Stav has been of great importance to me for
around half my life, it has taught me a lot and opened doors to fantastic
places I would never have ventured into without Stav. I have spent a lot of
time writing about Stav, with the intention of sharing knowledge of this
amazing tradition. I also teach weekly with the ambition to establish a new generation
of teachers in Sweden. All my engagement has been completely without monetary
interest, because I feel that Stav is too important to make profit on, and too valuable
to be forgotten.

One of my ambitions with writing has been to address many of the
misunderstandings and really ignorant claims that people has posted online for
the last decades. In a Swedish context it has worked quite well, and Stav has
gained some well-deserved respect in the heathen community.

Out of interest of how the tradition is perceived
I occasionally google Stav to see what is out there, it inspires my writing. Most
of what is written about Stav does not really give a flattering image of the
human nature, however it still teaches a lot of how the flawed mind perceives the
world. Too many people are obviously not capable of actually dong research and
coming up with a reasonable evaluation of the information. Somehow they also
seem to be of the opinion that their flawed image needs to reach others; and
those seem to share the same limitations, since they only can evaluate second
hand sources.

One article that shows up highly in the
results is posted by someone that labels himself as the “pedantic swordsman”,
who completely lacks understanding of what stav is, but still feels he has the
mandate to label it as a joke. Unfortunately his research seems to be anything
but pedantic; and his analyses really makes him look like a joke, at least to
anyone who has actually bothered to study the topic he rants about.

The first thing he does, probably out of
ignorance, is to present the classic straw man; by claiming that the stav community
has claimed that Stav is a Viking age martial art that has frozen in time. No
such claims has ever been made. We have claimed that Stav is a living
tradition, who´s orally transmitted history puts it far back in time; but we
have never claimed the oral history as cold hard facts.

Based on this straw man, he presents the idea
that a closed tradition, kept within one family or region, would completely
degenerate since it would not be in touch with the unforgiving reality of
combat. He also claims that it would degenerate since it would not have been a
part of the evolution of warfare that happened all over Europe.

From there he makes a complete illogical leap
of thought, and claims another thing to discredit stav; the fact that the
classical weapons used in the Viking age context is absent within the
tradition. Maybe that should have been a hint if anything? Weapons such as
shields and Viking type swords fell out of fashion in Scandinavia shortly after
the Viking age. Any tradition that claimed linage that used these weapons;
would as a matter of fact come across as anything but a living tradition.

He also misses the fact that Stav works
with principles, the two handed staff and the one handed stick is basically a
substitute for any bladed weapon. Within the Stav philosophy, the idea is that when
you understand the basic principles with the aid of a stick or staff; there are
only small adjustments when utilizing bladed weapons. This also fits very well
with what is known about martial arts in mediaeval Scandinavia.

From an
historical context, most people of Scandinavia during the mediaeval period
would probably not train with live weapons, simply because they were too
expensive. A sword would probably hold about the same monetary value as a
modern tank today. The most common bladed weapons of Scandinavia were the axe and
the spear; which by a coincidence happens to be to most important sharp weapons
within Stav.

There is no doubt either that the traditional
Stav practitioners evolved together with the world around them. The Hafskjold
family was a family of statue, traditionally educated at one of the most prestigious
universities in Europe. Many were also involved in the military. So, the idea
that they were not present during the evolution of combat is just a silly claim
by someone who has no idea what he is talking about.

There are many similarities
between Stav and other Scandinavian martial arts. One good example is traditional
Swedish bayonet fencing, which is another living traditional martial art. The
strongest parallels to Stav is have seen to date, is what I have found in the
19th century Swedish military manuals of bayonet fencing.

The pathetic swordsman also uses one of the
classic arguments to discredit stav; the fact that Ivar Hafskjold has spent
many years in Japan training in Japanese martial arts. If you really think
about it, what is the problem with someone who has one background of martial
arts, seeking out another tradition to compare and to learn? Especially when
fate has put him in one of the few places on the planet that still has many living
traditions of weapon arts?

Just as his ancestors, Ivar trained in the
best martial art he found available; and just as his ancestors he kept the philosophy
and concept that was taught within his family. There is nothing in Japan that
slightest resembles the philosophy behind stav.

At one point I actually asked Ivar the
straight forward question; what is the difference of Stav now compared with
before you went to Japan? The answer was that when he was young stav worked
great against other stav practitioners, but not always against other styles of
martial arts. His experiences in Japan helped him to tweak some details, and now
he felt it would not matter what style the opponent came from.

Stav has a unique and highly elaborated philosophy
that is intertwined with the martial art. I have seen nothing comparable, this
is not something that comes up in a short period, and it takes time for something
like this to evolve. The Pathetic swordsman next claim is that the philosophy within
Stav has nothing to do with historical sources of Scandinavia, and claims that
it is new age. Anyone who has bothered to research all these ideas woven around
Stav, will find strong parallels in historical Scandinavia.

One good example is the runic calendar I
have described before in this blog, which is encoded in the core of Stav, and therefore
it is a good indicator of the age of the system. As I described this cannot
have been created after the year 1700 in Norway, because this type of runic
calendars died out at the time due to the introduction of the Gregorian calendar.
There is no other examples of such an elaborate perpetual living Norse calendar
today, neither any recreated ones. We have two options! Either, the calendar
and the system around it, was recreated by a genius; or it comes from a living
tradition. If you then consider all other aspects of Stav´s curriculum, it is
very unlikely that it is anything but a living tradition. But, please bear in mind,
I am not putting a date of the age of the tradition; I am simply arguing that
it is not a modern construct.

