Gymnastics and Tumbling (Naval Aviation Physical Training Manual)

Gymnastics and Tumbling (Naval Aviation Physical Training Manual)

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i- Naval Aviation Physical Training Manuals, is a nationwide organization of military and civilian members and affiliations. The Institute was founded, not for profit, but for the advancement of professional, literary, and scientific knowledge in the Navy and among military and civilian contemporaries.

p E INSTITUTE has assumed the responsibility of keeping JL the Naval Aviation Physical Training Manuals revised and up-to-date in every respect for use by the military services in event of national emergency. Maintenance of high standards of physical fitness in the youth of our nation is considered a prerequisite to national preparedness. With this in mind every effort has been made to insure revisions, through the V-Five Association of America, that are compatible with civilian educational interests.

The Naval Aviation Physical Training Manuals Revised by the


Executive Chairman RADM. Thomas J. Hamilton, USN (Ret.) Director of Athletics University of Pittsburgh First Past-President Frank H. W.ckhorst Kaiser Services Oakland, California

President Harvey J. Harman Coach of Football Rutgers University J*. Vice-President Mitchell J. Gary _.. Rector o.Athletics Western Mich ' g a n C o I l e ge

Second Past-President W. Madison Bell Director of Athletics Southern Methodist University

Second Vice-President Bernard W. Bierman Coach of Football University of Minnesota


Board Members at Large CDR. William R. Kane, USN U. S. Naval Aviation U. S. Air Force University

Laurence A. Mullins Director of Athletics Saint Ambrose College

Donald B. Faurot Director of Athletics University of Missouri

Charles M. Speidel Coach of Wrestling Pennsylvania State College

Leonard J. Casanova Coach of Football University of Pittsburgh

Charles B. Wilkinson Coach of Football University of Oklahoma

Executive Director M. Budd Cox V-Five Association Annapolis, Maryland


REVISION STAFF Supervising Editor Harold E. Lowe, Chairman Department of Physical Education Columbia University

Cartoonists and Illustrators Ensign Elizabeth Bunker, W-VS, USNR Martin A. Topper, District Supervisor of Health and Physical Education Chicago Board of Education

Robert C. Osborn (The Dilbert Series) Salsbury, Connecticut

REVISION COMMITTEES BASKETBALL Co-Chairman Gordon H. Ridings Coach of Basketball Columhia University

Co-Chairman LCDR. Kenneth A. Hashagen, USNR Coach of Basketball U. S. Naval Air Station, Memphis Advisory Member Justin M. Barry Coach of Basketball University of Southern California BOXING Chairman Roy D. Simmons Coach of Boxing Syracuse University

Advisory Member Ike F. Deeter Coach of Boxing Washington State College

Advisory Member LCDR. Anthony J. Rubino, USNR Instructor in Physical Training U. S. Naval Academy

CONDITIONING EXERCISES, GAMES, TESTS Co-chairman Co-Chairman Karl C. H. Oermann, Director Carl H. Young, Chairman of Teacher Education in Physical Department of Physical Education Education for Men University of California University of Pittsburgh Los Angeles Advisory Member Mitchell J. Gary, Director of Athletics and Physical Education Western Michigan College FOOTBALL Chairman Don B. Faurot Coach of Football University of Missouri Advisory Member W. Madison Bell Coach of Football Southern Methodist University GYMNASTICS AND

Advisory Member Bernard W. Bierman Coach of Football University of Minnesota TUMBLING

Chairman Hartley D. Price Coach of Gymnastics Florida State University Advisory Member Joseph M. Hewlett Coach of Gymnastics Ohio State University

Advisory Member Newton C. Loken Coach of Gymnastics University of Michigan

HAND-TO-HAND COMBAT Advisory Member Joseph W. Begala Coach of Wrestling Kent State University

Chairman LCDR. Wesley Brown, Jr., USNR Director of Athletics U. S. Naval Air Station, Memphis

INTRAMURAL PROGRAMS Chairman Lloyd H. Lux, Director of Athletics and Physical Education Bates College Advisory Member Advisory Member Allen B. Klingel Charles F. Kerr Director of Recreational Sports State Supervisor of Physical Education Tennessee State Department of Education University of Illinois SOCCER Chairman Earle C. Waters Coach of Soccer State Teachers College West Chester, Pennsylvania Advisory Member A. E. Florio Assistant Professor of Physical Education University of Illinois

Advisory Member John R. Eiler Coach of Soccer State Teachers College Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania SWIMMING



Chairman Alfred R. Barr Coach of Swimming Southern Methodist University Advisory Alember LCDR. John H. Higgins, USNR Senior Swimming Instructor Naval School Pre-Flight U. S. Naval Air Station, Pensacola

Advisory Member Ben F. Grady Coach of Swimming University of Pittsburgh

TRACK AND FIELD Co-Chairman Frank J. Ryan Assistant Coach of Track Yale University

Co-Chairman Charles D. Werner Coach of Track Pennsylvania State College Advisory Member Laurence N. Snyder Coach of Track Ohio State University WRESTLING

Chairman Clifford P. Keen Coach of Wrestling University of Michigan Advisory Member David C. Bartelma Coach of Wrestling University of Minnesota

Advisory Member Charles M. Speidel Coach of Wrestling Pennsylvania State College


Revision Staff Chairman Hartley D. Price Coach of Gymnastics Florida State University

Advisory Member Newton C. Loken Coach of Gymnastics University of Michigan

Advisory Member Joseph M. Hewlett Coach of Gymnastics Ohio State University

Cartoonist-Illustrator Martin A. Topper, District Supervisor of Health and Physical Education Chicago Board of Education

Supervising Editor Harold E. Lowe, Chairman Department of Physical Education Columbia University

Executive Director M. Budd Cox V-Five Association Annapolis, Maryland

First Edition Staff (Please see Preface) Directors RADM. Thomas J.Hamilton, USN (Ret) CDR. Frank H. Wickhorst, USNR Compiler- Writer LCDR. Hartley D. Price, USNR Cartoonist-Illustrators LCDR. Martin A. Topper, USNR ENS. Elizabeth Bunker, W-VS, USNR Editorial Staff

CDR. Harold E. Lowe, USNR

LCDR. Gordon H. Ridings, USNR

The Naval Aviation Physical Training Manuals




Annapolis, Maryland



1943 1950


Printed in the United States oj America

Preface THE Naval Aviation V-5 Physical Training Manuals were prepared and published during World War II to provide the best standardized instruction in the sports selected to give the youth, training to be combat Naval pilots, the maximum physical and psychological benefits. It was the first time that intensive athletic training was used militarily, not only for conditioning and recreation, but to develop and intensify desired qualities, such as quick reaction, coordination, accurate timing, cool judgment, aggressiveness, and determination. It was, without question, the most rigorous mass program conducted in this country utilizing a large group of different sports. Each cadet was required to spend four to six hours a day in intense athletic training for eight months, the time diminishing in later months as other clements of flight and ground training were added. The results were highly successful as proven by the testimony of the high performance of this group of pilots, and the acclaim given them and the training methods by all who observed. Over two thousand of the nation's leading physical educators and coaches of all sports participated in the planning and operation of this program as Reserve Officers, and most of them actually contributed in the preparation of these Manuals in their own specialty. While in some instances only one author did the final writing, it may in truth be said that the project was conceived and carried out as a group enterprise. The names of those officers who originally compiled and wrote the manuals now appear with the committees of revisions opposite the title page, and we deeply regret that space does not permit acknowledgment of the contribution of literally hundreds of others whose assistance was substantial. The original edition of these manuals was completed in 1943 under the direction of Commander Frank H. Wickhorst, USNR, Head of the Naval Aviation V-5 Physical Training Program at that time. These books have found a wide usage in the civilian field of instruction in sports and have been adopted as text books and coaching manuals throughout the country. The Navy, recognizing the valuable service the manuals perform, authorized the V-Five Association, a peace time non-profit organization, whose nucleus is the above group of officers, to revise the books. The revisions are aimed to make the volumes fully up-to-date, with added material to treat with new techniques and emphasis, and to adapt the experience and lessons learned for instruction in proper gradations at the college and high school level. It is increasingly evident that participation in a well rounded physical training and sports program integrated with academic and spiritual elements is highly desirable in a youth's training. Different sports can be increasingly effective in developing many splendid qualities, and contribute to the well-being of the individual and the nation. It is hoped this V-5 Sports Series will continue to contribute to the general welfare of our youth. T. J. Hamilton Rear Admiral, USN (Ret.) Director of Athletics University of Pittsburgh

Introduction to First Edition GYMNASTICS AND TUMBLING is included in the Naval Aviation Physical Training Program because of the strength and skills that are developed through participation in this sport. These include improvement of upper body strength, and training in quick and correct decision and action. Since there is no other activity to develop fully upper body strength, agility and balance this sport occupies a prominent place in the Naval Aviation Physical Training Program. The objectives of the Naval Aviation Gymnastic and Tumbling Program to be achieved through tumbling (falling), vaulting, climbing, balancing, and apparatus stunts (supporting and hanging) are: 1. To give training in the native sense of balance. 2. To equip the future pilot with strength and skill to extricate himself effectively from emergency situations requiring climbing, vaulting, tumbling and balance. 3. To develop daring and courage. 4. To accustom the cadet to being upside down for extended periods. 5. To teach falling and landing without injury. The material presented in this manual is to guide officers in teaching the sport to cadets in the Naval Aviation Physical Training Program. Even the inexperienced officer may do a commendable job in gymnastics if he studies and follows the manual and tBe lesson program thoroughly. The gymnastic and tumbling lessons throughout the Naval Aviation Physical Program have been planned progressively. All phases of the program should be conducted as closely as possible to stipulated lesson plans. These lesson plans have been compiled to insure the desired outcomes; namely, the teaching of required minimum core activities which are divided into two main categories. These two categories are first, core all-out effort (strength) achievement and, second, core skills in tumbling, climbing, balancing, vaulting, hanging, supporting and trampoline.*

* The trampoline is not included prior to the Pte-Flight School Program.

