Glíma: Norse Martial Arts

Glíma is a traditional Norse martial art and hand to hand combat system, created by Vikings to survive against any form of warfare as well as to develop courage, endurance, strength, and reflexes. Þórr is the god of Glíma. 


Glíma is a self-defense system comparable to the best complete martial arts systems in the world. It was designed for Viking warriors and involves blows, kicks, chokes, locks, throws, pain techniques, as well as weapon techniques.


Glíma originated in Norway and was brought to Iceland during settlement in 870. It is an official combat system under Jónsbók and Grágás (medieval Norse laws), and as such, is taught to children as young as 6. Glíma is also mentioned in Old Norse poetry by Bragi Boddason and Kveldúlfr Bjálfason in the 8th and 9th century A.D. 

Sport variants:

Hráspenna: Unrestricted raw wrestling and grappling to pin opponent down by any mean (strength + technique) • Lagarspenna: Water wrestling to keep opponent’s head under water until he gives up (strength) • Hryggspenna: Backhold wrestling to force opponent to touch the ground (strength) • Lausatök: Aggressive, loose-grip or free-grip, free-style wrestling and grappling (strength + technique) • Brokartök: Sport grappling that involves belts and requires opponent to stand up at all times.

Actual glíma practiced by Úlfhéðnar encompasses all variants and techniques as required, and would typically be a combination of hráspenna and lausatök.