Instructor Interview: Duke Thorin Njalsson

Thorins DeviceDuke Thorin Njalsson has fought heavy combat in the Society for more than 35 years, beginning in A.S. 5 in the Barony of Madrone. Now he makes his home in Aquaterra, but has agreed to travel southward to Sport of Kings to share his experience and expertise at this year’s Sport of Kings.

Duke Thorin is a Lion of An Tir, as well as a member of the Chivalry, and is currently the Champion of the Barony of Glymm Mere. He fights for his spouse, Countess Dagmaer in Hvassa, and prefers tournament fighting because “it is more of a test of individual fighting skills.” He usually fights sword and shield in tournaments, although he practices with a wide variety of weapon styles.

On the topic of chivalry, Duke Thorin believes that “following the path of Chivalry makes us better people. We grow and strive to improve ourselves with the principles of chivalry. The essence of chivalry is courage and a sense of respect for all: Respect for yourself, respect for others, and respect for your surroundings.”

His Grace also shares the following advice for fighters:

Thorin ProcessionFor New Fighters: Set up a regular schedule of practice. It is more important to practice a little on a regular basis than a great deal only occasionally. You should eat well, drink lots of water, and stretch daily.

For Experienced Fighters who want to “kick it up a notch”: Do not rely on your best assets (such as height, strength, weapon style that others have difficulty with, etc.) Work hard learning good basic technique, not just relying on your “special” blow. Practice more often and fight in every tourney you can (even small out of the way tourneys.)

For Female Fighters: Find a trainer who understands that not everyone fights the same. Whether you are female or not, every fighter is physically different. The movements and techniques you learn should not hurt. For example: if you are being shown how to throw a certain blow and it hurts your elbow, do not throw the blow that way. You can throw that blow, but probably need to make small adjustments to throw it safely. Also, the best and most successful fighting is not based on strength and size, but on good technique. Proper technique will also give you the ability to throw fast and powerful blows without the need for great muscular strength.

For those who wish to get a chance to practice with Duke Thorin, he regularly attends both the Barony of Madrone and the Canton of Porte de l’Eau fighter practices. Between public practices, he attends small private practices and (as he recommends for others) practices most days on his own, doing drills and exercises that include Martial Arts training, weight lifting, stretching, breathing exercises and meditation.

Duke Thorin’s persona is 11th century Norse, and when not on the fighting field, he enjoys heraldry, the culinary arts, calligraphy and illumination, chess and other medieval games.

Interview conducted and article written by Jess Hartley: Please do not reproduce without permission from the author.