Jousting wasn’t just something knights did in between wars. In fact, when jousting developed into the sports-like event popular culture depicts it as, there weren’t many wars to fight.
Jousting began as an exercise in medieval combat tactics. However, when the crusades ended and knights had no more wars to fight, jousting quickly became a hastilude, the medieval name for a combat-themed sport. Popular hastilude events included the pas d’armes (passage of arms), in which a knight had to fight his way through a group of challengers, and melee, in which a group of knights were divided into two teams that fought each other on foot.
Surprisingly, jousting was seldom the main event—usually the melee was the center of attention.