THREE STYLES OF JOUSTING
Within the jousting world, there are three distinct styles all with their own lances, scoring systems, and purposes. “The most common is what we call Balsa jousting,” explains Tony. “We use a balsa wood lance tip, which is about a metre long. You can break it over your knee pretty easily, but it takes a fair bit to compress it laterally. But you still cop a fairly big punch.
“Then you’ve got American Solids, which is basically gridiron with sticks. It’s pretty full-on. That’s probably the hardest I’ve ever been hit and it’s an amazing feeling that adrenaline rush. If you’re a competitive person, it’s like the harder you get hit, the harder you want to go back.
“And then we have Historical Solids, which is purely based on historical accuracy. We use more of a tapered lance with a steel coronel on the end, so it’s like a three-pronged spear. When you hit the target, it actually locks on to it. You are either going to break a lance, unhorse the other rider, unhorse yourself, or both. All three have got a different feeling on impact.
“With Balsa jousting, you typically get one point for a touch, if your lance breaks you might get two points; if your lance shatters with two or more fractures in the lance you’ll get three points, and some tournaments will score five points if you unhorse someone. The target zone is basically from the belly button to the shoulder. Some tournaments will also score headshots. You are frowned upon if you try to duck or try and deflect. The American Solids is totally different. You either break or you unhorse. And then in Historical, you will score for a touch, and for breaking the lance you’ll score better the higher up the break, because it’s tapered.”
FOR HONOUR, MY LIEGE
When Tony turned up on Elizabeth’s doorstep, he was genuinely serious about being a knight despite what she may have initially thought. “I wasn’t knighted by the Queen but, within the jousting community, I was knighted by a herald who we know as Lord Stephen who was knighted by somebody in the UK,” explains Tony. “We had a whole ceremony and I got slapped [with a gauntlet] and had to agree to live by a code of ethics. It’s not everybody who gets that title. There are a lot of people who joust that still haven’t been knighted.
“For me, the honour that comes with being a knight is very important, as well as my heraldry. There’s a code that we all go by. Chivalry is a big thing and we’re very strict on the way we treat others. It’s a funny sport. We’re all very close throughout the day and then when we pick up the lance, it’s game on and we tried to knock each other off. But as soon as you’ve done that individual pass, you always stop at the other end to make sure everything is okay. And then you can try and knock each other off again.
“I’m fairly humble about all of it but I’ve pretty much won every Balsa tournament in Australia at least once,” says Tony. “I’m one of four in the world that has done all three styles. There are three Australians, including myself, and a guy from France. I’ve been lucky enough to ride in tournaments in France, in the shadows of two 14th century castles, and the feeling of that was just incredible. To be able to do it in such a historically significant place was just mind-blowing.” EQ
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