Viking Street Fighting

Publicerat 2011-02-15 av Lars Magnar Enoksen

By popular demand this blogg will be in English, so that our international readers can understand more about traditional Nordic martial arts. I apologize in advance on all the miss-spellings and bad grammar, but hopefully the content will be clear.

As usual I am writing about Glima (Viking wrestling) and how it is practised nowadays, while giving a historical angle on the current topic. And you can be sure that the verbal punches are always aimed below the belt...

When choosing what to write, I use my latest seminar or training session as inspiration. Last weekend the beautiful village of Lillesand in Norway was the scene of the crime and the students were eager to learn how the Viking fought on the battlefield.

This style of Glima is called ‘Lausa tök’ (Free grappling) in Old Norse and was the best physical preperation for combat that the ancient Scandinavians knew. It can be done as a modern competitive sport and the simple rules are as they were before – ‘to be the one standing when the other is lying down’.

Modern competition can be rough, but there are some techniques we consider too rough to be used in competitive fighting. These techniques are – strangely enough – very popular amongs seminar participants, so today I will talk about the fascination of doing battlefield wrestling (Combat Glima).

The easiest way to explain this art of combat is to regard it as Viking Street Fighting, because the reality of the battlefield works as good on the street or any other situation were rough techniques are needed. To put it simple, any part of our body is used as a weapon and we eye-gouge or head-butt as soon as possible.

There are many nice techniques taught in the elder style of Glima and the finishing move is the sweetest. As an ancient Scandinavian proverb it is called ‘láta kne fylgja kviði’ (let the knee follow where it hurts) and is still used as an Icelandic expression of someone using all his/her efforts or making strong arguments. However, its true and literal meaning is a description of the finishing technique of Combat Glima.

When wrestling on ground, which is the place where most fights end, our aim is to wrestle free and be the first standing up. The reason for this is that an enemy seldom comes alone and therefore we must quickly finish our opponent and continue to take on whatever opposition at hand.

We never have time to make our opponent submit because lying on ground will makes us an easy target for multiple opponents, so any move that takes more than two seconds to execute is not an option. And the whole fight should not take more than ten seconds. Therefore we skip all the stationary wrestling and submission grips and go for the kill.

Chose a loose but allert wrestling style and control the opponent’s head in an aggresive way. The next step is to use the knee with the full body-weigh behind it and put presure on his cheek. Then it is up to you if you want to be lethal by shifting knee, while using the force of movement with bad intentions.

And remember my friends, do not try this at home without the guidance of a Glima master Wink


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