Glima: Wikis


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Glima Wrestling.jpg
Glima wrestling
Focus Grappling
Hardness Full-contact
Country of origin IcelandIceland
Creator Unknown

Glíma is the Icelandic national style of amateur Folk wrestling.

There are four points that differentiate it from other forms of wrestling:

  • The opponents must always stand erect.
  • The opponents step clockwise around each other (looks similar to a waltz). This is to create opportunities for offense and defense, and to prevent a stalemate.
  • It is not permitted to fall down on your opponent or to push him down in a forceful manner, as it is not considered sportsman-like.
  • The opponents are supposed to look across each other's shoulders as much as possible because it is considered proper to wrestle by touch and feel rather than sight.

Glima remains, as it always has been, friendly recreation and a gentleman's sport, but as the lösatags version (described below) shows it also has a rougher side.

The core of the system are eight main brögð (techniques), which form the basic training for approximately 50 ways to execute a throw or takedown. Glima is a very old combative style. Certain evidence of glima dates back to the 12th century but some descriptions of wrestling in the Icelandic sagas and the Younger Edda makes it reasonable to believe that the system is much older.

Surrounding glima is a code of honour called Drengskapur that calls for fairness, respect for and caring about the security of one's training partners.



The word glíma is translated as a struggle. The word is a common expression in modern Icelandic, to glíma with something means to struggle with something in life just as in the sport. In particular, glíma is also the Icelandic term for "wrestling" in general, extending to modern, non-traditional styles.


The first version is by far the most widespread and the one typically associated with the term glima. Indeed, most people would say the term should be restricted to this kind only, and it is this version which is Iceland's national sport. Historically it was also the one put in highest esteem for favoring technique over strength. Each of the two wrestlers wears a special belt around the waist and separate, additional belts on the lower thighs of each leg, which connect to the main belt with vertical straps. 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. In this style of glima, 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 winning condition in this type of glima is to make the opponent touch the ground with an area of the body between the elbow and the knee.


Hryggspenna is more similar to other styles of wrestling and is considered to be more a test of strength than of technique. In Hryggspenna the opponents take hold of each other's upper body; whoever touches the ground with any part of the body except the feet has lost.


In Lausatök (loose-grip wrestling) the contestants may use the holds they wish. This style is a kind of re-creation since it was out of practice for a period of about 100 years before being taken up again recently, within the last generation.

It is much more aggressive and differs in many ways from other styles of Icelandic wrestling. Lausatök comes in two forms: A version for self-defence and a version for friendly competition. In either all kinds of wrestling techniques are allowed but in the friendly version they are still taught to be executed in a way so they won’t cause the opponent injury. In such a friendly match the winner is considered the one who is standing tall while the other is lying on the ground. This means that if both the opponents fall to the ground together the match will continue on the ground by the use of techniques to keep the other down while getting up.

Even more divergent from other forms of Icelandic wrestling is lausatök when trained purely for self-defence (as is done a couple of places in Scandinavia). In such training the harmful and hurtful techniques or ways of executing the techniques, that are not accepted in other forms of Icelandic wrestling, are explored in as free and creative a way as possible while not injuring one's training-partners.


The International Glima Association (IGA) is the global organisation uniting all people and groups interested in Glima.
IGE can be contacted on
The current president of IGA is Orri Bjornsson from Iceland.

The Viking Glima Federation (VGF) is the international organisation that deals with Glima as a Martial Art.
VGF can be contacted on
The current president and chief instructor of VGF is Lars Magnar Enoksen from Sweden.

Greatest champions of Glima

The most prominent prize in Glima has always been the Grettisbelti. The winner has for decades been called Glímukóngur e. the Glima king. This is the Icelandic open in Glima and has always drawn the best wrestlers of each era. Below is a list of the winners the years they won, club they competed for and their hometown.

Glimakings of Iceland

Year Glimaking Club
1906 Ólafur Valdimarsson UMFA
1906 Ólafur Valdimarsson UMFA
1907 Jóhannes Jósefsson UMFA
1908 Jóhannes Jósefsson UMFA
1909 Guðmundur A. Stefánsson Ármann
1910 Sigurjón Pétursson Ármann
1911 Sigurjón Pétursson Ármann
1912 Sigurjón Pétursson Ármann
1913 Sigurjón Pétursson Ármann
1919 Tryggvi Gunnarsson Ármann
1920 Tryggvi Gunnarsson Ármann
1921 Hermann Jónasson Ármann
1922 Sigurður Greipsson Umf. Bisk
1923 Sigurður Greipsson Umf. Bisk
1924 Sigurður Greipsson Umf. Bisk
1925 Sigurður Greipsson Umf. Bisk
1926 Sigurður Greipsson Umf. Bisk
1927 Þorgeir Jónsson Stefni
1928 Þorgeir Jónsson Stefni
1929 Sigurður Thorarensen Ármann
1930 Sigurður Thorarensen Ármann
1931 Sigurður Thorarensen Ármann
1932 Lárus Salómonsson Ármann
1933 Lárus Salómonsson Ármann
1934 Sigurður Thorarensen Ármann
1935 Sigurður Thorarensen Ármann
1936 Sigurður Thorarensen Ármann
1937 Skúli Þorleifsson Ármann
1938 Lárus Salómonsson Ármann
1939 Ingimundur Guðmundsson Ármann
1940 Ingimundur Guðmundssson Ármann
1941 Kjartan Bergm. Guðjónsson Ármann
1942 Kristmundur J Sigurðsson Ármann
1943 Guðmundur Ágústsson Umf. Vöku
1944 Guðmundur Ágústsson Ármann
1945 Guðmundur Ágústsson Ármann
1946 Guðmundur Ágústsson Ármann
1947 Guðmundur Ágústsson Ármann
1948 Guðmundur Guðmundsson Ármann
1949 Guðmundur Guðmundsson Ármann
1950 Rúnar Guðmundsson Umf. Vöku
1951 Rúnar Guðmundsson Ármann
1952 Ármann J Lárusson Umf. R
1953 Rúnar Guðmundsson Ármann
1954 Ármann J Lárusson Umf. R
1955 Ármann J Lárusson Umf. R
1956 Ármann J Lárusson Umf. R
1957 Ármann J Lárusson Umf. R
1958 Ármann J Lárusson Umf. R
1959 Ármann J Lárusson Umf. R
1960 Ármann J Lárusson Umf. R
1961 Ármann J Lárusson Umf. Breiðablik
1962 Ármann J Lárusson Umf. Breiðablik
1963 Ármann J Lárusson Umf. Breiðablik
1964 Ármann J Lárusson Umf. Breiðablik
1965 Ármann J Lárusson Umf. Breiðablik
1966 Ármann J Lárusson Umf. Breiðablik
1967 Ármann J Lárusson Umf. Breiðablik
1968 Sigtryggur Sigurðsson KR
1969 Sveinn Guðmundsson HSH
1970 Sigtryggur Sigurðsson KR
1971 Sigtryggur Sigurðsson KR
1972 Jón E Unndórsson KR
1973 Jón E Unndórsson KR
1974 Hjálmur Sigurðsson Umf. Víkverja
1975 Pétur V Yngvason Umf. Víkverja
1976 Ingi Þór Yngvason HSÞ
1977 Ingi Þór Yngvason HSÞ
1978 Ómar Úlfarsson KR
1979 Ingi Þór Yngvason HSÞ
1980 Pétur V Yngvason HSÞ
1981 Ingi Þór Yngvason HSÞ
1982 Pétur V Yngvason HSÞ
1983 Eyþór Pétursson HSÞ
1984 Pétur V Yngvason HSÞ
1985 Ólafur H Ólafsson KR
1986 Ólafur H Ólafsson KR
1987 Eyþór Pétursson HSÞ
1988 Pétur V Yngvason HSÞ
1989 Ólafur H Ólafsson KR
1990 Ólafur H Ólafsson KR
1991 Ólafur H Ólafsson KR
1992 Jóhannes Sveinbjörnsson HSK
1993 Jóhannes Sveinbjörnsson HSK
1994 Orri Björnsson KR
1995 Jóhannes Sveinbjörnsson HSK
1996 Ingibergur Jón Sigurðsson Ármann
1997 Ingibergur Jón Sigurðsson Umf. Víkverja
1998 Ingibergur Jón Sigurðsson Umf. Víkverja
1999 Ingibergur Jón Sigurðsson Umf. Víkverja
2000 Ingibergur Jón Sigurðsson Umf. Víkverja
2001 Ingibergur Jón Sigurðsson Umf. Víkverja
2002 Ingibergur Jón Sigurðsson Umf. Víkverja
2003 Ólafur Oddur Sigurðsson HSK
2004 Pétur Eyþórsson Víkverja
2005 Pétur Eyþórsson KR
2006 Jón Birgir Valsson KR
2007 Pétur Eyþórsson KR
2008 Pétur Þórir Gunnarsson HSÞ

