3/31/2009 9:25pm, #1
Basically, circa 2002 Stavit was promoted as a hardcore "street"offshoot of Stav, which is supposedly a martial art passed down in secret since the age of the Vikings (and which is considered a joke by most serious WMA practitioners).
I referred to this "style" in another thread an wondered if anything remained of it online ...
Art of defence
From the Evening Press, first published Saturday 7th Sep 2002.
STEPHEN LEWIS discovers the advantages of a Viking martial art with a modern twist.
DAVE Watkinson doesn't look out of the ordinary. He is mild mannered, slightly below average height, with a faraway gaze. Which makes what happens when you try to bash him over the head with a baseball bat all the more galling.
He doesn't seem to move: yet in the blink of an eye there you are, rolling helpless on your back while he stands over you with your bat in his hand.
It doesn't matter what kind of weapon you go for him with, either. I tried them all: fists, knives, baseball bats, bottles, wooden poles. Every time, the result was the same. Before I had even realised he was moving there I was flat on my back again.
It's only what I should have expected, of course. Dave is, after all, a highly trained martial arts expert and Master of Stavit.
Stavit? Never heard of it? Hardly surprising. This is possibly the world's newest martial art, having been officially recognised only a couple of months ago by the Great Britain Martial Arts Association.
If you're anything like me, martial arts probably aren't your scene. But Stavit, insists Dave, is different from other martial arts. It's not macho; it's not a performance sport; it's not there for show. There is no hocus-pocus, no aggressive posturing or screaming for effect. It is, he says, just a simple, quiet, easy to learn, non aggressive and devastatingly effective way of defending yourself against attack, that can be learned by anybody, regardless of age, sex, strength or fitness.
But what is Stavit? It is based, explains Dave, a 47-year-old former mineworker and steelworker who lives at Burton Agnes with his Filipino wife Nelly and five-year-old daughter Fe, on the ancient Viking martial art Stav.
It was designed to counter attacks by sword, axe and other long weapons. Dave has adapted it for defence against any form of street attack.
The beauty of it, he says, is that because it uses the principles of body mechanics you don't need to be fit, young or strong to use it effectively.
What you are doing is using the attacker's own momentum against them by deflecting (not blocking) their attack, then twisting or levering them off balance.
There are 16 basic defensive stances with Norse-sounding names such as hagl and tyr and a set of core moves. But they all look so low-key and natural the attacker has no idea you're actually preparing to defend yourself.
I ask Dave to slow down his movements so I can see what is happening when he disarms me.
As I advance, baseball bat raised threateningly, he remains calm, standing seemingly relaxed.
Because there are no aggressive moves, my eye isn't able to register he is getting ready to defend himself. He simply raises his hands calmly as if to plead with me. Then, almost without me noticing, he places the back of one hand behind my right wrist to act as a "fulcrum" and uses his left hand to lever the baseball bat down. Because of the levering motion, there is nothing I can do to stop the bat being twisted out of my hands. His left hand follows up with a natural twisting movement which has my arm behind my back and me sprawling.
The same when I grab him with two hands by the shirt. Again, he raises one hand in a non-threatening, almost pleading way. Before I know it, he has snaked his arm down between my two hands and levered them apart the way you use a tyre iron to remove a tyre.
It is all devastatingly simple and quick. "By the time your opponent knows something is happening, you are walking away and it is all over," Dave says.
Best of all, adds 55-year-old former para and Stavit black belt and instructor John Covington, it appears so unthreatening.
"It avoids any form of movement that appears aggressive and would prompt an aggressive response," he says. "The moment you get aggressive, it triggers the attacker's fear response, and that means even more aggression."
Appropriately enough, given it's Viking origins, York people are among the first in the country to get the chance to train in this newest of martial arts. Dave and his team of black belt instructors will begin running courses at Bridlington sports hall on Monday, September 16: and then on Sunday, September 29, there will be two introductory courses at York Barbican Centre.
The two-and-a-half hour courses, from 10am to 12.30 and 2pm to 4.30pm, cost £20 on the door or £15 if you book in advance.
If you want to take it further there are a range of belts you can work towards, from green which will equip you to defend against holds, grabs and hand-to-hand assaults to black, which will equip you to defend yourself against just about anything, Dave says - knives, guns and broken bottles included.
Unfortunately, it seems that no-one thought to save copies of pictures from the Stavit.com site, which were truly hilarious. Beer bellies, tracksuits, headbands and toy pistols ...
3/31/2009 9:50pm, #2
*takes old Tolkien book out, tries to bend body around to look like all the runes on the cover, imagines trying to use this against mobile assailants, shakes head, puts book back on shelf*
Hey! Brilliant idea! Why not update this astounding system by using sequences of stances based on present-day characters? Letter-Fu. Each font could have its lineage, its own style: the blocky moves of Arial, the flow of Script, the hybrid style of Helvetia...
3/31/2009 10:01pm, #3
Briefly, IMO, Stav being based on the shapes of rune letters was inspired by the "runenyoga" invented by crackpot German occultists in the 1930s:
Then, sometime in the '80s, the founder of Stav had the bright idea of applying the Runenyoga postures to martial arts ...
I think your idea about using modern fonts would work at least as well as Stav or Stavit ever did.
4/01/2009 6:33am, #4
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This is not Stavit, but Stav. Hilarious none the less.
The "vikings" as a nation/clan/community are a fictious makeup of the 18th century btw.
