Βy Eric D. Hill
It is important to note that the image is a cropped from a picture of Greek children training with the traditional κοντάρι (staff) in their school during the 1880’s in Thraki. Greek schools in Hellas and Anatolia conducted such training. Non-Greek schools did not. Hence, from evidence later on and through this period, one can conclude that it is a “native Greek” tradition. Training with the κοντάρι is invaluable in teaching mechanics. Surprising for most is that it applies to unarmed mechanics also; particulary the stance. The NATO special forces article, authored by Kostas Dervenis, on the HPA website touches on the physiology of the “stance” at a high level ( http://www.hellenicpa.org/hpa/images/MIO%20Journal%209th%20edition%20Excerpt.pdf ). This invaluable tradition is continuing for youth and adults with the HPA Pammachon program in the Hellenic Diaspora.