent from their horse, this means a competitor should view attack and defense equally.
To calculate the match score, a point is earned for breaking the spear across his opponent’s torso between the saddle and the helmet. Two points can be earned for breaking the helmet or braking the spear at the base. Finally, three points are scored for knocking the opponent off his horse.
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