History of Physical Education

Topics: Exercise, Ancient Greece, Physical exercise Pages: 8 (2539 words) Published: November 28, 2012

To provide a meaningful background of physical education and sport in modern society it is helpful to have a clear understanding of its role in the past and how it emerged. The purpose of this assignment is to outline the history of physical education since time immemorial. The text begins with the beginning of the humankind engaging in physical activities, showing the history of physical education and sport being a rich tapestry of people, places, events and social forces from early civilization to the present time through transitional periods.

The ground of education as a whole is going through remarkable challenges to serve the needs of the individual and the society, and this trend is reflected in physical education also. The history of physical education goes back to the earliest times, if we think of it in the simple terms of fitness and has existed since human society in one form or other. Since early history, even before the dawn of civilization and culture, physical exercise has been a very important aspect of human existence and it was not so long ago that it was called” physical culture” or “physical training”.

Primitive humans began life in the “Stone Age.” What can they be called? Paleolithic people, Stone agers, primitive humans or cave men. They were hunters and gatherers. They hunted wild game and fished; they gathered veggies, berries and nuts. Primitive humans depended entirely on nature for food. Primitive men moved according to their satisfaction, needs and necessity. They needed to be fit to be able to go through their journey to hunt for food and water. Being nomads and hunters, they were people who had to be persistently hunting and gathering food for survival. Their trips regularly lasted for one-to-two days for food or water and were meant for regular physical activity to be produced. When they successfully hunted, they would travel many miles and miles to celebrate with family and friends. Physical activities were not organized by them. The necessity for survival which is the protection against hostile environment and wild beasts, and sometimes the engagement in murder to insure their protection, motivated these men to keep themselves physically fit and strong enough compared to stronger forces of nature. In those days there were no machines to help people in their work. That is why they had to depend exclusively upon their physical powers and physical skill. They considered their body to be their prize possession, so their primary concern was to maintain and protect their body. The order of the day was the survival of the most fit. Their sociable nature was inborn and drew only by mating and propagation that gave them the desire to dance and play, which were not being organized. Men lived in such a state for thousands of years. There was neither any organization nor system. Most of their acts were learnt by the young generations by the competence of imitation rather than instruction. This lifestyle created many physical activities and a high level fitness which defined human life.

Neolithic people lived during the “New Stone Age”, from 9000 to 8000 B.C. This was the transitional period in which pre- historic societies began to control their surroundings and form civilization. The two most significant developments were the domestication of animals and farming. Their society was different from Paleolithic culture because they lived in established communities, domesticated animals and cultivated crops. As they improved their society they developed skills like spinning, weaving and building. They also made tombs and religious items. Men and women gave up hunting gathering as the only sources of living and learnt to produce their own food. Agriculture and the raise of cattle were discovered and increased to a productive economy. Many villages were built generally located next to rivers. Then came the creation...

References: S.E. Smith. (). What was the Neolithic Period?. Available: http://www.wisegeek.com/what-was-the-neolithic-period.htm. Last accessed: 30th Oct 2012.
Charles A. Bucher. (1983). Historical foundations of physical education and sport. In: Nancy K. Roberson Foundations of physical education and sport. US: The C.V. Mosby Company. P133-155.
Howel et al. 1994. History Of Sport And Physical Education. In: Foundations of Physical Education,pp. 17-117
A. Bruce Frederick. (). Gymnastics. Available: http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/250277/gymnastics#ref700589. Last accessed: 01st nov 2012.
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