Pankration – Greek Martial Arts Style
Pankration is an ancient Greek martial arts style that combines grappling, kicking techniques and boxing. It is seen as one of the predecessors to today’s Mixed Martial Arts. Pankration is translated as “Anything Goes”. This martial arts was also part of the training for Greece’s famous ancient warriors such as the Spartans.
Pankration was one of the “sporting events” offered at the first Olympics in 648 BC. It was a brutal affair where almost anything was allowed. There were only a few rules such as not allowing contestants to bite their opponents. The Olympics of ancient Greece involved many martial events such as wrestling, boxing, pentathlon, chariot racing, javelin throw and the “Hoplite race” where runners ran in full or partial armor and carrying a shield.
Pankration & Modern Mixed Martial Arts (MMA)
According to the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation, “In 648 BC the sport Pankration was introduced into the Olympic Games. It can be described as a combination of boxing and wrestling and the match began standing but most often came to a close on the ground where many different kinds of locks and strikes were used. Over time Pankration grew to be the most popular Olympic sport in the ancient world.
Modern mixed martial arts (MMA) is a sport that has similarities with Pankration due to the combination of techniques. The core of MMA consists of boxing, as well as kickboxing and muay thai (thai boxing), wrestling(free style and Greco-roman), grappling, brazilian jiu-jitsu and judo. Although Pankration was significantly different from MMA in the sense that the ancient sport largely lacked rules, the athletic challenge that comes from combining a wide range of techniques spurs just as much interest today as it did in ancient times”.
Video of a Pankration European Championship