Running battle



dane axe

A large, single-bladed axe, up to 2 meters long.

Dane Axes are among the most versatile–and dangerous–of the weapons in our system. They can push hard on a shield-wall, slash from the side and drop from above like artillery.

Legends tell of a single Dane Axeman who held the entire Saxon army at bay while the Norwegian Vikings regrouped, at the battle of Stamford bridge.

Regulation length: 2 meters, from base to highest point (shaft or horn, whichever is higher).  As with the spear, the additional care needed with this weapon requires a separate qualification and in full contact Huscarl fighting, only leather training versions are allowed.

In Huscarl, the whole body is a target including the face, requiring a reenforced full-face helmet. Any hit that would realistically end a fight (e.g. to the hand) is considered a win.

Western style

Fights and Battles

In Western style, headshots are not allowed and weapon contact to the body is decisive, but not forceful. Blows to the face, neck, or side of the head are not allowed and forearms and lower legs are not targeted.

Pronounced "Sax" and also known as a Scramaseax or Scram, the seax is a shorter knife usually worn horizontally at the belt.

For safety, the “point” must be at least the width of a dime.

Targeting is expanded with the seax to include forearms and hands regardless of fighting style.


Eastern style


A one-handed, single-bladed axe with or without a "beard".

Typically, you buy an appropriate axe-head and then "haft" it (mount the head on a handle). As combat takes its toll, you will have to re-haft your axe head from season to season. Any hardwood will work for an axe-haft, but the favorites are ash, white oak, and hickory.

The Jomsborg Fighting system uses the same weapons across all three fighting styles.




Shields are in every way a weapon in Viking Age combat.  They are used offensively to trap and disable opponents weapons to allow deadly strikes.  Shields are made of plywood, edged with leather (usually rawhide), with a diameter of 30-38 inches and have a metal center-boss.  All fighters are required to make and/or otherwise obtain war shield. Recruits start with blank black shields until they are qualified on the first set of steel weapons, at which time they may add the red cross.  After becoming an oathsworn member, the cross is finished with a white outline.  

​The Utland Storm web site has an excellent tutorial on how to construct your own shield here.


Jomsborg lags use the Jomsviking live steel combat system.  There are three styles of the Jomsviking system: Western style, Eastern style and Huscarl.

show fights

Circle (Honor)


A broad-sword, langseax or saber.

Broadswords are appropriate for kits of any region. Langseaxes are most appropriate for Western (Norwegian) kits. Sabers are most appropriate for Eatern (Rus) kits.

Broadsword picture courtesy of Paul Binns.

Skill    Brotherhood   Respect

To remain skilled, safe, and growing, fighters in the Jomsborg train frequently–ideally several times per week. Occasionally we will have guest training officers in to provide supplemental instruction as well as training events in the Austin/San Marcos area during the year that we highly recommend attending if at all possible.

Training involves the body, mind, and emotions.  Be ready to train when you arrive. 

In Eastern style, headshots to the crown of the head are allowed and weapon contact to the body is more forceful, requiring a strong helmet and some form of armor. Blows to the face, neck, or side of the head are not allowed and forearms and lower legs are not targeted.

Hand Axe

A pointed spear, no longer than 2.5 meters, and with no butt spike. For safety, the "point" must be at least the width of a dime.  The spear is the most common weapon of the Viking Age.  It is simple and devastating.  Because of its characteristics and dangers, it is certified separately

Regulation lengths (including spear tip):

2 - Handed spear: 2.5 meters
1 - Handed spear: 1.8 meters

Spear and Axe Head Photo courtesy of Clinton Dale.

There are several types of fights and battles we perform as part of Jomsborg.

  • Duels – Duels are fights between two people. The most serious and competitive version of dueling is called a Holmgangr, in which combatants must remain within a specified circle and there is a judge to call hits. 
  • Circles – Circles are structured fights within a group. Circles of Honor are essentially a series of duels, and Circles of Treachery are all-at-once, every-fighter-for-themselves melees. Most circles are at the individual level, but occasionally it is useful to train with circles in small units. 
  • Line fight – In a line fight, the armies have time to form up, ready themselves–and usually taunt each other–before the fight begins. 
  • Running battle – In a running battle between armies, the fight begins the moment the first combatant sets foot on the field. There is no “pre-combat” for the armies to form up. ​
  • Shows – Most large public events involve shows and showmanship of some kind. This are fought with a semi-set script.

There is much, much more to the amazing experience of fighting with the Jomsborg, but one can only communicate so much on a webpage.

The most important lessons about the system–and your self–are to be learned on the field. . .