Introduction to Revised Edition The basic material contained in this manual is considered by the committee to be as sound today as it was at the time it was written. Hence, few changes have been made in the body of the book. The stunt and performance records, pages 323 to 337, have been brought up-todate. When properly used they will serve as an added incentive to students. A new method of conducting an intramural gymnastic program, now in use at Florida State University, has been added on page 321. Both the plan and the events are appropriate for similar competition in Junior or Senior high schools. Finally, the committee has offered some suggestions for adapting the Naval Aviation teaching syllabus for use in Junior and Senior high schools, page 360. The committee wishes to express its appreciation to the U. S. Naval Reserve Officers who so generously assisted with the compilation of the first edition, especially Lieutenant Commanders Marshall L. Brown, Joseph Giallombardo, Frank B. Harr and Charles J. Keeney. The Revision Committee H. D. P. J. M. H. N. C. L.

Table of Contents PAGE

STAFF (Revised Edition of All Manuals) STAFF (Revised and First Editions of Gymnastics and Tumbling Manual) PREFACE

iii vi ix

INTRODUCTION (First Edition) INTRODUCTION (Revised Edition)

xi xii




Earliest History Middle Ages Modern Times Pioneers of Gymnastics in the United States II


Objectives Gymnastics Dovetails with Other Departments The Purpose of the Program Values III




27-45 29 29 30 37 46-50


Warm Up Procedures •- .


13 13 17 17 19 19 21 21


The Art of Spotting or Guarding the Performer . . . . Hints for Instructor Tumbling and Stumbling Application of Tumbling and Jumping Activity to Parachute Training VI


10 10 11 11


Indoor Facilities and Equipment Indoor Gymnasium Outdoor Facilities and Equipment Outdoor Gymnasium Placement of Equipment in Indoor Gymnasium Care of Equipment Adequate Provision for Safety When Regulation Equipment Cannot Be Secured . . . IV

3 3 4 8

46 xiii





Principles Involved in Lesson Planning Elementary Training or Conditioning Advanced Training or Conditioning VII


Gymnastic Apparatus and Their Parts Gymnastic Nomenclature or Standard Terminology . . Miscellaneous Gymnastic Terms Tumbling and Balancing Nomenclature Singles Doubles and Triples Miscellaneous Tumbling Terms Balancing Competitive Terminology VIII

88-167 88 89 97 110 126 129 140 142 155 158 163 168-183


Ropes Cargo Net Climbing Shelf Poles X


51 59 69 77 77 82 83 85 87


Horizontal Bar Grasps (In Side Hang) Low Bar High Bar Parallel Bars Side Parallels Rings Buck Side Horse LongHorse Elephant Tiger Leaping IX

47 48 49

168 177 181 182 184—238


Balancing Singles Doubles Triples Pyramid Building Balance Beam Jumps Tumbling Singles Doubles Springboard

184 184 190 194 198 212 214 216 216 232 236








The Fundamentals of Trampoline Activity 241 Progressive Series of Trampoline Stunts 244 Additional Trampoline Stunts 250 Comprehensive List of Trampoline Stunts with Difficulty Rating 260 XII



Sub-Squad . Administrative Forms Sub-Squad Activities Injured Cadets Administrative Forms Activities for Cadets with Leg Injuries Activities for Cadets with Arm and Chest Injuries Free Exercises Climbing Poles Horizontal Ladder Pulley Weights Exercises with Partner Self-Testing Activities (Doubles) Exercises on Benches "Follow the Leader" Individual Development Room Officers' Conditioning Department XIII


267 267 271 277 277 279 281 282 283 283 284 286 287 288 289 289 291


Objectives or Desired Outcomes Organization and Administration Rules and Regulations Explanation Day Sports Program Stunt Forms Squad A Varsity Stunts Man Against Man Competition Sports Program Stunts and Record Performances . . Squad A Inter-Squad Meets Suggested Gymnastic Stunts and Routines Rings Parallel Bars Horizontal Bar Ropes Tumbling Outdoor Gymnasium Sports Program Summary


292 292 294 294 298 319 321 323 338 340 340 342 343 344 345 347 348

xvi XIV


Solo Relays Doubles Relays Group Relays


349 352 356 APPENDICES

The Naval Aviation Gymnastic and Tumbling Program Application to School Teaching 360 APPENDIX I. Lesson Plans 363 APPENDIX II. Core and Supplementary Activities for Flight Preparatory and War Training Service Schools 441 APPENDIX III. Elementary Progressive Gymnastic Stunts 451 INDEX



Florida State University, 1949 National A. A. U. Gymnastic Champion, Illinois Navy Pier, Photo by Al Augustyn, Chicago, Illinois



Brief History of Gymnastics* EARLIEST HISTORY Perhaps the Chinese were the first people to develop activities that resembled gymnastics. Records indicate that two systems of training were employed, military and medicinal. Histories of Egypt, Japan, Persia and India mention physical exercises in connection with preparation for war. In fact, Egypt has left tangible proof, in the form of pictures of pyramids and balancing, of the art of gymnastics as it was practiced 2100-2000 B.C. Greeks The early Greeks, however, gave glory to physical training in general and to gymnastics in particular. The word "gymnastics," meaning "naked art," comes from the early Greeks. So much importance was attached to gymnastics that the gymnasium, an outdoor meeting place for athletic contests, was the seat of Greek intellectual development. All-round development of the individual was the goal sought, a perfectly trained, hardened, disciplined body, a citizen and a warrior worthy of highest Greek standards. Exercises in Greek gymnastics were based on natural movements and included running, throwing, wrestling, boxing, climbing, jumping and work with weights (halteres). Weight lifting and jumping with weights were popular activities as well as others involving use of the sling, the spear, and the bow and arrow. Dancing and games also were part of the program. The Greeks worked with apparatus rather than upon it. Romans The early Romans, having seen the favorable effect of Greek gymnastics, introduced rigid physical training into their military program. Among other apparatus, they made use of a wooden horse upon which to practice mounting and dismounting. The activities, executed while holding a drawn sword or lance, left no doubt as to the purpose of training. The words of the Romans, conquerors and warriors that they were, give a clear picture of the motive behind the activity, "It appears to be play, but it is for the Fatherland." MIDDLE AGES The decadenre of both the Greek and Roman civilizations was followed by a long period of asceticism when strenuous physical activity for the common people was discouraged. Throughout the Middle Ages, the knights, representing the warrior class, were * For further historical information consult the works of K. A. Knudsen and Leopold F Zwarg. 3



probably the only group participating in organized physical activity. Main activities included climbing, vaulting, riding, swimming, archery, climbing on ladders, poles and ropes, tilting and jousting, wrestling, fencing, jumping and dancing. "There is no record of any system of physical training for the common people during the Middle Ages. However, certain apparatus was used by some medieval as well as ancient people. . . . Using other persons as apparatus, human towers were formed during sieges and at public performances. Acrobatic stunts have been known at all times." MODERN TIMES Modern physical education begins with the work of a group of leaders who were interested in education in general, but in physical education in particular—Johann Basedow (1723-1790), Johann Guts Muths (1759-1839), Gerhard Vieth (17631836) and Johann Pestalozzi (1746-1827). Johann Basedow, 1723-1790 Basedow conducted the first gymnastics as part of the school work in Europe. He was the first modern writer and teacher of organized gymnastics of whom there are records. He regarded directed physical activities as a means to a complete education embracing both body and mind. Johann Guts.Muths, 1759-1839 Guts Muths, an educator and "the great grandfather of gymnastics," using Greek fundamentals and adding new movements, published the first book on gymnastics, "Gymnastics for Youth." He seems to have successfully combined idealism, materialism and realism. His teaching methods provided for children as well as adults and included carefully selected exercises for girls. Commenting upon physical education in his Encyclopedia of Bodily Exercises, he stated, You shall be a sane supervisor and master of your body; you shall train it to vigorous manhood, making it skillful and obedient to all that is good so that you may grow to be a true man for yourself, your own kin, and the society in which you live. His first gymnasium was out of doors, and in it were see-saws, climbing poles, ropes, balancing beams and vaulting apparatus. The rope ladder, also a part of his equipment, probably was introduced by Basedow, who had realized its usefulness on board ship in the seaport town of Hamburg. The oblique wooden ladder also was used. Gerhard Vieth, 1763-1836 Vieth, a mathematician and a scholar possessing an analytical mind, adhered closely to the Guts Muths system of gymnastics. He published an encyclopedia of bodily exercises (1794-5), in which he stressed the mental, moral and physical value of exercise. Passive exercises, "lying, sitting, swinging and being carried by means of mechanical devices, also bathing, massaging and the hardening of the body, . . ." and active exercises, "walking, climbing, jumping, and vaulting," were included in his system. He treated vaulting in detail and described side and long vaults, front, rear, squat, straddle and numerous other vaults and mounts.



Vieth further described balance beams, jumping ropes, climbing ropes and poles, the horse, the table, and the buck (evidently a form of leap frog). Since he wrote of vaulting over horizontal poles at different heights, it would indicate that early form of the horizontal and parallel bars were used as apparatus. Johann Pestalozzi, 1746-1827 Pestalozzi's greatest contribution was to general education, but he was the founder of free exercises and of calisthenics. He believed that methodical exercising trained the pupil intellectually, morally and esthetically. It is of interest to note, however, that the gymnastics of Guts Muths were practiced upon Pestalozzi playgrounds. The end of the 18th and the beginning of the 19th centuries introduced a new era. The world was in an industrial, educational, and political turmoil. Germany was suffering keenly from Napoleonic victories. Appeals were made to her leaders to turn to education as a means to restore her prestige, and as a result, Germany eventually became a leader in educational thought and practice. The period seems to have given impetus to physical education in general and to gymnastics in particular in countries other than Germany. Aside from Friedrich Ludwig Jahn (1778-1852) and Adolph Spiess (1810-1858), both of Germany, leaders of the times included Pehr Henrik Ling (1776-1839), Sweden; Archibald Maclaren (1820-1884), England; Phokion Clias (1782-1854), Switzerland; Francis Amoros (1770-1848), France; and Franz Nachtegall (1777-1847), Denmark. Friedrich Jahn, 1778-1852 Jahn, the "Turn Father" of German gymnastics, presented a plan to the German people whereby he hoped to promote national unity and physical strength through lumen societies, clubs of strong national character. Jahn was an enthusiastic, far-seeing teacher and leader. He was the first man to organize and popularize physical skill with a view to arousing the national spirit, to promoting self-discipline and bodily strength, and to stimulating the mental vigor of Germany's young manhood. He wanted to create "liberty loving, social and independent thinking. . . ." This he hoped to do "by strengthening the degenerated muscle groups of the body, thus liberating man from the shackles of an environment that made him feeble, that allowed his muscles, and consequently his mental vigor, to decay." To this end he devoted his energies. Unlike Guts Muths, who encouraged gymnastics among children, Jahn's program provided for adolescents and adults only. His ardor brought the youth of the city to his playground, the first of its kind, where he imbued them with the spirit of self-reliance, encouraging keen rivalry in skill and in strength. Open air activity was preferred. When the need arose for apparatus upon which to play, Jahn and his students invented it, and thus he is credited with introducing the horizontal bar, the parallel bars, the side horse with pommels, the jumping standard and pits, balance beams, ladders and vaulting bucks. Jahn made no attempt to have his program adopted by the schools. Even had he done so, the government very likely would have frowned upon his efforts because his societies were not in favor at that time. In 1842, ten years before Jahn's death, gymnastics were introduced into Germany's public schools, but they were of a stilted and formal nature.



Adolph Spiess, 1810-1858 Spiess of Germany, trained in Pestalozzian methods, adapted both Guts Muths and Jahn gymnastics to his classes of boys and girls in Burgdorf, Switzerland. He added marching and free exercises set to musical rhythms, which aided in discipline and erect carriage. His book, "The Science of Gymnastics," contained graded exercises for boys and girls of all ages designed to develop the entire musculature. Through his efforts, gymnastics became a school subject in Switzerland, and Spiess is known as the "Father of School Gymnastics." Spiess did not favor Jahn's squad-leader plan, preferring to employ trained teachers instead, but these lacked the keen enthusiasm, foresight and ability that were characteristic of Jahn and Spiess. As a result, a formal attitude became apparent and has handicapped gymnastics ever since. The freedom and the ardor and the wide scope of activities which under Spiess' personal teaching had included music appreciation, playing of games, hiking, and outdoor exercises gradually narrowed down to a much smaller scale. The factor that Jahn had so earnestly encouraged, a rich, full, stimulating, outdoor, informal physical training program for all, was lost sight of when the work was carried on by less competent teachers. Pehr Ling, 1776-1839 Ling, the father of Swedish gymnastics, patriotically attempted to imbue the youth of Sweden with the need of physical fitness as Jahn had done in Germany. He believed in the therapeutic and corrective value of the activity and he hoped to see gymnastics improve the weak as well as the strong. He stipulated that exercises should be prescribed for the individual rather than for the group; that a system of gymnastics should be based on an accurate knowledge of the effect of the various exercises on the human organism; and that teachers should know the purpose and effect of every exercise upon the organism. He felt that Jahn's system led to complicated movements and did not lend itself to accurate recognition of causes and effects. He endeavored to simplify the activity in accordance with his speculative theory, derived from a study of anatomy and physiology. He invented apparatus to fit his theory, permitting simple movements such as climbing, vaulting, lifting and balancing, all done at command. "For his purpose Ling invented the stall bars, the boom, the saddle, the window ladder, the low combination bench, ribba and the vaulting box. These are known today as Swedish apparatus. To these were added the horse, the horizontal, vertical and oblique ropes, and climbing poles." Suited to formal group instruction, where all can work upon command, combinations of exercises on Swedish apparatus are somewhat limited. The regular apparatus, however, can be adapted readily to individual differences and permits a much wider scope of activity, depending upon the skill and creativeness of the performer. Stunts are appealing and interesting to the performer. Hjalmar Ling, a son, developed his father's system further and originated the stall bars. Swedish Corrective Gymnastics did not come from Ling but from one of his students, Branting. Archibald Maclaren, 1820-1884 Maclaren, an English educator, advocated the Jahn system of apparatus activities



to supplement games when he wrote his military manual at the request of the English government. Phokion Clias, 1782-1854 Clias, a Swiss teacher who promoted gymnastics in England and France as well as in Switzerland, was not original in his views. His written work proved to be a composite of that of Guts Muths and Jahn. However, he mentioned the giant stride for the first time in professional literature. Francis Atnoros, 1770-1848 Amoros, a Spaniard, was responsible for the establishment of gymnastics in France. His methods were formal and were patterned after those of Pestalozzi. "Amoros must have been one of the first to use the trapeze, the rings, the knotted ropes, the inclined boards, a form of giant-stride and strength test machines for physical training purposes." Franz Nachtegall, 1777-1847 Nachtegall, the father of Danish gymnastics, directed in Copenhagen the first recorded training school for teachers of gymnastics, known as the Military Gymnastic Institute. Some of the activities included "exercises upon hanging ladders, rope ladders, climbing masts and poles; also balancing, tug of war, and vaulting. For the vaulting, a wooden horse was used. Mats were placed around the horse to insure soft landing, and a teacher caught the vaulters who missed. This seems to be the first report upon the use of mats, although they were undoubtedly used long before." It is of interest to note that throughout history, the rise and fall of nations has seemed to coincide with the rise and fall of the physical stamina of their people. Greece rose to the height of her glory (leaving her indelible mark upon the world) during that period when the physical vigor, the patriotic zeal, the independence and freedom of her people were at their height. Athletic professionalism for the few and a lack of strenuous participation among the many brought about a decline in the national physical stamina and a consequent decline in the power of Greece. The same may be said of the great Roman Empire and of Egypt. History indicates, too, that a decadent nation realizes the costly blunder it has made only after defeat at the hands of a physically superior enemy. A period of reorganization follows and attempts are made to imbue the nation with the need of physical improvement. In many instances a country has been able to save itself and has even become more powerful than previously by realizing its weakness. Such was Germany's case after her humiliation by Napoleon's forces. The great national movement introducing Jahn's Turnen Societies for the physical improvement of youths and adults of military age was an outcome of Germany's defeat. And more recently, in our own country, the years following World War I saw a surge of enthusiasm for and an insistence upon improved and sustained physical condition. It sometimes seems, however, that a defeated country maintains its patriotic zeal for physical improvement, while the victor leans toward promises and good intentions rather than vigorous activity. The United States was no exception. For a few years following World War I, physical education was stressed, but gradually the




