Skip to main content

How to Joust

Hear ye, hear ye! Art thou brave, agile, and honorable? Learn the Medieval art of jousting and prove thy worth!


  • Step 1: Keep your eyes on the other jouster. When you're close enough to reach them with your lance, swing your weapon left and thrust the tip forward towards your opponent's shield.
  • TIP: Don't shrink or flinch from your opponent's thrust to provide a decent target and maintain your honor.
  • Step 2: Try to stay in your saddle and ride to the end of the tilt as the judges announce how many points you've scored, based on how well you've struck your opponent. Then, if your lance is broken, grab a new one and prepare for your next pass, and another chance to show your valor.
  • FACT: In 1559, King Henry II of France died when the fragments of his jousting opponent's shattered lance penetrated his temple.
  • Step 3: At the signal, drop your reins, and charge forward, holding your lance on your right side parallel to the ground and your shield on your left.
  • Step 4: Time to joust! Set up a jousting field, or list, by tying a rope at the top of 2 stakes set 180 feet apart, creating a lane for each jouster separated by the rope, called the tilt rail or tilt. Then, mount your horse and line up at one stake, keeping the tilt on your left side, as your opponent mirrors you at the other stake.
  • Step 5: Gather your jousting gear. Wear a plate metal suit of armor that covers your body while letting you move your arms and bend your elbows freely. Include an extra plate bolted to the chest, called a grand guard, and a helmet with a narrow eye slit to protect you while competing.
  • TIP: Consider wearing arming doublets and hose underneath your armor for a truly authentic experience.
  • Step 6: Choose a metal-plated shield, if you and your opponent are using shields, and an 11-foot-long, wooden lance. For traditional jousting, where points come from breaking a lance on an opponents' armor, pick one with a replaceable balsa-wood tip.
  • Step 7: Choose a horse to ride that can handle your armored weight and maintain a smooth gait. Fit the animal with a bridle and a large enough saddle to protect your bottom half. Then, mount up and practice riding while wearing your full armor and holding your lance.
  • : Jousting can be extremely dangerous and may result in injury. Try it at your own risk and use caution, especially if you're not formally trained.

Popular Categories