Glima Wrestling

glima wrestlingIn the viking age, there were in nothern europe a very popular sport called Glima Wrestling. In glima it is illegal to kick and hit, therefore it is called wrestling. The special thing about glima is that the wrestlers uses some special belts (like in sumo) to get a grip in each other. In the viking age the grip was in each others trousers.

In a glima match the two wrestlers is constantly walking around each other and try to bring down the opponent with tricks like to trip the opponent up, or lifting the opponent up. The match end when one of the wrestlers falls down. There are eight basic tricks, but they can be combined infinitely.

Glima is the nationalsport of Iceland. The reason that it nowadays is almost unknown in other scandinavian countries have to do with the fact that the priests in the end of the viking age considered glima to be a pagan thing. That point of view was never accepted in iceland were it instead turn out to be consider good for the moral and disipline to do glima.

The sport can be practiced by both gender, in all ages. In the icelandic sagas there is written about a match between a man and a woman which run over several days and ended unsettled (in the sagas they often overstated theirs ability a bit).

It is possible to do glima in Copenhagen (Denmark) two times a week. It is also possible to do glima i Malmø (Sweden), and in Whangarei (New Zeeland) and of couse in Iceland.

In the sommer we make shows around in nothern europe in connection with viking festivals and alike.

Basic Rules of Gilma Wrestling
glima wrestlingThe two wrestlers (glimumenn) stand nearly erect, each a little to the left of the other with a slightly wide stance and the right foot slightly advanced. They look over each other’s right shoulder, but never down at the feet, the reason for this rule being that the wrestlers are to wrestle by touch and feel and not by sight.

Once the wrestlers have taken their holds and adopted the required stance they begin to step to their right. Then, at a signal, they begin to apply the tricks. Each contestant seeks to throw the other by causing him to lose his balance. Each tries to hook a foot around the other’s in order to trip him. A contestant may also try to heave his opponent into the air and by skillful use of the feet, legs, or hips, prevent him from landing on feet, causing him instead to fall to the ground in such a manner that he touches it with some part of his torso.

There are eight main kinds of tricks (bragd) designed to fell (topple) the adversary, and each trick can be executed in a number of different ways (approx. 50). The eight main tricks of glima are as follows:
– The outside stroke (leggjarbargd) (see picture)
– The inside-click (innanfótar hælkrókur hægri á vinstri)
– the cross-click (innanfótar hælkrókur hægri á hægri)
– the back-heel (hælkrókur fyrr báda)
– The twist over the knee (hnéhnykkur)
– the overside hipe (hnéhnykkur á lofti)
– The hook (krækja)
– The cross buttock (snidglima)
– The inside-hipe (klofbragd).
– The cross-buttock aloft (lausamjödm)
– The full or half buttock (mjadmarhnykkur)

glima wrestlingIn modern glima competition the wrestlers wear special wrestling attire (glimuföt), consisting of special shoes and a combination of pants and shirt with a protective cover around the groin. Each werstler wears three leather belts, one around each thigh and one around the waist, the thigh-belts being fastened by straps to the waist-belt.

The two wrestlers enter the arena, which is a smooth, bare timber floot, and greet each other by shaking hands. Each takes hold of the waist-belt of the other with his right hand, and with the left hand grasps the belt round the opponent’s thigh. Only then can the combat or glima begin.

Modern History

Around 1965, several individuals, principally Terry McCann and Myron Roderick, were dissatisfied with the governance of the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU). They began discussions with Walter Byers, then the Executive Director of the NCAA, with the goal to form a wrestling organization administered by wrestling people.

The group wanted to develop an overall program that would: 1) offer competitive programs for wrestlers who had completed high school and/or college; 2) offer educational and developmental programs for wrestlers, coaches and officials in the international styles of wrestling; 3) offer wrestlers, coaches, officials and organizations conducting wrestling programs a voice in policies and procedures directly affecting the sport.


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