Viking fight club
Before you dismiss viking martial training as an unusual fad for dedicated nerds, it actually comes under the Historical European Martial Arts (HEMA) umbrella, and embracing your inner viking is a serious exercise and lifestyle movement. There are various viking groups held all over the UK, ready to take you back in time and get you fit.
Some groups take their skills to battle in re-enactment and others focus specifically on sparring. You can choose between a mid-week fitness fix or a weekend-long battle of historic fighting.
The viking martial training practice is not a walk in the park and some groups even battle competitively against clans from all over the globe. Whichever type of viking training tickles your blood-stained tabard, it’s guaranteed to get your heart racing and give your fitness a major adrenaline boost.
The viking mix
Unlike your weekly spin class, viking martial training requires a mix of agility, fitness and skill. From learning how to block an attack, to working towards the excitement of your first battle, classes will get you in total warrior shape.
Each class has its own spin on historical fitness, but in order to train you up sufficiently the majority mix weaponry skills with drills, sparring and even traditional wrestling.
Use your weapons
Vikings rarely went unguarded and the same goes for modern day warrior re-enactment. Instead of actually slaying your opponents (because there are laws against things like that), classes involve sparring with weapons, incorporating methods and traditions from Steel Mixed Martial Arts. This practice helps the individual to improve balance of strength, speed and skill, not to mention manly posturing.
Community is key
It may sound like a bunch of blokes in fancy dress scrapping in a field, but one of the key elements to the success of viking re-enactment stems from the community. As this BBC article demonstrates, many dedicated viking re-enactors credit the movement with helping them learn to control their aggression, find a sense of purpose, develop kinship in unlikely places and become part of a community.
If you’re a runner, you will know only too well that the running community plays an essential role in enabling you to achieve your race day and fitness goals. Swap your Lycra tights for animal skins and a horny hat, and it all starts to make sense.
There are numerous clubs throughout the UK offering viking martial training and even the opportunity to take part in a full blown re-enactment.
The Vikings include warriors from England’s south coast up to Scotland and train throughout the year. The Varangian Guard Warrior group Miklagard Ulflag hold training sessions every week and The Longsword Academy train up to four times a week.
All groups are open to new members, so grab your sword and prepare to take a trip back to the Viking Age.
Will viking fitness make you a better runner?
Once you’ve tasted the blood of viking battle, our guess is you’ll stop giving a hoot if martial fitness benefits your running, as you’ll be too busy avenging the death of your ancestors and wrestling bears to notice how good you are at running.
However, being a competent runner before you hit the battlefield will stand you in good stead should you need to run away from any particularly beefy vikings, so if you do decide to embrace your inner warrior, don’t forget about us here at The Bug…