NAZDAR! (Czech Sokol greeting that translates “on to success!”)
To the non-physically literate person who does not understand the history of movement and physical education, large mass calisthenic groups appear to be Nazi propaganda.
While Hitler bastardized the reputation of large mass group movement, this form of physical training is as pure as it can be. When you want to train large groups of people–mass calisthenics is how you do it whether it is military or civilian. The Sokols remain the ultimate example. While they had a rejection rate of less than 1% in WWII military service (compare this to today which is around 70%), they were non-political and not training for the purposes of military conquest. While self defense and national defense was part of classical PE content, it was not “the” objective. When duty called, yes, the Sokols were better prepared and proudly served, but their system was built for overall quality of life through the physical.
All political views were part of the Czech Sokols and members came “together” as one from all walks of life. Imagine how far this would take America today? Tens of thousands coming together as one for the betterment of the nation without a military objective? It’s not a dream. It’s history. NAZDAR!
To continue with the Czech Sokol history lesson, the image above depicts more of the “whole body” education through the physical philosophy taught by the Sokols where reading literacy and support of libraries was also important along with an emphasis upon the arts and music. They were very cultured and developed in mind, body, and spirit.
“Physical perfection should go hand in hand with a Noble Mind.”
*Reference: American Sokol Organization (1965)