nation as a whole seemed to lose interest in the need of sustained physical fitness, and gave little heed to leaders who tried to stimulate interest in rugged, big-muscle activities. World War II awakened this country to its shortcomings. Almost immediately, physical fitness became one of the big issues of the times. PIONEERS OF GYMNASTICS IN THE UNITED STATES The pioneers of gymnastics in the United States were: Charles Beck (1798-1866), Charles Follen (1796-1840) and Francis Lieber (1800-1872). These Germans, coming to this country at the invitation of American educators, were followers of Father Jahn. They established gymnasiums similar to the Jahn pattern at the Round Hill School, Northampton, at Harvard University, and at the Boston gymnasium. With the arrival of thousands of German immigrants, gymnastic clubs called "Turnvereins" were formed in many of the larger cities. "In 1850 these societies formed the North American Turner Bund (Gymnastics Union) . . . What these societies . . . accomplished by their untiring zeal and unselfish devotion is little known. . . . It is certain that for some years the Turners were the only . . . promoters of scientific physical education for the public schools. A normal college for the training of teachers, the oldest in the country, was established by the Turners in 1866." The Young Men's Christian Association made a great contribution to the development of physical education by installing apparatus in their gymnasiums. In 1887 the International Training School (now Springfield College) at Springfield, Massachusetts, established a Physical Training Department which gives students a thorough background of gymnastic technique. Dudley A. Sargent (1840-1924) greatly influenced the advancement of gymnastics. His work at Harvard University was largely anthropometrical and corrective in character. In 1881 the Sargent School was established in order to train women teachers. The American Turners have had perhaps the greatest effect on physical education. Through their efforts, physical education was introduced into the schools. The thirtysix national tournaments and the thirty-nine national conventions that have been held in different sections of the country by the American Turners have spread their influence. The oldest active Turner organization is the Cincinnati Central Turners, which dates from 1848. The Boston Turn Verein and the Philadelphia Turners followed in 1849. Eighty-five Turner societies have been organized for more than fifty years. In 1865, in order to train teachers, the American Turners organized the Normal College of the American Gymnastic Union, an institution now affiliated with Indiana University. The Swiss American Gymnastic Association also has favorably affected the development of gymnastics. The Swiss Turn Verein of Hudson County has won more national championships than any other club in the country. The American Sokol was introduced in St. Louis in 1865, three years after it had been founded in Prague, by Dr. Miroslav Tyrs. Chicago and New York instituted branches in 1866 and 1867, respectively. Today the United States claims a total Sokol membership of 100,000, and throughout the world there are approximately one million members.



The use of apparatus in American public schools and colleges was impeded by three main influences: 1. About 1800 Dio Lewis introduced exercises that did not require apparatus and the schools accepted them enthusiastically. 2. The Swedish influence about 1900 emphasized calisthenics. 3. The trend toward recreational activities about 1920, following World War I. The Y.M.C.A. has continued to promote gymnastics by making provision for the activity in practically all of their organizations. Other influences that have increased interest during the past two decades have been the exhibition teams in different parts of the country. Groups that have made the chief contributions are: The University of Illinois Gymkana Troupe;* Springfield College; Stroudsburg (Pennsylvania) State Teachers College; Brooklyn (New York) Central Y.M.C.A., and the community circus of Gainesville, Texas. The Chicago Parks have successfully encouraged exhibitions and have experienced widespread enthusiasm on the playgrounds. High schools, too, have realized the value of exhibition gymnastics. Perhaps the outstanding programs in high schools in the United States have been in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. Another important influence in the development of competitive gymnastics in the United States has been the Northwestern Gymnastic Society, which was organized in December, 1909. In April, 1910 the Society conducted its first annual gymnastic contest, and, except for the year 1919 a contest has been held annually. Since shortly after the end of World War I, gymnastics was denied its rightful place in the total program of the public schools and colleges in this country. The trend has been toward mild recreational activities for the majority while strenuous competition was encouraged for the small minority. The emphasis on recreation brought about a program revision wherein practically all features, good and bad alike, of the old program were eliminated. One result was a dearth of good gymnastic teachers and inspiring gymnastic programs. The Naval Aviation Physical Training Program made great strides toward remedying the situation. It demanded strenuous conditioning activities in order to maintain the acme of physical fitness. A balanced program of physical education should include team sports, individual sports, rhythms, aquatics, combatives, and gymnastics. In all sections of the United States gymnastics are being promoted. Recently the Southern Gymnastic League was founded with a view to promoting gymnastics in eleven southern states. Florida State University and Georgia Tech, among others, are making favorable progress. * The University of Illinois Varsity Gymnastic team during the Gymkana era under Hartley Price won four N.C.A.A. and two N.A.A.U. team championships.


Values of Gymnastics and Tumbling OBJECTIVES The objectives remain the same in wartime, but the emphasis changes. More emphasis should be placed upon organic health and conditioning so that the developing individual may make adequate adjustment to immediate circumstances. War stresses the need of the acme of physical fitness. The profession of physical education then, must re-evaluate its program of activities, methods, and standards. At all times, of course, sound principles of methodology should be applied. The Naval Aviation Physical Training Program is primarily concerned with the development of coordination together with mental and physical fitness. The fundamental factors of physical fitness are agility, balance, strength, endurance, power, and flexibility. It is to be expected that certain activities lend themselves favorably to the development of such factors. Perhaps gymnastics has more to offer than any other single activity toward an all-round development, but it is perhaps least effective so far as endurance is concerned. Therefore, the gymnastic program should be supplemented with endurance-promoting activities such as running and swimming, which demand sustained maximum effort. Customarily, gymnastics requires apparatus, but when apparatus is not available, programs may be adapted accordingly. Effective conditioning work can be accomplished by calisthenics, particularly when flexibility and balance are the desired outcomes. Every effort should be made to make activities practical. To match the swift pace of modern warfare, the naval aviator must attain a high degree of physical fitness not ordinarily possessed by the average cadet entering training. It must be acquired, then, through an effectively administered conditioning program from which the cadet should emerge in superb physical condition and imbued with the necessity of maintaining it. Eleven conditioning departments have been set up at the Naval Aviation Preflight Schools: those of football, basketball, military track, wrestling, boxing, swimming, soccer, hand-to-hand, gymnastics and tumbling, mass exercise, and labor engineering. Each department makes its particular contribution toward a well developed, coordinated, self-disciplined, and self-confident aviator who will be able physically, mentally, and emotionally to compete to advantage with the best that the enemy can put in the air. GYMNASTICS DOVETAILS WITH OTHER DEPARTMENTS Perhaps an outstanding characteristic of gymnastics is that it dovetails most effectively with the entire physical training program. A developmental program may be organized to good advantage for the men who fail the initial tests given by the 10



Mass Exercise Department. In six weeks, below par men* may attain the standards required at the base after a progressive program of gymnastics. The cadet upon recognizing his weakness is anxious to correct it. Usually his legs are in fairly good condition but his upper body indicates need of development. As his physical condition improves, he becomes more confident and tends to give a better account of himself in other activities. THE PURPOSE OF THE PROGRAM The purpose of the gymnastic and tumbling program, planned progressively is to: 1. Improve the entire musculature. 2. Encourage quick and correct decision and action. 3. Build upper body strength. 4. Maintain the acme of physical fitness by continuing practice on the skills previously learned. VALUES 1. Gymnastics contributes to the development of upper body strength. Physical tests given to incoming cadets at pre-flight schools during World War II indicated a deficiency in upper body strength, especially in the muscles of the shoulder girdle, the triceps, the abdomen, and the back. Effective administration of progressively arranged gymnastic activities did much to meet this deficiency. 2. Gymnastics provides opportunity for the development of power. Rope climbing, throwing the medicine ball for distance, and gymnastic routines require maximum effort and hence develop power. 3. Gymnastics provides for the development of muscular coordination or neuromuscular control. The fundamental activities of running, climbing, and jumping are combined in a unique way in gymnastic routines. Twisting or turning, bending, circling, and swinging movements occur in rapid succession during the routines in the upright or standing position, in the hang, the support, and in various other positions. Perhaps no athletic activity other than gymnastics and tumbling provides the opportunity for the development of maximum muscular coordination and neuromuscular control; and perhaps no war activity demands the acme of muscular coordination and neuro-muscular control as much as aviation. 4. Gymnastics contributes to the development of suppleness, elasticity, litheness and flexibility, permitting full range of body movement and control. 5. Gymnastics develops a sense of re-location. A series of fast forward rolls on the mats, or hip circles on the horizontal bar, or a workout on the aerowheel or trampoline, may cause dizziness at first. Two weeks of daily practice should condition him effectively. Both poise and equilibrium are outcomes of the sense of re-location, which affords an awareness on the part of the aviator that he is inverted when he is flying upside down. * Gymnastics can also plan an effective program for cadets with leg injuries as well as supervise an individual development room. See Chapter XII on Supplementary Programs p. 267 (Sub-Squad; Injured Cadets; Individual Development Room).



