The Greek HEMA federation is a fact

Athens 30 July 2014

The Administration Council of the Hellenic Federation of Pankration Athlima, at the council of 31st of May decide the accession of the Pammachon (Historical European Martial Arts) at the Hellenic Federation of Pankration Athlima.

The Administration Council of Pammachon (Historical European Martial Arts) are:

  1. Constantinos Dervenis (member of Hellenic Federation of Pankration Athlima & Pammachon)- President
  2. Nectarios Likiardopoulos (member of Hellenic Federation of Pankration Athlima & Pammachon) Secretary-General
  3. Stamatios Stamatoglou (member of Hellenic Federation of Pankration Athlima & Pammachon) Vice-President
  4. George E. Georgas (Fencing instructor, Fencing referee and member of the Greek Fencing Federation, and member of Pammachon) Treasurer

We wish you success in your task.

Best regards

The President




In photo, Mr.C.Dervenis president of the Pammachon (Historical European Martial Arts), Mrs A.Gerrekou Deputy Minister of Culture for Sport and Athletics of Greece, Mr.A.Mazarakis president of the Hellenic Federation of Pankration Athlima,Mr. P.Kanellopoulos secretary-general of the Hellenic Federation of Pankration Athlima.


Τhe importance of breaking the balance of the oponent


By Constantinos Dervenis

Sometimes you get lucky, even when your major concern of the day is how much effort you should expend to get up off your butt and walk down to the beach to continue sitting in the sun.
These period engravings of battle scenes from the Nafplio War Museum show two important points that have been grossly neglected today.

Photo from the Nafplio War Museum
1. The first are the centers of motion for the heavy battle sabre, very clearly the wrist as centre in the defensive position and the shoulder when delivering finishing blows. You will notice the elbow is never held before the body, as in this position it would constitute a target. The “elbow-first” position was the result of European dueling traditions both with stick and blade; its intention was to make use of the weapon easier for the untrained or the less-than-trained, and to make a less-than-lethal target available to duelists. But in battle, the wrist and extended arm were clearly evident in defensive postures as regards people who knew what they were doing – in fact, that is the reason behind the creation of the basket hilt.

Photo from the Nafplio War Museum

2. The second is a more important point, and is something that I have emphasized in the project I am doing for NATO, as it has not been pointed out by close quarter combat instructors in recent history. If you examine the CVs of many HEMA instructors today, you will note that they do not have the luxury of decades of previous experience; that is to say, few of us have been fully classically trained in an existing tradition, eastern or western, and even then what may have come down the pipes is open to debate. I myself, for example, did not fully understand the importance of what I am about to say until the late 90s, following an extended period of tutelage under Chen Xiaowang of tai chi chuan fame. Pompous preamble aside then, here is the point: note that in every case – in every case – when a finishing blow is delivered or about to be delivered, the “hero” has broken the balance of his opponent before delivering the final blow. The reason for this is that no living thing goes down into the dark night willingly – they will fight tooth and nail; in modern history, for example, people have been shot in the heart and gone on to terminate their opponent before expiring. Breaking and controlling the opponent’s structure is a crucial part of Pammachon training, and we never – ever – deliver a finishing blow, armed or unarmed, unless we are in control of the opponent’s structure, so that he cannot react. I learned this from my teachers, from studying ancient and historical depictions, but mostly from having to slaughter a large animal or two on my own. I was very pleased, therefore, to see it in these 19th century engravings depicting scenes from the 1821 Greek War of Independence against the Turks.

Photo from the Nafplio War Museum

It is important to note that “breaking the opponent’s balance” can also happen mentally, but that, like a great white shark, should that happen and a lethal blow be delivered, the practitioner must then back off and protect himself until the opponent weakens and drops, after which he can carefully re-engage.