Secret Training Techniques of Ancient Hellenic Culture


I was always curious as to why ancient Hellenic culture was able to achieve an almost unbelievable pace of innovation on and off the battlefield. This small nation of made up of city states at war with each other for most of the time somehow found the leisure time to invent theatre, medicine, astronomy, mathematics, democracy, nutrition, systematic exercise and muscle development, sculpture, that we still use and are still relevant to this present day. My journey to understanding the secret of rational thought has been a life long pursuit. This article is the first I am publishing on this subject and will be followed up others and eventually by a book I have been writing for a long time titled: “Recipes for the Revival of the ancient Hellenic Spirit” The book will take a little while longer, but there is no need to wait.

The Dancing Warriors

There is one aspect of the ancient Hellenic culture that always intrigued me. Their physical development seemed so extraordinary that to this day very few if any really understand how they trained. What did they know about physical training and development? Based on the evidence they left behind they knew a great deal more than our present athletes and warriors. Dance was at the center of their training. You can still see some elements of the ancient Hellenic dance in classical forms of ballet. This form of dance began in Italy after the Hellenic scholars and merchants arrived fleeing the Ottoman empire after it occupied Constantinople. They brought their most treasured books and manuscripts and they brought their gold. This wealth fuelled the Italian renaissance and began the march out of the dark ages of human expression. It is assumed that classical dance began by simply copying the poses of the ancient Hellenic sculptures. But what if their books described a training technique of the body? What if there were detailed drawings of the exercises and rhythms and steps? Continue reading Secret Training Techniques of Ancient Hellenic Culture

Renaissance of the Greek Ideal

Excerpt from “Renaissance of the Greek Ideal” by Diana Watts pg 1-2.

Of all the lost secrets of antiquity,  perhaps the most important is that which produced the enormous physical superiority of the Greeks over any other race of human being. How the secret of their attainment was lost will probably never be decided, as not one of the many theories can ever be proved.

The fact only remains that a rising wave of unequalled physical and mental development carried these wonderful people on its crest for one brief period of realised perfection during which they were able to grasp the full meaning of Liberty under the Law, not only as a nation but also as individuals.

The modern human being has drifted so far away in physical form from the Greek as to fail to realise the differences. These differences however are not organic but are in all probability the result of early training.

I myself began as an ordinarily active human being but in the course of training development, researches, and discoveries, gradually acquired a knowledge that led to a condition which is nearer to that of the Greeks than any other that has yet been achieved.

The secret consists in a condition of the muscles totally different from any realised athletes since the time of the Greeks of transforming a condition of tension, which transforms dead weight into as living force, and which made the Greek as different from the modern human being as a stretched rubber band differs from a slack one.

There are frequent allusions in the Iliad to this power possessed by the Greeks of transforming their muscles on the instant into a condition of almost superhuman force, and although much must be allowed for Homer’s poetical imagination, there is no doubt that this extraordinary force was always produced by will-power in some special condition which resulted in a complete restoration of exhausted powers, taking away all sense of fatigue, and placing the body once more under the alert control. This type of exercise was most likely the first form of a tai chi like slow movements repeated endlessly until they became second nature or έξις. (This ancient Greek word describes a state of being or energy that is acquired through continual practice until it becomes second nature)

It would be impossible to prove that the means by which I discovered this force in myself are the same which gave the Greeks their marvellous physical superiority; but it will probably be conceded that there is sufficient similarity in the results to justify the hypothesis.

There arose in the middle of the 5th century BC a new science of gymnastics, which aimed not at the performance of particular exercises but at the production of certain physical conditions, especially the condition required for athletic success (έξις Xenophon, Mem I. c. Aristotle, Pol, 1338 b.)  Norman E. Gardiner “Greek Athletic Sports and Festivals 

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