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”.

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