Glima – The Icelandic Art Of Wrestling Is Still Hot

I have been wanting to post something about Iceland for some time now. As I have written before, the Swiss, the Turks and many others have their own styles of wrestling.

So, why not the descendants of the Vikings?!

Known as a style of folk wrestling, Glima is considered a national sport.

Glima consists of  several elements that make it different from other styles of wrestling.

Opponents have to stand upright at all times.

It might look like they’re dancing, but opponents actually have to step clockwise around each other. That’s how they create openings for attack and counter-attack and it simply keeps things moving.

It’s frowned upon to fall down on your opponent or to even to shove him with force.

When wrestling, you’re supposed to look across your opponent’s shoulder, as the goal it to wrestle by touch and feel instead of by visuals.

Eight core techniques represent the basics for the approximately fifty ways to throw your opponent.

Fairness and respect for your training partner are considered a code of honor in Glima.

The Icelandic term Glima basically menas wrestling and in a broader sense means struggle.

Historically, Glima called for a fighting style that favored technique over brute force.

Both wrestlers wear a special belt around their waist. Further, belts are worn on the lower thighs of each leg, which connect to the main belt with vertical straps.

Further, a fixed grip is then taken with one hand in the belt and the other in the trousers at thigh height. From this position the Glima wrestler attempts to trip and throw his opponent.

 A thrown wrestler may attempt to land on his feet and hands and if he succeeds in doing so he has not lost the fall. The goal is to make the opponent touch the ground with an area of the body between the elbow and the knee.

Every year the best Glíma sportsmen and women compete for victory in the national tournament where they compete for the trophy “Grettisbelti”, which is the oldest and most prestigious trophy in Iceland.
The national tournament has taken place since 1906 and the winner of the tournament is awarded with the Grettisbelti trophy and the title “Icelandic King of Glíma”.
In the past decade, women have started to participate in a very impressive fashion. Their major tournament is known as “Freyjuglíma” and the winner is crowned as the “Queen of Glíma”.

Eric Oram – The Sifu Behind Robert Downey Jr.’s Return To The Top

The sequel to Sherlock Holmes of 2009 and called ‘A Game of Shadows’  is scheduled to hit movie theaters this December 16 and from what I have seen in the trailer, it should be another good one for us martial arts enthusiasts to watch and enjoy.

Like I said, I have only seen the trailer and of course the fight scenes got my attention.

And as we all know, these and other high-quality fight scenes take a lot of hard work, great choreography, stuntpeople etc.

I counted over 50 (fifty) stunt performers plus stunt coordinators, choreographers and consultants who contributed to Sherlock Holmes 2009 and around 40 (forty) in the sequel scheduled in 2 weeks.

Not surprisingly, I am always trying to find out who are the real movers and shakers behind the scenes.

And my search results in reference to Sherlock Holmes will hopefully find your stamp of approval in exclamations such as “I had no idea!” or “Now, that’s really interesting!” or even “That explains it all!”.

First off, the director getting a lot of highly-served credit is Guy Ritchie, who just so happens to be a martial artist himself. He is trained in Shotokan karate, Judo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. So, the director, meaning the guy with an eye for the big picture and a clear vision of  the final product, has a knack for some high-quality fight scenes. Even though, Sherlock Holmes isn’t really considered an actual action/martial arts movie.

And then there’s the lead actor, Robert Downey Jr. and I think we can all agree he is and has been back on top of his game the last couple of years.

It’s no secret that he was pretty much washed  up and his film career was going down the drain  …. fast.

He had numerous run-ins with the law and his drug problems were out of control.

 And if there was any hope to his personal and professional life, he needed to get cleaned up …. fast.

Many posts ago, I wrote about Robert Downey Jr. and the fact that he has been training in Wing Chun kung fu which has obviously been helping him in so many extraordinary ways, both personally and professionally.

But the connection that I didn’t make was who was behind it all and this is where it get’s really interesting. At least for me, maybe even for you, too.

An absolute world authority on Wing Chun kung fu with roots in Las Vegas and owner of a very impressive academy in West Los Angeles, Sifu Eric Oram originally even trained under Grandmaster William Cheung, who way back in the day actually taught Bruce Lee a thing or two about Wing Chun in his very early years.

Sifu Eric is in high demand for top-quality teaching with law enforcement and military units such as Delta Force, Navy Seals, Marines, FBU Hostage Rescue Units, just to name a few.

And then there’s Robert Downey Jr. who supposedly now ensures that there’s a stipulation in every film contract that he signs guaranteeing that Sifu Eric Oram, with whom he of course he really close friends, is on set as his consultant and trainer.

Here are some clips you might enjoy: