Εικόνες σελίδας
Ηλεκτρ. έκδοση

- Alpa, or the exercise of leaping, ranked se- ground, and continued the fight by biting, cond, and was generally performed with oral scratching, pinching, kicking, or any other weights of lead, having holes in them through method of annoying their antagonists. This was which the leapers put their fingers, and by these continued till one of them yielded; and it often they poised and assisted forward their bodies. happened that he who in wrestling would have The proficiency of some of these was very great: conquered, was, in the Pancratium, compelled Pausanias assures us, that Pbaulus of Crotona to give in. In the time of Homer all these exerleaped fifty-two feet.— The hurling of the discus cises were performed in drawers, which, indeed, (dokos), a quoit of stone, brass, or iron, was were not laid aside before the thirty-second among the most ancient of these sports. It was Olympiad. One Orseppus, a wrestler, is said to thrown under the hand as the quoit is now in have been the first who introduced the practice England, and the object was to hurl it further of contending naked : for, having been worsted than another could do.

by his drawers entangling him, he threw them The wrestling of the ancients (oraln) required aside, and the rest afterwards imitated him. equal strength and agility. They never encoun- From the Greeks the Romans derived these tered till all their joints had been fomented and exercises, and improved them to the highest desuppled with oil to prevent strains, and to elude grce of magnificence. But the declension of the the grasp of their antagonists. After having empire involved the ruin of the arts, and, among anointed their whole bodies, they rolled them- others, that of gymnastics. The attempts to reselves in sand to prevent excessive perspiration, vive and improve them, at the close of the last and were then considered ready to enter the century, it is now our business to notice. lists. The victory was adjudged to him who had Germany was the first country that attempted given his antagonist three falls. Ilvypaxia, or the the revival of these ancient and manly sports. exercise of boring, was the last both in order and At Schnepphenthal, near Gotha, Salzman first in estimation. As well as a certain fleshiness of arm, framed a course of gymnastics, which was imand stoutness, if not corpulence of body, to in- proved and arranged by Gutsmuth, who pube crease the force of their own blows and to lessen the lished the first modern treatise on the subject in injury of their antagonist's, a certain regimen was 1793. In Denmark the government, intent on a requisite, regular sleep, rest, and provisions, which plan of public education, issued an order that a but ill prepared the combatants for the privations piece of ground should be allotted to every pubof war. In this exercise also the victory was never lic school for the practice of these exercises; and, decided till one of the parties fairly yielded, either in 1804, no less than sixteen of these establishby holding up a finger, or demanding quarter. ments were formed in that kingdom. In 1810 This, however, seemed so contrary to the obsti- a gymnasium was erected at Berlin by the Prus nate character of Grecian valor, that one of the sian government, and placed under the direction parties was generally slain; and the laws of of M. Jahn, by whose exertions several similar Sparta absolutely prohibited her citizens from institutions have been formed in various parts of ever engaging in it, as a Spartan was taught to Prussia and Germany. In fact, no large academy disdain saving his life by yielding to his oppo- is now considered perfect in those countries which nent, and the life of a Greek was not to be sacri- does not include a course of gymnastics in its ficed to the amusement of an hour.'

system. In 1817 appeared Gutsmuth's comAt first they used never to box but with naked plete System of Gymnastic Exercises, to which, fists and arms, afterwards they covered the wrists in the course of the article, we shall find it ne and hands with leather thongs, and at length cessary to refer. fought with their arms and fists perfectly cased E arly in the spring of 1826 a meeting was in leather, loaded with plummets of lead. These held in London at the Mechanics' Theatre, tremendous gloves were called Cæstus, and the Southampton Buildings, Dr. Gilchrist in the following description of those of Eryx, the bro- chair, to consider of the practicability of estab ther of Acestes, king of Sicily, sufficiently proves lishing a London Gymnastic Society. Professor the direful nature of the combat :

Voelker of Germany came forward and offered

to give his instructions gratuitously, and another In medium geminos immani pondere cæstus gentleman present advanced the money for the Projecit; quibus acer Eryx in prælia suetus

erection of the apparatus. A society was soon Ferre manum, durnque intendere brachia tergo. formed, and they purchased a piece of ground Obstupuere animi; tantorum ingentia septem Terga boum plumbo insuto ferroque rigebant.

on the higher part of Spa Fields, near PentonÆneid lib. v. I. 401.

ville. From its elevation it is dry, and capacious

enough to accommodate about 300 gymnasts. --He threw

These are arranged in classes according to their Two ponderous gauntlets down in open view, size and capacity; and the various poles, &c., Gauntlets, which Eryx wont in fight to wield,

are constructed of different sizes accordingly. And sheath his hands with in the listed field.

