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Viking combat practice
at Higgins Armory Museum
April, 2011

Viking combat practice

photos by Malgorzata Malkowska
courtesy of Higgins Armory Museum

We're creating some new demo material, using fighting moves described in the Sagas of Icelanders. We're using the same approach that we used to create the fight videos seen here. In this session, we were practicing some of the moves used by fighting men in the sagas.

Viking combat practice

Avoiding an incoming attack by jumping over it (Brennu-Njáls saga ch.145), in this case, from a two-handed axe.

Viking combat practice

Taking control of an incoming axe attack with the hand (Brennu-Njáls saga ch.17), and setting it aside, allowing an unarmed man to follow up with an improvised weapon, a belt knife.

Viking Day
at Higgins Armory Museum
January, 2011

Viking board games at Higgins Armory Museum

Viking board games

photos by Malgorzata Malkowska
courtesy of Higgins Armory Museum

Viking tug-of-war at Higgins Armory Museum

Viking tug-of-war

Viking combat workshop at Higgins Armory Museum

family-friendly Viking combat workshops

Viking combat demo at Higgins Armory Museum

Viking combat demonstration

Video shoot: November, 2010
Viking Combat Training
at Higgins Armory Museum

Viking combat training video shoot

for American Treasures, a new show
premiering on the Discovery Channel
in spring, 2011.

Photos courtesy of Peter Graupner

We taught Jason and Kirk, the two hosts of the show, some fundamentals of Viking combat.

Viking combat training video shoot

We taught Jason and Kirk using the training techniques we use in the Viking combat classes we offer, and in our regular Viking practice sessions.

Viking combat training video shoot

We played the shield bind game.

Viking combat training video shoot

We did cutting practice against a pell...

Viking combat training video shoot
Viking combat training video shoot

...learning to develop power in the cut.

We did cutting practice against a pad.

Viking combat training video shoot

We did some grappling exercises...

Viking combat training video shoot
Viking combat training video shoot

...a lot of different grappling exercises...

Viking combat training video shoot

...and some grappling games.

We did the Haugbúinn drill to practice defense with the shield...

Viking combat training video shoot

and we finished with several rounds of the Klámhögg game.

We also shot a segment discussing Viking-age weapons featuring the two fabulous 9th century Viking swords on display in the museum's Great Hall.

Viking combat training video shoot

The two hosts seemed to enjoy the work...

Viking combat training video shoot

...Jason De León...

Viking combat training video shoot

...and Kirk French...

Viking combat training video shoot

...and they really got into the spirit of our Viking training.

Even the crew joined in on the drills during the breaks in the shooting, not wanting to miss out on the fun.

Viking combat training video shoot

Viking Day, July, 2009

The Higgins Armory Museum held a full day of Viking activities, including the regular Viking combat demo...
viking day combat demo
as well as games and crafts for kids, lectures on Viking topics…

photos by Lauren Davis

a combat mini-demo in the Great Hall...

Viking day combat demo

and a book signing by the author of Viking Weapons and Combat Techniques.

Viking day book signing

Many visitors bought or brought copies of the book to be signed.

Viking day book signing

The Sword Guild offered a workshop on Viking combat techniques. Museum guests learned a few fundamentals and then tried some of the techniques using wooden practice weapons.

Viking day combat workshop

The techniques were based on those taught in Viking Weapons and Combat Techniques and regularly demonstrated in our combat demonstrations.

Viking day combat workshop

Instructors from both the Sword Guild...


Viking day combat workshop

and from Hurstwic taught in the workshop.

Viking day combat workshop

Participants over a wide age range enjoyed the workshop.

Viking day combat workshop

Viking day combat workshop Viking day combat workshop The workshop concluded with an opportunity to participate in a shield wall.

Viking day combat workshop

Viking Weapons and Combat Demo at
Higgins Armory Museum

Viking axe combat demonstration

January, 2009

Viking axe combat demonstration

We've been researching fighting techniques for Viking axes and are pleased to be able to introduce axe combat into our demonstrations. This sequence of photographs shows the premiere of our new demonstration.

photos courtesy of David Decker and used with permission

Sadly, the Higgins Museum is now closed, but we occasionally do combat demonstrations in other venues.

The weapons and techniques shown here are described in more detail in the book, Viking Weapons and Combat Techniques, from Westholme Publishing. The book is once again available from your favorite bookseller. But please be aware that in the years since the book was written, our research has advanced. Some of the ideas in the book no longer represent our current thinking about how Vikings fought and used their weapons.

