According to Ivar Hafskjold, the term "Stav"
was his family's informal name for their martial and runic practices, and
comes from the expression sette stav (to set staves), which was how the
training was described when he grew up.
In the 1990s, Ivar Hafskjold took on four
personal apprentice students; Shaun Brassfield-Thorpe, Kolbjorn Martens,
David Watkinson and Graham Butcher.
All contemporary Stav teachers and instructors belong to a teaching lineage
directly from either Ivar Hafskjold and/or one of his four personal
students, each of whom are recognised by the Stav International organisation
as "Stav Masters".
Stav on some level resembles a Nordic form of Tai Chi, with the student
beginning with ritualized stances resembling the sixteen runes of the
Younger Futhark. Once mastery of the rune stances has been achieved, the
student progresses to staff exercises. Stav is intended to be a flexible set
of principles instead of techniques, focusing on finding the lines of attack
and defense in any combat situation and exploiting them to the student's
benefit. Stav practitioners usually begin by using staffs or cudgels as