There are many components and ideas within Stav that one could date
individually, and by considering them in context one would probably be able to
estimate a reasonable birth date for the tradition. But to do this properly one
would have to spend years studying Stav, and reading up on Norse mythology,
history of religions, runology and Scandinavian folklore. Then spend a lot of
time putting these finds on paper. But it would still defeat its purpose,
because what is the point of putting a date on an esoteric tradition? For the
practitioners it makes absolutely no difference.

Next the pathetic swordsman claims that he
has checked some videos of Stav, and what he sees is a joke. Well, here I have
to partly agree, there a lots of really poor videos of Stav out there. In some
cases, the level of the martial art displayed in the video is not the best. In
other example´s the filming is not the best. On top of that, a two dimensional
video has it limits when it comes to portraying martial arts. To really present
a marital art on video in a fair way, one would need a professional production
with only high level practitioners; this has not been done to this date when it
comes to Stav.

I regularly get requests to do video
presentations, but I always decline. I do not feel I have the resources to do
it in a way that presents Stav in a good way. Besides, why would I share the
practical applications of Stav with random people online?

There is only one way to experience any
martial art, and evaluate it, and that is to seek out an instructor and actually
train with them. Those who are serious enough will seek out a qualified
instructor; there are probably less than ten of us in total. For some reason,
very little of the criticism towards Stav actually comes from people who has
tried it out.

For me personally Aikido does not appeal to
me. I do not really like what I have seen. This is based on me visiting a few
Aikido dojos, and also training with several fairly experienced Aikido
practitioners who has sought me out to learn Stav. So I do have some personal
experience, but still do not feel I am in a position to criticize Aikido as a
martial art! I simply know too little about Aikido! Yet, this pathetic
swordsman, who has absolutely no experience of stav, believes he are an authority
to label it as a joke?

This guy labels a martial art he knows
nothing about as a joke, based on random stuff he has seen on Youtube? And perhaps
he has read a few articles written by his English speaking countrymen!? Who in
most cases has shown a limited understanding of the deeper aspects of Stav, to
put it gently!

England is both the savior and curse when
it comes to stav! If Ivar Hafskjold would not have moved to Japan and then to
the UK; he would most likely never have shared his family tradition. But the
English context is a curse, because a lot of people, even highly experienced
practitioners; lacks an understanding of fundamental aspects of stav. A lot of bold claims were made that was not
really accurate, and a lot of perspectives shared was not the traditional
perspective. But still, a poor presentation of something, does not excuse poor

Just as the pathetic swordsman, I will end
by explaining the need for this rant; it is because his flawed and ignorance
disrespect the art, and the people who lived and died by it. And the people who
diligently practice it today! He also disrespects the keeper of the tradition,
who has shared it openly without any personal gain what so ever; on the
contrary he has for the last 25 years been discredited by ignorant people just
like this one.

The pathetic swordsman accuses stav of fanaticism
usually found in cults, which again misrepresent what Stav actually is! A philosophy
of the free mind and body, with a lot of thought parallels with Hermeticism. The
perspective within the tradition encourages the practitioners to research it
and evaluate it and criticize it; which I and other have done with enthusiasm! I
have spent countless hours actually researching stav, and the components within
it. And I have spent countless hours of writing about Stav

To this date, I have published 33 blog
posts in Swedish and 10 in English; this is the most indebt resource on Stav
anywhere! This would be the best starting point for anyone that wants to expose
Stav. Hack job criticism is not good enough anymore! You need to try harder.

So, just as the pathetic swordsman
encourages; anyone who’s interested in the subject; read, read, read, and read
some more. Please read my articles with a critical perspective, and please
point out any flaws you find within them. But even more importantly, never let
any random and arrogant prick on the internet decide for you what is worth your

The ironic thing to it all, is that this pathetic
swordsman seem to have a huge interest in both European martial art and
Scandinavian spiritualty; yet he slams the door in his own face to the only system
that actually integrates both these aspects into a meaningful product. Which also
is a lesson to be learned.

Stav is the only variety of Norse
spirituality available today that integrates all aspects into a coherent
system, were everything from the mythology to the runes, to the cosmology to
the festivals follow the same path. Stav is probably the only variety of Norse
heathenism that qualifies to be labelled as a genuine denomination of this
religion. One problem is, that parts of the English speaking Stav community has
failed to label it as such, and they are guilty of mixing stav up with New Age
and all kinds of stuff. But this is a flaw of the practitioners, not the
tradition itself.

Since I always aspire to be descent, even
though I occasionally fail miserably; I have tried to find an email to the pathetic
swordsman, but I failed to find one on his web page! I do not understand why
you publish stuff without giving people an ability to contact you! If anyone is
in contact please forward this link.

As I see it; he has two options. Either he
acknowledges that he had no idea what he was ranting about, and removes his
article from the net. Which would make this article redundant.

Another option is of course that he reads
through my blog, and follow up on his previous post. Which would be refreshing!
I have almost blogged for five years, and up until this date no one has opposed.
Going into debate would require a lot on his behalf, and I doubt he has the commitment!
It is just so much easier to post bullshit on a topic you know nothing about
and never bothered to research.

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