At the ringing of a bell each class changes the With fear and wonder seized, the crowd beholds

exercise in which it has been previously engaged, The gloves of death, with seven distinguished folds

and begins a new one, according to a plan preOf tough bull-hides : the space within is spread With iron, or with loads of heavy lead. Dryden.

dom scribed by the director. The success of the un

dertaking has, we think, exceeded even the exThe Pancratium also (Gr. Taykparlov) is pectation of the most sanguine of the projectors. worthy of notice. It was a contest in which In about two months they numbered 700 pupils; both wrestling and boxing were united, and the and it was soon seen that similar places might be combatants often threw themselves upon the erected with advantage in various parts of the suburbs of London. Similar societies have been taken to make the steps short and quick, keeping formed at Hackney, Bethnal Green, Knights- the arms crossed and the head erect. After these bridge, &c.

exercises have in some degree brought the mus- PART II.

cles of the thigh into play, and rendered the

knee-joints sufficiently flexible, the pupil may DESCRIPTION OF THE MODERN GYMNASTIC

begin leaping. Of leaps there are several difEXERCISES.

ferent kinds, viz. the lang leap with or without a The ancient and modern gymnastics must not run, the high leap with or without a run, the deep be confounded. The present professors of the leap, or the same leaps with a pole, all of which art entitle it ‘a revival of the ancient exercises of are very differently performed. the Greeks ;' but he who should visit Pentonville 1. I'he long leap without a run is an excellent with the hope of watching the striving of the exercise, particularly for the muscles of the feet, dusty wrestler, the combat of the Pancratium, or calves, and thighs. It is performed merely by the hurling of the discus, will indeed be dis- the elastic power of the feet, assisted by a swingappointed. He will see but little in the ‘leaping ing of the hands. The long leaps are best perstand, or the climbing scaffold,' of the London formed over a ditch about a foot deep, ond gymnasia to remind him of the Grecian academy increasing in breadth from one end to the other or the Roman amphitheatre. The ancient thes:gymnastics fitted men for the field, and for the fotigues of war—the moderns, profess only to improve the constitution; to enable men to encounter without injury the close air of the counting house or the drawing room; to endure without trouble the fatigues of a city life. To strengthen all the muscles of the body being their object, the exercises are necessarily of different kinds. The principal ones are six in number : taking care that the margin of one side, A, be we commence with the most simple and

composed of loose sand to the extent of about natural.

two feet and a half, in order that a slip in de. RUNNING

scending may not strain the feet of the leaper. As it is evidently necessary to the performance The broadest end of the ditch need not exceed of several of the other exercises, the young gym- twenty feet, and the breadth should diminish · nast must particularly endeavour to acquire a gradually to about four and a half. Continued swift and easy method of running. The most jumping from one end to another of a long common fault is the taking too short and swift piece of ground is also recommended as an exsteps, which soon fatigue, and the progress is not cellent preparatory exercise. so great in proportion as when the steps are 2. The high leap without a'run.- In order to longer though less quickly perforined. It is also practise thc high leaps it is necessary to construct more difficult to breathe in time with such steps, a leaping stand, which is generally made in the and the runner consequently sooner loses his following manner :- Two upright posts, a and b wind. About 350 or 400 feet is the best length in the diagram, are fixed in the ground at the for a course; though for very young or weak distance of about twelve feet from each other, pupils 250 may be found sufficient, and when a and having holes drilled in them at every inch party first begin this exercise, they should start for the insertion of the pegs c, c, over which a in the military "double-quick time. This will cord is kept extended by the two weights fastened prevent strains, either from the violence of start- to its extremities :ing or the sudden exertion of the race, for which the body might be unprepared. Indeed sufficient attention has never been paid to swift running in time, and consequently a line can scarcely be at all kept by persons when running with only a moderate degree of swiftness.

LEAPING. Leaping is the hest bodily exercise for the lower members, and therefore occupies a very prominent place in all modern gymnastics. In order, however, to practise this with ease, initiatory exercises are often necessary. We frequently meet with persons of corsiderable muscular strength, who, from their habits of life, are so sluggish and unwieldy that they know not how to exert it. The ploughman, who with ordinary fatigue would guide the plough all day through the hardest furrows, would be unable probably to leap a ditcb to save his life. These preliminary exercises are hopping, and striking the lower part of the back with the feet and the knees agains: the breast. In hopping care should be VOL. X.

