I am now a good few months into my viking training and I have the scars to prove it. I honestly don't remember the last time I wasn't covered in a yellow/brown motley. The strangest thing is that I actually like my wounds, I truly feel as though I earn my bruises and I will damn well wear them with pride.
Improvement comes from practice above all things and I am definitely starting to improve but thank Odin for infinite re-spawns. I have progressed from the level of noobish fodder fit for dying at the blades of better men and women and I can proudly say that I can now stand toe to toe with teenage boys and women half my size. Honestly though the women are feisty, dangerous and terrifying and I'd rather take on a mountain lion (for anyone who has played an Elder Scrolls game they will know just how high praise that is).
For me I have to say that the shield wall is still the most harrowing, and inspiring, part of the practice. Standing side by side with brothers and sisters in battle, screaming insults and cries of rage, shields clashing against shields, metal against metal, howls of pain, and blood (well there's rarely blood given that we use blunted weapons but...); and so far the largest shield wall I've taken part in has been 5 warriors on each side. I'm told the big events can easily reach hundreds of howling viking warriors on each side all baying for the blood of their enemies and I cannot wait to experience the thrill of it.
I still die more than I kill and I still die in some interesting ways. Just last week I took a spear thrust to the stones and I can assure you the boys were a little sore for a while after that one.
Here's a quick video of a 1v1 bout I had against a lad.
Not much else to say other than I am persevering, I am improving, I am dying, but most of all I am enjoying the Hel out of it. I look forward to my first arm-ring and earning my Viking name!
For more information about Vikings fight schools and re-enactment check out http://www.jorvikvikingr.co.uk/index.php