Martial education methods were taught in organized classes to Greek school children from the late 1860s throughout the 1940s, reflecting ancient Hellenic customs and knowledge passed on through the Byzantine and Ottoman eras to modern Greece; Pammachon continues this tradition.
Pammachon utilizes a distinct neurological model referencing four separate neural nexuses to describe how stress and violence escalate “digitally” within our being. While this model was developed to better understand the physiological processes inherent to the escalation of force and as a means to train soldiers for combat, like Hippocrates' four humors, it may also be used to identify distinct personality types, to accurately gauge intentions and reactions during a business meeting, and to accommodate the effects of stress in our daily lives.
Developing the Training Curriculum
Pammachon is, and historically has been, a distinct sport as well as a martial art.
Pankration, what we call today Mixed Martial Arts, is probably Greece’s most famous combat sport. It is important to distinguish pammachon from pankration, though the words have been poetically used as synonyms. Pankration derives from “pan” (all) and “kratos”. The word Kratos is used in modern Greek to denote a nation and has multiple implications. It means power, yes. But it also means dominance, control, the ability to reduce something else to submission. Pankration translates best as “submission fighting”, that is to say, the intention of the sport being not to kill, but to subdue the opponent and control him.
We now have academic proof that Pammachon and Pankration were two separate things. In this letter to his sister Sophrone (Papyrus letter SB 3.6222 translated and completed by Ms.Sofie Remijsen of Leuven University in her article “Pammachon, A New Sport” (The Bulletin of the American Society of Papyrologists 47 (2010) 185-204)), a man called Dios writes how he competed in athletic games in Alexandria. The letter has been dated to the late third or fourth century through literary means, and we can date it very precisely based on the events it illustrates. The papyrus describes the Emperor attending festivities in the center of the city. We know that Diocletian visited Egypt in the winter of 301 through the spring of 302. He was most certainly in Alexandria on the 31st of March.
Excerpts from the letter read:"So, when we arrived here ...we found our lord the Emperor visiting. He ordered that athletes be brought to the Campus and fortunately, I and five (others) were selected ... I was at first paired up to do pankration and I had bad luck, as I do not know how to do pankration. So I was performing [poorly] for a long time… then I challenged the five to do pammachon and won. The emperor wanted to know whether I was [immediately] summoned to (fight) one man after the other."
Pammachon contests were often held with one man fighting against multiple opponents, and Dios won a lot of money and the favor of Diocletian. Dios’s statement that he “did not know how to do pankration,” clearly differentiates the sport he excelled in, pammachon, from pankration.
The Pammachon Cultural Union has reconstructed Pammachon Sport in the modern era. Click on the image below for a glimpse as to how the sport is played. Pammachon Sport, like Pankration Sport, are distinct modules in the Pammachon Training Curriculum.
Pammachon Training has adopted a modular format following the three levels outlined earlier.
- Non-lethal combatives are unarmed methods designed to facilitate escape and de-escalation, or to incapacitate, rather than injure, an opponent.
- Submission combatives are unarmed fighting methods designed to incapacitate and control an opponent without resorting to irreversible injury.
- Lethal combatives are unarmed and armed fighting methods designed to be used in hand-to-hand combat or close quarter combat.
All techniques and methods used in the system must follow the following principles:
- They must be in accord with the neurological and physiological criteria of the body under stress, based on the level of violence encountered.
- They must be tactically and operationally sound for the level of stress and/or violence encountered.
- They must be within acceptable legal and sociological parameters for the level of stress and/or violence encountered.
These three principles overlap and one flows into/follows the other.
The three levels are taught through a modular course structure. It is not necessary for the student to follow a linear format in his training; he may, for example, begin studying “historical fencing” at the commencement of his studies and then follow up with “escape from body holds”. Grading, however, follows a linear progression due to the concomitant neurological development imparted by the training, and therefore students may be graded only in a linear manner. For example, a student may enjoy participating in a course on historical fencing and may even reach a level of proficiency where he has completed that module; however, it is not possible for a student to be graded at the “lethal combatives” level without having previously completed the “escape” and “submission” levels. Nevertheless, historical fencing remains an integral component of the Pammachon system.
Mental training begins in the 3rd Level and may continue to a 4th Level if the student is interested in same. Components of the Mental Training Curriculum may be taught to beginners as well; the curriculum includes:
- Dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder.
- Better understanding combat stress and psychology.
- Dealing with panic attacks.
- Dealing with stress.
- Control of autonomic functions.
The Quadrune Brain model is used for all mental training within Pammachon.