Icelandic Glíma wrestling

Glíma is a traditional form of wrestling that has evolved from the Viking settlers in Iceland. It is unique in the way that wrestlers must remain upright, have a fixed grip on a belt around the opponent’s waist and constantly maintain movement. This motion reminds one slightly of a waltz due to its elegance; the critical difference, however, lies in the mutual attempts of both athletes to throw each other out of balance.

Glíma photos

The Icelandic word glíma means wrestling in general, but it is also used as the name for the Icelandic national wrestling style. Therefor in the Icelandic language it is sometimes needed to stress that it is in fact the Icelandic national wrestling, Íslensk glíma, that is being referred to. In sources outside Iceland Glima can be found in different contexts that may have very little in common with Icelandic Glíma wrestling. Therefore the most accurate unambiguous English translation would be Icelandic Glima wrestling or Icelandic wrestling. However for a versed audience the Icelandic name, Glíma, is enough.

There are historical claims that suggest different definitions of what glima should be and how it was practiced. But for the last one hundred years Icelanders have been practicing this form of wrestling, evolved it into a modern competition driven sport and made it the national sport of Iceland.