Cultural Connections | Hi-yah!

Many self-defense tactics are considered intense competitive sports and are often derived from a country’s history and culture. Norway is no different. Glima is a form of Viking martial arts, often referred to as Viking wrestling. It’s popular among men and women.

There are three variations of this martial art: free-grip, back hold and trouser-grip. Each form requires strength, flexibility and speed. In fact, the name glima comes from the Norse word “glimt,” which communicates rapid movement. The sport is typically practiced outside. And when it gets cold, traditionally, wrestlers will wear warmer clothing instead of moving indoors.

Thor, a superhero and a legendary god of Norse mythology, was the main character in the earliest accounts of Viking wrestling. He was mentioned in poems in the 800s A.D. During the poetic story of his journey, Thor participates in a battle involving one form of glima!

There are also books about glima that date back hundreds of years. One of them is “Prose Edda,” which was written in the 1220s A.D.

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