Manhood was not something given in the Viking Age, it was something a boy had to earn. Over several years, young Norse males were told and shown what was needed of them to become men. A Viking man was expected to provide for and protect his family, and Viking men took very seriously the job of preparing their sons for manhood.

According to the oldest Scandinavian law books, a boy was legally considered an adult when he was 12, but generally a boy was considered a man in the Viking Age after he had passed 15 winters. In Iceland, a young male was considered an adult when he was ""hestefør og drikkefør", meaning he was able to ride a horse and allowed to participate in drinking with the other men. 

In Viking Age Scandinavia, an extra pair of hands helping out at the farm was a real benifit, so from early childhood, boys had everyday tasks that were needed to be done responsibly. There were many essential skills a boy had to acquire, and these skills were taught by fathers, brothers, uncles, and other grown men in and around the family. Age didn't automatically mean a boy had what was required of him to be regarded as a man by his peers, so young males had to prove their worth.

Viking manhood training had to start early in a young boy's life, as becoming a man in the Viking Age was something that could only be achieved through years of training and experience. Daily training in hunting, fishing, gathering, tending to animals, building, repairing and making equipment, gave a boy the ability to go from being reliant on his parents for food and security, to being totally self-reliant. 

A boy only achieved the change of status to a man after being able to successfuly do what was expected of a Viking man. Manhood rituals, such as hunting with a group of other Viking men and combat skills, were transitions that ensured the success of Norse society. The Viking rite of passage was something every Norse boy trained for and longed for. To be looked upon by peers as a man was a very important achievement not only for Norse males, but for all of Norse society.

The most important social institution in Viking Age Scandinavia was the family, and marriage was the core of the Norse family. From the age of 12, a young male could marry, which was the most obvious way for him to be regarded as a man, as providing for and taking care of a family was a very important and adult task. A Viking marriage was a legal contract wich consisted of power, inheritance and property. A Viking wedding was an important transition not only for those being married, but for both the bride and the groom's families, as the wedding ceremony created a legal pact in which both families promised to help each other. In this pact that bound several families, the male head of the family had the final say in important matters. The many years of training enabled Viking men to make tough decisions for the benifit of family and society. 


We at the Academy believe that the Viking rite of passage is a neccessity for young Scandinavian men. Therefore, the Academy not only trains students for physical well-being and self-defense situations, we train young men to become self-reliant and mature men. We impart on our students dicipline, a good moral code, an appreciation for their cultural heritage and family, and stage by stage prepare them for the challenges life has in store. This is good for the students, good for their families, and good for Norwegian society.



Hunting was an essential part of life for our ancestors. The Norsemen were great hunters, and for them, the hunt was both a practical and spiritual endeavor. For hunting and combat training, Norsemen and Vikings used specialized clothing that would withstand the weather and the wear and tear of use in rough terrain. Modern Norwegians also have specialized clothing for hunting and training. This clothing is called either 'Jaktklær' meaning hunting clothing, or ‘Skogsklær’ which simply means forest clothing. Just as our ancestors did, we use skogsklær for Combat Glima training and camping. It is practical and tough, and exactly what we need for year round outdoor training and being out in Norwegian nature.

Throughout the year we have weekends out in nature. Apart from glima training, we have fun with other practical sports, such as archery, with both historical bows and modern archery equipment. The Academy has also had survival classes, consisting of being out in nature for several days, making a shelter and equiment out of natural materials found in the forest, and learning about vegetation and means of surviving out in nature.  

As part of our training, we fish, hunt, gather, prepare and cook our food out in nature. This is a very important part of the outdoors experience and is a great preperation for becoming more self reliant and independent.  


Vikings and the Norse folk were fit, strong and healthy. Apart from living a physical lifestyle, in a land with lots of fresh water, fresh air and powerful nature, a major reason for the good health of these people was their diet.

Norsemen, women and children ate much better than an English peasant during the Viking Age. On every level of Viking society, from kings to farmers, meat was part of a meal eaten every day.

The Norsemen were great hunters, and reindeer, elk, bear, cow, sheep, and other animals were part of their diet. Norsemen were also great fishermen, so fish was a large part of their diet too.

