If there’s anyone you can hope to have teach you some tricks to become a proficient (or at least serviceable) Vikings shieldmaiden in a couple short hours, it’s Katheryn Winnick. The star of the History series had years of experience in martial arts before she ever took up the sword and shield as Lagertha, and she puts that experience to good use in the series’ impressive fight sequences.
As someone who doesn’t have any background in martial arts, I was pretty much starting from scratch when I headed to Vikings’ studio outside Dublin in October 2015. But Lagertha and the shieldmaidens are inarguably some of the coolest elements of Vikings, and I figured if I was getting a chance to watch some stunt training, I might as well throw myself in the mix.
Katheryn Winnick and stunt double Caroline Simonnet showcase Vikings fighting skills
Winnick is an accomplished martial artist: she achieved her first black belt at age 13, competed in the Canadian Nationals and even opened her own Tae Kwon Do studios in Toronto, Canada. Before I actually got to train with Lagertha’s shield and sword, I had to get the basics of the martial arts-based fighting style that the shieldmaidens use.
Clearly, I am the non-professional stuntswoman here.