Gymnastics and tumbling are perhaps the chief activities that afford the opportunity to orient the body in space, a factor needed when flying. The trampoline, or bounding table, permits an immediate experience in orientation, since the outstanding objectives attained through the trampoline are: a. Balance and control of the body in the air. b. Development of oneness with the plane. c. Timing and rhythm in coordinated motions. d. Confidence in the air. e. Elimination of fear when feet leave the ground. The experience in the air that the performer on the trampoline gets almost immediately is realized by the tumbler only after considerable effort and practice. 6. Gymnastics develops agility—quick, easy, dexterous movements. Vaulting in a variety of positions teaches the fundamental principles of body control. The naval aviator or paratrooper may be called upon to overcome unforeseen hazards and obstacles during landing operations; hence he must be adept in vaulting and in jumping. He must have overlearned the art of vaulting to the side, in a squat position, in a straddle, end-over-end, or in a dive, easily and with minimum effort. Gymnastics, then, dovetails with training on the obstacle course since the most effective runner is the one who can skillfully, safely, and quickly adapt his gymnastic vaulting experience to the difficulties of the course. 7. Tumbling teaches falling safely. Practically every phase of his life as a cadet, or aviator, (or as a civilian, for that matter) may be materially aided by a knowledge of tumbling. When he first takes "boot" training; when he takes conditioning hikes; when he participates in football, basketball, or any other sports activity, the cadet who can tumble is that much better equipped to save himself from injury caused by falling than one who cannot tumble. 8. The cadet who is temporarily incapacitated by minor injuries may participate in specially selected gymnastics, thus keeping in condition despite his handicap. 9. Gymnastics and tumbling develop body balance which is useful to the individual throughout life. Together with climbing, vaulting and falling, these skills are directly useful in various emergency situations. 10. Gymnastics teaches the cadet how to ascend, descend, and rest on a rope,— skills which are of paramount importance from a practical standpoint. 11. Gymnastics develops a sense of daring and courage, yet discourages foolhardiness. 12. Gymnastics develops attitudes vital to the successful naval aviator: fearlessness, initiative, decisiveness, courage, perseverance, presence of mind, selfconfidence, as well as an analytical outlook and the ability to size up a situation quickly. In summary, then, the objectives of the Naval Aviation Gymnastic and Tumbling program to be achieved through tumbling (falling), vaulting, climbing, balancing, and apparatus stunts, are: 1. To give training in the native sense of balance. 2. To equip the future pilot with strength and skill to extricate himself effectively from emergency situations requiring climbing, vaulting, tumbling and balance. 3. To develop daring and courage. 4. To accustom the cadet to being upside down for extended periods. 5. To teach falling and landing without injury.


Facilities, Equipment, Maintenance, Substitutes INDOOR FACILITIES AND EQUIPMENT INDOOR GYMNASIUM

The gymnasium for gymnastics should be of adequate size and proportion with dimensions of 100' x 100' x 25' or 30'. At least 25 square feet should be allowed for each cadet. A hardwood floor is desirable; white walls help solve any lighting problem; natural light is preferable and adequate ventilation is essential. The gymnasium should be free from all obstructions. It should be entirely apart from the area being used for basketball, volleyball and other activities, since uncontrolled balls bounding into the gymnastic area, together with the noise and vibrations caused by the players, are not conducive to either effective teaching or performance. However, if desirable gymnasium space is not available, do not permit that lack to defeat a gymnastic program. The use of any available space is recommended. Make use of an alcove, a hallway for after school activities, or the like. At a Pre-Flight School, approximately 2,000 cadets can be handled efficiently in gymnastics and tumbling with the listed equipment for the combined purposes of class instruction and the sports program. The equipment permits efficient handling of nine periods a day, six of which are instructional periods for platoons of 40 to 75 cadets, and for three sports programs in which approximately 120 participate at one time. In the summer the sports program is held during one period. The program then takes care of twelve teams of approximately twenty men on each team. Thus a total of 240 cadets are accommodated in a limited area.* Tumbling Equipment Number Suggested* * Mats.—15 square feet for each cadet in class should be allowed. 1. 5' x 20' x 2" 2. 5' x 10' x 2" 3. Tumbling mat (50' x 5' x 2") Trampoline. (Spare springs and bounding mats) Safety Belts. (Hand mechanics) Semi-Guyed Adjustable Horizontal and Vaulting Bar Floor Horizontal ladder.—This apparatus is useful for sub-squad work; 100 cadets can get a strenuous workout on two such ladders in 30 minutes.

20 10 1 2 4-6 4

* See Chapter XIII. ** For minimum equipment for the various stages of training see Appendix, p. 366.





PLATE 1. Indoor Gymnasium

Gymnastic Apparatus Number Suggested Side Horse.—Vaulting boxes cheaply and readily made could be substituted for vaulting and can be used instead of the side horse and long horse. 4 Bucks 4 Beat Boards 4 Springboards 4 ffi J ?* 3 or 4 sets Adjustable Horizontal Ladder 2 Parallel Bars (10 feet) 6 Low Parallel Bars 4 Long Horse 2 Vaulting Box with 3 Underlijts 4 Suspended Safety Belts (Overhead mechanics) 4 Balance Beams (12" high) 4 Balance Beams ( 3 ' 6" high) 2 Chest Pulley Weights " 12 Inclined Rope a




PLATE 2a. Indoor Gymnasium

PLATE 2b. Indoor Gymnasium



PLATE 3. Outdoor Gymnasium

Developmental and Corrective Equipment Number Suggested Section of 3 Stall Bars Adjustable Bar Bell Medicine Ball 8 lb. Climbing Shelf (8' high, 20' long, 4' wide) Inclined Board Wrist Twist Horizontal Ropes Vertical Ropes

6 6

12 2 4 6 2 8-10

Miscellaneous Equipment

Coasters for Relays Aero wheels Jumping Platforms for Parachute.—These are 3 step affairs with steps 2' x 4' x 6' high Cargo Nets (if possible) Cabinet (double depth \6y2" x 40" x 60") Racks for cadets' gear (25-75) 14'—3 shelves Bulletin Boards (8' x 8') Magnesium Carbonate Resin Storm Boards and Agility Pegs, and Swinging Rope

Number Suggested 8-10 6 2

4 4 2 2





An outdoor gymnasium is an asset. Apparatus may be constructed reasonably for permanent use outdoors from scrap pipe lengths and lumber, and left outdoors; or if practicable, apparatus may be moved and used outside if weather permits.

An outdoor gymnasium project, carried to completion at the preflight schools successfully utilized sawdust combinations to take the place of mats. A pit seven inches in depth, filled with sawdust combined with crank case oil and covered with heavy canvas securely held in place proved effective for ground tumbling. Mats Suggestions 1. Sawdust and crank case lubricating oil. 2. Sawdust and sand (mixed) covered with taut canvas. Mixture: Two parts of sand 3. 4. 5. 6.

one part of sawdust. Canvas over sawdust pits. Carpet on lawn. Springless mattresses. Homemade mats.

PLATE 4a. Outdoor Gymnasium



PLATE 4b. Outdoor Gymnasium

Parallel Bars Suggestion (Suitable for permanent outdoor use) 1. Pipe in pipe framework (2"). 2. Pipe in wood framework (2"). 3. Standard measurements for both types of equipment regarding height and width. ' ° Buck or Horse Suggestions (For outdoor use) 1. Parallel bars covered with mats; or covered box which must have durable stable base. 2. Covered pipes arranged between uprights (2"). Perhaps pipes could be arranged between trees. 3. A tree trunk cut to size. 4. A series of bucks or horses may be made by using a long tree trunk. Vaulting Fence (A very satisfactory apparatus for outdoors.) Balance Beam May be made from a steel rail or board twelve feet long and two inches wide A tree trunk will also prove serviceable. Vertical, Horizontal and Inclined Ropes May be hung without much difficulty.



Springboards May be improvised from old automobile springs. Automobile cushions are also very serviceable for front somersaults and vaulting. PLACEMENT OF EQUIPMENT IN INDOOR GYMNASIUM Stationary equipment should be so located that it will not interfere with movable equipment. Movable 1. Excessive moving should be eliminated. 2. Equipment should be placed in permanent position if possible. Depreciation is then kept at a minimum. 3. If equipment must be moved, mats should have a definite location for placement while not in use. If they are stacked, the bottoms should be together. The mats should be carried and not dragged. 4. Heavy apparatus should be so located that it may be rolled towards the center or the sides for relays and games. CARE OF EQUIPMENT The longevity and usefulness of gymnastic equipment depends almost entirely upon proper maintenance. Equipment is hard to replace and should be taken care of properly in terms of safety, operation and cleanliness. Apparatus in poor condition offers no incentive for its use. It should be inspected closely each week. Below are listed items that should be checked regularly in regard to care of equipment. General Hints 1. Demonstrate handling and adjusting of the apparatus. 2. Keep apparatus in a permanent location to minimize wear and tear. 3. Handle all apparatus carefully; observe safety rules. 4. Adjust mechanism according to manufacturer's directions. 5. Inspect equipment bi-weekly for loose parts and lubrication needs. Horizontal Bar 1. Check floor plates. 2. Inspect guy wires closely and replace frayed and rusty cables. 3. Tighten shackle bolts. 4. Lubricate movable parts. 5. Keep bar coated with a film of vaseline or grease, when bar is not in use over a period of time. A bar that becomes rusty will soon become pitted and unfit for use. 6. Keep bar clean. Use emery cloth. Side Horse, Long Horse, Buck 1. Clean leather with saddle soap once a month. 2. Turn horse on side and tighten screws and bolts.