Although meat and fish were often roasted and fried, most meat was boiled, together with vegetables. Viking Age farmers cultivated vegetables and fruit, but these also grew wild. A wide range of herbs and seasonings also helped flavor this diet.

A good, healthy diet is essential for a healthy body. Making sure you have a good selection of fresh meat, fish, vegetables and fruit in your diet is simple and recommended. We also recommend a protein rich meal shortly after training, eating healthy food regularly throughout the day to keep energy up, and drinking plenty of fresh water.

As part of our training, we try to have a well balanced diet, daily exercise, and daily contact with nature, things that are essential for healthy mind, body and spirit. We recommend eating out in nature, at least once a month throughout the year. It is simple to fry up some fish, or steak some meat on an open campfire, and a fantastic and enjoyable experience.


VIKING MAN by Geir Arneberg

Interest in Viking life and Norse mythology are massive today, but Tyr Neilsen (57) has been fascinated by Viking life and Norse mythology since he was a young boy and lived in England. When he moved to Norway in the 80s, he married a Norwegian woman and got in-laws that were knowledgeable in this rich heritage.

Thanks to my mother in-law I learned a lot about Norse mythology, and my father in-law introduced me to Glíma, the Viking martial art, says Tyr, who lives in Buskerud, Norway. Here he lives in many ways like a modern Viking and teaches the Viking martial arts. 

Tyr has been a consultant for several Norse related books, including a book about Glima. He is committed to promoting Norwegian culture and history, and is recent years he has held exhibitions and seminars at museums, schools and festivals in Norway and Europe.



When journalist Bente Wemundstad interviewed Tyr for Byavisa Drammen and had conversations and discussions on various Viking topics, they hit on the idea of him writing a book about Havamal with photography as illustrations. After work on the book had started, they contacted Nova Publishing. Just hours after Bente sent e mails, she received a phone call from publisher Jan Hervig who said that this was absolutely something Nova publishing wanted to participate in. Thus began a very hectic journey, literally. Besides diving into the brilliant philosophy that is found within Havamal, Tyr and Bente travelled to Iceland, where the original manuscript is held.


For a long time it seemed that there was absolutely no way to see the original vellum manuscript, as it is heavily guarded and only very few have been allowed to photograph it. Eventually Tyr and Bente received a mail from the institute that holds the manuscript, saying that they understood the importance of the work on this book. It was therefore granted an exclusive audience with the original manuscript from the year 1270. Photos had to be taken without a flash in a rather dark room at a museum in Reykjavik.

In the Viking Age, Odin’s speech was delivered as a performance. To recreate the original way of presenting Havamal, Tyr and Bente took exciting photographs of modern Vikings and models out in Norwegian nature and at sea. Together, Tyr and Bente translated the first 80 verses of Havamal to modern Norwegian, then Tyr translated the whole book into modern English, with the goal that this Norse heritage will be known to future generations.


Edited Byavisa article by Geir Arneberg

Viking Wisdom - HÁVAMÁL - the Sayings of Odin

Hávamál is one of the most important documents from Viking Age Scandinavia, and is well described as the Wisdom of the North.

This is the most complete book about the Hávamál, and Tyr had exclusive time in Iceland with the original 11th century manuscript !

This magnificent book contains the Vikings wisdom in original Old Norse and a new modern translation, exciting photos of Odin and other Norse Gods, and information about the Gods and Hávamál. Also in this edition are insights into the violent history and many mysteries surrounding the Havamal, as well as information about how Hávamál has influenced the world’s bestselling books and films.

In Viking times the sayings of Odin were delivered as a performance. Here the Hávamál is illustrated with fascinating photographs of models and modern Vikings in Norwegian nature to recreate the original way to present the message

There is much wisdom and inspiration to reclaim here, inherited from our ancestors, from an era that was subsequently named after them. Tyr and co-author Bente Wemundstad worked diligently to create a new and improved English translation of the Hávamál, and the Vikings wisdom is more accessible to the modern reader than ever before.

Viking Wisdom - HÁVAMÁL - the Sayings of Odin from Nova Publishing in English, in Norwegian, and as an eBook. ISBN: 9788282810593