Viking Martial Arts: The Education of Warriors

Viking Martial Arts: The Education of Warriors

In the early Middle Ages, Vikings were considered one of the few warrior groups that could instill fear into the hearts of travelers.

Their fierce nature, paired with their incessant raidings, made them a serious threat to foreign merchants and royalty.

However, Vikings were not only known as pillagers who only got excited at the thought of an upcoming battle  in fact, most of their military prowess came from hours of hard work, physical training, and combat.

Vikings had a training regime that allowed them to maintain strict discipline among their ranks and excel in weapon use when preparing for battle.

Here is what a typical warrior code for an average Viking looked like:

Training Regimen
The biggest secret to the endurance of Vikings was their harsh preparation techniques and training to get them ready for battle.

If you ever came across a book telling you about the adventures of a Viking warrior, you have probably seen the illustrations of bearded men jumping off impressive-looking ships with axes and swords in hand.

You might have even attempted to write an essay explaining the role of Vikings in history.

If you are a student who has similar types of assignments weekly, you may want to read speedy paper reviews and assign your writing to a professional who will study the instructions for your text and make sure your paper covers the historical period effectively.

However, leaping off ships and learning battle chants was only a small part of what Vikings could do to prove they were pioneers in the military field.

Weapon wielding was a regular hobby, no different from shaping or aerobics practiced by sports enthusiasts today, and sparring with a partner in a mock battle while holding an ax or a sword was the usual pastime.

If a particular Viking group preferred working with ranged weapons like bows and crossbows, they would choose a spot far from their settlement for everyday target practice.

Those who had an especially challenging campaign waiting for them would pray to the gods for a successful outcome and devise combat techniques to beat their rivals, such as creating new formations and drilling using shields and spears.

Physical Endurance
Before the members of a Viking clan could engage in any type of martial arts to show off their skills, they needed to get into shape first.

Given the exhausting nature of sailing the longships or handling their weapons, Vikings had to demonstrate a high level of physical preparation.

When not raiding other cities and towns, they were often seen engaging in activities such as lifting heavy weights and starting playful combats.

All this required the Nordic people of the early Medieval times to be in great physical condition.

In fact, skills like running and swimming were considered just as important as knowing the basics of martial arts and fighting, considering the number of times the Vikings had to spend on foot and the long hours they had to endure surrounded by water.

After they had learned different fighting styles, young warriors could finally begin their mastery of the Vikings’ most famous wrestling custom.

Wrestling Tradition
Glima is a legendary form of martial arts that originated as a type of self-defense and combat.

Here is an article about "La Glima", click here to discover it 

Although it is mostly targeted at self-defense in modern times and includes throwing your opponent to the ground using different techniques rather than brute force, Vikings of old were especially fond of Combat Glima.

Combat Glima was considered the foundation of the Viking wrestling expertise and included opponents kicking, throwing, blocking, and choking each other until one fell to the ground defeated.

Despite being less structured than Eastern martial arts of the time, Glima allowed the Viking clans to apply a variety of blocking and pain techniques to outsmart their enemies.

They also had to know how to excel in both unarmed and armed combat, including the knowledge of knife fighting, ax fighting, spear fighting, and sword fighting, in case their foes came fully prepared for the battle and they had to act fast.

Glima had no restrictions or harsh rules for the combatants to follow, with all the fighters expected to have mastery over offensive and defensive wrestling methods taught to them by their elders.

Glima had to be practiced daily, and unfavorable weather conditions were no excuse for staying at home.

The proud warriors had to fight through blizzards and storms, common to medieval Scandinavia of the time.

Being able to withstand an attack during especially harsh weather conditions meant the Viking warriors were ready for battle and did not need any extra training to hone their skills.

Weapon Use
Glima, as a type of martial art popular among warriors at the time, could not be possible without integrating weapons into the training sessions.

While swords were widely used for offense and defense, knowing how to wield a spear or create a shield formation to protect oneself against a foe was also a part of the Vikings’ martial arts studies.

The weapons that the Vikings possessed during that era fully reflected their warrior-like, combative nature, confirming their status as raiders and seafarers traveling long distances.

Axe picture available in our VKNG store

While swords held a sacred meaning within the entire Viking community, those who perfected the art of Glima knew that axes and spears could also be used in close combat and as a part of maneuvering tactics when combined with shield walls against an attacking army.

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