Before there was mixed martial arts, there was Pankration – a fighting style consisting of boxing and wrestling, along with many other fighting techniques, that derived from ancient Greece. Meaning ‘all of power,’ this rather brutal, anything-goes fighting style involved hand-to-hand combat, where practitioners utilized any technique to take out their opponent. This was either through submission or knock out. Not only were fighters trained in using their fists to box their opponents, they also learned to wrestle, chokehold, and grapple accordingly.
Although first introduced in 648 BC, some believe that Pankration was practiced much earlier. Ancient Greek mythology indicates that the first Pankration practitioners to be recorded were the heroes, Heracles and Theseus. It was believed that they would utilize pankration techniques to deal with their opponents, using boxing and wrestling to conquer. There are many drawings that depict Heracles fighting a Nemean lion using pankration. It was also noted that in the Greek mythology of Theseus versus the Minotaur, he had defeated the Minotaur in the Labryinth using pankration techniques.