Okay so maybe the Vikings themselves don’t live in human flesh, but their historic ancestry and respected culture still lives on. It is here, in the heart of Aarhus where every once in a while you can stumble upon a warrior without teeth, bruises throughout their body, and with one focus in mind: Moesgård Vikingetræf.
by Dinorah Avendano Curiel
Swords, shields, spears, and armour encompass the very essence of the Viking era. Vikings, known for their fierce raids on the Christian lands used tactics such as hand-to hand combat to gain a reputation of fearlessness and prowess across Europe.
ASK is a group of enthusiasts who are passionate about Viking history and are the largest and oldest Viking battle group in the Nordic region. For the last 25 years, ASK, helps to build and train Viking warriors in Aarhus. The group’s primary focus is disseminating the Viking culture in all its aspects including, cooking, armor building, camp life, the role of religion but most importantly the “Viking battle”.
More than a role play
ASK warriors train twice per week year round. They continuously promote this undefined martial arts sport through two main platforms, play and competition. Anna Amelie, a fighter, has been with ASK for a year and a half: “It’s not a role play” she says, “we practice on a regular basis, year round, so we take it very seriously.” Large participation allows for training to focus on group matches, tactical elements as well as building and fortifying individuals’ skills and abilities.
Members of ASK fabricate their own weaponry, they want everything to be as authentic as possible. From axes to spears, shields, and armor, all is made by hand and using leather as primary material. In the Viking Age, the type of combat equipment a warrior owned defined the type of warrior he was and even though ASK fighters train with real weapons, albeit dull, they take pride in the unity they have as a group.
Staging the training
The coaches, elected by the fighters themselves, put together a workout plan that cultivates the member’s collaborative and individual struggles. Training the warriors is always done with weapons in hand in a real simulation scenario. The coaches of ASK teach Western Style of fighting primarily because it is the style used by all Scandinavian ‘markets’.
The warriors of ASK reenact the Viking battles of the Viking Age with the same weapons, terrain and environment conditions as close in relation to those from back in the day. The goal is to become the winning ‘market’ at the most prominent battle event of the year: Moesgård Vikingetræf (Viking Moot), held every summer at Moesgård beach.
Ready for the fight!
The event gathers over 500 Viking fighters from around the world to battle against each other to show off their skills. “Visitors who attend can test their Viking skills in different activities and enjoy the reenactment of the Viking fight we prepare for,” says Amelie .
I was lucky to sit-in and experience how they prepare for the battle. Check out how they train in this video:
As the summer battle approaches, the group will continue to train and build the necessary skills to be recognized as the best Viking Group in the Nordic Region.
“Moesgård is the most important for us, because that is our market, and it happens here in Aarhus, we have to win,” enthused Amelie.
Moesgaard Viking Moot is held on the 29 and 30 of July this year. For more information visit their website.
You definitely don’t want to miss this event if you are in Aarhus for the summer!