JOUSTS WERE DIFFERENT FROM TOURNAMENTS. Until I read about William Marshal, my image of medieval tournaments was an image of jousting. For example, I read WOLF HALL and watched the TV version of it. Henry VIII, a large athletic man, was apparently a very accomplished jouster and engaged in it often.
I now realize that jousting was not the same thing as a tournament. I found this wikipedia entry which explained the difference: “Tournaments centred on the melee, a general fight where the knights were divided into two sides and came together in a charge….Jousting, a single combat of two knights riding at each other, was a component of the tournament, but was never its main feature.” The melee was the dominant form in the 12th and 13th centuries with the joust becoming more important by the late 15th century.
At a tournament, two lines of knights were formed, and at a signal the lines would level their lances and charge each other.
“The mÃªlÃ©e would tend then to degenerate into running battles between parties of knights seeking to take ransoms, and would spread over several square miles between the two settlements which defined the tournament area.”