Who we are

Learn more about our history and values 

The Viking Age combat group Ulfhednir practise the martial arts of the Scandinavian warriors AD 700-1100. This is a sport that not only demands physical fitness, but interest in history and cultural heritage as well.

Even though we do not longer possess the detailed knowledge of the Vikings martial arts, it is still possible to reconstruct a reasonable part of this forgotten knowledge. This is possible partly due to archaeological remains: weapons, armour, clothing etc. and partly due to written sources: sagas, chronicles, laws, rune stones etc.

The weapons we use (swords, axes, spears, knives and shields) are replicas of genuine Viking Age weaponry. For safety reasons our steel weapons are blunt. We also use leather gloves and leather armguards although this equipment cannot be archaeologically proven. The visible armour, such as helmets, chain mail etc. are made as replicas of Viking Age armour.

The Story

Who are we then, to be more excact? Ulfhednir is a Viking fighting-group, formed in 1994. The group was founded by six persons, and in the period between now and then, new people have joined and some have left.

The purpose of the group is to train, participate in Viking-markets, arrange shows, hold lectures, and to have fun in each others compagny, when we are not busy trying to hit each other with swords, axes, spears or knifes…

Ulfhednir?

Our name Ulfheðnir is plural of the Old Norse term “Ulfheðnar” which means dressed in wolf skin. The Ulfheðnar is known from several Sagas just like the well-known Berserkers – dressed in bearskin. By the means of a change of “skins” a warrior could achieve the strength and fury of the wolf or the bear.

These warriors appeared in minor groups, which represented the most brutal and pain denying core of the royal Viking Age housecarls. It is told that the wolf warriors bore bloody shields and red coloured spears. Women too could be wolf warriors, in Old Norse language: “Vargynjer” – she-wolves.

– Snorre Sturluson on Berserkers in the Ynglinge-saga (Chapt. 6):

“Odin kunne gøre således i et slag, at hans fjender blev blinde eller døve eller slagne med rædsel, og deres våben ikke bed værre end trækæppe, men hans egne mænd gik brynjeløse og var gale som hunde eller ulve, de bed i skjoldene, var stærke som bjørne eller stude; de dræbte alle mennesker, og hverken ild eller jern bed på dem; det hedder bersærkergang.”

– The Bard Thorbjørn Hornklove in “Haraldskvæði” in The Harald Hårfagres saga (Chapt. 20):

“De [skibene] var lastet med hærmænd
og hvide skjolde
med spyd fra Irland
og frankiske sværd.
Bersærkere brølede
hvor striden rasede
Ulfheðnar hylede
og jernvåben skjalv.”

– In the Vatnsdæla-saga it is told of the battle at Hafrsfjord (Chapt. 9):

“På hans side stred […] Røgnvald Jarl fra Møre og mange andre store høvdinger, og blandt andre de bersærker, som kaldtes Ulfheðnar, thi de havde kjortler af ulveskind i stedet for brynjer […].”

Our structure

The structure of the group is absolutely flat, all descisions are made by the members on an equal basis, without voting. Our trainings are more or less open for everybody, everybody can ask to participate, but it is not alway we have someone available, whom can train beginners. However, usually something can be arranged, and we are absolutely interested in having new people participating in our training-sessions. Try to get in touch with our contact-person, he or she can provide you with the nescessary information.

Participation in our trainings will provide the participant with the nescessary skill requested for taking part in a viking-market as a fighter. This first and foremost means the ability to fight safely with a weapon of steel. Besides that we can also provide help acquiring/manufacturing the required equipment. However, all this does not make anybody a member. But any Viking fighter can apply for membership. The appliant will then be asked to train with us, hang out with us, party with us and go on viking- markets with us.

People, who has applied for membership, will be discussed on a day-to-day basis, and eventually, usually after a year or so, they will either be initiated, or they will be informed that they unfortunately cannot become members. As with any other descission Ulfhednir makes, there is no voting. We discuss, until we have reached something everybody can agree upon, ot until a member puts down a veto. Every member has the right to veto, also regarding new members. This, simply, to minimize the frictions within the group, and to avoid having discontended minorities and individuals.

If you are curious, want to take part in the training, or if you need one or more Vikings to give a lecture, or to take part in a party, a project or some other event, please get in touch with our contact-person. In the meantime, have a look at this page, and obtain a better understandig of the Viking-age, viking-combat and Living History. A better understanding about us, as individuals, not even our mothers possess, I’m afraid…