The Hird Combat is standardized, codified form of the historcial Viking Age combat practices. It makes teaching beginners easy, and progress on advanced levels easier to understand. It is nothing revolutionary - every traditional martial arts style has the same approach.
The system allows beginners to start practicing the most common one-handed strikes with a wooden stick, combined with protective shield techniques. All have accurate terminology that is used globally by the Hird, which makes it easy to understand and offers a worldwide understanding. As the member progresses, more techniques and weapon types are added to the training.
The combat system focuses on functional techniques - closing in on what Viking Age combat was for real. The advanced levels of the Hird Combat System are in continuous development with testing and evaluating done in challenging environements, such as championship full contact fighting.
It teaches 1v1 fighting, as well as battle strategies in situations where 3-100 people are involved - such as Shield Wall techniques. The system encompasses the shield, sword, one-handed axe, spear, höggspjót and dane axe. Each weapon has its own characteristics and require different strategies to use. Most techniques can be applied to both fighting syles practiced in the Hird - Lettr and Thungr. The difference will be in how the techniques are executed and which body parts count as target areas.
The system teaches:
- Safety Awarness
- Practice drills
- Basic and advanced strikes with each weapon
- Parries with each weapon
- Shield techniques
- Attack and counter-attack combination techniques
- Entry/exit strategies that position the fighter in the weapon's range
- Effectiveness at each distance regardless of weapon
- Strategies when facing opponents with different weaponry
- Footwork for evasion and attacks
- Unarmed attacks
- Mass battle strategies and techniques
- Shield Wall strategies and techniques
The Hird Combat Style strives for realism with the goal to defeat the opponent. This can be approached through wearing two different sets of armor: Lettr and Thungr. The difference in armor dicates the techniques, the force used in striking and the valid areas that can be targeted. Some local chapters also practice Glima.
Training sessions are identical, regardless of the armor a fighter prefers to wear during sparring, fighting or battles. Functional, tested techniques are executed in a controlled manner. The difference enters if Thungr armor is equipped, which allowes the fighters to execute techniques with full force. It is comparable to most martial arts, where training is done in a safe and controlled manner. Few boxing sessions are about trying to knock the lights out of your training partner.
LETTR ARMOR = LETTR STYLE = LIGHT FIGHTING
Lettr means "light" and refers to the level of armor required to practice it. As the name implies, it is light contact fighting with safe target areas. As an example, it is not allowed to strike lower arms, legs or the head. The strikes are delivered with a special "pull back" technique which results in a light contact that does not harm. This is a fun and appreciated fighting style that does not require a lot of protective gear (some even fight bare chested). The main goal is to present a realistically looking fight that is entertaining for both the spectators and the participants. Many reenactor battles are fought using the rules of Lettr fighting, where it is at times known as the "Western" style.
All beginners start off using wooden weapons and learning the Lettr style until they have been officially accepted into the ranks of the Grimfrost Hird.
THUNGR ARMOR = THUNGR STYLE = HEAVY FIGHTING
Thungr means "heavy" and refers to the extensive amount of armor required to practice it. It is full contact fighting where all body parts are targets and where both wrestling and kicks can be allowed. It is as close to real historical fighting you can get - and available for those wanting to experience what combat would have been back during the Viking Age.
Thungr style is a variant of those seen globally on a competitive level, such as in the Battle of Nations and Medieval Armored Combat. The big difference between Thungr style and many other full contact styles is that the the protective gear is there to enable a full contact experience - not to absorbe hits and enable a fighter to continue despite being hit by what would have been an incapacitating strike. The fighters are in other words to act as if they were wearing little, or no armor. This results in an extremely realistic experience that quickly reveals what works and what doesn't.
GLIMA - UNARMED FIGHTING
Glima is the name of Viking Age unarmed combat. The Hird may practice the Lausatök variant (loose grip wrestling), whihc is perfect for friendly competition and shows. The Hird may also practice Loose-Grip Glima, which is a much more aggressive style trained purely for self-defence.
Picking up Glima as one of the Hafn's Fighting Styles is encouraged but not required. Doing so will require at least one Battle Officer with acceptable Glima skill and background.