Yesterday's warning continues for this post.
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Ephesians 6:12
Wrestlers, too, often wrestled to the death. In fact, a favorite tactic in those days was to grab hold of an opponent around the waist from behind, throw him up in the air, and quickly break his backbone in half from behind. In order to make an opponent surrender, it was quite normal to strangle him into submission. Choking was another acceptable practice. So wrestling was another extremely violent sport.
They were tolerant of every imaginable tactic: breaking fingers, breaking ribs by a waistlock, gouging the face, knocking the eyes out, and so forth. Although less injurious than the other combat sports, wrestling was still a bitter struggle to the end. . .Wrestling was a bloody, bloody sport.
Then there were Pankratists. Pankratists were a combination of all of the above. The word “pankratist” is from two Greek roots, the words pan and kratos. Pan means “all,” and kratos is a word for “exhibited power.” The two words together describe “someone with massive amounts of power; power over all; more power than anyone else.”
This, indeed, was the purpose of Pankration. Its competitors were out to prove they could not be beaten and were tougher than anyone else!
In order to prove this, they were permitted to kick, punch, bite, gouge, strike, break fingers, break legs, and do any other horrible thing you could imagine. . . .There was no part of the body that was off-limits. They could do anything to any part of their competitor’s body, for there were basically no rules.
An early inscription says this about Pankration: “If you should hear that your son has died, believe it, but if you hear he has been defeated and retired, do not believe it.” Why? Because more died in this sport than surrendered or were defeated. Like the other combat sports, it was extremely violent.