Jul 06 2020

Jim Arvanitis Resurrects Pankration The First Mixed Martial Art. judo. ancient greek pankration. ancient pankration. bo. grappling technique. Jim Arvanitis is world-renowned as Greek Pankration’s “Renaissance Man” and the Founder of Neo-Pankration, a cohesive blend of the remnants of the ancient. Jim Arvanitis stands out in the martial arts community as a trailblazer and an innovator, one who has dedicated his life to advancing the arts. World renowned as.

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Shaking the hand of Jim Arvanitis set off an earthquake in my right hand. Bones creaked, and knuckles buckled and cracked. While at Greek school, Arvanitis saw pictures of ancient Olympic games lining the walls, including some depicting pankration. No one at school seemed to know much about the sport when Arvanitis asked, so he decided to research it himself. As it turns out, it was a combat fighting sport that banned no actions except biting and gouging, and therefore was unique in its promotion of combining different fighting styles.

Pankration was based off an earlier form of fighting used by the Greeks in battle.

His ardor for combat sports began in the Greater Boston area when he was young. Arvanitis was the oldest child in his family, and that meant he was tasked with protecting his younger brother, Danny Arvanitis. Unfortunately, Jim Arvanitis was the victim of bullying during his childhood. His father, George Arvanitis, thought introducing his eldest son to combat sports would give him more self-respect. He worked with boxing trainers in Lowell, Mass.


He took up bodybuilding.

Jim Arvanitis Part 1: The First Mixed Martial Artist

Arvanitid discovered Kosen judo and picked up its many chokeholds. He also somehow found time to get a degree in math from Plymouth State University. Through the absorption of all these techniques, Arvanitis became a one-of-a-kind fighter. No one else thought to use multiple styles in combat.

When he met martial arts journalist and self-defense instructor Massad Ayoob inAyoob convinced Arvanitis to pick up his life and move to California, where he could pitch his skills to different media outlets and take on new challenges. Arvanitis was featured on the cover of the Nov.

Martial arts legend shares no-holds-barred stories

The cover story changed everything for Arvanitis, he said. Almost overnight, he became a celebrity in the fighting world, and a multitude of opportunities came with the spotlight. He developed a dedicated following, and slowly but surely, the days of pankration being a punchline were coming to an end.

The community became more accepting of the idea of pankration being a precursor to the Eastern martial arts styles that are popular today, he said. My talk with Arvanitis lasted well over two hours. There are countless stories of opportunities that arose from his newfound fame that he recounted to me, but I have only so much space, and therefore have chosen a select few. InArvanitis met Jack LaLanne, and the pair got into a one-upping contest to see who could do the most challenging push-up.

Lalanne did one with his arms fully extended in front of his head, on his fingertips. Arvanitis countered by doing a one-armed, two-finger push-up. Eventually, this led to Arvanitis attempting and completing a push-up on only his thumbs.


Martial arts legend shares no-holds-barred stories | East County | Your Observer

He officially set the world record for thumb push-ups with 45 in 51 seconds, then broke his own record by completing 61 in 47 seconds on The Guinness Game show three years later. Perhaps the biggest sign of respect shown for Arvanitis came in the early s, when Army rangers asked him to train groups of 12 soldiers for combat in Desert Storm. He taught them hand-to-hand combat in a no-holds-barred style, and also taught them how to defend themselves against knives and other weapons.

Despite his media persona, Arvanitis values his privacy at home. Writing books is his new passion, he said. He has written arvanitie, with three more on the way.

He also gives seminars across the country. That fits with his personality. Arvanitis said the Greek key, an interlocking circle of right-angled spirals symbolizing infinity, represents his goals in life: Everyone has a gift, but most people jjim not discover it. In my own head, I am simply a guy with a passion for his heritage and lineage.

Arvanitis wants to be remembered, if for nothing else, for going against the grain and promoting the origins of martial arts. View advanitis discussion thread. Sports East County Friday, Feb. Ryan Kohn Sports Reporter. It made for one heck of a first impression.