What is Stav?

Hugh Counsell receiving his
instructor certificate in June 2017

Stav is a European tradition of body, mind and spirit training from Norway. Stav literally means knowledge of the rune staves which covers many different subjects including mythology, healing, crafts, forms of meditation and shamanic practices, and much more.

Stav is also taught and practised through martial arts training. Ivar Hafskjold, our chief instructor, not only learned Stav as a young man growing up in Norway but spent 14 years in Japan studying traditional Japanese martial arts. Ivar settled in the UK in 1991. He took on four students, one of whom was Graham Butcher who set up Somerset Stav in 2013.

When Graham moved on to Beverley in East Yorkshire in 2017 Hugh Counsell took over as Instructor. Hugh has been training in Stav since 2007 and is recognised, and insured, as a Stav teacher by the British Combat Association.

Stav training is based on three primary areas:

The Runes of the Younger Futhork

Runic Stances which develop posture and balance. The stances also provide the basic body positions for weapon and unarmed training. Find out more about runes and where they come from here.

The Lines which show the structure for cutting with weapons and how to strike effectively. Working with the lines allows you to control and take the balance of an opponent in unarmed applications.

Five Principles which provide training in tactics and strategy.

A Stav class will include:

  • The stances, providing the foundation for all other training
  • Solo training exercises
  • Two person drills, teaching and exploring the five principles
  • The emphasis is always on discovering how to use the body as efficiently as possible, rather than expending energy for the sake of it. Stav training teaches you how to see clearly, move efficiently and respond effectively.

    Beginner training focusses on the stances and drills with the staff. Advanced training uses the axe, cudgel, spear, tein or dagger and unarmed close quarter combat skills.

    It is easier to demonstrate than explain and your first lesson is free, so why not find out for yourself?

    Please see the full programme of classes and courses.

    To find out more about Stav please visit the Ice and Fire Stav Pages