The ancient art of Pankration is a Greek Martial Art which has been traced back to 648 B.C. as a competitive sport. There isn’t a huge amount of records for the rules implemented in Pankration, therefore it’s entirety is not known but it seems that there weren’t many. It was a very brutal sport and tournaments would sometimes last for hours if the contenders didn’t surrender or die. The popular stomach throw used in many modern day Martial Arts originated from this style, this is where you jump up on your opponent with your foot in his stomach grabbing his upper body as you fall backwards, as you land on your own back you launch the opponent over your head by extending your leg. You probably know the technique I am referring to!
Legend suggests that Pankration was the origin of all Martial Arts and Alexandra the Great used this system to train his armies in unarmed combat. It also states that the Greeks taught their style to the Asians after the invasion on India, however we doubt this myth because there is evidence that Asian Martial Arts were established way before Pankration in Greece.
A lot of the techniques used in this style are those of the modern day mixed martial arts (MMA). These consist of a variety of take downs, chokes and painful joint locks so if we were to evaluate which fighting style MMA is most closely related to, I would say it has to be Pankration.
History Of Pankration – Video
The video clearly shows the resemblance between some of the techniques that are used by MMA fighters today and those of Pankration centuries ago. If you want to know more about this style then check out the history of Pankration