3. Oil casters and movable parts. 4. Shoe polish will add to the looks and give a frictional surface desired by the better performers. 5. Loose pommels may be corrected by soaking leather in hot water and allowing to dry. 6. Do not allow hard surfaced shoes to be used when performing on horse. 7. Tape pommels of side horse. Mats 1. Mats are protective devices aand should be treated accordingly. 2. Keep mats clean. Wash as often as necessary. Do not let them become too soiled before this is done. If the mat is used while dirty the dirt finally works into the inside padding causing the padding to pack. Special paint is available for mats and has proved very successful. The loss of resiliency of the painted mat is compensated by the ease of quick and effective washing. 3. Always carry a mat or use a mat truck. Do not drag. Mats receive unnecessary wear from this source. Six cadets should carry the large mats and four should handle small mats. A dolly also may be used for this purpose. 4. When not in use stow away from the gymnasium traffic. In stowing mats place tops to tops and bottoms to bottoms. The bottom is the tasselled side of the mat. 5. Do not walk on the mats when in street shoes. 6. Replace torn handles and tufts that have become loose. The tufting keeps a mat in shape and prolongs its usefulness. 7. Repair torn mats immediately. 8. Keep mats dry. If they become damp they should be placed in the sun as soon as possible. Mats should be put in the sun about every two weeks. 9. Tumbling mats should be cleaned on both sides with vacuum cleaner three times a week. 10. Check on footwear before allowing performer to take his position on mats. Clean socks, clean canvas shoes or tumbling boots should be worn. Parallel Bars 1. Keep bars tight. 2. When adjusting for height or width be sure mechanical appliances are secure and in a locked position. 3. Lubricate casters and movable parts for easy maneuverability. 4. Inspect wooden bars for defects and keep bars smooth. Use sand paper on bars. 5. Do not allow bars to be moved without first raising from the floor. Leather pads on the bottom prevent the bars from sliding. Inspect periodically. 6. Do not use parallel bars for obstacles where rough treatment may break or weaken a bar. Rings 1. Adjust flying rings 7'-9" from the deck according to National Intercollegiate rules. Fasten ropes securely before using. 2. Inspect ropes and webbing for signs of wear and loose fittings. 3. Check movable parts at ceiling for wear and looseness regularly.



4. If wall type, check wall bracket and securing apparatus. 5. Tape rings. Trampoline 1. Keep trampoline well tightened. 2. Keep canvas sanitary by washing. Mat covers may be used on the trampoline. 3. Inspect springs and make sure springs are properly inserted. 4. Do not allow practice in street shoes. 5. If necessary to stow away make sure this is done properly and that there is no strain on any section. 6. Do not allow two persons on the trampoline together, unless preparing for a special act. Miscellaneous


Keep miscellaneous equipment in cabinets or racks. A D E Q U A T E PROVISION FOR SAFETY* 1. Magnesium carbonate should be rubbed on hands before performing on apparatus. 2. Resin, lump or rock, should be used on hands in rope climbing and on shoes or feet in tumbling. 3. Suspended equipment should be inspected bi-weekly to be sure the ceiling attachments of ropes, rings and high bars are secure. Equipment should not be used if there is any doubt as to its safety. 4. The adjusting screws on the high bars and the parallel bars should be checked before each class. 5. The mats should be arranged properly around the apparatus. 6. The deck should be cleared of hazardous objects. 7. Hazards should be eliminated: When class is not in session, the use of previously setup equipment, such as springboards and vaulting braces must be forbidden. This policy protects the unskilled performer against attempting stunts beyond the range of his ability. Springboards and trampolines should be locked against the wall and should be used only when competent supervision is available. W H E N R E G U L A T I O N E Q U I P M E N T C A N N O T BE SECURED Mats Mattresses or canvas bags (stuffed with hay or cottonseed hulls) For Outdoors.—Shallow pits filled with sawdust-oil combination. Horizontal


A horizontal bar may be constructed from pipe l^s inches in diameter to 1J4 inches (preferred size) in diameter. About 7 feet long, and 7 feet 9 inches from the deck. (Use 4" x 4" uprights with bottom support and two braces.) For outdoors a bar may be made out of scrap pipe and placed in concrete, making a permanent fixture. * Also refer to Chapter V.



Parallel Bars May be made of unadjustable wooden frame standard height. The hand rails should be oval-shaped, ten feet long and spaced eighteen inches apart. Parallel bars also may be constructed from piping with collars or welding, using floor plate with collar. A wooden frame, with pipe for hand rail, also may be used. For outdoors.—Either pipe or wooden hand rails mounted on pipe, or wooden structure mounted in concrete. Vaulting Box Build a vaulting box on a pyramid form and pad the top. Build in sections so the height (approximately 5'6" from deck) is adjustable. For outdoors.—A wooden horse may be made of half a log cut lengthwise, cleaned of its bark, and mounted rounded side up on four legs. Height approximately forty-two inches from the deck. Springboard The many uses to which the springboard can be put in conjunction with side horse, bucks, parallel bars and jumping standards make it very serviceable. Make the base of hickory and have it rubber shod. Make the top board of narrow hickory strips and cover with cork carpet cemented on with the edges protected by flush wood moulding strips. Beat Boards Use with the horse, buck and parallel bars as a take-off. Make the top of narrow ash strips and cover with cork carpet cemented on and have the base rubber shod to prevent slipping on the deck. The edges of the cork carpet are protected by well rounded wood moulding strips on all four sides. Hardwood cross cleats on the underside of the board are fastened by means of wood screws.


Principles of Teaching Applicable to Gymnastics and Tumbling General psychological principles relative to teaching procedures will not be discussed here. Reference, however will be made to particular teaching principles that are pertinent to gymnastics and tumbling. Qualifications of the Teacher of Gymnastics and Tumbling The teacher of gymnastics and tumbling should be able to apply all of the psychological principles of teaching, of which motivation is outstanding. In addition, he should be equipped with: 1. An adequate understanding of the physical and psychological development that is possible through gymnastics and tumbling. 2. A knowledge of the proper gymnastic and tumbling nomenclature. 3. A knowledge of progressively arranged strength-building exercises. 4. The ability to demonstrate various stunts. 5. The ability to detect and correct errors promptly. 6. The ability to maintain firm discipline and to hold the interest of the individual. 7. An awareness of the importance of safety procedures. 8. A sense of the need of economy of time. Every second of the class period should be used to advantage. 9. An appreciation of good form and precise movement. 10. Methods of providing for individual differences. The superior performer should not be required to repeat work if he is ready for advancement. 11. Methods of grading the achievement of the individual. If a grade scale is set up, it should challenge every member of the class. 12. Methods by which problem-solving is encouraged, i.e., thinking through the execution of a stunt. Squad Leader System Gymnastics may be taught effectively on a rotating-squad plan. There should be about eight or ten individuals in a squad. Advanced squad members should have been given additional instruction which enables them to act as leaders of a squad. A large class thus can be handled in stations. Each will alternate from the hang to the support activities as he proceeds with his squad from station to station. The Whole-Parts Method of Learning The parts method should be used in introducing a new stunt. But the whole stunt, consisting of its many parts, should be demonstrated and described briefly 23



for the benefit of the individual before the selected part assigned to him. The example of this principle. A challenge stunt and the performer becomes eager

he is permitted to make any attempt to master learning of the kip on the high bar is a good is created with the presentation of the whole to learn the numerous, progressively arranged

parts that make up a difficult whole. Complete mastery of the whole stunt should follow with relative ease if the stunt is properly presented.

Progression from the Simple to the Complex Lesson plans should proceed progressively from the simple to the complex. Progressive lead-up activities should be given which contain elements identical with the desired end. Relatively complicated coordinations are part of almost all gymnastic feats, and in order that they may be learned correctly they should be broken down into parts and learned separately. Slowed down movements (slow

motion) in which the learner, with assistance, actually experiences the kinesthetic or muscle feel of the trick to be learned, is most helpful. The Success-Failure Relationship Is Important Participants should not be allowed to practice too long without some success. It seems best, then, to teach moderately easy lead-ups, as previously mentioned, and in addition to provide an individual mat area (even though small) for each one or two performers. Thus, the inevitable mistakes may be made without attracting undue group attention. Motivation Is Increased Through Exhibitions and Competition Motivation through competition and exhibition stimulates interest in gymnastics and tumbling, and provides added interest to the participants.

Building Separate Stunts into Routines The competent performer should be encouraged to create routines that have continuity and unity instead of learning the set routines of the instructor.

