Join Hurstwic in their study and practice of the fighting moves of the Vikings

  • Were your Viking raids unsuccessful last summer?

  • Were you bullied by a berserkur at the last winter feast?

  • Were you challenged to a hˇlmganga and want to sharpen your fighting skills?

Or, perhaps you just want the physical and mental challenge of practicing these martial skills with people who share your interest and enthusiasm in the Viking age.

Come join us.
Learn and practice the combat skills of medieval Europe's most fearsome warriors: the Vikings.

Viking combat training

Viking combat practice
exercises in avoiding a low spear attack

The Hurstwic® Viking Combat Training system is a new approach to teaching historical martial arts. We use a series of drills, exercises, and games to teach martial fundamentals to novices, and then use expanded versions of these exercises to research and build our knowledge of Viking fighting moves. The work is physically vigorous, mentally challenging, and fun.

pad drill practice
delight at successfully completing a high intensity offense/defense drill

Viking axe combat demo

Throughout, our training is firmly connected to the fighting moves seen in the historical sources, such as the Sagas of Icelanders, and in the forensic evidence from Viking-age skeletal remains.

We do not teach stage combat or re-enactment combat, although students of those arts will find that using the Hurstwic training system benefits their practice of these arts.

We seek to understand and practice the fighting moves used by Viking-age warriors.

Learn more about Hurstwic's Viking combat research and training methodology in this article.

an entering-in exercise against a spear

From time to time, we offer:

  • a 2-hour introductory workshop (next scheduled for Saturday, January 10, 2015) to give you a sampling of the combat skills and battle tactics of the Vikings

  • an introductory course spread over 4 two-hour sessions to give you a deeper introduction to our drills and training approach, and a solid start to your study of the use of Viking weapons.

  • private lessons for individuals or small groups.

No experience is required and all needed equipment is supplied.

pad drill
high intensity cutting drill with focus pads

pad drill lunge
cutting drill involving lunging in to make the attack and lunging out to avoid the counter-attack

For those who have a grasp of the fundamentals, we hold regular training sessions at our Valhalla training facility in Millbury, MA, USA three times each week: on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday in the early evening. Students are accepted by invitation from the instructor. Normally, a new student would be expected to have completed a workshop or class before joining the training session, but the instructor will gladly evaluate a student who thinks he or she has a sufficient grasp of the fundamentals to join the practice sessions.

Additionally, we hold special training and events from time to time.

Extensive public photo albums of our training can be seen on Facebook, as well as an older album, from the days before we moved to our facility in Millbury. There's an album showing our introductory workshops, as well as albums of specialized training for groups, for team-building, and for friends of Hurstwic. Connect with Hurstwic on Facebook.

pad drill
exercise in avoiding a low attack by jumping over it, as taught in the sagas

Regrettably, we are unable to accommodate drop-in guests or observers. New students (adults 18 years or older) are accepted after an interview and testing by the lead instructor. Contact us for more information. If you have an interest in how Vikings fought and used their weapons, we are eager to meet you. Full contact information and directions to our training facility are on the contact us page.

Please be aware that we are in transition as we leave our home of many years at Higgins Armory Museum and move in to our new facility. In the future, we plan to make this process and the administrative details easier for all. Current students may pay their training fees using PayPal here.

Training in Thingeyri
Hurstwic combat training for a Viking group in Iceland

If you are too far from Worcester to join our training at our home facility, please consider using the Hurstwic« Viking Combat Training system with your own club or school by becoming an affiliate of Hurstwic. If you have no club or school, please consider starting one, using the Hurstwic system as the basis for your training. More information is on the Hurstwic affiliate page.

Alternatively, we can bring a training workshop to your site, as we have done for groups in North America and in Iceland in recent years.

Hurstwic combat training for school children in Iceland

In addition, we can bring our combat demonstration or other Viking-age presentation to your site. We have presented at universities, libraries, museums, and other cultural institutions in North America, and in Iceland.

To learn more about how Hurstwic came to be, read our story: the Saga of Hurstwic.

Hurstwic Instructors

Hurstwic instructor
Robin Cooper
teaching shield use at an introductory workshop

Hurstwic instructor
Reynir A. and William Short
demonstrating Viking fighting moves from the sagas

Hurstwic instructor
Mike Cicale
at sea, furling the sail on a Viking ship

Hurstwic instructor
Matthew Nachtrieb
at the end of a grueling sparring session

Hurstwic instructor
Matthew Marino
wielding a two-handed axe

Hurstwic instructor
Barbara Wechter
teaching cutting at an introductory workshop

Kristine Krakowski
at archery training

Matt Card
at Galdrasřning ß Str÷ndum in Iceland

John Davis
intent on a focus pad drill

Books, Videos, and Web Articles about Viking-age Topics

Viking axe combat video

We are in the process of creating a series of videos demonstrating Viking combat based on fighting moves described in the Sagas of Icelanders.

Hurstwic has created a number of articles on Viking-age topics, including a series of articles on Viking-age arms and armor and their use.

Recently, Hurstwic studied the effects of Viking-age weapons on flesh and bone and documented their findings in the Viking Weapons Test Cuts video.

Hurstwic website

From time to time, Hurstwic also offers training in other Viking-related fields, including Viking handcrafts, and Old Norse, the language of the Vikings and closely related to the language of the sagas. The photo shows students at Hurstwic's Old Norse Boot Camp, an intensive weekend-long immersion in to the language. Hurstwic's Old Norse Reading Group meets regularly to read, translate, and discuss the sagas.

The Hurstwic® Viking Combat Training DVDs are now available from Hurstwic, LLC, and from Amazon and other vendors. The series now includes 3 DVDs:

We are publishing an irregular newsletter with short, informative articles on Viking-age topics. We hope these newsletters will be interesting and useful for anyone with an interest in the Viking age. They are available as a free pdf download.

winter 2013

fall 2012

summer 2012

spring 2012

Dr. William R. Short has also written several books on Viking topics.

Viking Weapons and Combat Techniques is a history of the arms, armor, and individual fighting strategies of medieval Europe's most feared warriors. Published by Westholme Publishing in 2009, 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.

Icelanders in the Viking Age is a companion to the Sagas of Icelanders and is an introduction to the people of the sagas. The book was published by McFarland & Company in 2010 and is available from Amazon or your favorite bookseller.

Viking Weapons and Combat Techniques Icelanders in the Viking Age


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