Glíma is the name of the Scandinavian martial arts system used by the Vikings. The word glíma in Old Norse means glimpse or flash, which describes the systems techniques.
Glima as a self-defence system contains throws, blows, kicks, chokes, locks, pain techniques and weapon techniques, and is comparable with the best complete martial arts systems from around the world. Glima as self-defence was the foundation for the Viking warrior, and these techniques are still practiced in Scandinavia, Europe, North America and South America.
Glima as a sport covers several types of Scandinavian folk wrestling: Lausatök, Hryggspenna, and Brokartök. Glima was the most widespread sport in the Viking Age, and was practiced by men and women of all ages. Wherever Vikings gathered, Glima was a big part of the entertainment. Glima was so important for Viking society that their most popular god, Thor, was also the Viking god of wrestling.
Glima is first mentioned in Viking poetry by the Norwegian court poet Bragi Boddason (790-850) and Kveldúlfr Bjálfason (820-878), also of Norwegian Heritage. The poetry is about the Norse god Thor and his journey to Utgards-Loki, where Elli defeats Thor in a wrestling match.
Glima is also mentioned in Prose Edda the Icelandic collection of texts from 1220, and in the book Gylfaginning.