Positioning the Lance
One of the most difficult aspects of the sport is simply positioning and holding the lance, and maintaining proper positioning on the horse. Knights typically lean forward aggressively during a charge in order to minimize the target of their torso. Using the bicep, hold the lance 15 degrees above level and aim it squarely at your opponent’s chest. Use the other arm to hold your shield in the direction of your opponent.
To anyone starting out in this medieval sport, you will likely begin training by using the quintain as a training tool. In simple terms,, a quintain is some kind of target that you aim at while jousting, until you have developed sufficient skill to be able to face off with an actual opponent. This may mean using a sandbag hanging from a pole, a shield attached to a post, or a small ring that the jouster is required to put the lance through in order to score.
The benefit of using a quintain is that it allows a beginning jouster to learn the proper aiming, timing, and speed techniques required for competition. Aiming is easily the most difficult and most important part of the sport, however a competitor must also need to have a feel for the timing and speed of the lance and horse moving in unison. Working with a quintain helps exhibition or competitive jousters master these techniques before the actual match.
Facing an Opponent
When facing off against a real opponent, proper positioning and technique is critical. The jouster must maintain proper aiming technique, while bracing for the impact of their opponent’s lance blow. Additionally, it often takes some training to learn how to absorb the impact of the lance safely, ideally in a glancing blow. Ultimately the goal for either player is to dislodge their opponent from their horse, this means that a competitor must consider offense and defense equally.