Combat Glima was developed by Viking warriors who had to survive attacks from all kinds of weapons. It’s a no-nonsense way of fighting that has no unnecessary movements, and has been tried and tested in life and death situations, in single combat and on the battlefield.
In order to survive, Vikings developed a tough and brutal martial art system that could deal with any situation they came across. Over time, this system, called Glíma, developed to include striking, grappling, throwing, wrestling, and pain techniques. These techniques were used for self-defense, and formed the basis for Viking armed and unarmed combat.
Training in combat glima develops balance, strength, reflexes, speed, co-ordination, endurance and courage, the perfect foundation Viking warriors needed to survive in battle. Glima promotes strength with flexibility and speed, and glima in Old Norse means glimpse or flash, which describes how these techniques are meant to be performed.
In order to have a structured form of unarmed combatives against weapons, the Vikings had to know how to use a variety of weapons, such as sword, axe, spear, seax, stick and knife. Through combat glima, Vikings became experts in knife fighting, stick fighting, spear fighting, axe fighting and sword fighting.
Armed and unarmed Combat Glima training at the Academy focuses on training with modern weapons and equipment. Våpenkamp is the Norwegian name for combat with weapons. At the Academy, våpenkamp includes working with modern and historical weapons. Sverdkamp is the name for swordfighting, stokkekamp is the name for stick fighting, øksekamp is axe-fighting, and knivkamp is knife fighting.
Knife fighting is an excellent way to sharpen existing unarmed martial arts techniques. Fighting with a knife is a developed skill which builds balance, coordination, focus and speed. It polishes technique and understanding of where you are in hand to hand combat. With a knife or unarmed against a knife, knife-fighting sharpens existing skills to the utmost.
Stick fighting is an integral part of glima, because once these principles are taken in, they can be used for any cutting weapon. A stick is a very versatile weapon, and there are things that can be done with a stick that can’t be done with cutting weapons, such as locks, chokes and takedowns. There's no standard size stick in Combat glima. We train with different sized sticks, which develops adaptability and enables a combat glima combatant to be ready for any situation.
Combat Glima as a self-defense system contains throws, blows, kicks, chokes, locks, pain techniques and weapon techniques, and is comparable with the best complete martial arts systems from around the world.
Close combat glima includes short powerful strikes that flow between grappling and wrestling techniques. No move is superfluous or wasted, and there are no traces of unnecessary movement or unneeded style. Without exception, there are no decorative movements in Viking unarmed combat, and absolutely everything in Løse-tak combat glíma is functional and straight to the point. Within striking distance and grappling distance, hands, feet, and knees are used to their best effect.
Training in combat glima with and without weapons from an early age, gave the Vikings such a comprehensive combat foundation, that they had no problem adapting to the different styles of warfare, or other fighting styles they met on their travels. Viking warriors were renowned for their fighting abilities in raids and against larger and less mobile soldiers because glima, combined with forestry and hunting skills, made Vikings extremely dangerous in guerilla warfare.
Since the Viking Age, glima has always been practiced for realistic combat situations in Scandinavia. From historical documents, we can see that Viking fighting techniques were in use all the way to the 19th century, when combat glima was used as the foundation for bajonettkamp (bayonet fighting) by the Swedish and Norwegian military. Over the centuries, the nature of combat in war has changed due to the constant development of weapons, but when it comes down to hand to hand combat, glima is an extremely effective martial art.
With the changing methods of warfare, where one on one combat on the battlefield began to disappear, combat glima also began to disappear. At the beginning of the 20th century, combat glima was even made illegal in some parts of Scandinavia, when all dangerous hand to hand combat techniques for the common man were banned. Combat glima survived only by keeping it a secret.
At the Academy we train combat glima indoors with mats and equipment, but we also train outdoors, every week, year round, in all weather. Not only is this very healthy, it reminds students why they don't want to fall, be thrown to, or wrestle on hard ground or ice. Training outdoors year round on all kinds of ground keeps footwork sharp and purposeful.
Combat Glima targets the head for hand and elbow strikes from all angles. These strikes can be done from striking and grappling range. A closed fist where the knuckles hit is seldom used in combat glima, as hands are often injured this way, or the knuckles swell and become useless. A hammer fist, using the meaty part of a clenched fist, is used to good effect sideways and downwards. Most hand strikes in combat glima are done with an open hand. A palm strike is extremely powerful. It's harder than a punch and seldom injures the hand, (it's better to hit a brick wall with a palm strike than with the knuckles of a punch) and open handed strikes can also transfer immediately into grappling techniques.
Vikings had two arms and two legs, just like their opponents. What set the Vikings apart from other warriors was how they used what they had. In Viking unarmed combat, every move is the most simple and effective possible. Quick and devastating kicks are sent from the basic Glima stance to specific targets for maximum effect. A hard kick to the knee or ankle can stop a fight, and kicks can be used to weaken an opponent's attack or defence, opening up possibilities for a successful finish.
Combat Glima kicks are quick and destructive. In combat, kicks are thrust kicks or snap kicks, aimed primarily below the waist at joints and pain centers. A kick to the area just above the groin, to the top of the thigh, to the knee, or to the ankle area, always have a painfull or breaking effect. Above the waist, kicks to the ribs area, spine, liver, kidney, middle of the solar plexus, and to the head - if the head is at waist height, are effective. In combat, glima kicks are seldom aimed at shoulder or head height, but training at such targets keeps the body in good shape and defensive moves sharp.
Specific targets take out the guesswork in combat. An elbow to the nose, a knee to the ribs or knee, a kick to the knee or ankle of an attacker, are specific and devastating. If a strike misses by a centimeter or two, it will still make an impact, so long as it was aimed at a specific target.
Use of the hips is extremely important in striking, kicking, grappling, throwing, and wrestling. Hip movement and pushing against the ground gives these techniques their power.
Combat Glima has an arsenal of aggressive takedown techniques. These are done from grappling distance and of course wrestling situations. These takedowns are brutal from the beginning of execution until forcefully making and opponent hit the ground.
Combat Glima has destructive throws. These are not just throwing techniques, they create pain and can injure an opponent before the opponent lands on the ground. There are foot sweep techniques and tripping techniques in Combat glima. Again, these are not just sweeps, they are destructive kicks to the limbs of an opponent on the way to becoming sweeps.
Combat Glima finishing techniques are precise and painful, from standing and grappling, to finishes on the ground with hands, elbows, knees and feet.
Groundwork is where Combat Glima excels. This is possibly the most continually painful part of a fight, with techniques that deliver unbearable agony.
COMBAT GLIMA DRILLS Combat Glima Drills are done fluidly to create understanding and coordination. Combinations of movements in these drills are never robotic, but allow a student to become efficient in putting techniques together that flow naturally and effectively. Sparring is a part of every training session, and usually happens at the end of a class. Here students see how the their techniques work in reality, not just in theory or demonstrations.
The COMBAT GLIMA STANCE is a fantastic foundation that can be used equally effectively for striking and grappling. Footwork is a major part of combat, and once this is understood and can be used, a fighter can concentrate on fighting techniques without distraction.
ADVANCED BASICS are practiced constantly. Basics are the fundement, and these fundements are understood at a deeper meaning at each stage of progression. Constantly perfecting basics improves all aspects of combat, and is incredibly important to understand the mechanics of offence, defence and surviving a fight.
Combat glima is not just a great martial art for self-defense, it keeps you in shape and builds strength, stamina, flexibilty, balance, coordination, reflexes, awareness, confidence and spirit.