The foundations of modern gymnastics originated in the earlier eighteen hundreds by a German patriot whose goal was to inspire solidarity and Germanic pride among the youths. That patriot was a man named Friedrich Ludwig Jahn aka “Father Jahn” and his gymnastics training stemmed from the pursuit of national unity and freedom from French rule. Confident that physical education was key in order strengthen national character and national identity, Jahn used fencing, wrestling, swimming, and throwing, as well as war games which trained the practitioners in war-like scenarios, which was known as Turnen. Even though Jahn developed many of the apparatuses used in gymnastics today such as the horizontal bar, parallel bar, and the pommel horse, his training was never geared toward competition but rather personal improvement and developing skills useful on the battlefield. In the same way cultures mold beliefs, values, and traditions the culture in the time of Father Jahn created the mold in which modern gymnastics was born.
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