There was an excellent Viking arms and combat demonstration at the Higgins Armory Museum in Worcester, MA today. I went to meet a Facebook friend of a dear friend of mine, who was one of the two fighters who showed us what ten years of ongoing research into the lost martial arts of the Viking Age have allowed them to interpret and reproduce. Our friend Matthew Marino paired up with Dr. William R. Short, clad in a chain hauberk and wielding a two handed battle ax against his round shield and hand ax for the demonstration.
The Higgins Armory Museum itself is a treasure trove of arms and armor from the bronze age to the 19th century, and along with its extensive European artifacts it contains over 1,000 non western pieces from Africa, the Islamic World, India and Japan. I was particularly struck by one suit of Turkish chain mail, in which each individual link had the Arabic name of the Shiite Imams in succession from the prophet's daughter Fatima. There is also ceremonial armor in the collection, along with those used in tournaments and in battle.
The Viking combat style we observed was deconstructed move by move by the participants. Both Bill and Matt are deeply engaged in depicting this period, and have learned not only to use the body defenses and weapons of the Norse warriors but also to reproduce much of their material culture, including chainmail and wool and leather clothing. Historical interpreters often have a strong DIY ethic, and that seems especially true of these Viking reenactors. They also are taking their Viking combat skills to the level of other martial arts.