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Getting to Know Glíma

Getting to Know Glíma


Outfitted in leather harnesses strapped around the waist and lower thighs, two men engage in an intense form of combat that involves trips, throws, and body slams.

Photo of glima wrestler statue at Iceland's Geysir | Photography by Sarah Crumb

Some may see it as a version of skimmy Sumo wrestling, but this traditional Icelandic martial art originated with Vikings. Guys are still giving demonstrations of the sport to showcase the brute strength of Icelanders, who are prominent in competitions such as the World's Strongest Man, powerlifting, and this form of folk wrestling.

For historical reference, check out this British newsreel of a tournament:

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