Vikings Fan || Fan Valhallafor History's Show "Vikings"

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Welcome to Vikings Fan, a fansite for the History Channel's series "Vikings". The show is based on the tales of the legendary Vikings: Ragnar Lothbrok, Lagertha, Bjorn Ironside, Rollo, among others. Explore the site for the largest photo gallery on the web for the show and also our video gallery!

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IGNIt’s not as easy as it looks.


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.



Katheryn Winnick shows how to do a stunt


We ran through several types of defensive fighting with stunt double Caroline Simonnet, who was training with Winnick for sequences to be used in the second half of Season 4. When I asked Winnick how these grappling, hand-to-hand techniques would come into play in the show — we’ve mostly seen shieldmaidens fight with swords and shields, after all — she teased that we can expect to see a lot more of this style of combat in the back half of the 20 episode, two-part season.


Beyond being able to handle the physicality of the stunts, much of the training is learning the choreography of the moves. Watching Winnick and Simonnet move through the sequences slowly was like watching a dance, but by the time they took it full speed, I was happy that what Winnick was teaching me wasn’t as full contact.



Katheryn Winnick and stunt double Caroline Simonnet showcase Vikings fighting skills


Though I might not have been an expert in shieldmaiden-style fighting when I came into the Vikings stunts studio, I learned several key moves during my day with Winnick. I learned how to react if someone were to grab me by the arm, and how to appropriately and effectively get out of their grip. We trained on how to fall convincingly. She showed me how to toss a person who is holding you to the ground in a wrestling-type move.


But watching Winnick and Simonnet go through the motions on their own stunt sequences underlined for me that nailing the choreography is only half the battle — you also have to act. I got to dabble into that myself when stunt coordinator Richard Ryan had me pick up the traditional shieldmaiden gear — and yes, that is Lagertha’s shield I am holding — and learn some sword moves. I felt as badass as I look here:



Showing off shieldmaiden skills


As Lagertha grows older on Vikings, she won’t be fighting as much, Ryan told me. When she does fight, he and Winnick will choreograph some creakiness into her movements to sell that time has passed. But if my experience in the stunts studio is any indication, even a creaky Lagertha is an action hero worth idolizing.


Watch my entire shieldmaiden training video below:


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