Historically: Early war practices between rival knights and soldiers were called béhourds and were fought on horseback or on the ground. These mock battles led to the creation of the medieval tournament, Tournaments allowed knights to practice their fighting skills and prepared knights to become battle ready and gave them realistic challenges, just as in real battle, they wore full body armor.
The area where these competitions took place was called a “list field”. The term originating with jousting tournaments. The first recorded jousting tournament took place in 1066 or 1067, organized by Geoffrey I (Godfrey I), Lord of Preuilly…who did not survive the tournament.
When King Alfonso XI of Castile founded the Order of the Band in 1330, he created a series of rules for how the members of this knighthood should fight and behave, which included tournaments. It was one of the earliest set of rules that we have from the Middle Ages.
The general rules and terms of engagement of the tournament
• The location and date of the tournament
• The Tournament Sponsors – who would be paying for the event
• The fighting combat styles that would be taking place at the tournament
• Weapons accepted that could be used at the tournament
During this period, the people who came to organized and run the tournaments were a special group of heralds, who were sometimes called “king of heralds”.
In the SCA: We have a “Minister of the Lists”, referring to the original term for the fighting fields. It is their job to confirm that all combatants and marshals have valid fighter authorization cards, arranges and records the pairing of fighters at tournaments and demonstrations, compiles a roster of fighters and marshals in their area with notes on the qualifications of each, sees that combat waivers are brought to and used at all functions involving Society combat, and works with the marshals and heralds to ensure smoothly run tournaments.
The MOL must ensure that all waivers required by the Society for Creative Anachronism for participation in combat-related activities are current and properly completed. The MOL also completes all the paperwork for the fighting and submits reports on time.