Combat Training

Vikings for all occasions, no sword too sharp

Manaraefan Herred



Sigurd The Un-Horsed

Manaraefan Herred train regularly throughout the year, following a tried and tested regime laid down by The Vikings national society. This ensures that combatants are safe and competent to fight to a standard common across the whole society.

At all times, safety is paramount, but it must be remembered that this is a contact sport, and minor injuries are always a risk. The objective of our training regime is that these are minimised and more serious injuries do not occur.

Any participation is taken entirely at the warriors own risk!

In addition to the regular training sessions we host a training weekend in February each year, attend the society training weekend held in the spring, and other groups training weekends throughout the year. There are also training opportunities available at society events and with neighbouring groups.

See the Calendar for details of where and when the next training sessions will be.

We are fortunate that Manaraefan currently posses four society Recognised Training Thegns (officers in The Vikings are known as Thegns) who are able to cover the almost the entire Vikings training syllabus.

Anyone over the age of 18 is eligible for combat training. Younger members may be trained with parental consent where at least one parent is a society member and present at the training session, and with the agreement of the Training Thegns.

Basic Safety Equipment

Prior to taking part in any combat activity, all participants are required to be equipped with the following equipment;


Protective Gloves

The group has a limited supply of loan equipment, but warriors are encouraged to provide their own. The Training Thegns will provide guidance on where to procure appropriate equipment.

In addition, warriors are advised to consider the following safety equipment;


Armguards/Elbow & Knee Pads/Shin Guards

Cricket Box

Fencing Cups (for the ladies)


Any weapon used must conform to The Vikings weapons specifications and be approved for use by the society armourer or a nominated deputy. Limited loan equipment is available from the Training Thegns for warriors starting out.

The Training Thegns will advise prospective warriors what weapons are suitable and where to procure them.

New warriors are strongly advised to consult their Training Thegn prior to purchasing any equipment!

The Syllabus

A summary of the training syllabus for Infantry warriors is shown below;

Every prospective warrior must complete basic training and the qualifying assessment with either a side arm or short spear which enables them to take part in public combat displays and further training.

After this, additional basic training in display techniques and formation combat (fighting as part of a unit of warriors) is given. On completion of the qualifying assessments, the warrior may then if they so desire, progress to the specialist weapons indicated above.

Ultimately, a warrior may progress to become a Training Thegn themselves.

Alternatively or in addition, a prospective warrior may elect to take up archery. The archery training syllabus is shown below;

The society also has mounted cavalry for which there is a further training syllabus.

Sigurd The Un-Horsed, Manaraefan Training Thegn

Comments on this site should be sent to Roger Barry

Helmet & gloves modelled by Mo Swinhosson

Sigurd selecting a weapon

Sigurd takes aim


You must have a pair of stout leather gloves which offer protection to your hands, especially your fingers and knuckles.  Gardening or welding gloves are the best option.  Before padding your gloves make sure that your shield grip is large enough to accommodate the padding you are planning.

There are a variety of ways of padding your gloves.  If you pad them internally you may use any material, modern (high density foam) or authentic to the period (leather or sheepskin).  If you choose an inauthentic material ensure that it is firmly held in place with glue or stitching.  You could pad them externally with leather or sheepskin.  Whatever padding you choose it should be 6mm thick. You might choose to add mail to your gloves.  Consider the additional weight of the mail before you decide on this course. If you follow this course you should apply 2mm of leather to the gloves and then attach the mail.  The rings can be 5mm to 10mm diameter

If you choose to pad them with foam inside,

· Cut strips for the fingers of the gloves.

· Cut an L shaped piece for the thumb, so that the top knuckle of the thumb is covered when to are holding your shield of sword,.

Before inserting the foam, paste glue on the foam so that it sticks to the leather.

Your first fight

To take part in any battle you need to have passed a Basic Combat Test or a Basic Archery Test.  The following equipment is compulsory and you must be over 18 to fight.

Text: Cathy Murphy, Ousekjarr

Illustrations: Peter Herring, Ousekjarr

A Guide to Minimum Safety Equipment


If you are going onto the Battlefield as a combatant or an archer you must wear a helmet.  This might be metal skull cap under an authentic hat, or a purpose made helmet. 

When you buy a helmet you will need to make an arming cap or crash webbing inside the helmet.

You can make an arming cap from sheepskin or thick wool.

· Cut four triangles with curved sides.

· Use newspaper to try out the pattern before cutting the material.

Stitch the four triangles together and turn up the bottom.

For crash webbing

· Cut a strip of leather, which when stitched into a ring, fits the internal diameter of the helmet.

To this ring stitch 5 or 6 ‘fingers’ of leather.

· In the tips of these fingers punch hole and pass a piece of thronging through the holes.  This may be adjusted by knotting when the helmet is ready to wear.

· Decide on the position of 6 holes around the rim of the helmet. Position two of the holes at points where you can also rivet through straps for your helmet.

· Use copper rivets, which are easier to finish than steel.

· Punch 6 holes in the leather ring and rivet the ring and two straps into position.

Arm Guards

Your arm guards may be made from leather or they may be made from modern materials.  Your arm guard must fit under your kirtle.  Remember to take this into account when you make your tunic.

If you want to make a leather arm guard, use a newspaper pattern first. 

· Cut a symmetrical shape which covers your elbow and comes down to your wrist.

· Try folding the newspaper pattern around your arm.  Make sure there is a gap of about an inch between the two edges.  When you have decided on your final shape, cut the shape out of leather.

· Soak the leather in warm water and mould it around your arm.

If you prefer using modern materials,

· try using 2 layers of tubey grip bandage with  high density foam inserted between the two layers.

You can also use sports protection for your forearm and/or elbows/knees.  Remember that these protective items must be hidden under your clothing.

There are many ways of fixing padding to the outside of gloves.  However you decide to pad them, make sure you pay particular attention to the knuckles. 

· You might use small piece of leather and create an articulated effect.

· You might use complete strips of leather for the fingers.  If you do so, soaking them in water will allow you to shape the leather to you fingers.