"fara i vikingr" means to go on a seajourney/expedition and was used by the nordic people as a broad term applying to anything from trade to piracy and raiding (in any combination btw., like looting one city and peacefully selling the stolen goods at the next one).
Even if those guys would not look like the goofy idiots they are, claiming to know a "viking" martial art is like claiming you learned a "burning-sword" kata from the archangel michael.
Edit: The beast is still alive: http://www.stavcamp.org/home.html
Last edited by kwan_dao; 4/01/2009 6:38am at .
4/01/2009 8:41am, #5
Stav itself is still going relatively strongly, AFAIK, although as I said, it isn't taken seriously by the wider Western MA community. We've already had a number of Stav threads, though, which is why I did a bit of digging on "Stavit" - the latter either never got off the ground, or it's gone deep underground ...
4/01/2009 9:47am, #6
Oh gods, I know how this would turn out.
Dilbert McGillicuddy gets the crap kicked out of him at school with the regularity of peristalsis in a herbivore. Out of concern for his development, his hippy parents sign him up to lessons at the nearest McDojo or McDojang. There, he gets a lot of the usual about "learning how not to fight" (which, frankly speaking, is an art Dil has already mastered in no uncertain terms).
When Rainbow and Crystal (aforementioned parents) are out at bongfests, Dil watches MMA and boxing on TV. He knows the **** he is learning doesn't measure up (between what's on PPV and the beatings he is continuing to receive at school, it's hard to conclude otherwise), but Dil has been raised in a household where anything like "effort" is deemed fascistic. It's a lesson he has absorbed well.
What to do?
How to become badass 'n' proud without putting in the sweat-equity?
Being an inveterate Tolkienhead (fantasy being preferable to reality), our li'l Dil googles the cool-looking letter thingies on the cover of his copy of "Hobbit", and finds "runes", "nordic mythology" and--one thing leading to another--stumbles upon the above image.
And it all comes together.
At first, he doesn't see the postures having anything to do with fighting. Then (desperation leading to conceptual leaps worthy of an ibex), Dil sees it. Sees it all. The guy in the upper-left, standing on his head, is doing a double-leg cartwheel kick, just like capoeira! "Capital-R guy", in the upper-right, is executing a devastating leg-kick, just like in MT! The guy who looks like he's bending-over, on the lower-right, is actually--yes!--going for a double-leg takedown, just like they showed on PPV last night!
Holy shitsky, mom! It's all there: double-blocks, simultaneous block-kicks, elbow attacks (the one at nine-o'clock), a simultaneous elbow-and-knee strike (three o'clock) and so on.
It's a...a complete system! All one need do is replace the fight-terms with the names of the Runes. It's mighty! It's Nordic! Dilbert McGillicuddy will now become "Drighten Thorfinn Skull-Splitter"!
Next step: Hey, one of li'l Dil's (sorry, Mighty Thorfinn's) grandparents was Danish. You just know what's coming: the runic-stances become a "family tradition", passed down, in secret, from ancient times, from generation to generation.
So what do we have?
Delusions as to martial effectiveness and completeness: check.
Claims that it was "all covered by the Runes" from the beginning: check.
Non-existent "family-secret-tradition": check.
Utter contrivance and self-delusion: duh.
Space in basement (when bongfests siphon parents from premises) to become "Haell of Traening": checkity-check.
Use allowance to buy plastic broadswords and other thematica for "Haell" (easily removed when Rainbow and Crystal return home stoned): yup.
Design website: as good as done.
All right! Let's MAKE...SOME...MONEEEEEEY!
4/01/2009 10:02am, #7
Apart from the bit about Google - Stav "went public" before the Net did - I think that's probably a very good guess.
Now picture Stavit as a street-fightin', bodyguard-trainin' Stav breakaway faction ...
4/01/2009 11:05am, #8
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4/01/2009 11:06am, #9
Bulking up Stav to make it Stavit? A few adjustments to Dil's--er, Thorfinn's résumé, and we're ready to protect Heads of State.
1) When the McGillicuddies took a vacation to the Matterhorn, our intrepid Skull-Splitter, age five, spent some time charging up and down a trail or two--some of that being chased by a dog, some of it chasing after starlings.
RÉSUMÉ: "I trained for years in the Northern wilderness, testing myself against its wildest beasts as the Aesir and Vanir looked on. The Gods...the Gods...I felt Their presence and knew my mission."
2) Our intrepid Master-of-Arms has a basketball that he holds with one hand and knocks off with the other, in the family's back-yard. Also does this in front of whatever he has that passes for friends.
RÉSUMÉ: "We've modernized--we don't just 'hit air'...not us!!! It's modern-equipment and actual CONTACT STRIKING ALL THE WAY!!!! Our skills have been featured in numerous public demonstrations."
3) He got slightly bumped, at the bus-stop, by a drunken elderly homeless individual. Using the double-handed "Fehu" strike (about five-thirty on the diagram), he pushed back at said individual who--already perpetually-off-balance--sat down with a "humpf" on the sidewalk.
RÉSUMÉ: "Using my system, I have defended myself against countless aggressors on the mean streets of the city. I don't need sports to prove the worth of my system; in fact, what I do would likely KILL a sport-competitor.
4) Showed little brother how to make somebody squeal by pulling on their ear.
RÉSUMÉ: "I am a TEACHER with a number of STUDENTS under my august guidance."
And so it goes...
Last edited by Vieux Normand; 4/01/2009 11:13am at .
4/01/2009 11:34am, #10