World championship in glima

The second world championship in Glima and Hryggspenna will be held at Geysir in Iceland 22nd and 23rd of August in 2009. All furter information will soon be available at

The first world championship in Glima and Hryggspenna was held in Roskilde Denmark in August 2008. The list of medal winners is below.


Men, +100 kg
1. IcelandOrri Björnsson, Iceland 4 points
2. IcelandSindri Freyr Jónsson, Iceland 3 points
3. EstoniaEduard Mihailov, Estonia 1+2 points

Men, -100 kg
1. IcelandPétur Þórir Gunnarsson, Iceland 6 points
2. IcelandJón Smári Eyþórsson, Iceland 5 points
3. IcelandBrynjólfur Örn Rúnarsson, Iceland 3,5 points

Men, -90 kg
1. IcelandPétur Eyþórsson, Iceland 5,5+1 points
2. IcelandÓlafur Oddur Sigurðsson, Iceland 5,5+0 points
3. IcelandHreinn Heiðar Jóhannsson, Iceland 4 points

Men, -81 kg
1. IcelandSnær Seljan Þóroddsson, Iceland 5 points
2. IcelandBjarni Þór Gunnarsson, Iceland 4 points
3. SwedenDavid Lundholm, Sweden 3 points

Men, -73 kg
1. IcelandÓðinn Þór Kjartansson, Iceland 4 points
2. LatviaAleksejs Kurilovs, Latvia 3,5+1 points
3. IcelandSteinar Bjarki Marínósson, Iceland 3,5+0 points

Men, -66 kg
1. IcelandHalldór Óli Kjartansson, Iceland 4,5 points
2. IcelandMagnús Bjarki Snæbjörnsson, Iceland 4 points
3. IcelandJúlíus Gunnar Björnsson, Iceland 2,5+1 points

Women, open category
1. IcelandJóhanna Guðrún Magnúsdóttir, Iceland 3 points
2. IcelandGuðrún Heiður Skúladóttir, Iceland 2 points
3. IcelandLaufey Frímansdóttir, Iceland 1 point


Men, +100 kg
1. EstoniaEduard Mihailov, Estonia
2. GermanyChristian Bartel, Germany
3. IcelandOrri Björnsson, Iceland

Men, -100 kg
1. LatviaZbignevs Romanovskis, Latvia
2. IcelandJón Smári Eyþórsson, Iceland
3. IcelandBrynjólfur Örn Rúnarsson, Iceland

Men, -90 kg
1. IcelandPétur Eyþórsson, Iceland
2. IcelandÓlafur Oddur Sigurðsson, Iceland
3. NetherlandsAndress Kools, Netherlands

Men, -81 kg
1. LatviaVjaceslavs Masloboevs, Latvia
2. IcelandBjarni Þór Gunnarsson, Iceland
3. IcelandSnær Seljan Þóroddsson, Iceland

Men, -73 kg
1. LatviaAleksejs Kurilovs, Latvia
2. IcelandÓðinn Þór Kjartansson, Iceland
3. NetherlandsJohn Jozen, Netherlands

Men, -66 kg
1. IcelandHalldór Óli Kjartansson, Iceland
2. GermanyBenjamin Werth, Germany
3. IcelandMagnús Bjarki Snæbjörnsson, Iceland

1. IcelandJóhanna Guðrún Magnúsdóttir, Iceland
2. IcelandLaufey Frímansdóttir, Iceland
3. NetherlandsAshley Leyten, Netherlands

  • M. Bennett Nichols ,Glíma, New Orleans (1999)
  • Lars Magnar Enoksen ,The secret art of Glíma - an introduction to Viking martial arts, Sweden (2008)

External links





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