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The national sport of Iceland
International popularisation
David Lundholm
International representative of
The Icelandic Glima Association
and
Glima coach in Stockholm
david@glima.se

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The Icelandic Glima Association - David Lundholm

Editor's Notes

  1. Historically nordic countries practiced some sort of wrestling, in Iceland they survived and evolved into Glíma. Todays Glíma was formed 100 years ago - Rules unified and written down - Gimabelts where introduced, before the hold was in the trousers - The first Islandsglima competition was held, that anually crowns the Glima King and Queen Glimusambands Islands, the Icelandic Glima Association, are supported by the Icelandic government to maintain their national sport. One of the tasks of Gli is to make sure Glima is taught in schools. Glima is very rooted into the nation so most Icelanders know about its existence.
  2. Although there have been some attempts to popularise Glima outside Iceland, only a few countries have been able to embrace it. Greater success has been found when cooperating with other, already existing, traditional wrestling groups. Only in Europe there are many other traditional wrestling styles (Northern France, Scottland and Northern england, Sardinia and Canary Islands etc.) In 2013 The Icelandic glima association hosted the European championship in Celtic wrestling in Reykjavik. This ensured that all wrestlers competed both in the two celtic styles and in Glíma. Sweden is the most successful other country to embrace Glima Good exchange with Iceland and other wrestling communities Glima is recognised by the Swedish national sports confederation Swedish championships are held every year Very few people know about glima, but this is slowly improving Train yourself and once you reached a level of understanding also start teaching others. Glima is difficult to master, takes time to learn, but principles are simple. –only catch is that without a teacher even principles are difficult. Introduction course consisting of a few training sessions that will teach the principles and basics of glima. With this the participants can go back home and start a glima community and practice by themselves.
  3. In Glima, wrestlers are upright and agile with their hands holding the opponents belt at all times. Beeing hunched and stiff is only allowed momentarily if it happens during a defensive move. With the right foot forward wrestlers move in a clockwise motion…
  4. This basic movement practiced on a hard surface with slippery shoes keeps promotes a good balance. The goal is to get your opponent loose their balance and fall to the floor.
  5. Wrestlers should regain their balance after a successful throw and remain standing. Glima is a honourable sport where fair-play is emphasised; ugly tricks or brute attempts to push your opponent to the ground is not allowed.
  6. A wrestler has a chance to catch herself and avoid loosing as long as she only touches the floor with her legs from below the knee and her arms between elbow and fingertips.
  7. If the attacker is unable to maintain standing it is not counted, and they will resume. Points are not given but there is a time limit so a match can end as a draw.