Sunday, January 17, 2010

Pangration-mixed martial arts of ancient Greece

Ahh those crazy ancient Greeks thought of everything didn’t they, there isn’t much in the western world today that doesn’t stem from ancient Greece, I guess having a Greek background I’m a little biased, but what we consider good and bad in today’s western society had some sort of root in ancient Greece.

Alexander the Great did he bring the martial arts of Greece to Asia & India?

As we all know the ancient Greeks were a warrior people and certainly had developed many martial arts dealing with weapons and bare hands, some say that Alexander the great brought the martial arts of Greece to India where an indigenous monk called Bodhidharma got a hold of them and the rest is history, good heavens can you imagine hoplites doing kata and point sparring in full armor.

Greek hoplites ready for battle

Leonidas and his 300 Spartan hoplites at thermopylae

Go, tell the Spartans, oh stranger passing by,
That here obedient to their laws, we lie.

The martial arts of Boxing and Wrestling were developed in ancient Greece and there are records of both martial arts being apart of the ancient olympic games which date further back than 776 BC, but the warriors of Greece also invented another martial art one that mixed both boxing, wrestling and much more.

(παγκράτιον) Pangration or Pankration?

This leads us to the title of the subject pangration or pankration the mixed martial arts of ancient Greece which incorporated striking and grappling or more precise boxing and wrestling, now I think apart from gouging eyes and biting there were not too many rules that could be broken, but you guys can look that up in Wikipedia as it would make more sense than I could.

A very good pen pal of mine once asked me how pangration should be spelt, this is my best attempt to clear the air, given that Greek is my second language and I only attended Greek school till grade six.

The Greek spelling is παγκράτιον pronounced as pun-gra-ti-on in English, just read the individual syllables one at a time for the Greek pronunciation.

Pun means all or everything

Gra-ti-on means = holding detained, detention.

Or putting it in plain English,

IT HOLDS EVERYTHING = pun-gra-ti-on.

Now forgetting all that dribble above let’s take a look at a good amateur pangration athlete and see some of his solo training routines and partner drills and finally some competition fighting, btw folks this is that pen pal I told you about, his name is Terry Williams.

Terry's gymnasium here

Wollongong Pankration - solo training part-1

Wollongong Pankration - solo training part-2

You wouldn't want this bloke as your first aid officer, after you've had a heart attack, there would be nothing left of your chest.

Wollongong Pankration - partner training drills

Here's that same bloke in competition