The movie begins with: “In medieval times a sport arose. Embraced by noble and peasant fans alike though only noble knights could compete. The sport was justing”.
Roger of Hoveden describes tournaments as “Military exercises carried out, not in the spirit of hostility , but solely for practice and the display of prowess.“.
What is a tournament? A tournament (or tourney) is the name popularly given to chivalrous competitions or mock fights of the Middle Ages and Renaissance.Tournaments centred on the melee, a general fight where the knights were divided into two sides and came together in a charge. Jousting, which is a single combat of two knights riding at each other, was a component of the tournament, but was never its main feature.
Equipment– It is a vexed issue as to what extent specialized arms and armour were used in tournaments. A further question that might be raised is to what extent the military equipment of knights and their horses in the 12th and 13th centuries was devised to meet the perils and demands of tournaments, rather than warfare. It is however clear from the sources that the weapons used in tournaments were initially the same as those used in war. It is not by any means certain that swords were blunted for most of the history of the tournament.
Tournament books-There are a few surviving tournament books (including the book “Ulrich von Liechtenstein”, 13th century) describing the style, horsemanship and rules of the tournaments of the 15th and 16th centuries, as well as accounts of tournaments dating back to the 13th century.
Reference to “A Knight’s tale”movie:
In the movie, the tournament represents a great chance for the main character (William Thatcher) to prove his courage and win the heart of the beautiful Jocelyn.Before every confrontation, sir. Thomas Colville makes an incredibly, grand, exaggerated introduction of Ulrich von Lichtenstein, which adds humour and makes the viewers laugh: ”I have the pride, the privilege, nay my pleasure of introducing to you a knight sired by knights,a knight who can trace his lineage back beyond Charlemagne.I first met him atop a mountain near Jerusalim, praying to God, asking for forgiveness for the Saracen blood spilt by his sword.(…)In Greece he spent a year in silence just to better understand the sound of a whisper.So, without further gilding the lily and with no more ado..I give to you The Seeker of Serenity, The Protector of Italian Virginity, The Enforcer of our Lord God, the one, the only..Ulriiiich von Lichtenstein”.
To have a proof of his love, Jocelyn asks William Thatcher to lose at the tournament:”Losing is a much keener test of your love.Losing would contradict your self-love.It would show your obedience to your lover and not to yourself”.Then, after she convinces herself that he loves her, she asks him to win the tournament.
Count Adhemar mocked Ulrich for his armour: ”How stylish of you to wear an antique.You’ll start a new fashion if you win. My grandfather will be able to wear his in public again.And a shield..how quaint…”.