Program Should Be Varied but not Superficial Types of activity and their difficulty should be varied to obtain well-balanced development and to maintain interest. However, it is equally important to do enough different tricks of the same type to contribute to the desired ends.

Facilities, space, time, number in class and experience of the instructor will decide the selection of material.

Working in Pairs for Safety and Quicker Learning Partner assistance in learning involves one person as a spotter who supports, guards and lends physical aid to the performer with a view to quicker learning and the relatively assured safety of the performer. Spotting technique must be taught as well as performance technique. Spotting experience is as valuable as practice experience since the spotter must



be on the alert constantly. Each student should have repeated opportunities to serve both as performer and as spotter. For all but a few of the more dangerous of the elementary tricks, hand spotting without belts or ropes is most effective and a time saver. Suggested Class Procedure 1. Muster. 2. First day—general explanation of class administration and of the activities to be taught: a. Acquaint class with apparatus. b. Acquaint class with safety procedures. c. Impress class with need of safety measures. d. Give short, comparatively light workout, in order to minimize unduly severe aftereffects of dizziness and stiffness. 3. Warmup before each day's class: a. Limbering routine. b. Ropes and cargo net. c. Rolls (forward and backward) and dives. d. On the apparatus, warmup with some of the stunts that have been presented before. 4. Work in squads in sports program. Rotate squads to different apparatus so that they may work on the hang position and then proceed to the support position. In this way they will use different muscle groups. 5. Instructional work should be on a squad leader basis until they have developed enough strength to work independently and with safety. Emphasis should be given to the need of strengthening the grasps, triceps and abdominal muscles. 6. The class should be assembled in a semi-circular formation on the deck for the introduction of each new stunt. 7. In presenting a new stunt it should be described and demonstrated simultaneously. If the instructor cannot do the stunt, it may be executed by an outstanding student. Talk as little as possible. Teach in a positive manner wherever possible. 8. The class should try the stunt. Give as much individual guidance as possible. Encourage the better performers to help those less efficient. 9. If mistakes are being made, call the group together and make the necessary corrections. 10. Those who are able to execute a stunt in proper form should have it checked for achievement. 11. The better performers should either help others in the class, or work on more advanced tricks. 12. The instruction should be individualized as much as possible. Each one should be encouraged to strive progressively according to his potentialities. The opportunity for individual advancement is lost if the instructor uses the formal method which requires everybody to do the same thing. A grade scale should encourage the learner to attain his utmost. Skills such as the handspring, and the handbalance should be taught, which the performer will want to practice in his spare time. 13. Frequent short practice periods are much more effective in learning new skills than prolonged periods of practice.



14. If apparatus has to be put away at the close of the period, students should line up for dismissal. Everybody should help to clear the deck. In stacking the mats, place them in pairs with the tops always together—the top is the smoother of the two surfaces; the bottom usually is dotted with tassels. The working surface on top should be kept clean. In summary, a beginning gymnast may be stimulated to enthusiastic participation in the activity by: 1. The sincere cooperation of competent gymnastic teachers. 2. The use of safe adequate facilities and proper equipment. 3. The feeling of a prestige that accompanies the mastering of a stunt. 4. The presentation of motivating challenges or goals. 5. The desire of the performer to stretch to the utmost of his capacity. 6. The inclination of a "try-try again" spirit. 7. The freedom from injury. 8. The fosterage of courage and of initiative. 9. The correct guidance in the wise use of his time. 10. Capitalize upon the competitive element whenever possible.


Safety Methods and Devices Safety in any sport depends upon wise administration, which takes the following control factors into account in setting up an environment conducive to best results. Efficient Use of Physical Plant Factors to be taken into consideration in achieving efficient use of the physical plant are the following: effective use of facilities and equipment; proper time allotment; proper selection and training of personnel; a well-designed gymnasium with adequate lighting and ventilation; regular maintenance, including daily inspection 'of equipment; proper financial support. Effective Organization and Supervision Factors to be taken into consideration in achieving effective organization and supervision are the following: sufficient staff to handle the student load efficiently and safely; development of student leadership to aid in controlling the environmen: safely; provision for watchful supervision and proper guarding of the gymnasium at all times; removal of all hazards when program is not in operation; rigid enforcement of safety rules: A "Gymnasium Guard" should be used during free periods. All hazards should be eliminated. hock the gymnasium. Lock trampolines and springboards. Suspend rings and climbing ropes by pulleys. Progressive Conditioning Factors to be taken into consideration in regard to progressive conditioning are the following: physical fitness (organic vigor) equal to the task required; the development of adequate strength, endurance, power, agility, balance and flexibility; the judicious use of warm ups; an appreciation of the importance of sound physical condition for participation in gymnastic activities. Effective Instruction Safety Development Desired. 1. Knowledge of the condition (namely: the strength, ability and aptitude) of the individual and of the group as well as safety procedures. 2. Good habits especially in regard to the overlearning of fundamentals. 27



3. Skills equal to the task. 4. Worthwhile attitudes, especially self-confidence in the performer. 5. Appreciation of the importance of a well-prepared, conditioned readiness (namely: essential strength, ability and condition) for the task at hand. Safety Fundamentals for the Instructor 1. Remember that accidents in gymnastics and tumbling never "just happen"— they are caused. 2. Enforce the safety fundamentals as listed for learners. 3. Strict adherence to safety rules. 4. Stress need of individual responsibility toward safety. 5. Daily inspection of apparatus: a. Inspect for faults. b. Inspect for proper adjustment. c. Inspect for obstruction hazards, e.g., people, loose balls. 6. Stress point that a stunt executed by the skilled performer is not easy. a. Progression from the simple to the complex must be recognized. b. A performer should not try a stunt until he is prepared for it. c. Build strength and skill progressively. d. Practice fundamentals until mastered. 7. Strive to develop self-confidence of the performer. Principles for the Learner 1. An appreciation of the value of progressive conditioning, strength, skill, coordination, and ability in gymnastics and tumbling. a. Warm-up properly. b. Do not attempt a stunt beyond ability. c. Master the fundamentals. 2. The value and necessity of relatively simple, though strength-building activities for the grasps and the triceps (do not swing on the parallel bars until arms are sufficiently strong) and the abdominals. 3. The need to assist each other: a. Master the art of spotting by acting as performer and spotter respectively. b. Support classmate in order that he may experience kinesthetic feel of a new stunt and being supported in turn. c. Assist in manipulating safety belt.* 4. A thorough knowledge of apparatus: a. Be able to recognize faulty apparatus. b. Be able to set up apparatus properly. c. Inspect apparatus each time it is used. 5. Knowledge of proper placing of mats: a. Provide adequate mats around apparatus. b. Place mats on apparatus when helpful, e.g., across parallel bars when learning hand balance. (See plate 5) * Many instructors do not use safety belts on the assumption that the performer learns to depend upon them too much. If the individual masters lead-up activities to a difficult stunt he will not need a safety belt. In this way the performer learns to depend upon himself and great confidence is developed. Such a policy demands expert coaching.


6. 7. 8. 9.

c. Replace mats to correct position if displaced by force of dismount. d. Tie mats together for fast continuous tumbling. Ability to dismount properly from high bar and rings. a. Dismount on back end of swing when in extended position. Ability to fall properly.* Wise use of magnesium carbonate (mag.) and resin. "No "horse play."


5—The placing of mats across the apparatus to prevent injury. 6—Using the suspended safety belt. 7—Using the hand safety belt.

8—Pushing the performer. 9—Holding the performer. 10—Lifting the performer. * See Illustrations Nos. 9-33.




—Taking a position of readiness to assist. Do not actually assist unless the need arises! 12 —Teach and demand that performers spot each other effectively. Spotting and Guarding Cues for the Performer 1. Be sure to have a spotter for a new trick! 2. Do not depend entirely upon mat protection! 3. Analyze the mechanical details of the stunt and have a spotter wherever a fall might occur! 4. Do not be foolhardy! 5. Do not jest with the performer until he has dismounted! 6. Never change your mind in the middle of a stunt! TUMBLING AND STUMBLING Importance of Learning to Fall Safely


Tumbling, perhaps, does teach literally how to "tumble" or fall without sustaining injury The crew on board ship in a rough sea or on combat duty, the paratrooper who must attempt to alight safely, should know how to "break" a fall. The teaching of headsprings, necksprings, handsprings, round-offs, back handsprings, cartwheels, somersaults, and other highly specialized skills should bt supplemented with practical instruction in the art of tumbling or stumbling without injury. Athletes in specialized sports may prevent serious injury through mastery of tumbling or "breakfalling."


