Madrone Equestrian Guild FAQs - SCA Jousting

Table of Contents

  1. What is SCA Jousting?
  2. Where can I find the rules and guidelines for SCA jousting?
  3. How do I get started in SCA jousting?
  4. Who can authorize me for SCA jousting ?
  5. What is the required equipment?
  6. What are all the terms mean?
  7. List of links

Updated 03/08/2006


Eorl Edward and Visc. Rapheal at Recherche de Printemps
 Photo by M'lord Guilliame de Garrigues (Used by permission)

What is SCA Jousting?

In 2004, a few intrepid member of the Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA) decided to try their hand at coming out with a "gentler, kinder" form of jousting.  They developed a style of jousting using foam tips to replace the tips of wooden lances.  After much experimental usage, the rules were accepted in April 2005, and SCA jousting became a reality. No more do we have to say "No" when people ask us "Do you Joust?" We can say "oh yeah...."



Where can I find the rules and guidelines for SCA jousting?

The official SCA equestrian rules and guidelines for jousting are available on the SCA Society's Equestrian site.

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What is the required equipment?

According to the April 5, 2005 rules:

  1. Equipment:
    1. All lances and armor must be inspected by a marshal authorized in this activity prior to each use for jousting.
    2. Lances:
      1. Total lance length shall be 10 ft.
      2. The lance shall be constructed in three sections including the tip, middle, and base. The tip and the base will socket into the middle section.
      3. Lances must have a tip of a minimum of 24 inches and a recommended maximum of 48 inches of expanded polystyrene foam (Styrofoam) or Extruded Insulation Foam of 2 inch diameter and 2 lb. density, projecting beyond the middle section.
      4. The middle section consists of a cardboard tube with a 2 inch interior diameter and a maximum of a 1/8 inch sidewall. The cardboard tube must be cleared of broken foam after each run.
      5. The base section may be made of any non-brittle material. The maximum length of the base section is 45 inches, including a recommended 6 inches extending into the middle section. The grip for the base section should be located so that there is a maximum of 96 inches from the center of the grip to front of the lance. It is recommended the base section be carved from wood.
    3. Armor:
      1. Helm - Helms must be of rigid materials (18 gauge mild or equivalent). There can be no openings that allow the penetration of a 1 -inch dowel. Helms must have sufficient strapping and/or padding to prevent the rigid material from contacting the rider and so as not to be readily dislodged when subject to a moderate frontal impact.
      2. Gorget - according to heavy weapons standards.
      3. Body - rigid material covering chest and torso. Standard equestrian riding vests are deemed equivalent.
      4. Groin - groin area must be protected by sufficient means including saddle or armor.
      5. Hands - hand must be protected either by shield, gauntlet, or equivalent (i.e. vamplate on lance).
      6. Leg, arm, and shoulder protection - armor recommended, but not required.
    4. Shields:
      1. The shields must be constructed of rigid, non-brittle, materials. Recommended is 1/2" plywood. The edges should be blunt and corners rounded.
      2. The shield should have at least 300 square inches of surface area to present a reasonable minimum target area to the opponent.
      3. Shields must be strapped in such a manner that the rider has control of his or her equipment and mount at all times.


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How do I get started in SCA jousting?

The best training for jousting is many of the same games that we normally do at equestrian practices. Rings teach target control and quintain teaches both targeting, anticipating the hit.  Dom Duarte, the 15th century King of Portugal advocated learning lance skills on the ground first and then on a horse. To learn more about improving your targeting, see the article: Improving Your Game Scores: Rings by Earl Edward Ian Anderson

Practicing traveling in a straight line beside a fence or barrier, will imitate the dividing barrier of the tiltyard.  Having another horse traveling in the other direction on the other side is the next step. Some horses want to turn around and follow their new friend.  Start at a walk and progress to a canter.

Add your weapon. For a simple jousting lance made with hand tools, see the article: A Simple SCA Jousting Lance by Sir Rapheal.

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Who can authorize me for SCA jousting?

Jousting requires a specialized authorization by a qualified marshal. The marshals that are authorized for authorizing other equestrians for jousting are listed on the An Tir Marshal's roster.


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What do all the terms mean?

Jousting has some specialized terms.

barrier  - The divider between  two jousting lanes. It is intended to keep the horses from colliding.  It is

joust  - A martial competition where two riders on either side of a barrier, ride towards each other with the intent to strike each other with a lance.

list - 1)  all of the competitors in a competition 2) another term for a jousting tiltyard

lance - The weapon used for jousting. For SCA foam jousting, this is made of three parts: a handle, a cardboard shaft, and a foam tip.

lane - The prescribed track that a horse and rider travels. Used in jousting, reeds, archery, and other games where traveling in a straight line is required.

pass - A single encounter between two riders. There are usually three passes per turn.

run - also known as a pass

runout - The areas at either end of an lane where a horse and rider start and end their pass.

tilt - Verb; to tilt as an alternative to joust. Noun: the barrier, or the whole tiltyard.

tiltyard - The entire field used for jousting, including the barrier, the lanes, and the runout.

vamplate - The guard on a lance that protects your hand.

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List of Resources

Official SCA Jousting Rules



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