Viking axe combat demonstration
The combatant on the right tries to end the fight quickly with a powerful overhead attack. His opponent foils the attack by running underneath, making the long-hafted two-handed axe useless and ineffectual.
Viking axe combat demonstration Viking axe combat demonstration Viking axe combat demonstration
The combatant on the left parried the surprise attack coming from behind his opponent's shield, and he is about to give his opponent a very close shave.
Other weapons forms shown in the demonstration.
Viking shield offensive uses
A demonstration of an offensive use of the Viking shield.
Viking combat demo - wards
The shield is held in a forward, aggressive position.
Viking shield bind
The combatant on the right is about to put his opponent in a shield bind, an aggressive move that effectively ends the fight. His opponent loses all control over his weapons and his body, and the combatant is free to attack any open target, including a thrust up under the ribs.
Viking shield kick
The combatant on the left has just kicked his opponent's shield out of the way, twisting up his opponent's body, and opening many possible targets for attack.
Elementary School
Presentation
on Viking Daily Life

elementary school Viking presentation

December, 2008

Viking ice skates

discussion of Viking
ice skates and other
Viking games and sports

Viking comb

demonstration of
Viking comb and other
Viking grooming aids

Viking helmet

try-on of
Viking helmet

  audience

audience

Viking writing tablet

demonstration of
Viking writing tablet

 
Viking Sword
Show and Tell

Viking sword fabrication presentation

following a guest presentation by Lee A. Jones and Jeffrey L. Pringle on Viking Sword Fabrication at Higgins Armory Museum.
November, 2008

Viking sword fabrication presentation

Museum visitors had an opportunity to closely examine historical Viking blades. Here, a 9th century blade is examined by a visitor.

Viking sword fabrication presentation

A visitor examines an inlaid 9th century Viking sword pommel, which shows clear evidence of the inlay techniques detailed by Lee and Jeff.

Viking sword fabrication presentation

During the presentation, which was an extension of the Hurstwic demo at the Higgins, Lee and Jeff discussed recent results in their research on fabrication techniques used by Viking-age smiths.

presentation at Gerduberg

Presentation at
Gerđuberg, Reykjavík, Iceland
on Viking Weapons
and Combat Techniques
a new book now available
from your favorite bookseller.

presentation at Gerduberg

comparing Viking sword and shield
to I.33 sword and buckler

The presentation was at the
the invitation of Einherjar,
a Viking group in Reykjavík.

Gerduberg presentation

Gunnar jarl

A summary of the presentation
is on Einherjar's site here.
Viking combat demo Higgins Armory Museum
Viking Weapons and Combat Demo at
Higgins Armory Museum
June, 2008

Guests in the Great Hall prior to the demonstration.

Viking weapons and combat demo
Pointing out that the head makes for a fine target.
Viking weapons and combat demo
Discussing some of the benefits of an axe in combat.
Viking weapons and combat demo
A guest takes a close look at a sword.
Viking weapons and combat demo
The same guest takes an even closer look at an axe.
     
Viking axe combat
Video shoot for
Modern Marvels
on The History Channel
on Viking axe combat
show aired on May 30, 2008
Viking axe combat Viking axe combat Viking axe combat
Viking axe test cutting
A test cut for
Modern Marvels
Viking axe against
a Viking shield
Viking axe test cutting
The axe is buried
in the shield.
Viking axe test cutting
The hand holding the shield
would have been partially
severed. The plank is split from
end to end.
Viking axe test cutting
After one more blow,
the shield is useless.
Icelandic horses
Photo shoot at
Berkshire Icelandics
horse farm:
Vikings of all ages and Icelandic horses
for a forthcoming book
Horse Diaries #1
Elska
by Catherine Hapka
illustrated by Ruth Sanderson

Elska

now available
Random House

Icelandic horses Icelandic horses
horses Icelandic horses Elska
Finished illustrations
by Ruth Sanderson
based on the photos from
the session
used with permission
horses
Elska horses   Viking vs Harmon's Snowshoeman

Timeline at
Higgins Armory Museum
November, 2007

A young visitor asked who would win a fight between a 10th century Viking and a 18th century Harmon's Snowshoeman. We had to find out.

Viking mail shirt

Viking Weekend at
Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology
September, 2006


photo by Bruce Crooks

photo by Bruce Crooks
Viking tent

Oseberg tent

Information and plans for this Oseberg tent reproduction is available in the Hurstwic library.

trying on mail

A young Viking warrior trying on a mail shirt and coif.

photo by Karl Wurst

testing mail against a sword cut

Testing the mail against a sword cut.

photo by Karl Wurst

young viking warrior

It worked!

photo by Karl Wurst

viking sword and shield combat demo

Demonstrations of
Viking sword and shield
fight techniques
 

photo by Karl Wurst

Viking combat demo Viking sword and shield combat demo Viking sword and shield demo Viking sword and shield demo

More photographs from older albums


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