The Breakfall Is Important



From the safety point of view, the breakfall, a simple but necessary part of training, is the most important single skill in athletics; yet, it is one of the most neglected areas of directed learnings. The viewpoint seems to have been taken that the art of falling will take care of itself. Falling is a part of all types of sports as well as everyday activity and, therefore, should be regarded as a necessary fundamental in the training of every individual. Practically every sport is hazardous; certainly gymnastics may be considered so if it is not properly taught. Principles of Breakfalling Several principles should be remembered while practicing the art of breakfalling: 1. Give with the fall in a kind of controlled relaxation. "It is . . . a well-known fact that a blow of a given strength on a muscle will result in a rupture of the muscle if it is under tension, but will result in a fracture of the bone if the muscle is relaxed, and since fractures are, in general, more serious than ruptured muscles, it can be seen that there is greater incidence of fractures when muscles are in a relaxed condition. Muscles under tension, therefore, act as a protection or splint for the bone, and by taking the injury themselves prevent more serious bone accidents."1 2. The use of arms or legs to reduce the momentum of the fall. 3. Cushioning the fall. 4. Making use of "rolling." 5. Falling forward, if possible, by turning head and shoulders. 6. Keeping fingers pointed forward and chin on the chest when falling backward. 7. Keeping chin to the side when falling forward. It is suggested that the cadet: a. Practice falling with each principle in mind until mastery of all has been obtained. b. Devote ten minutes every day to breakfalling as a part of a warm up, and overlearn it until it becomes automatic Types of Breakfalls Everybody, civilians and members of the armed forces alike, should know how to prevent injury when jumping, or landing feet first from a height; when falling forward from four different positions, namely: 1. Head first. 2. Parallel to deck in an extended position. 3. Feet first with forward momentum. 4. Hands and feet together. when falling sideward, and when falling backward. 1 From Control of Football Injuries by Marvin A. Stevens and W, W, Phelps, Copyright 1933, by A. S. Barnes and Company, Inc., P. 15.

13—Jumping or Landing Feet First from a Height.-—(a)—Keep the head up— Keep the back straight, lean slightly forward—Keep the arms extended sideways, palms up—Use the arms for balance; (b)—Land on the balls of the feet; (c)—Bend at the knees to cushion the shock of landing! Variation.—The breakfall may be varied by executing one-half turns in the air, and by jumping off the trestle backwards, followed by backward rolls. Falling forward head first with hips high permits the execution of a tuck and forward roll only if the hips are high enough. •

14.—Falling Forward, Head First with Hips High.— (a) Keep the tongue in— Keep eyes open; (b) Trail with the feet—Land with the arms straight; (V) Bend at the elbow—Tuck the chin on the chest and lower the nape of the neck to the deck—Give with the fall! If falling headfirst with legs directly overhead, the head must be forced upward to avoid breaking the neck. If the individual trips while running at full speed, he must resort to the slapping principle of falling often called the "Football Fall." 15—Falling Forward, Parallel to the Deck in an Extended Position.—(a) Keep tongue in—First bring forearms down vigorously—Cushion the resr of the body to the deck; (b) Turn the head to one side to protect the chin— Cushion the rest of the body to the deck! A well-trained performer may catch himself on his hands, bend the arms at the elbows, and lower himself in an arched position. The chest first will make the contact with the deck followed by the abdominal region and then by the entire front of the body. By forcing the shoulders forward, the back should be arched, the toes pointed. 16—Variation—Falling Forward in an Extended Position.—{a) Keep the arms straight and land on them first; (b) Then bend at the elbows; (c) Keep the back arched! Pull back hard with the head and chest and attempt to swing the feet down and under the body.




Forward and Downward Momentum.— (a) Use the slapping principle; have the feet absorb the shock; (b) Fingers pointed forward— Lean backward to counterbalance forward momentum—Keep the chin on the chest—Cushion the body to the deck! When falling from a height and the lean is too far forward for landing on the feet alone, and not quite enough to do a dive and roll, the performer lands on feet and hands at the same time. * * • 18—Hands and Feet Together.— (a) Lean backwards to counterbalance the forward momentum; (&) Fingers pointed forward—Flex the legs and arms simultaneously upon landing! If the momentum is in a sideward direction, for example, a football or a basketball player may reach for a loose ball he should tuck and execute a sideward roll. 19—Falling Sideivard, Tuck and Sideivard Shoulder Roll.—Start roll low rather than high—Throw extended arms across chest—Roll on shoulders rather than small of back—Keep tucked all the time! If falling with the back to the deck, try to turn about in the air and face the deck. Cushion the fall with the hands, and at the same time roll sideward or forward. If it is impossible to land on the feet, land on all fours, and cushion the body to the deck. The arms should be straight at the elbow and in a forward oblique position. Slap the arms to me deck as hard as possible, thus cushioning the body to the deck. The chin should be on the chest and the feet slightly in front of the head. A neck injury could result if the feet were beyond the vertical position. The "stage" breakfall, as it is called, is used effectively in breakfall acts on the stage. 20—Falling Backward from Height.— {a) Chin on chest—Feet just short of the vertical position; (b) Fingers pointed forward—Arms straight and forward oblique—Slap the arms to the deck as hard as possible to cushion the fall! 17—

Elementary Learning Activity for the Breakfall 21—Fall Forward.—Fingers pointed forward—Head to the side to protect the chin—Cushion the body to the fall by flexing arms.

22—Fij// Backward.—Chin on chest—Hands slightly behind hips—Fingers pointed forward—Hands hit deck before body! Teaching Procedure.—It is advisable to first practice with a spotter who supports the performer's weight with one hand on the neck. He places the performer's hand on the deck, slightly behind the hips, the fingers pointing forward. The heel of the hand should hit the deck first. 23—Backward Roll, One-half Turn, Forward Breakfall.— (a) Do not stop before turn—Turn while momentum is still backward; (b) Land on hands first! Teaching Procedure.—This activity should stress the point that the attempt should be made to fall forward rather than backward.



24—Jumping Forward from a Height, Feet First.—Jumping forward from a height with one-half turn and backward roll. 25—Jumping Backward from a Height and Backward Roll.—Lean inward toward the fall—Keep leaning forward on backward roll! 26—Various Kinds of Jumps, Turns, and Rolls from a Graduated Platform.— (a) Lean inward toward the fall; (b) Keep leaning forward on backward roll!

Summary In summary, a well-functioning program of gymnastics and tumbling may be conducted with a minimum of accidents if the following are emphasized: 1. The importance of spotting or guarding in the gymnasium. a. The performer should understand clearly that it is his own responsibility to be sure that he is spotted properly. b. The performer should not be foolhardy. C. The performer should never change his mind in the middle of a trick. 2. The grasps, triceps, and abdominals of the performer should be built up through progressive strength-building exercises before he tries swinging tricks. 3. The important principles of falling safely should be overlearned by the performer. a. Slapping the mat with the arms. b. Slapping the mat with the back of the leg below knee, if necessary. c. Fingers pointed forward if falling backward. d. Cushioning the fall by bending the knees upon alighting. e. Tuck and roll forward, sideways, or backward whenever possible. f. Turning forward and face the fall if possible. The breakfall is of decided value in all sports or activities in which injury from falling may occur.



APPLICATION OF TUMBLING AND JUMPING ACTIVITY TO PARACHUTE TRAINING* Much of the material taught in gymnastics and tumbling may be applied directly or indirectly to parachute training. For example, rope climbing (See p. 168), the "trainasium," high bar, and many other training devices all contribute to the development of upper body strength. Excellent training could be supplied by the flying rings. An individual could be pushed in such a manner that he would acquire a crooked swing which he would be forced to straighten out. Such training would develop the muscles needed by the paratrooper to prevent oscillation of the chute during descent. (See Plate 27a) The traveling rings, too, could be used for this purpose. In actual parachute training, the paratrooper must master the art of: (1) Landing and falling safely; (2) Jumping from platforms and correctly learning to absorb the shock of landing; (3) Jumping from a 200 foot tower while suspended in a harness; (4) Jumping from a tower free; (5) Sliding speedily down an inclined beam to adjust to horizontal velocity. (Nos. 1-5 inclusive prove need of tumbling training.); (6) Controlling the chute in descent and when he is being dragged by a wind machine. (This proves the need of upper body strength.) In parachute landing, it is necessary to maintain the sitting position with the knees bent and relaxed rather than attempting to keep an upright position. Emphasis should be made to fall and roll, release and give in all types of falls. Under no consideration should you fight the fall.


* Also refer to 16 mm. Film on Marine Parachute Activities NN-18.

27b—Paratroopers in Action.—Practice jumps are usually made from a height of about 1000 feet but when in combat, jumps are made from a much lower height.


Importance of Leg Conditioning—The all out effort activities in the gymnastic program include development of leg exercises. The squat jump in particular, which is a core requirement for every aviation cadet represents one of the best leg developers.

29-Platform Jumping.—Worn jumping and various rolls indicate the need of tumbling versatility. The same type of tumbling is given to cadets early in their training. This teaches them to tumble and fall in all possible body positions without injury. Body control and a sense of direction are required while in the air.



30—Backward Jump.—The jump pictured here is similar to a backward jump from any height. The cadet is taught to bend the upper trunk forward; use the arms and head to control upright balance while in the air; look towards the deck; land on the balls of the feet with the legs slightly apart to insure a well controlled landing. •