What do you know about the Form Of Wrestling Evolved from Vikings?

What do you know about the Form Of Wrestling Evolved from Vikings?

pictured above members of an Icelandic Glima team competing at the Coniston Country Fair in 2016 against local Cumberland and Westmorland wrestlers


Many of us have seen the BJJ Valhalla meme but there’s far less people who know there’s actually a form of wrestling that originated from Vikings!

Glima is a traditional form of wrestling that has evolved from the Viking settlers in Iceland. It’s a unique in the way that wrestlers must remain upright and have a fixed grip on the opponent’s belt and have to maintain movement.

The critical aspect of it is in mutual attempts to throw each other out of balance.

A depiction of Elli wrestling Thor (1919) by Robert Engels.

In Icelandic Glima means wrestling but it is also used as the name for the Icelandic national wrestling style. This ancient martial art system is divided into two categories known as Combat Glima and Sport Glima.


Combat Glima – Lausatok (Løse-tak) was used in mainly used by Viking warriors for self-defense and combat.

It is still possible to learn combat Glima and the martial art style includes throws, blows, kicks, chokes, locks, pain techniques, and weapon techniques.

Sport Glima consists of several Scandinavian wrestling styles such as Lausatok (free-grip glima), Hryggspenna (back-hold glima) and Brokartok (trouser-grip glima). The most popular style in Iceland and Sweden is Brokartök. It’s Iceland’s national sport.

Photo by David Lundholm

What do you think about glima? Have you heard about it previously?