Practical Guide of Physical Education (1912 Edition)
by Georges Hébert
translated into English by Pilou and Gregg
Pilou's Foreword and Warning
This is an amateur translation of Georges Hébert's
Guide pratiqued'éducation physique
edition, 1912. The original work is over 500pages, encompasses everything from building training grounds tomuscular anatomy, and contains detailed theory and practicalinformation. Faced with such a task, I decided to start translatingthings I was interested in, namely elementary exercises for buildingstrength and flexibility and practical exercises of relevance for Parkour training. Meanwhile, Gregg started translating other parts of the book,and by encouraging each other we managed to cover almosteverything. Gregg put his translations up on the APK forums, but Ikept going with this booklet which has been compacted to under 100pages(!). The original book comes with many photographs, and I triedto keep as many as I could in the text, although I didn't go through thehassle to reference them in the text. The translation is far from literalor complete, and thus contains some bias, although I tried to avoidinterpreting or modernizing any of the text. In the very few casesHébert's work seems at odds with modern knowledge or when extra caution seems needed, I addednotes mentioning the differences, but did not change the original text. I included Gregg's more literaltranslation with some minor smoothing, and tried to indicate who did what.Now, here must come a warning. Georges Hébert's legacy is much richer than a few guidebooks of physical education, and there is obviously more to the natural method than this. Followers of GeorgesHébert are still active in France and Belgium, and one should seek their help and teachings to fullyunderstand the natural method. This book merely offers a first taste of the method, incomplete andimperfect in many ways, and reading it will make no one a true expert of the art. Nevertheless, I hopeit will intrigue and inspire traceurs and traceuses to explore Hébert's ideas on physical education,complement their training with some of the exercises described, and seek out Hébert's followers tolearn more.Pilou, November 2009
[translator's note: the following chapters are from Gregg's translation, with a bit of polishing for theFrench expressions. Apart from the foreword, I have also removed or shortened repetitive sections or other lengthy descriptions, according to my own personal judgment. Some edited parts are indicated,and I recommend that you go to Gregg's m literal online version for more details on the theory part.]The driving thought behind this Practical Guide of Physical Education was to compose a method, apractical system to reach full physical development through the most effective, fastest and simplestways. This method is no theoretical essay, it is the result of more than five years of practical, dailyteaching and training thousands of subjects of various ages, strengths and walks of life, from schoolchildren to French navy officers.