History of Physical Education

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History of Physical Education

By | May 2005
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The field of physical education has gone through many cycles over its long history. These cycles range from a strict authoritarianism to the liberal democracy of today. This transformation to the democracy has opened the field of physical education up to many new sciences, which are creating many new professional opportunities. If the cycles of physical education continue, these new professions will hopefully pave the way to future discoveries and studies of physical education.

The Spartans and Athenians were the first to have a type of physical education. Though very different, both systems served the people and their needs. The Spartan system was similar to a dictatorship. Male children were taken at the age of seven to learn basic military skills while living in barracks. When the children reached the age of fourteen, they began learning group fighting tactics which would allow them to succeed while in the military from the ages of twenty to thirty. Once thirty, the men could then marry a women who had been doing some training of her own in order to make strong babies. The philosophy of the Spartans was basically to allow them to invade other countries if desired, and to prevent other countries from invading them.

The philosophy of the Athenians was quite different compared to the Spartans. The Athenian culture was very democratic, and focused on training the mind and body. Reading and writing was a large part of society as well as physical activity which took place in the center of the city where the gymnasium was located. The physical education philosophy of the Athenians was the high point of physical education for many years.

Some other cycles in physical education that we have evolved from are that of the Romans, the dark ages, and the crusades. The Roman era is a bit disturbing, but is nonetheless a cycle of physical education. Physical education for the Romans was about athletics, which was primarily about...