Vikings fought with and without weapons, sometimes for fun and sometimes to survive. When Viking combatants ended up so close they could grab hold of each other, they often went into a clinch. When fights ended up in a clinch, opponents would grab each other and start grappling.
Vikings had a sophisticated system of grappling techniques and maneuvers used to strike, improve position, submit or injure their opponent. The standard sport and combat glima grappling position starts in a regular glima stance, with a 'cupped' hand-grip on the back of an opponents neck with the right hand, whilst the right elbow presses into the opponents chest, and gripping the meat of the opponents right forearm with the left hand.
This grappling position enables a combatant to control the head and neck of the opponent with the right hand, induce pain and control much of the opponent's torso with the right elbow, and control an opponents right arm with the left hand grip. By holding an opponent’s neck, or arm, or piece of clothing, a fighter can manipulate the opponent into an angle that makes it easier to strike or choke. By grappling in a clinch, a fighter can also take an opponent off balance and throw them to the ground. In Løse-tak sport glima, grappling is done in an energetic and friendly way, but in combat glima, grappling is done to defeat an opponent as fast and as fierce as possible.
During close quarter hand-to-hand combat when opponents end up in a clinch, even though it is a very tight situation, glima fighters can use a wide variety of grappling moveswhich include: takedowns, throws, foot sweeps, reversals, controls, chokes, locks, escapes, strikes and pain techniques.
Glima grappling is all about using strength with technique to manipulate an opponent into a weaker position. This can be a scary situation because there is little room to dodge a strike or move away from a throw. Being so close, fighters have to grapple for better grips, better balance and better opportunities, that only offer a very small range of motion. Strikes, chokes, locks, takedowns and throws are highly effective, but can be difficult to execute because they have to be done using the tightest movements.
Grappling techniques happen fast, but because each fighter is holding the other, throws often end up with both opponents landing on the ground together and having to wrestle. This can happen no matter how effectively the grappling techniques are done. But when done correctly, a fighter will end up in the dominant position when ending up on the ground.
Grappling in a clinch often leads to submission holds. From this extremely close position, it is easier for fighters to go after a choke technique, or a joint lock technique. In sport glima, grappling is done with maximum effort, whilst still respecting the opponent, and injury is not the aim. Grappling in combat glima is also done with maximum effort, but now the safety of an opponent isn’t a priority. In combat glima, if an opponent can’t escape from a choke, he or she can risk becoming unconscious or receiving injury.
Grappling in a clinch is a fight for control. Fighters grapple non-stop for a better position of control, whether it is directly opposite an opponent, to the side of an opponent, or from the back of an opponent. Being behind an opponent in a clinch is an advantageous position since it is harder for an opponent to defend from that position.
Grappling techniques can be offensive or defensive. Sometimes the only grappling techniques that can be used are to escape, or to prevent an escape or attack. Getting out of danger in a clinch means working in a tight space whilst being held, or from a tightly held inferior position, and reversals range from quick movements, to hard fought inch by inch maneuvering. Glima pain techniques are very effective in these situations.
Sometimes fighters grapple because they are unskilled, fatigued or in pain. This is a common reaction, and the aim is to slow down the conflict by holding an opponent in the hope of some relief by trying to keep the opponent still. Keeping safe in this type of clinch is difficult and a fighter has to be clever to keep protected and keep an opponent from striking or executing a takedown.
Strikes can be used to get into a grappling situation in combat glima and løse-tak sport glima, and grappling techniques can be used to set up strikes. In sport glima, this would mean open hand strikes used only for shock value in order to enable a takedown. In combat glima, these strikes can be for shock value or to inflict pain or damage.
There are many striking techniques that can be used effectively from a grappling situation, especially in combat glima. Open-handstrikes, punches, elbows, head-butts, kneeing and foot stomps can be used effectively in a clinch. Kicks can be nullified to some extent because of the proximity of the opponents, but some kicks are still effective in a clinch.
There are several types of grips or holds that are used to control the head or torso of an opponent in løse-tak sport glima, or in a self-defense situation. Strikes from this extremely close position can be difficult for the unskilled, but a skilled glima grappler can utilize a clinch with a variety of pain techniques, chokes, short, quick strikes, or takedowns. When done correctly, they are extremely effective, because the opponent has difficulty rolling with the strike whilst being held.
In combat glima or self-defense situation where sport glima is used in a grappling situation, the glima grip can be utilized on an opponent’s clothing to control their body. This grip on opponents clothing can lead to a choke, lock, throw or takedown. By keeping hold of the clothing from the clinch after a takedown or throw, the clothing can then be used to choke an opponent on the ground.
Glima grappling is great for building balance, strength, endurance, coordination and confidence. Glima grappling also provides the opportunity of controlling an opponent without injuring them. These techniques are invaluable to people working in law enforcement or safety and security work.