What is Pammachon ?


From Kostas Dervenis president of Pammachon

I’m going to be writing this in English for our international friends and partners, though the majority of the people affected at the moment are Greek.

There seems to be a considerable amount of confusion, largely my fault, as to what Pammachon actually is and how it will evolve.

In summary:

1. Pammachon is a System of martial education and a Method of managing violence of all types (mental, emotional, physical), reconstructed by myself based on traditional principles, techniques and tactics. There are four levels of achievement in the System. Under this aspect, Pammachon is recognized by the Institute of Traditional Martial Arts of the University of New Mexico, an Institution created to enable the acquisition of college credit for the study of traditional martial arts.

2. Pammachon is a Branch of Sport recognized by the Hellenic Federation of Pankration Athlima, which in turn is an Athletic Federation legally recognized by the Hellenic Ministry of Culture and sports to promote traditional Hellenic combat sports. Under this venue, Pammachon as a Sport will take three forms:

a. Hoplomachia, weapons combat. This venue has already been enacted and primarily revolves around the Historical European weapons that have or have had a presence in Hellenic history. Currently these include sabre, sabre and buckler, and staff. The drive is to include other weapons historically evident in the region and practiced under modern HEMA (Historical European Martial Arts), such as the longsword; George E. Georgas is responsible for running this.

b. Pammachon as a Sport. This venue is currently under enactment only in the United States – we want to be very sure of what we are doing and it is currently in the pilot phase. Historically, this Sport can be described as “Pankration taking into account the presence of weapons and the limitations of actual close quarter combat“.

c. Incorporation of Pankration into the HEMA movement in Europe and the United States. Pankration being a legally sanctioned international sport only one step away from recognition by the Sport Accord, it is ludicrous that it is not practiced by current HEMA practitioners. We are going to remedy that.

The way all the above will be promoted is quite simple. Unlike other HEMA organizations, the Hellenic Federation of Pankration Athlima (HFPA) is legally sanctioned by Greece’s Ministry of Culture and Sports. That means every so often (typically every two years), they hold State-sponsored training programs that issue Trainer Certificates equivalent under European law to a B.Sc. in Physical Education. That is to say, the HFPA can issue a degree-equivalent license for its members to practice physical education/ combat sports as a business in Europe. I am unaware of any other HEMA organization that can make the same claim, and it is a safe bet to say that no other HEMA federation in Greece will obtain such recognition.

All practitioners of Pammachon activities as a Branch of Sport will have the right to participate in future courses of the HFPA for certification, in accord with requirements defined by the Board of Directors, which is why I issue and sign diplomas in the first place.

3. Yes, I teach Close Combat to NATO frogmen and the Hellenic Armed Forces. Yes, it is “cool”. No, this activity is not necessarily a part of items (1) and (2). Close Combat (killing people with your hands) involves very specialized knowledge, and, while Pammachon as item (1) sets the foundation for many of the skills involved, chances are you will not be taught these techniques if you participate in Pammachon classes. For example, I have been teaching people for twenty years who have not learned the details of what I show to soldiers under this program. The distinction with students of the Pammachon System is that, once the techniques and tactics were made clear, they picked them up readily and could physically perform them in about thirty seconds – which is the whole point of the training. The same holds true for swords or any weapons.

This concludes our current status.

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