Welcome, to the first post on the Y Ddraig’s blog! Aptly, this post is about starting a new season of training and shows, first of which is coming up at the end of February.
So, what did we do, having returned to our training hall after a few weeks off for a Christmas break? Well, it is a bit like your typical annual pilgrimage to the gym every January, to burn off all those extra calories, your Christams jumper managed to hide so well. It is time we pick up our swords, shields, axes and spears once more and get back in the swing of training and combat practise, ready for the fights ahead.
Y Ddraig as a group, is very much focused on combat and the competitive aspect of our hobby. Viking reenactment is one of the few hobbies that allow truly competitive combat, both on individual level and as real life battles. We are different to other types of reenactment in that we put competitive combat at the heart of what we do, making it a sport rather than just a show put on for the public. We are also different form a martial art sports, because we engage in so much more than just combat. We combine sports and copetition with an immersive experience of actually BEING someone who lived in the Dark Ages and we enage in arts, crafts, education, travel… The magic of Dark Age reenactment is that you can make it suit you and not having any restriction of what you want to enage in.
At Y Ddraig, we pride ourselves on being one of the most succesful, well-established and respected combat groups on the Viking reeactment scene in Britain. This reputation is well-earned, but it requires a lot of work to maintain! To this end we meet (nearly) every monday for our combat training sessions, where we hone our skill with spear, sword and axe. It is about learning the technique, maintaining fitness, training with various weapons and combat styles and practising various battlefield tactics.
The first training of the season is as much about a social catch up as it is about making sure we do not go rusty after a few weeks without practice. And believe me, when it comes to combat skill, a break in training can make a lot of difference!
We believe that Viking reenactment is more than just a show put on to entertain and educate. For us, it is also a competitive sport, where adrenaline kicks in, achievement and awards are fought for and compteted over and new techniques are developed to gain and edge over one’s opponents.
Like any martial art, swordfighting requires a lot of learning and plenty of practise. Starting from learning how to stand and walk, how to maintain one’s balance and hold weapons properly, all the way through to most technical skills and crafty tricks. It all takes many hours of hard work and dedication. It is a hugely rewarding hobby and a true sport, where you can excel at something a little bit different that a kickabout at the park. What makes Viking reenactment stand out?
Perhaps it is the spirit of the Dark Ages, with it’s Pagan gods, warrior ethos and popular image of pillaging, battles and shieldwall clashes, birth of nations and sense of adventure.
Perhaps it is how cool it looks and what fun it is to watch reenactors put on a show, or maybe it is because it offers a way to channel aggression, vigour and desire to take part in combat that is both safe and entertaining to take part in.
There are a lot of things that make our hobby great- and there is only one way to find out!
Come and see us, write an e-mail, find Y Ddraig on Facebook… We are open and looking for new friends to join us in this new season. Ever wanted to find out what it is to be a Viking? Ever wanted to feel the excitement of battle or to experience what it would be like to wield a sword or an axe? Get in touch! And keep an eye on our new blog, where we will be posting updates about our training, shows we attend and our latest achievements. Until next time- the group chronicler, Ubbe Thorgilsson, signing off.