The Martial Arts of Ancient Greece: Modern Fighting Techniques from the Age of Alexander

Excerpts & Samples

By Kostas Dervenis

Publisher : Inner Traditions/Bear & Company

ABOUT Kostas Dervenis

Kostas Dervenis
Kostas Dervenis is a martial arts instructor in jujutsu, pammachon, and t’ai chi chuan. He has written four books on the martial arts and martial traditions, including Nei Kung and The Magus of Java under the pen name Kosta Danaos. He lives in Athens, Greece.



An in-depth guide to the modern practice of Greek martial arts and their beginnings in ancient Greece and Egypt

• Examines the correlation between ancient depictions of one-on-one combat and how martial arts are practiced today

• Explores the close relationship between Greek martial arts and spiritual practice

• Distinguishes between Pammachon (martial arts) and Pankration (combat sports)

The ancient friezes and decorative motifs of ancient Greece contain abundant scenes of combat, one-on-one and hand-to-hand. In The Martial Arts of Ancient Greece, the authors offer close inspection of these depictions to reveal that they exactly correlate to the grappling and combat arts as they are practiced today. They also show that these artifacts document the historical course of the development of both the weaponry of the warrior classes and the martial responses those weapons required when fighting hand-to-hand.

The depiction of each ancient technique is accompanied by sequenced step-by-step photos of modern practitioners performing the various stances of one-on-one combat. In addition, the authors explain how the development of Hellenic combat arts was tied at its heart to a spiritual practice. The centeredness, clear mind, and consequent courage that develops from a spiritual practice was considered a martial strength for a warrior, enabling him to be at his best, unobstructed inwardly by conflict or inertia. The Martial Arts of Ancient Greece provides a practical and comprehensive approach to the techniques and philosophy of the martial arts of the ancient Mediterranean that will be welcomed by modern fighters.
“Straightforward and insightful, a refreshingly commonsense approach to the truths hidden within both history and mythology. This is an in-depth piece of research revealing a timeless wisdom and the universality of personal experience. A must-read for all those interested in the roots of our martial and spiritual traditions.”
William Gleason, 6th dan, director of Shobu Aikido in Boston, and author of The Spiritual Foundations of Aikido

" . . . [The authors'] purpose for this volume . . . is an exploration of ancient combat systems for the sake of helping solve modern global problems. . . . an extremely enlightening book"
Daniele Bolelli, M.A., Journal of Asian Martial Arts, Vol. 17, No. 2

"Any in-depth collection strong in martial arts history needs The Martial Arts of Ancient Greece: a survey of early hand-to-hand combat and a comparison to how they are practiced today."
The Bookwatch, The Midwest Book Review, Jan 08

"Only a couple of decades ago, if one spoke about martial arts, it went without saying that they were referring to Asian combat systems. . . . While it is true that most martial systems in existence today are of Eastern origins, increasingly more information is emerging about the martial traditions of the west. . . . an extremely enlightening book.
Daniele Bolelli, M.A., Journal of Asian Martial Arts, Vol. 17, No. 2, 2008

"[Dervenis and Lykiardopoulos] do a creditable job of linking the Olympic sport that many warriors know and love now with the hand-to-hand combat training and applications depicted by works of ancient Greek art."
Tim Thompson, Journal of Martial Arts and Healing, Summer 2008

"Using archeological finds, architectural friezes and decorative motifs of ancient Greece, the authors have demonstrated the actual methods of grappling and close combat they demonstrate and how they are practiced today. Photos illustrate each step as well as the history and theory being presented."
Institute of Hermetic Studies, May 2008