Human Weapon

Season 1 Episode 6

Pankration: The Original Martial Art

Aired Unknown Aug 24, 2007 on The History Channel

Episode Recap

In this journey Bill and Jason head to Athens, Greece where they will learn what could have been the original martial art, Pankration. Pankration was first developed by the ancient Greeks, but was lost for nearly 2,000 years, after the fall of Greece. But do to the hard work of many fighters and Greek archeologists; they were able to bring this ancient martial art back to life. Jason and Bill get their first look at Pankration in a nighttime tournament, where they see that in Pankration anything goes. The actual translation of Pankration means "all powers" and Jason and Bill realize that they have a lot of work to do. They also meet Laas Savvides who gives them the challenge of fighting one of his fighters after they train; Bill and Jason gladly accept.

After getting that first taste of Pankration they travel to the world famous Mallios Gym, where mister Mallios gives them there first training lessons. After they get the basics down, they are taught an extremely offensive move, possibly one of the deadly moves they have learned. The move is called Gastrizen and it is a very powerful kick that, as Mallios demonstrated, was even used to shatter an opponent's shield.

Following that training they head west to Nemea, where they meet a historian who tells them about when Pankration first moved from the battlefield to the arena. It is believed that a form of "tapping out" was invented here, but it was considered a great humiliation to tap out, so many fighters chose to rather die than face that humiliation.

After learning more about the history of Pankration, Jason and Bill head to Argons and they meet an advanced Pankration trainer here. Here they watch some more fights and Jason quickly recognizes that a lot of these moves are also used in MMA. This will give him a big advantage if he is the one chosen to fight. Their trainer tells them that takedowns are a huge part of Pankration and he teaches them a double leg takedown that could prove to be very useful in the ring. They also learn an over the shoulder throw, that could really benefit Jason if he has to fight a larger opponent.

Once they finished that training they meet a former MMA cage-fighter and body guard, Dimitri. Dimitri shows them some of the weapons used by the ancient Spartans, such as the short sword and the spear. They then head to Dimitri's gym where he tells them that in Pankration having dominant body position is the key. He then shows them a few important ground moves like the shoulder lock and the achilles leg lock. Dimitri decides that they are now ready for a real fight. Jason quickly defeats his opponent, but Bill has a much harder time with his rather large opponent.

Finally, for their last training session they go to an ancient Greek castle where they meet up with Aris Makris. Aris is a Pankration master and warns them that his training will be tougher than anything they have done before. Jason and Bill soon find out that he wasn't joking and although no modern tools are used, the training is severely draining. Aris puts them through an ancient Greek conditioning routine and makes them hurl stones and carry logs. After one more day of Aris's training they are ready for their real match.

They make their way over to the Zapeion Arena where in 1896 the Olympic games were first restarted. One of them will have to fight a descendent of the Greek warriors, Constintino. They decide that they will draw a name to see who will fight, Bill's name is drawn. Bill starts off the first round by taking some kicks to the face, but he is also able to pin Constintino a few times. In round two, Bill splits open his toe on some marble, but after it is cleaned up he continues fighting. However, not aware of all the rules of Pankration, Bill is penalized three points for slamming a pinned opponent. In round three Bill does well, but it penalized again, this time for accidentally punching Constintino in the face. In the end Bill loses the match by a score of 18 to 20. Although he lost, he fought very well against an experienced Pankration fighter; both Bill and Jason will leave Greece with the vast knowledge of another martial art.