The ancient Greeks did not have a specific martial art, but they did engage in various forms of combat training. The primary focus of Greek combat training was on the hoplite, a heavily armored infantryman. Hoplites trained in the use of a spear and a large round shield, and they fought in a formation known as the phalanx. Additionally, the Greeks also trained in wrestling, boxing, and pankration, a combination of boxing and wrestling. These sports were also performed in competitions, such as the ancient Olympic Games.
Ancient Greek wrestling, also known as palaestra, was a popular sport in ancient Greece and was part of the Olympic Games. The goal of the sport was to throw your opponent to the ground and pin them there. The wrestlers competed in the nude, and they would oil their bodies to make it more difficult for their opponents to grab hold of them. The match would be won by the first wrestler to throw his opponent to the ground three times. The ancient Greeks believed that wrestling helped to develop strength, agility, and balance, and it was also seen as a way to prepare for battle.
Pankration was an ancient Greek martial art that combined elements of boxing and wrestling. The name “pankration” comes from the Greek words “pan” and “kratos,” which mean “all” and “power,” respectively, indicating that it was a full-contact sport that allowed the use of all types of fighting techniques, including striking, grappling, and submission holds. It was considered one of the most dangerous sports of the ancient Olympic Games and was also used as a form of military training.
Unlike boxing, pankration allowed strikes with the fists, feet, and even knees and elbows. In addition, unlike wrestling, it also allowed chokeholds and joint locks. The only rules were no biting and no eye-gouging. It was considered a test of physical and mental strength, and it was believed that the training in pankration helped to develop courage and self-control.