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Finding Form through Familiarity

Almost every person that we encounter as a martial arts instructor will have a battery of the same questions : “What is this art about?”; “How does it work?”; “Is it effective”; “can anyone do it?”; “What is it like?” etc etc etc…


These are all important questions and, more to the point, they will be answered by many of the different instructors who all have their own specialism and background in a variety of martial arts. Within our own UK Glima ranks we have teachers who are also accomplished experts in Judo, Aikido, BJJ, MMA, Boxing, Kickboxing, Kung Fu, Savate, Jujutsu, Wrestling, and more. Each one with many years experience and many years of accolades. But also many years if identified patterning and earned reactions. In fact it is these learned processes that make the proponent so good and highly efficient at their own art, but where does that leave them in terms of Glima?


There are many brave and courageous people who will enter into combat without fear and who would persevere to succeed even when the tide of the combat turned against them. But anyone can be a fighter when they apply themselves. Fighting alone means little or nothing compared to the nerve and dedication it will take to accept and work with what Glima is, and to let it change you and your established patterns gained over many years, Rather than merely slotting it into its place within what you already know. and can do very well, we should find the places where what we know and what we are learning overlap, and make that the platform for development in all aspects of training.


Yes, initially this will place you at a point of weakness, where contending forces of pattern, training, familiarity, and form are all vying for supremacy. In this we will be facing the worst of our personal demons: our own sense of self and our self-confidence. For to truly embrace Glima and to move it forward with the intent to which it has begun to be passed down to us will need integration into our existing repertoire, then for all of us to move aside the ego and admit that we are once again children at play in a larger world. A world bigger than us at the moment, yes, but one we will grow into and which – more importantly – our students will grow into with greater skill and finesse than perhaps we possess.


The mark of a good instructor is someone who can teach and pass on knowledge, but the mark of a great instructor is someone who can do that while making other better than themselves. More rounded, more defined, and less given to the restrictions and limits we place on ourselves.


I try ti always remain aware that to do so we must find form an familiarity in what we have already worked so hard at, yet we must also learn to understand and preserve the rations and skills of Glima in order to teach it correctly. For me it is not enough to mix a little of what i know from over 40 years of training with a little of what Glima does and simply call it ‘Glima’. That would not only be factually incorrect but would be deceiving not just myself but also my students and all those who witness it.


The true test before us all is to let go of our ego and to realise that on this journey toward teaching, preserving, and promoting Glima that we must let go of our perception on where our skills are and integrate them with the new world before us, but without losing the instincts and awareness of martial ability that all those years have taught us.

In being one of the few to preserve this art and tradition, we who are opting to study Glima have been given a rare gift – that of trust. It is vital therefore that we accept and take on the mantle of responsibility to not only fully understand, but actively seek to incorporate all our skill set into Glima and keep is form and function alive and moving forward.

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