What is Stav?

Stav literally means: "knowledge of the rune–staves. In the case of the Hafskjold–Stav tradition this means the 16 runes of the Younger futhork. The futhork is represented below.

Stav is a living tradition which has been passed down by the Hafskjold family over many centuries. From the 5th century until the present day the Hafskjold family have lived in the same part of Norway where their relative isolation enabled them to pass on their traditions from one generation to the next.

Ivar Hafskjold learned the essentials of Stav as a young man in the post war period. He later spent 14 years in Japan where he went to advance his martial skills to the highest possible level. When he returned to Europe and settled in the UK in the early 1990s he realised that if Stav were not taught outside of the family it would be lost altogether. In order to ensure the contiuity of the tradition Ivar taught a small number of students who have developed the tradition according to their own needs and talents.

Stav is essentially a way of life and a method of training body, mind and spirit. Although there are many ways of exploring the principles of Stav there are four basic aspects to learning and practising the tradition.

  • Knowing the runes and their meanings and associations.
  • Knowing the runic stances and performing them daily.
  • Knowing and striving towards an understanding of the five principles of Stav.
  • Learning to see and work with the web of orlog.
  • Although these may seem like abtract concepts Stav is essentially a practical system which applies to everyday life. To this end the training we offer is dynamic and practical. The martial arts providing a particularly effective context for discovering the basic principles and testing them in a practical way.

    We also teach the application of Stav to issues of health and well–being, crafts, self–development and counselling and the functioning of society as a whole.

    Stav will enhance your life and expand your awareness of yourself and the world around you. A dedicated practice of Stav will enable you to acheive more of your potential.

    For a comprehensive explanation of Stav and a demonstration of his personal training you can obtain our Stav DVD with Ivar Hafskjold.