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

sparring with two weapons
Sparring with two weapons

Hurstwic researches, practices, and teaches how Vikings fought and used their weapons. At our training facility, we seek to learn the fighting moves of the Vikings.

sparring sword vs two-handed axe
Sparring sword vs two-handed axe

cutting using a pad drill
Developing cutting skills using focus pads

The Hurstwic« Viking Combat Training system is a new approach to researching and 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.

power cutting drill
Power cutting drills

a throw
Practicing a throw described in the sagas

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

fighting from the ground
Fighting from the ground, as told in the sagas

punching with the pommel
A pommel bash, used in the Viking age to humiliate

We do not teach stage combat or re-enactment combat, although students of those arts 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.

A devestating thrust past the shield during sparring

Winter melee sparring

We train regularly three times each week at our Valhalla training facility in Millbury, MA, USA.

We also hold special training events for Hurstwic participants in other locations from time to time.

Winter melee sparring on opposite sides of a creek

grappling drill
Running in to grapple drill

New students are accepted by invitation from the instructor. Normally, a new student would be expected to have completed a Hurstwic workshop or other class before joining the regular training sessions, 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. Regrettably, we are unable to accommodate drop-in guests or observers. Contact us for more information.

spear sparring
A missed block and a thrust to the face during sparring

cutting drills to focus pads
Two-weapon cutting drills with focus pads

Additionally, we hold training events for the general public from time to time, such as our 2-hour Viking combat introductory workshop. The next session is scheduled for January 9, 2016. We also offer private training for groups (for example, as a birthday gift for an individual and a circle of friends), and Viking combat team-building sessions for groups, such as from industry or from academia.

Hurstwic training is limited to those who are 18 years or older. However, from time to time, we offer special training workshops for younger Vikings, next scheduled for January 9, 2016.

cutting drills to focus pads
Cutting drills to focus pads during a birthday training event

sparring with a cloak
Sparring with a cloak to distract and ensnare, as told in the sagas

If you are too far from central New England to train with us 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.

Sparring with mismatched weapons

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

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
William R. Short and Reynir A.
at a video shoot 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
with 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 have created 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 in paperback. 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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