3 B

[ocr errors]


The leap over the cord must always be made proach the leaping-place; long steps are to from the side of the stand, opposite to which the be particularly avoided, as they considerably string is laid, in order that it may give way if diminish the force of the run. As it is evident struck by the feet. This stand therefore allows that the spring can be finally made with only one of leaping from one side only, and even then foot, and most persons leap best with the right, the weight often occasions the string to entangle some little practise is required to enable the the leaper, although his feet carry it off the pegs. leaper to so far measure the distance with his A better stand may be made (if the leapers are eye, as to bring that foot forward to leap with, not very numerous) with poles that shut up in When descending, the feet should be kept close three joints, one within the other, similar to together, the knees slack, and the chest well some fishing-rods. These being drawn out to thrown forward, and on arriving at the ground any required length, and supported in their a light spring should be again made to lessen the position by means of small pegs, a thin light shock of the fall; though if the opposite margin cane in place of the string is laid along the top be formed of loose sand to the depth of about of the two poles, which are slightly grooved to three feet, as before recommended, no shock can receive it. See plate II. GYMNASTICS, fig. 2. be felt. Many young leapers, however,. by This will be found to fly off with the slightest throwing the feet too forward, fall backward on touch, and never to embarrass the pupil: a cir- coming to the ground, or by separating the legs cuinstance worthy of consideration, as a 'fall give to one of them alone the whole weight of when leaping to the height of eight or ten feet the descent, and thereby are apt to receive some often produces serious injury. This stand may unpleasant strains. But, of all the faults of also be used with equal safety from either side; young beginners, the most common is that of but the poles cannot be set so far asunder as in endeavouring to hurl themselves along without the other, it being difficult to procure a thin cane leaping to a sufficient height: they thus come that is straight above five feet in length. In quickly to the ground, and generally fall on order to learn the high leap without a run, the their faces by the strength of their own leap. A pupil is directed to place himself at about the person who can leap three or four times the distance of four feet from the stand, and having length of his body, may be said to be a good excited the elastic power of his feet by a pre- leaper, though he will remain as a gymnast far liminary leap of about three feet, he springs behind Phaulus of Crotona, who leaped fiftyover the cane. The two leaps should be made two feet at the Olympic games. very light, and follow one another instantane- 5. The high leap with a run may be perforined ously, that the force of the first spring be not either by bending the legs under the body as close lost. It is better for young pupils to begin as possible, immediately on leaving the ground; this with the cane no higher than the knees; but or by throwing the left leg over the cane, and many persons will spring over a cord at the drawing the right sharply up to the bottom of height of the pit of the stomach.

the back; or by throwing them together, either 3. The deep leap is a spring from one side of to the right or left side, to prevent their catching a ditch to the other, which is considerably lower, against the obstacle over which you leap The or indeed from any high place to a low one, and run, &c., is the same as in the preceding exercise; is best performed with the assistance of the and many leapers will in this manner clear a hands. By contriving to throw himself partly wall considerably above their own height. At on his hands, and let the weight of his descent Greenwich this exercise is combined with a game thus gradually pass over to the feet, the gymnast of carrying off a ring on the top of a sword while will soon be enabled to leap from a height, that in the act of leaping, and this accustoms the puto an unpractised eye would appear dangerous. pils to spring with great precision and coolness. By continual practise on the ladder of the 6. The long leap with a pole.-We are now climbing-stand (see plate I. GYMNASTICS), for come to leaping with a pole, which has been instance, he will in time be enabled to leap with said to be vaulting, in which the leaper, instead comparative ease from a two pair of stairs win- of supporting himself by an intervening object, dow, and thus have a considerable advantage in carries with him a pole, which he places in whatcase of fire over the idle or the sedentary man, ever spot he chooses.' This is, however, by no to whom a leap from the first floor would; be means correct; the support given by a wall, bar, often fatal. For exercise this leap is often per- or other fixed object over which you have to formed without the assistance of the hands, and move, and on which the hands must be moved, great care must then be taken to fall on the ball bears but little resemblance to a moveable pole of the toes, instead of the heels, as otherwise a which swings with your body, and on which you very considerable shock may be given to the in a manner hang. The pole should be from body. Dropping also from a height is often about six feet to ten, or even thirteen, feet long, connected with this exercise, and great care and about two inches thick at the bottom, tapermust then be taken to keep the knees slack, and ing to about an inch at the top: ash is the best the body rather forward in the descent. These wood, as fir, though more easily procured straight, exercises must on no account be performed after is more liable to crack. This pole is held with a meal, as the shock on a full stomach may the right hand about the height of the head, and sometimes occasion hernia.

the left a little higher than the hips. The run is 4. The long leap with a run is to be practised the same as before, but the leap must be made over the ditch shown above, and the run should with the left foot. The leaper then swings round never exceed twenty-five feet. The steps should to the right of the pole, making a turn, so that be small, and increase in rapidity as they ap- his body faces, on his reaching the opposite

[merged small][subsumed][merged small][graphic][subsumed][merged small][merged small]
« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »