Physical culture and sPort - Akademia Wychowania Fizycznego


Physical culture and sPort - Akademia Wychowania Fizycznego
ISSN 1899-4849
Physical Culture
Studies and Research
1 Volume (XLV)
Warsaw 2007
Physical Culture
Studies and Research
1 Volume (XLV)
Warsaw 2007
Prof. Dr. Jerzy Kosiewicz – University of Physical Education of Warsaw, Poland
Prof. Dr. Tomasz Gabryś – University of Physical Education of Warsaw, Poland
Associate Editors:
Prof. Dr. Krzysztof Klukowski – University of Physical Education of Warsaw, Poland
Prof. Dr. Andrzej Kosmol – University of Physical Education of Warsaw, Poland
Prof. Dr. Jerzy Nowocień – University of Physical Education of Warsaw, Poland
Prof. Dr. Anna Pawlikowska – Piechotka – University of Physical Education of Warsaw,
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Skład, łamanie, druk: Agencja Reklamowo-Wydawnicza A. Grzegorczyk
Editorial Board
  1. Prof. Dr Georg Anders – Honorary Professorship of the Deutsche Sporthochschule,
Köln, Germany
  2. Prof. Dr. Mait Arvisto – Pedagogical University of Tallinn, Estonia
  3. Prof. Dr. Irina Bykhovskaja – Central Institute of Physical Culture, Moscow, Russia
  4. Prof. Dr. Bart Crum – Free University Amsterdam, Netherlands
  5. Prof. Dr. Janusz Czerwiński – Honorary Rector Academy of Physical Education Sport
of Gdańsk, Poland
  6. Prof. Dr. Wojciech Drygas – Institute of Cardiology in Warsaw, Poland
  7. Prof. Dr. Henning Eichberg – University of Southern Denmark in Odense, Denmark
  8. Prof. Dr. Gyongyi Főldesi – Semmelweis University of Budapest – Hungary
  9. Prof. Dr. Bohuslav Hodan – University of Olomouc, Czech Republic
10. Prof. Dr. Anna Hogenova – Charles Univeristy of Prague, Czech Republic
11. Prof. Dr. Hannu Itkonen – University of Jyväskylä, Finland
12. Prof. Dr. Grant Jarvie – University of Stirling, Scotland
13. Prof. Dr. Ejgil Jespersen – Norwegian School of Sport Sciences of Oslo, Norway
14. Prof. Dr. Ivo Jiràsek – University of Olomouc, Czech Republic
15. P
rof. Dr. Dieter Jütting – Institut für Sportkultur und Weiterbildung, Münster, Germany
16. Prof. Dr. Tomasz Kostka – Medical University of Łódź, Poland
17. Prof. Dr. Stanisław Kowalczyk – Catholic University of Lublin, Poland
18. Prof. Dr. R. Scott Kretchmar – University of Southern California, USA
19. Prof. Dr. Sigmund Loland – Norwegian School of Sport Sciences in Oslo, Norway
20. Prof. Dr. Joseph Maguire – University of Loughborough, Leicestershire – England
21. Prof. Dr. Mike McNamee – University of Wales, Swansea, England
22. Prof. Dr. Jim Parry – Leeds University, England
23. Prof. Dr. Andrzej Pawłucki – Vice Rector of Academy of Physical Education and Sport
of Gdańsk, Poland
24. Prof. Dr. Wojciech Przybylski – Rector Academy of Physical Education and Sport of
Gdańsk, Poland
25. Prof. Dr. Nuria Puig – L’Institut Nacional d’Educació Física de Catalunya – Spain
26. Prof. Dr. Kimmo Suomi – University of Jyväskylä, Finland
27. Prof. Dr. Otmar Weiss – Institut für Sportwisenschaft der Universität, Wien, Austria
Members of the Honorary Board
Physical Culture and Sport
Studies and Research
Head of the Honorary Board:
Prof. Dr. Henryk Sozański – Poland
Doctor Honoris Causa University of Physical Education of Kiev, Doctor Honoris Causa
Academy of Physical Education and Sport of Gdańsk
A Members:
Prof. Dr. Tadeusza Bielicki – Poland
Doctor Honoris Causa The Jozef Pilsudski Univesrsity of Physical Education of Warsaw
Prof. Dr. Władimir Nikołajewicz Płatonow – Ukraina
Doctor Honoris Causa The Jozef Pilsudski Univesrsity of Physical Education of Warsaw
Prof. Dr. Herman Van Coppenolle – Belgia
Doctor Honoris Causa The Jozef Pilsudski Univesrsity of Physical Education of Warsaw
Prof. Dr. Zbigniew Krawczyk – Poland
Doctor Honoris Causa University of Physical Education of Budapest
Prof. Dr. Maciej Demel – Poland
Doctor Honoris Causa Academy of Physical Education of Kraków
Prof. Dr. Ryszard Przewęda – Poland
Doctor Honoris Causa Academy of Physical Education of Kraków
Prof. Dr. Tadeusz Ulatowski – Poland
Doctor Honoris Causa Academy of Physical Education of Wroclaw
Foreword: Physical Culture and Sport as a Title of Periodical
and as a Research Problem – Jerzy Kosiewicz ....................................................     9
I. Physical Culture and Education
Ejgil Jespersen: Body, Movement and Technology......................................................    13
Joanna Femiak: Development of the Conception of Corporeality
in the Theory of Physical Education......................................................................    22
Ivo Jirásek: Terms for the Naming of Movement Activities
and Their Significance............................................................................................    37
Andrzej Pawłucki: Homo Olimpicus as Homo Redemptor
The Law of Olympic Peace....................................................................................    50
Henning Eichberg: Sport as Festivity – Education through Festival............................    68
Jerzy Kosiewicz: Philosophy of Physical Culture in Poland........................................    78
Zbigniew Dziubiński: Roman Catholic Church and Physical Culture.........................   110
II. Sport
Henryk Sozański: Current Trends in the Process of Training and Criteria
of its Optimisation..................................................................................................   127
Wojciech J. Cynarski, Kazimierz Obodyński: Factors and Barriers
of Development of Far Eastern Martial Arts and Combat Sports in Poland..........   139
Tomasz Michaluk: Selected Aspects of the Semiotics of a Sporting Event.................   148
Monika Ślęzak: Identity as a Subject of Study for Sociology of Sport
(with the Use of a Biographic Method).................................................................   155
Małgorzata Okupnik: Sport, Narration and Identity.
On Autobiographical Texts by Solo Sport Athletes...............................................   165
Krzysztof W. Jankowski, Michał Lenartowicz, Piotr Rymarczyk, Stanisław Wanat:
Socialisation, Motives and Barriers of Practising Sport
by Top National Athletes in Selected Sports..........................................................   173
Adam Bieleniewicz: Personality Determinants of Football Fan Aggression................   186
Jolanta Żyśko: Nature of Comparative Sport Policy Research.....................................   194
Kimmo Suomi & Vesa Rajaniemi: Sport Place Planning as a Part of Land-Use
Planning in Finland................................................................................................   201
Xue Shaoduo: Situation and Development of Sports Managers in China Viewed
from the American Sports Managers.....................................................................   206
Andrzej Smoleń, Zbigniew Pawlak: Sports Real Estate Management.........................   210
Antoni Szymański: The Prophylactic and Therapeutic Properties of Probiotics.
The Role in Nutrition of Athletes...........................................................................   228
III. Tourism and Recreation
Zbigniew Krawczyk: Dysfunctions of Tourism............................................................   237
Ludwik Mazurkiewicz: The Theory of Tourism Region..............................................   248
Stanisław Kowalczyk: The Anthropological – Axiological Sense
of Religious Pilgrimages........................................................................................   260
Anna Katarzyna Pawlikowska-Piechotka: Mazovian Castles
as Cultural Tourism Attraction...............................................................................   268
Dorota Kamień, Piotr Wróblewski: Walking for Health. Recreational Tourist
Activities Based on Nordic Walking – a New Form of Movement Activity;
an Analysis of a Survey Concerning Warsaw Inhabitants’ Movement Activity
and Interest in NW.................................................................................................   279
Ida Wiszomirska: Selected Aspect of Functional Fitness of Children
with Duchenne Dystrophy.....................................................................................   290
Henning Eichberg: The “Celtic Family” – Football, Non-Recognition
and Self-Recognition in Scotland..........................................................................   307
Henning Eichberg: Towards the Critique of the Racing Society..................................   315
Stanisław Cieszkowski: Movement Recreation from the Theoretical
and Practical Perspective.......................................................................................   320
Anna Hogenowá: Social and Cultural Assumptions of Kinathropology .....................   322
Bohuslav Hodaň: Several Words about Monograph “Rekreologie” (“Rekreology”)......   326
Jerzy Kosiewicz: Philosophical Kinathropology and Meaning
of Human Way of Being .......................................................................................   328
Reports from Scientific Conferences
Wojciech J. Cynarski, Kazimierz Obodyński: Three Conferences EASS:
Vienna – Rzeszów – Jyväskylä..............................................................................   334
Jerzy Kosiewicz, Andrzej Smoleń: Social Determinants of Development
of Sports Recreation in Central European Countries.............................................   343
Wojciech J. Cynarski: Changes in Sport Culture. 3rd EASS Conference
in Jyväskylä............................................................................................................   349
Lech Jaczynowski, Andrzej Smoleń: Students and Friends of Zbigniew Krawczyk,
Professor Ordinarius, Doctor Habilitatus, Remembered about His 75th Birthday.....   352
Anniversary 75th Birthday of Professor Zbigniew Krawczyk
Jerzy Kosiewicz: Considerations on Socio-Philosophical Disciplines
of Physical Culture Sciences . ...............................................................................   356
Zbigniew Krawczyk: Sport, Culture, Society...............................................................   360
Laudation Professor Zbigniew Krawczyk 75th Birthday
Professor Dr. Henryk Sozański, Rector of the University of Physical Education
in Warsaw...............................................................................................................   365
Professor Dr. Włodzimierz Bonusiak, Rector of the Rzeszów University...................   366
Professor Dr. Maciej Demel . .......................................................................................   367
Professor Dr. Andrzej Pawłucki....................................................................................   369
Professor Dr. Tadeusz Maszczak..................................................................................   371
Professor Dr. Zofia Żukowska......................................................................................   372
Professor Dr. Zbigniew Dziubiński...............................................................................   373
Professor Dr. Stanisław Kowalczyk..............................................................................   375
Professor Dr. Tadeusz Ulatowski..................................................................................   376
Instruction for Authors – Andrzej Pawłucki, Jerzy Kosiewicz . ...............................   379
Jerzy Kosiewicz
University of Physical Education in Warsaw
Faculty of Physical Education
Physical Culture and Sport as a Title of a Periodical
and as a Research Problem
“Physical Culture and Sport. Studies and Research” – a title of a new journal referring
to the tradition of “Scientific Yearbook of University of Physical Education in Warsaw”,
which is several decades long – points out clearly to a range of topics dealt with in texts
which may appear in the journal. In spite of this, terms included in its title require some
explanations and specifying.
That is why it is worth pointing out that sometimes they are treated as ambiguous expressions. Sometimes they are understood – in the contexts of a properly formulated context
of justification – as synonymous. On the other hand, in other situations they are presented
as terms considerably different from each other regarding the range of their contents.
It causes that – because of expressions which are present in it – the title can intrigue,
stimulate reflection, attract attention.
Using the association referring to the philosophy and especially to the sociology of
culture, it is possible to proclaim that the notion of physical culture is associated first of all
with cultivation of the human physis and taking care of it – that is (referring to the etymology of the word “culture”), with colo ere of the human body, of course in the environmental
(social and natural) context.
According to that interpretation, it refers to efforts concerning the body, activities of
autotelic character (constituting aims in themselves) focused mainly on physical fitness (of
non-professional character, what means in this case that it is not connected with material
benefits), on aesthetics of the body and on somatic health taking also into account its connection with the psyche and social influences.
Sport – taking into account the proposed viewpoint – would be treated, unlike physical
culture, as a supranatural phenomenon of objective (that is, instrumental) and not subjective properties – that is, as a means of achieving aims of pragmatic, measurable and discretionary character.
In other words, sport – according to this interpretation – is associated solely with
achievement-orientated, professional, spectacular or Olympic character.
Nota bene, this is just the way how the notion of sport is understood in the USA. It does
not refer to any other form of practical activity (Pfister, 2007). On the other hand, the notion
of physical culture is poorly known there and generally it is not used there, unlike in Canada,
Great Britain, France, Germany or countries of Middle and Eastern Europe and Russia.
That notion, although coming from the end of the 19th century from the area of the
abovementioned countries of Western Europe, has become popular in Europe mainly thanks
to the Soviet Union and its satellite countries. It was saturated with ideological properties
aimed at strengthening the socialist government. As a propaganda tool, it unfortunately
appeared in science too (Godlewski, 2005). In Poland after political transformations it became a solely cognitive and practical category and it started to mean something else than its
Soviet interpretation. Namely, the notion of physical culture, besides many other elements,
include also achievement-orientated (professional, Olympic) sport. On the other hand, in
the case of the Russian interpretation, the notion of sport was put on the sidelines of physical culture, since sport was treated as a special phenomenon standing out from other forms
of physical activity because of its spectacular character, popularity, interest from the electronic media.
In Polish literature the notion of physical culture – defining it in an additive way, by
enumeration of its main elements – embraces achievement-orientated sport, mass sport,
popular sport, amateur sport, school sport, sport of the disables, physical culture, games
and plays, movement recreation, achievement-orientated tourism, pilgrimage tourism or
recreational forms of tourism.
In many countries of Western Europe a division of sport as such into achievementorientated sport, sport for all, etc. is applied – although not always in a consistent and not
always in the same way.
Thus, for example, in Norway or in Germany, in spite of the fact that the significance
of physical culture is seen and defined, the notions of sport and sport sciences are consistently used on the ground of science and didactics. It is testified, among others, by names of
universities dealing with the discussed fields of activity. For example Norwegian School of
Sport Sciences operates in Oslo, while in Köln there is Deutsche Sporthochschule Köln.
In Poland in some of his recent works and public statements the author of the presented
text also maintained that sport as such can be divided into achievement-orientated (spectacular, professional, Olympic) sport and sport of all. The latter embraces all other forms
of sport of autotelic character – that is, forms of non-achievement orientated sport which
are such as the abovementioned – as well as other manifestations of activity from the field
of physical recreation, like, for example, active movement relaxation in the form of games
and plays, walks, fishing, mushrooming or recreational forms of tourism, which in many
cases are not connected with rivalry. The abovementioned categories of sport – that is,
achievement-orientated sport and sport for all – constitute a whole which – without fear of
making a mistake – may be called “physical culture”.
The abovementioned considerations lead to a conclusion that physical culture and sport
may be variously defined: as autonomous from each other, as having overlapping ranges
and as having coinciding ranges. Thus, relations taking place between them are ambiguous and arise constant interest of both theoreticians and practitioners of sport and physical
Even if the notion of sport and the notion of physical culture are not consistently distinguished, it does not mean that detailing those terms in the title of the journal testifies to
a possible content-related negligence, since.. notions are used in the titles of many periodicals such as, for example “Kultura i Społeczeństwo” (“Culture and Society”), “Wyhcowanie Fizyczne i Sport” (“Physical Education and Sport”) or “Philosophy, Ethics and Sport”.
After all, it is generally known that culture is a function, an effect of social activity, that
physical education includes elements of sport (sport – and especially school sport – should
also pay attention to education of children and youth) and that ethics can be also understood
as one of the most important branches of philosophy.
Concluding the abovementioned remarks, it is possible to proclaim that the merit of the
discussed title is its elasticity taking into account various terminological options, various
theories and contexts of justification referring to physical culture and sport.
Similar or controversial remarks and interpretations may also appear in reference to
both the notion of studies as well as to the term “research”.
Namely, adherents of empirical – and especially natural, biological – sciences are of
an opinion that just their inquiries, unlike inquiries of the humanities, are typical research,
whereas (also according to their opinion) the term “studies” is reserved solely for the humanities of strictly theoretical character, such as e.g. philosophy or history, or non-empirical sociology, psychology and pedagogy.
On the other hand, representatives of the humanities are of an opinion that their exploratory endeavours may be described both as studies and research, since – regardless the
name – from the viewpoint of general methodology, they carry out theoretical investigations (often, although not necessarily, anchored in empirical knowledge), which, without
making a mistake, are called interchangeably the one or the other of the abovementioned
Regarding existing viewpoints which are characteristic for scholars, we decided to
fulfil terminological expectations of the authors cooperating with our journal in the optimal
1. Pfister G. Local Sport in Europe. Paper presented on 4th European Association for Sociology of Sport Conference, 31 May – 3 June 2007, Münster, Germany.
2. Godlewski P. (2005), “Kultura fizyczna” – termin i system na usługach marksistowskiej ideologii (“Physical
Culture” – a Term and a System Serving Marxist Ideology), in: Z. Dziubiński (ed.), Sport jako kulturowa
rzeczywistość. Warszawa, Wydawnictwo Poligrafia Inspektoratu Towarzystwa Salezjańskiego, pp. 520-527.
Ejgil Jespersen
Norwegian School of Sport Sciences
Body, Movement and Technology
Key words: Body, movement, technology, power of resistance
Human movement demands overcoming of resistance stemming from the weight of the
body as well as the inert social institutions. Movement is not automatic, although it may
turn out to be done with effortless ease. Movement is associated with effort and going on
in sheer defiance of the force of gravity. The biological evolution is the source of the body,
but since this evolution is almost stopped, the technological development has taken over
the yellow jersey. The technology outdistances and disconnects the initiative of the body. In
this way the virtual reality is expanding at the expense of real life. Nevertheless, it appears
as if the body continually demands to be recreated and restored for the sake of one’s health
as well as of existential motives. If the technological development defies the body, the body
is answering back and moving in a form of self-defence.
Due to the burden of the body human movement demands overcoming of resistance.
Movement is not automatic functioning like clockwork, although it may turn out to be done
with effortless ease. Movement is associated with effort and going on in sheer defiance of
the force of gravity.
Now, the question is about the basis of this resistance and how we are dealing with this
resistance. Do we follow the line of least resistance or are we fighting and doing something
in order to develop our capability of resistance? The short answer is that we sometimes
abstain from fighting, sometimes not, at the same time as the technology with its tools, machines, information systems and robots is weakening, in general, the need of human muscle
power and, thereby, reducing our experiences of resistance in everyday life.
The technology outdistances and disconnects the initiative of the body. In this way the
virtual reality is diffusing in an easy and fast way at the expense of real life. The most heavy
burden alias the human body is left in the lurch. The biological evolution is the source of
the body, but since the evolution is almost stopped, the technological development has
taken over the yellow jersey. Nevertheless, it appears as if the body continually demands
to be recreated and restored. If the technological development defies the body, the body is
answering back and moving in a way of self-defence.
Therefore, let us now take a closer look at this bodily “disobedience”.
Symmetry and asymmetry
Almost every motile creature, from invertebrates up to the scale of humans, is built
so as to have pairs of organs or organ systems that are bilaterally positioned on either side
of a midline. Humans have two eyes, two nostrils, two lungs, two buttocks, two arms and
legs, two kidneys, even two halves of the brain. The extra unit does not seem to serve an
engineering purpose of a backup system. Nor can the arrangement hardly be in the service
of efficiency and power.
It has been pointed out, however, that bilateral symmetry is found in almost all organisms that are not sessile because they must usually be streamlined (1) This provides the best
structural arrangement for rapid movement, either to chase prey or to evade predators. But
in motile organisms the two sides of the body, in spite of their symmetrically paired organs
and action system, are almost never in a state of functional bilateral symmetry. In regard to
function it is asymmetry that appears to be the order of the day, even though the structural
order calls for symmetry.
Movement begins usually by setting off to right/left, forward/backward or up/down.
Did we and our movement fellows not do that in the starting point, but were absorbed
in the symmetric structure, we would be inflexible and unmovable – like a soul without
A symmetric structural order implies non-movement or rest, while movement is characterized by an asymmetric attitude and restlessness. Organically the symmetric structure
of the body is not prepared for acting. This might even be a motive for making a virtue
of necessity, i.e. sitting in a lotus position of certain meditative disciplines, with the legs
symmetrically intertwined and the arms crossed in front of the chest. Also certain positions
within the military, gymnastic and body building as well as in prayer (be kneeling or standing) are rather fitted for symmetry.
Thus, it seems to be rest rather than movement, which is the result of taking a symmetric view of the body. For Plato it was also the intention. Anyhow, human beings had to
move oneself with coolness as far as possible.
The old and the new symposium
When the ancient Greeks met at a “symposium”, they did make merry and gave way
for drinking, dancing and talking witty about this and that. But usually they finished by
collapsing in a state of intoxication and fatigue. This culture of symposium was, according
to the narrative, an act of revenge, since Dionysus was stripped of his capacity for thinking
by his stepmother Hera.
Plato prefers, however, to leave such narratives to those, who are not afraid of talking
about the gods. Instead he announced with his dialogue on “Symposium” (2) what we today
associate with a symposium, namely a scientific meeting for exchange of the latest news in
a given field of study. This may for instance be about the healthy and educational dimensions of body culture.
After all, the old and the new symposium is from a bodily point of view not as different as it may look like. Plato himself describes the relationship as the difference between
collapsing and keeping oneself upright – mirroring the experience of learning to walk in
Therefore, the question is, if the resolute handling of the body in terms of symmetry,
harmony and clarity leads to movement? Or if as one’s point of departure it is, rather, an
excessive, passionate attitude to life like the one Dionysus incarnates, which is a prerequisite for moving oneself.
For Plato there were no problems. Certainly, he was a wrestler in his past life, but as a
state philosopher and health educator he recommended the controlled movement as the supreme good. This kind of movement has to be like the perfect movement, i.e. the concentric
orbit of the heavenly bodies. But why is just this concentric orbit perfect? Plato reaches this
conclusion through a form and causal analysis of rest and movement, which furthermore
becomes the distinguishing criterion between the human body and soul (3).
Rest and movement
The concepts of rest and movement are contrary to each other, since rest is described
as homogeneous, synonymous and always in a form, which is identical with itself, in contradistinction to movement described as heterogeneous and characterized by incessantly
changing, multifarious forms.
For Plato, however, there exists one form of movement, in which every difference is
neutralized, namely in the circular movement, which is identical with itself and stay alike.
This kind of movement is regularly and moves like the reason itself. Therefore, he thinks,
the circular movement is the quintessence of the rational and perfect form of movement. It
is harmonious and in perfect order, whereas the restless and irregular movement is considered as improper, insulting, sinful, erroneous and senseless.
Moreover, Plato subjects the concept of movement to an examination in terms of a
causal analysis, as he is distinguishing between an active way of moving with an internal
center and a passive way of moving with a center outside of itself. He concludes, that selfmoving movement is the supreme and most perfect way of moving, because it is unmoved.
This does not mean, that it is not moving, but that it moves through itself, i.e. it is autonomous. In that way, the analysis culminates in the determination of the pure and autonomous
movement, a movement, which is pure, because it is homogenous and regularly, and which
is autonomous, because it has its center of movement within itself.
Heavenly bodies
Both the soul and the body are continually in movement while alive. As far as it goes
the body and the soul are related to each other, but the point is, that they are distinguishable
both in their form and their art of movement. The soul is equivalent to the pure and autonomous movement, whereas the body is only able to carry out decentralized, heterogeneous
movements. These definitions of the resolute-moving soul are, however, ideal constructions, i.e. ideally the movements of the body have to be in accordance with the soul, but de
facto they are not. Therefore, Plato is complaining that the body in reality does not maintain
order and constantly is an improper and mindless movement, i.e. not subject of the mastery
of the soul.
Plato’s reaction to this fundamental conflict is body politics and education in the form
of gymnastics included a sound upbringing, a healthy way of living and treatment in case of
illness. In this way, he thinks, the body is winning goodness. The intention is to neutralize
and harmonize the conflict between the pure self-movement of the soul and the turbulent
urges of the body. The body has to be marginalized and calmed down, so that it comes to
be like the movement of the soul as far as possible. That is why Plato’s concept of the ideal
movement of the body is the rational and perfect “Gestalt of Universe”, i.e. the concentric
movement of the heavenly bodies.
If the body, now, had been fully enlightened and transparent for itself, there would not
have been any problem longer by following prescriptions for movement for, for example, the
sake of health. There is just a snag in it, and this is the play and activity of the body, which is
definitely not sharply defined and regular. In that way the body remains a mystery.
Plato has also to admit, that it is only possible to set up general rules for dance, running,
wrestling etc. and not rules for every individual step in practice. The movement of the body
does not exclusively follow general and systematic knowledge of healthy and moderate
sport and exercise.
Therefore, the question is now, how we can reach a better understanding of the human
movement of the body in practice.
While the real world for Plato is the world, which can be conceptualized through a
logical chain of reasoning – and, therefore, a world in which movement and change is
impossible in a strict sense – his pupil Aristotle is clinging to the sensible world with its
movement, becoming, change and past. For Aristotle it is not the ideas, which are eternal
and changeless, but the forms, the essence of things. Thus, he contrasted with Plato in defining the soul as the living form of the body, where the word ‘form’ is frequently a translation
of the Greek term ‘morphe’ meaning shape.
Concerning the shape or figure of the body we must not only pay attention to the twosided, harmonious structure of the physical body but also to the animated activities of the
moving body, so much the more we have to break down the fixed image of the body in order
to move ourselves. As upright beings we have to run a risk of collapsing.
The uprightness and fall of the body
The upright posture is not only the “leitmotif” in the development of the form and
function of the human body. According to Straus (4) it involves also a psychological element and implies a particular way of being. The human being gains foothold in the world
by standing up, but not once for all, since we are moving in defiance of the force of gravity
and remain threatened by falling throughout our life. Therefore, our natural condition is
The human being does not rest in its own weight like a fixed rock, and the duty does not
end by standing up. The human being has to “resist” in order to reach or to restore a certain
balance and stability in the world.
The language has long ago recognized the co-existence of the anatomic-physiological
and the psychological dimensions. The term ‘to be upright’ has two meanings; the physical:
to stand up, to stand on the legs, and the moral habitus: to stand on one’s owns legs, to stand
by one’s attitudes. The direction upwards against the gravity force inscribes also emotional
values in the social life-world like high and low, rise and fall, superior and inferior, far up
and depressed, heaven and hell. However, when it is important to be down to the earth, it is
because the earth, which is pulling us down, also is the earth, which supports us in movement.
The etymological root syllable of standing – ‘sta’ is also very enlightening. Beyond
combinations like ‘stand for’ and ‘stand by’ there are many words, where the root syllable
has gone through minor changes, but still is recognizable like in ‘step’, ‘state’, ‘status’,
‘standard’, ‘stadium’, ‘institution’, ‘constitution’, ‘substance’, ‘understand’ and ‘assist’.
This big family of words is kept together by one and the same main meaning referring
to something, which is established, raised, constructed and in its dangerous equilibrium
threatened by fall and collapse.
Neo-Aristotelian neurobiology
That the upright posture is an essential aspect of what makes us human is also highlighted by Shaun Gallagher (5) in his version of a neo-Aristotelian neurobiology. Here is his
incomplete list of those aspects of human life that are related to or dependent on attaining
the upright posture:
(1) Human anatomy and skeletal structure: the shape and structure of the human foot,
ankle, knee, hip, and vertebral column, as well as the proportions of limbs, all demand a
specific musculature and nervous system design. All of these aspects enable the upright
posture, but are also shaped by the attainment of the upright posture, which in turn permits
the specifically human development of shoulders, arms, hands, skull and face. With these
changes what counts as the world is redefined. New capabilities, new affordances appear.
(2) Developmental conditions: The human being is born with a body, but not in an
upright position. The infant has to learn – in opposition to gravity – to attain an upright posture, to struggle for it. This depends on a basic level of consciousness, namely, wakefulness.
Fall asleep and you fall down. Posture and movement start to shape this basic wakefulness
even prior to standing; movement, including early crawling behavior, influences the development of perception and cognition. The change of posture that comes with standing and
walking equally affects what we can see and to what we attend.
(3) Independence: With the upright posture we gain distance and independence. Distance from the ground, distance from the things; independence from other people. In standing, the range of vision is extended, and accordingly, the environmental horizon is widened
and distanced. The spatial frameworks for perception and action are redefined. Things are
less close, less encountered as one crawls among them; they are confronted, as signified
in the German word for ‘object’, Gegenstand: standing over and against. Standing free the
hands for Gnostic touching, manipulation, carrying, tool use, and for pointing (a social gesture), all of which transcend grasping. At the same time, these functional changes introduce
complexities into a brain structure that is been redesigned for rational thought. Standing
also brings us “face to face” with each other, and this profoundly transforms sexuality from
strict animality to something human.
(4) Sensory systems: With the upright posture the olfactory sense declines in importance; seeing (the sense of distance) becomes primary. We are able to see far ahead of where
we are currently located. Distal sight grants foresight and allows for planning. Olfactory
mechanisms shrink and no longer dominate facial structure. Since our hands are liberated
for more proficient grasping and catching, our mouth are liberated for other purposes. The
upright posture thus transforms the jaw structure (along with dietary possibilities), with less
need for massive musculature and the skeletal infrastructure it requires. This allows for the
development of the more subtle phonetic muscles.
With getting up, man is ready for walking. The precarious equilibrium reached in
standing has to be risked again. We are more flexible and able to vary our movements in a
higher degree than a quadruped, because our center of gravity is higher, but at the same time
it increases instability and the danger of falling. Therefore, we have to find a rhythmical
hold within ourselves in order to move relatively balanced.
In movement the essential organic form and figure of the body is transcended, but not
without resistance and self-assertion, irrespective of we are dealing with everyday movements or choreographic movements. Thus, to take action is very different from perceiving
and measuring the body in terms of an organic, harmonious unity seen from the outside. In
the first case we have, so to speak, to leave the awareness of our body behind us, whereas
in the other case we are noticing and, thereby, fixating, our body. Therefore, let us now take
a closer look at the kinesthetic sensing of the body.
Kinesthetic sensing
The objective thought, which, unnoticed, is the starting point for all thinking, cannot
capture the unity of senses in movement. In this way the body escapes the complete objectification. What is maintaining the unity of the interior and the exterior, which enables movement of the body, is rather the kinesthetic or proprioceptive sense. Thus, it is, certainly, by
movement we may preserve ourselves.
The individual is always in a particular situation and cannot escape it due to the bodily involvement. Kinesthetic patterns of flow escort what I do, when I am moving, and
although they are susceptible to influence, my movement depend on them, since it is not
me, but the body itself, which continually produce the unity of the senses. The senses are
interdependent and inform each other mutually without the intervention of an interpreter,
without going the long way round an idea (6). Therefore, I will not be able to gain the full
control of the body, just like the objective knowledge of bodily movement always will assume an imperfect and insufficient character.
Movement is based on the kinesthetic sense rather than the sight. Normally I do not
see myself in movement. Although the kinesthetic sense is related to other forms of sensory
perception, it is at the same time uniquely different from them in that it offers a distinct
mode of existence by which we become conscious of ourselves in relation to what we do in
the world as a result of the actions we perform. Kinesthetic perception is a form of knowing
without observation, since the ‘object’ of my perception, so to speak, is internal rather than
external. The importance of this is that what I know kinesthetically is always private.
We can try to describe, what we feel, when we are moving, but since the ‘object’ for our
attention is self-referring, it can never be shared in the same way. We do not have a common
language for it. This means, that kinesthesia like a distinct way of being is unique in two
respects: Firstly, by being a way of knowing of one’s own movement (‘I can’ or ‘I can’t),
and secondly, by being a way enabling one to be conscious about oneself as a vehicle for
feelings, which only arise in movement (7).
However, it is important to stress, that movement demands overcoming of resistance,
before other motives like health and playfulness may be mentioned. In this way movement
culture might be a counterpart to the technological development, which systematically is
reducing our experience of resistance. Therefore, the question is now, how we both from a
social and individual point of view take a position to resistance and movement. Do we involve ourselves in activities in order to strengthen our capability of resistance or do we give
ourselves up to the technological paradigm? Or do the two ways of acting rather determine
each other? Let us as an example consider the relationship between sport and transport.
Modern sport culture
Sport and transport have a common root syllable in Latin ‘portare’ meaning to carry,
to bring about. But who or what is carrying the heavy burdens? Portare is split up into respectively ‘deportare’, i.e. deport someone or remove a group of people forcibly, carrying
something by means of ‘transport’ and ‘desportare’ in the sense of acting, relating to and
enjoying oneself. The modern word ‘sport’ meaning in a broad sense pleasure, entertainment, amusement is arisen from French ‘desporter’ and English ‘disport’.
It is the word part ‘de-‘ and the connecting letter ‘s’, which indicates, that something
is spread by somebody (subjects), but it is hardly only for the sake of pleasure. It is also a
question of survival. In sport participation like in other forms of movement we are actively
breaking with the symmetrical body structure and doing a difference.
From the beginning in England in the 18th century the modern sport with its horseracing and
‘running footmen’ was partly arranged according to speed and acceleration – in order to save
time and earn money. The slowly foot walking was speeded up in sport in the so-called ‘patronatsport’ for professionals, while at the same time another form of sport took place, the so-called
‘gentlemansport’, in which being in a hurry was not the order of the day. “A gentleman is never
in a hurry’, as the saying goes. Modern sport was deeply involved in working conditions and
leisure, bet and competition, amusement and social distinctions from the beginning.
The way of behaving in sport became an expression of class distinctions, but it was
taking place in a society and culture, which, in general, became subject to a logic of speed
through technological devices. While some had a surplus of time for enjoying themselves
or being entertained, others had still to carry the most heavy burden alias the body and using it as a working tool. Against this background the instrumental rationalization of human
movement is spreading, while the technological inventions at the same time appears like a
relief from the fight of existence. Technological rationalization and disciplining of the body
are, then, setting the agenda.
However, the body is resisting, because it is not available for free use, but is demanding
a sort of dowry. We are just acting as if it is us, who has created the body – not in reverse
order. And the gravity force is, still, constantly pulling us downwards.
The deployment of muscle power is by now playing a minor or none role in most modern or post-modern workplaces and in the everyday life in general, while it seems necessary
to react against a sedentary life style by movement of the body. Physical inactivity implies
health risks just like the self-curative force of the body is weakened by shortage of circulation in the body and among human beings.
A healthy life style is associated with the biological preservation of life, while, on the
other hand, the technological development is reducing the movement of the body to an operating tool or a reactive appendage, as far as it does not completely break with the presence
of the body in its virtual form.
Irrespective of whether there is a real fragmentation of the body or not, the need for
real life seems to increase the more the virtual reality is increasing. It looks like the real life
and the virtual reality determine each other mutually just like sport and transport evolved
side by side.
Revolt of the body?
Thus, the experience of resistance in movement and the idea of getting wider and faster
around than by using our legs, has resulted in the invention of all kinds of techniques, aids
and self-moving systems, which are expanding our possibilities of acting and lightening our
existence. However, the exemption from movement, which the technological development
implies, is still a two-edged sword. Technology exists in order to be used, it takes our time,
and it determines those qualifications and competences, which are necessary for using it in
the most effective way.
When the technology takes over functions, the human being has executed by his own
force, capabilities that might become obsolete and be lost. Thus, the art of printing has
expanded and partly taken over our memory skill. Therefore, modern human beings have
become less skilled in remembering, the more so as the attention has, in general, to be
The information technology strengthens this tendency by replacing the difficult, slowly
and personal formation of knowledge in favour of an easy and fast acquisition of diverse
information on all channels, files and home pages. Another current example is the entry of
the calculating machine and the computer in the schools. The individual capacity for calculation is increased, while the ability of mental arithmetic is decreasing.
Besides, the technological development implies a childhood with less traditional free
play and a reduction of movement by own force. Bodily experiences of resistance dilute.
The burden of movement is relieved by means of transport, and opportunities for development in playgrounds are limited by safety measures. In a society frequently described as a
“risk society” children are prevented in running a risk of getting hurt, by which they, in fact,
become less skilled in avoiding accidents. We arrange matters in comfortable ways without
paying attention to the kinesthetic sense. In this way life is becoming a movement in the
head rather than with the body as a whole.
The new media increases the intensity in stimulation of the senses, but they are primarily offering an experience of movement on an inner level more or less independent of
the child’s own initiative. The “activity level” in a music video or a computer game may
be rather high, but the child’s own activity is limited compared to customary games and
movement activities. Thus, the center of activity is becoming displaced from the child to
the machine. The child does not start the activity, but has to react again and again in order to
follow the game. The clinging data technology offer stimulating experiences of movement
almost without overcoming resistance stemming from the weight of the body.
The hidden paradigm in technology, which at the same time is a widespread attitude
to life, may be formulated in this way: “You have to reduce the experience of resistance”.
The downside of the technological lightening of our lives is, however, what Kundera has
described as the “unbearably lightness”. Without bodily experiences of resistance the personal development and power of resistance might be inhibited, but, in addition, we are
approaching a sheltered and dispassionate existence.
If the experience of resistance is not going to be inhibited, but strengthened as a part
of the personal creative zest, I think, therefore, it is very important to offer all of us opportunities for asserting ourselves through bodily experiences of resistance in play, games and
sport individually and together in activities and settings prompting for movement.
1. Lyons J. Ecology of the Body. Styles of Behavior in Human Life. Durham: Duke University Press, 1987.
2. Platon. Symposion. København: Gyldendal, 1986.
3. König E. Körper – Wissen – Macht. Studien zur Historischen Anthropologie des Körpers. Berlin: Dietrich
Reimer Verlag, 1989.
4. Straus E. The Upright Posture. The Psychiatric Quarterly 26: 529-561, 1952.
5. Gallagher S. How the Body Shapes the Mind. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2005.
6. Merleau-Ponty M. Phénoménologie de la perception. Paris: Librarie Gallimard, 1945.
7. Arnold P.J. Meaning in Movement, Sport and Physical Education. London: Heinemann, 1979.
Joanna Femiak
University of Physical Education in Warsaw
Faculty of Physical Education
Development of the Conception of Corporeality
in the Theory of Physical Education1
Keywords: physical education, philosophical anthropology, body, personalism
Works of authors constituting the biotechnical current is focused mainly at the human
sphere belonging to the world of nature, determined by its laws and limitations. The body
as an organism does not function in the world of signs, symbols and senses created by
the world of culture, neither in its axiological, nor in the moral dimension. The humanist
current completes the knowledge about man and develops it adding new spheres of the
analysis of the subject as a free, rational and intentional being. Andrzej Pawłucki enriches
the theory of physical education with the socio-moral perspective. He has initiated deliberations referring the personalistic conception of man. He paid attention to the significance of
the other person’s good and love in pedagogical relations. The above mentioned topics are
referred to by Jerzy Kosiewicz in his works. He emphasizes that the whole pedagogy of
physical culture approximates personalistic pedagogy.
The fundamental position of physical education in physical culture sciences is owed by
it to its theoretical achievements, which constitute a source of inspiration and a reference
point for other realms of physical culture. Common character of physical education causes
that the educated person is introduced into the world of values, patterns and somatic ideals
just by it.
That is why special attention is deserved by the conception of the human body in
physical education. Uncovering connections taking place between assumptions concerning
corporeality on the one hand and the role attributed to the schoolchild, the function of the
teacher or methods of working with the schoolchild on the other has its practical consequences, which influence the way of treating the educated person.
The paper makes an attempt to answer the question: what conceptions of the body constitute the foundations of the theory of physical education? Which consequences result for
the theory of physical education from assumptions concerning corporeality?
The subject of the analysis are two main orientations in the theory of physical education, which were distinguished by Maciej Demel – the biotechnical orientation and the
humanistic orientation.
Jędrzej Śniadecki (1768-1838) is recognized by Demel as the precursor of the biotechnical current of the theory of physical education. Many commentators of Śniadecki’s
works point out to assumptions characteristic for materialism which are present there2. In
Śniadecki’s times materialism had many adherents and was in full bloom3. At the beginning studies on the human body were being developed (here the description of the blood
circulation system by William Harvey in 1615 should be mentioned), then the time for
deliberations concerning the human soul also came. As it is written by Frederic Copleston,
there was uncovered an area of philosophical considerations which were to be preceded by
an answer for the question: does the man fit completely into the mechanical system or not?4
Looking at the arguments which placed Śniadecki at materialists’ side, we should mention
as the first the fact that differences between man and animals were perceived by him in the
constitution of the body. It is the quality of the human nervous system and up straight position that influence the privileged man’s position in nature5. The human brain was perceived
by Śniadecki as the source of man’s mental qualities, mind and speech, which enabled him
to create society6. Some fragments of Śniadecki’s works point out that he even equated
mental phenomena with work of the brain and functions of the nervous system.7
Another view which is in accordance with materialistic principles and present in
Śniadecki’s works is rejection of the existence of the immortal soul and a supernatural vital
force. It leads as a consequence to the adoption of another thesis testifying to materialistic
character of Śniadecki’s views. It is a reduction of vital phenomena to processes subordinated to laws of physics and chemistry. These were chemical transformations which were
perceived by Śniadecki as the source of life determining if matter is animate or not8.
Leon Szyfman, who commented and researched the conception of relations between
mental and physiological phenomena in Śniadecki’s works in the most extensive way,
maintains that Śniadecki was also proclaiming views going beyond the materialistic vision
of the world and man. Szyfman gives as an example painting out to qualitative differences
between physiology and psychology and relations between higher mental activities and
physiological processes9. It seems, however, that the above example cannot negate a supposition that Śniadecki proclaimed a materialistic conception of man and the world. As it is
well known, a moderate variant of materialism allows the existence of mental phenomena
and even points out to their qualitative difference; it assumes, however, that that sphere is a
consequence of the development of matter which does not stop to influence and condition
the psyche. I would be rather inclined to treat pointing out to a certain autonomy of mental
phenomena and their influence of physiological processes as a protest against complete
reduction of mental phenomena to physiological phenomena. The legitimateness of my
supposition is testified by Śniadecki’s critical attitude to reductionism. Śniadecki emphasises limitations of reductionism by writing that “it is impossible to take organized bodies
to pieces in such a way as lifeless mineral bodies – by dismantling them into the smallest
crystalline parts – and all science about the simplest particles is speculative and arbitrary
(…) the elemental form does not embrace the reasons of the variety of organs”10. It should
be remembered that in the ontological respect reductionism proclaims the thesis about the
reducibility of the essence of all phenomena to their physical basis and about the possibility
of explaining all complex phenomena as a resultant of simpler physical phenomena. In the
methodological respect reduction becomes a method of researching and explaining reality.
Reductionism in its extreme form postulates a possibility of the full reduction of theories
and laws of other disciplines to physical theories.
We may hazard a guess that, noticing limitations of reductionism, Śniadecki observed
also limitations of materialism, which – as it is pointed out by many facts – was nevertheless proclaimed by him.
In the pedagogical perspective Śniadecki emphasizes the necessity of achieving an
equilibrium and harmonious man’s development11. That is why, while researching the area
of pedagogical issues, he includes questions connected for example with the man’s presence in society into considerations on him, he points out to the necessity of moral education, but simultaneously he finds no place for them in his own vision of the theory of education – he leaves that thing for philosophers12. According to Śniadecki’s opinion, within the
framework of science it is possible to talk only about that what comes from experience.
Another representative of the biotechnical orientation in the theory of physical education is Eugeniusz Piasecki (1872-1947).
A special meaning for the conception of the body in Piasecki’s theory is had by achievements of natural sciences. In his works we find numerous references to the conception of
Groos, who emphasised significance of drives in human functioning and development13.
Piasecki used the conception of drives in order to explain the educated persons’ attitude to
various forms of movement. Let games, plays, fencing or fist fights – which were perceived
by Piasecki as a safe form of venting the combat instinct – serve as examples14. He cites
also E. Maumann’s anthropometric researches, which point out to the existence of psychophysical parallelism. Piasecki interprets psycho-physical parallelism as „a basic parallelism
between physical and spirituals development of youngsters and youth”15.
The conception of psychophysical parallelism excludes – on the ground of anthropology – influence of physiological phenomena on mental phenomena. It excludes also the
opposite influence, since psycho-physiological parallelism assumes that many of those phenomena go parallel although they are not connected by causal relations16. Psycho-physical
parallelism was dominating in physics at the turn of the 19th and the 20th century. However
– as it is written by Zofia Rosińska – it was treated as a methodological, heuristic principle
and not as a metaphysical conception17. Rosińska emphasises the fact that the 19th century
was the time when there was an overwhelming belief that the soul should be the subject of
theological and philosophical speculations and not of experimental research. That is why
the authors of the conception of psycho-physical parallelism did not want, among other
things, to be accused of materialism and dissociated themselves from all ideological arguments18. The above mentioned psycho-physical parallelism emphasises mainly quantifying
qualities of the human being – that is, possibilities of interpretation with numerical categories and data. It points also out to the opportunity of obtaining conclusions concerning mental phenomena from those data19. Piasecki, for example, interpreted human predispositions
(courage, resourcefulness, discipline, ability to lead, willpower) in biological categories.
Willpower is characterised as a nervous impulse doming to muscles with undiminished
intensity – in spite of increasing fatigue20. I perceive the thesis about psycho-physical parallelism and naturalism of objects as main sources of the image of man in Piasecki’s theory
of physical education.
Piasecki writes: “Psycho-physical parallelism teaches us that we must not disregard
normal development of the schoolchild’s body – even if we strive only after his intellectual
education”21. He opts for parallelism between the development of the brain and the psyche.
He emphasises, however, that the development of the brain does not always go hand in
hand with the development of the body22. He takes that co-dependency into account in his
conception of education. He proclaims that “For the general population of children, youth,
there is still valid hope for supporting spiritual development – also indirectly – by educational influence on physical development”23. That is why Piasecki admits in his works that
within the framework of physical education we can influence spiritual development only
indirectly – by educational influence on physical development24.
In spite of the fact that aims of physical education embrace not only the body but also
the world of values and the psyche, scientific foundations were being looked for by Piasecki
in natural sciences (in biology, anatomy, physiology, hygiene)25. This way he was in favour
not only of methodology applied within the framework of those sciences, but also of the
materialistic conception of man constituting their foundations. Nevertheless it is worth noticing that he introduced into the area of the theory of physical education the conception of
psycho-physical parallelism, which was modern in those times.
Another representative of the biotechnical orientation of the theory of physical education is Władysław Osmolski (1886–1935). He attributes the status of an autonomous value
to the human body and he emphasizes that it deserves – as a biological fact – the highest
admiration. Osmolski compares the human body to the machine with preservation-oriented
forces hidden in it. Those forces manifest themselves in „inherited racial qualities, in anatomical build, in the higher psyche, in reflexes, in drives”26. According to Osmolski, the
body is also the place where development-oriented forces, which direct the infant’s growth
enabling it to achieve the qualities of the adult granted with reason, will, feelings and skills,
are present27. It becomes a primary matter, which – in the course of its development – gains
subsequent qualities: life, thinking, consciousness.
Interpreting corporeality as the basis of mental phenomena, Ostolski places himself in
the materialistic current. In its relation to mental phenomena, matter is primary in the genetic sense – it is their bottom. The body constitutes the source of mental life, it is somehow
the basis where 0mental phenomena take place. On the one hand, Osmolski emphasizes that
the body and the psyche are separate; on the other hand – that they are mutually dependent.
“Thus the two way character of mental life (…) would prove that those reactions are primary and basic, and that they take place on low levels of tissue and nervous life constituting
the basis for states of consciousness and feelings”28.
In his work Teoria sprawności ruchowej, Osmolski, while enumerating factors influencing the man, mentions not only the external environment, but also the mental sphere29.
A special role of the mediator between the mental environment and the body is attributed
by Osmolski to “muscular movement”30. It is regarded as one of the stimulating factors
influencing “complex intrabodily processes – from relatively simple reflexes (such as, for
example, reddening of skin because of cold water) to intelligence and creative intellectual
work”31. It should be emphasised that the analysis of the mental sphere from the viewpoint
of reflexes is characteristic for behaviourism as a theory of learning as well as for the behavioural conception of the man32. According to behaviourists, human behaviour is fully
controlled by stimuli coming from the external environment and from the internal environment – by drives. The only motivation of the man’s activities is the vision of rewards (those
are positive reinforcements) or the will to avoid punishments (that is, negative reinforcements). Behaviourism is criticized because of rejecting such human attributes as freedom
and dignity. The man is a blend of habits of various constellations, and freedom and dignity
are effects of influences of the environment (the human being is the more free, the less situations connected with the influence of undesirable stimuli are experienced by him)33.
The body analysed from the biological viewpoint is described as a “system” which
functions harmoniously thanks to secreted chemical substances. “The development of biochemistry (as it is written by Osmolski – JF) makes us more and more inclined to look at the
living organism as a chemical laboratory which is self-sufficient if it is healthy”34. Reducing
the phenomenon of life to chemical phenomena, Ostolski takes the side of reductionism –
similarly as his predecessor Eugeniusz Piasecki.
The summary of achievements of the biological orientation was made by Zygmunt
Gilowicz (1880–1960). The classification of aims of physical education which was introduced by him became a source of inspiration and polemics for the next generation of theoreticians of physical culture.
Recognising that the man is a reactive being who is simultaneously able for biological
self-regulation, Gilewicz proclaims main theses of behaviourism and the theory of homeostasis35. The theory of homeostasis in the initial phase of its development enables to describe
the phenomena of biological – and party psychological – self-regulation of the organism.
Organism, understood as a homeostatic system, detects changes taking place in the internal
and the external environment thanks to nerves. If changes herald disturbing the state of its
equilibrium (like, for example, lowering of temperature), there appear needs and motivations aimed at the preservation of one’s own system – that is, survival. As it is written by
Rosińska, the simplicity of the theory of homeostasis and its concurrence with achievements of physical science caused that it was very popular among researchers and it constituted a theoretical basis for researches on behaviour of living organisms including man. In
a later phase the theory of homeostasis was used by Emmerson to explain also behaviours
of man as a social being36.
Gilewicz opts for the material genesis of mental phenomena and he simultaneously
points out to the body as the main source of all mental experiences. He accepts also the
conception of the human mental life as a form of corporeal phenomena. Mental experiences
become a substrate of the body. A psycho-physical unity which is proclaimed by Gilewicz
results from the existence of a common basis of all human experiences, which is matter –
that is, the body37. The above opinions place Gilewicz among popularizers of materialism.
Some attention should be paid to the subject of research and methods of behaviourism.
Behaviourists rejected the method of introspection, they rejected also the conception of the
human psyche and even – as it is emphasised by Rosińska – they negated the real character
of its existence38. John Watson proposed to make sensual data the only material of psychological researches. The method of observation based on visual data, as those which are
objective and accessible for every observer, was to safeguard intersubjectivity and control
over data39.
Behaviourism, by negating inner experience and the existence of consciousness, created
a possibility to apply research methods which interpreted the man as a being who is accessible
for sensual cognition and who, because of that, is susceptible to the method of observation.
Inner experience, consciousness landed beyond the area of scientific inquiries.
Gilewicz takes the materialistic and behavioural conception of man as the basis for the
theory of physical education; he simultaneously accepts research methods which are connected with them. Those are methods of cognizing man which are based solely on sensual
data40. That is why main aims of physical have been subordinated to the above methodological assumptions.
Gilewicz sets direct (specific) aims and indirect (non-specific) aims. Specific aims are
connected with shaping the somatic structure, vegetative activities, sensual organs, movement habits and predilections. Among non-specific aims he counts: discipline, mores, leadership, beauty, socialization, etc. Gilewicz emphasizes that non-specific aims may develop
through the biological basis of the human personality41 and they should not be counted
among direct aims of physical education. According to Gilewicz, direct aims of physical
education must result only from means it has at its disposal and from the nature of the subject of influences, which is the biological substrate of the personality42.
While reading Gilewicz’s works it is difficult to resist the impression of an inner dilemma which permeates the theory of physical education he created. Gilewicz emphasises
that the educator should realise specific aims, but be an advocate for non-specific aims. He
points out that the duality of aims do not excuse the teacher from the duty of dedicating
his attention to non-specific aims to the equal degree as to specific aims. Gilewicz even
appeals: „he must remain conscious that direct aims must agree with indirect ones in the
general count, and just the latter steer the first and are the justification of their sense and the
verifier of their social value”43.
It seems that Gilewicz wanted to get a coherent theory and that is why he established
aims of physical education taking into account the methodology of teaching too. He writes
that “until the teacher does not have a method which enables him to realize non-specific
aims, we may not require their realization from the teacher”44. Accessible methods were
focused first of all on bodily exercises, movement, physical activity.
Summing up, it should be pointed out that works of representatives of the biotechnical
orientation of the theory of physical education include a model of the man based on the materialist theory of being. Materialism underlies the rejection of the existence of a substantially different soul. It reduces mental phenomena to functions of the body. The materialist
conception of the man underlies also behaviourism, which rejected introspective experience and the existence of consciousness. In considerations which refer to cognition of the
human body its connections with the free and conscious subject are omitted. Cognition of
the body is based only on data accessible through external experience and experiments.
I will start the presentation of views of particular representatives of the humanist current of the theory of physical education with Florian Znaniecki (1882–1958). Although
Znaniecki was not a theoretician of physical education, the sociological perspective he
was analysing in the area of physical culture introduced a lot of valuable content into it.
Znaniecki’s works constituted a source of inspiration for later physical culture researchers:
Zbigniew Krawczyk, Krzysztof Zuchora, Andrzej Pawłucki.
Education, according to Znaniecki, is social activity “shaping the educated person according to the pattern adopted in a given community”45. Znaniecki’s conception of education is based on anthropological assumptions emphasising psycho-social character of the
individual. It makes Znaniecki adopt the opinion that although knowledge in the field of
biology is useful for the teacher, he must not limit himself to it. The pupil is not a passive
subject who may be influenced always in an identical way getting identical effects and the
teacher must not rely only on biological regularities. Human reactions are dependent not
only on the kind of the stimulus, but also on the individual’s sensitivity and on social relations the individual is entangled in during the pedagogical process46.
Florian Znaniecki’s inquiries are focused on the idea of physical education understood
as „moulding physical types according to social requirements”47. Znaniecki introduces
physical types which attribute various values to the body. Thus e.g. the hygienic type of the
body is connected with the value of health, the physical/utilitarian type is connected with
valour and diligence, the sports type is connected with perfection of physical movement48.
The value of the body becomes relative and is measured with the scale of values of a given
social group49. This way a relative value is attributed to the body – and it is differentiated
dependently on, among others, the society and age. It does not constitute an integral part of
the subject; treated in an instrumental way, it serves for the realization of aims imposed by
the society the individual belongs to. The body becomes an external sphere in its relation
towards the subject and the subject’s attitude to his/her own corporeality is mediated by
social norms.
According to Konrad Zieliński, there is some feature which is characteristic for
Znaniecki’s typology. It is, namely, an instrumental attitude towards the educated person.
He/she becomes an instrument which is used by the educator in order to realise aims and
patterns determined by the society. The educated person’s attitude to those patterns is – as
it is written by Zieliński – meaningless50.
It is, however, worth being emphasized that Znaniecki appeared in the history of
the sociology of culture as the author of the conception of the humane factor. Antonina
Kłoskowska writes that that factor orders to consider social phenomena from the viewpoint
of many members of the researched groups – that is, from the standpoint of definitions of
their situations of life which are formulated by them. Kłoskowska perceives the conception
of the humane factor as going beyond reductionist tendencies being present in sociology
and taking into account the individual way of understanding reality51. It seems that it is justified to say that the humane factor may also point out to the significance of understanding
and defining one’s own body by the subject. However Znaniecki’s considerations do not
make their way in that direction.
While studying conceptions of corporeality in the theory of physical education we
should not pass over works of Maciej Demel, who has made an attempt to depart from a
solely naturalist vision of the human individual in this field. In his considerations on corporeality he united the biological and the humanist perspective and he has gone down in the
theory of physical education as the author of its new formula. It proclaims that physical education is education of the personality “in all its spheres: the intellectual one, the emotional
one and the behavioural one (that is, in the sphere of behaviours)”52. According to Demel,
the human being’s personality is to constitute “the foundation stone of every doctrine of
physical education”53, but he does not present any specific conception of personality. On the
other hand, he emphasises the existence of relations between the personality and the body,
which – according to his opinion – is interpreted in the best way by monism rejecting Platonic dualism. According to Demel, it is just materialistic monism which explains the possibility of unification of two human natures, which permeate each other – the bodily nature
and the psycho-social nature54. As it is emphasised by Ajdukiewicz, monism (Gr. μόνοó
– one) is a doctrine growing from the criticism of dualism. It postulates one and only one
kind of substance – either the ideal one, or the material one. Monistic materialism is one
of the varieties of monism which points out to the existence of only material substances;
that is, it proclaims the belief that only bodies are substances55. It should be added that precursors of materialist thinking could be noticed in the philosophy of ancient materialists:
Anaximenes, Anaximander, Thales of Miletus, Heraclitus of Ephesus and in Democritus’
conception56. Ajdukiewicz points out to the existence of two main varieties of materialism:
the first of them is mechanicist materialism, the second is dialectic materialism. Dialectic
materialism admits that mental phenomena had a separate character, whereas the body is
treated by it as their basis – that is, matter is primary in its relation towards the spirit (mental life), which originated from it during the next stage of the development of matter. Thus
genetically the spirit derives from matter. Mental phenomena may not be reduced to laws
of physics or chemistry, or to biological laws – they are something qualitatively different
although dependent on them57.
On the basis of the paper written by Maciej Demel and Alicja Skład it is possible to
come to a conclusion that Demel saw the bases of main assumptions of the theory of physical education just in dialectical materialism. In that paper the authors, referring to Engels’
works, single out three levels of the organisation of the world: inanimate matter, animate
matter, man. They are underlaid by three qualitatively different kinds of the structure of
matter – namely: physico-chemical phenomena, physiological phenomena, psycho-social
phenomena. “Laws of biophysics and biochemistry (as it is written by Demel and Skład –
J.F.) are the basis of physiology and the latter is interwoven with laws of psychology, which
are complicated by social laws”58. On the basis of that paper it is possible to reconstruct
the conception of the body characteristic for Demel. The body functions in unity with the
environment it lives in. That unity manifests itself by adaptation to changes of external
conditions. The body is considered as an indivisible organism composed of parts which
react, for example, to illness. The human body is malleable – it undergoes changes under
the influence of functions (e.g. the evolution of the human foot from the prehensile function
to the support/locomotion function)59.
Looking deeper into the conception of the body in Demel’s works it should be proclaimed that the author restored personalized thinking about the man within the framework
of the theory of physical education, but the human body is still described with instrumental
categories. The body remains an object of influences of the society, of laws of evolution,
but not of the subject.
However the work O trzech wersjach teorii wychowania fizycznego /On Three Versions of the Theory of Physical Education/ should be pointed out to. There it is emphasised
by Demel that the man dealing with his body comes into different relation than when he
works on external matter, since it is the case when he is both the subject and the object of
his activity. Thus – as a subject who is conscious of its activity – it places itself in the circle
of spirituals culture and as a corporeal object it remains an animate matter60. It is Demel’s
merit that he has described the significance of the subject in the theory of physical education and he has pointed out to the unique status of the body – the body which may not be
reduced to one of the objects surrounding the man. Although Demel has not answered the
question „what does that unique status of the body consist of?” pointing out to its existence
as worth being noticed61.
Demel initiated the humanist way of thinking about the man in the theory of physical
education. Thanks to that next generations of creators of the theory of physical education
would introduce a personalized conception of the human body into its area.
Another representative of the humanist version of physical education is Krzysztof Zuchora. In his newest works Zuchora points out that the educated person is the subject of the
educational process and his body becomes a subjective category or it is sometimes treated
as an element of the general system of values62. Zuchora consequently emphasises that if
the body is a subjective category, methods of cognising the body must also change. That is
why appeals for shaping a conscious attitude towards oneself, one’s own body, health and
movement activity are repeatedly found in Zuchora’s works. However there are no deepened analyses pointing out to the nature of subjective cognition and the role and the place
of the body in it.
Zuchora emphasises also the significance of freedom. Freedom is achieved during the
process of one’s own development, maturing. It is the measure of the man and the foundation of cognition and realization of the values which one has chosen63.
New categories of thinking about corporeality have been introduced into physical culture by Andrzej Pawłucki. That author introduced into the area of physical education the
conception of the man based on assumptions of personalism. In his works he emphasises
the significance of anthropological premises for the theory of physical education, because
he perceives the abandonment of reflection on the level of anthropological assumptions as
the reason of “drifting of pedeutological thought” .
In his work Pedagogika warto ci ciała /Pedagogy of Values of the Body/ Pawłucki
remarks that from the viewpoint of self-determination it is not „the environment of social
exchange of meaning”65 which is the most significant, but the axiological reason. The axiological reason is understood by Pawłucki as an area where the man determines causes why
he takes or does not take an activity towards himself. Thanks to the axiological reason the
man is able to define activities which serve his „personal dignity”, “human greatness” .
He is the person who allows conscious shaping himself. “Conscious” means purposeful.
The axiological reason gives sense and aim to all activities which are taken by us towards
ourselves. Corporeality – or, to be more precise, its affirmation – becomes an indispensable
prerequisite of the achievement of “dignity of humanity”. Affirmative treatment of the body
is understood by the author as taking care of competences of the body thanks to putting
values of the body – the moral good – on various meanings67. Pawłucki describes the demanded pattern of corporeality as the humanist/axiocentric one68.
Pawłucki remarks that the human being is born as a corporeal being, but without the
feeling of the sense of the body. The way he will treat his own corporeality and the sense he
will give those endeavours may influence whom he will be or – using the author’s language
– it may exert an influence on “his humanity and, in further perspective, on eternal life”69.
Perception of the body in terms of any values takes place only within the framework of
culture. Even the vital meaning of the body is given to it by the human being and it is not a
meaning stuck in the very nature of the body. As it is written by Pawłucki: “The body became for the man a value of vital importance not because it had been <<given>> to him as
his organism, but because <<historical man>> could realize the relation between the meaning of the organism he had and the meaning of the cultural activity he was taking up”70. It
should be emphasized that the process of raising the organism to the rank of the body is a
consequence of a conscious human being’s decision to participate in culture71.
Pawłucki deliberately constructs the theory of physical education on the basis of anthropological assumptions which have been worked out earlier. He assumes that the very
process of education should aim at introducing the educated person into cultural values
and ensure “continuity of life in culture”72. In this process an important role is ascribed to
the teacher who, as “an expert in senses and countless meanings” introduces the educated
person into the world of culture.
However the educated person is not treated instrumentally – it is a person able to
choose and realize values. That is why Pawłucki emphasizes the significance of instilling
awareness of realized values in the educated person. He proclaims that every movement
activity deprived of axiological justification appears to the educated person as aimless.
That is the rational human nature which demands the justification of one’s own activities
– axiological justification. Awareness of aims decides about continuing or giving up their
realisation. Thus Pawłucki ascribes an important role to intellectualisation in the process
of education for physical culture. Intellectualisation becomes a method which makes it
possible for the pupil to understand and cognise consequences of practicing or giving up
health-oriented activities.73
Except for numerous postulations Pawłucki’s works contain instructions which may
inspire the methodology of teaching and which clearly point out how the teacher should
introduce the schoolchild into the world of values. He refers to such statements and notions
as: awareness of the body, awareness of values, self-knowledge, discovery of one’s own
identity. At the same time he emphasizes that awareness of values is connected with the
axiological competence of the educated person, which means that every movement activity
should be axiologically jusified74.
Pawłucki, on the one hand, refers critically to the conception of the body contained in
works of John Paul 2nd pointing out that on the basis of that anthropology we learn about
the duty to preserve competences of the body, but not about increasing them75. On the other
hand, Pawłucki makes use of theoretical achievements of representatives of personalism
in his works. In his book Osoba w pedagogice ciała /Person in Pedagogy of the Body/ he
describes an alliance between the teacher and the pupil and refers to works of John Paul 2nd.
He expresses an opinion that the highest effect of efforts to achieve one’s own perfection is
the human being’s personal disposition – that is, such a disposition which finds causatively
its reference in disinterested giving good to another man76.
Jerzy Kosiewicz in his work Kultura fizyczna i sport w perspektywie filozofii /Physical
culture and Sport from the Viewpoint of Philosophy/ expresses an opinion that not only the
theory of physical education, but the whole pedagogy of physical culture approximates
personalistic pedagogy77. Kosiewicz stresses that the pedagogy of physical culture treats
man’s being as a unity of universal and individual values78.
Experiencing, realizing and creating values becomes a prerequisite of relational and
bio-psychological development of the personality – and making them increased becomes a
significant sense of the human life79.
Among philosophers whose inquiries influence and enrich the theory of physical culture Kosiewicz mentions Karol Wojtyła – John Paul 2nd. Inquiries of the latter do not concern physical culture directly, but they are placed in the field of the philosophy of the
body. The theology of the body of John Paul 2nd – which is called also adequate anthropology or anthropology of the gift – is an attempt to create man’s image based on the Holy
Scripture. Kosiewicz points out that corporeality in works of John Paul 2nd plays a special
role. The body performs a function of a mediator which enables us to come to non-verbal
communication as well as to direct correspondence between two or more persons. The
body – “betrothal sense of the body” becomes also the source of ethical duties of divine
It is worth pointing out what meaning is attributed to corporeality by John Paul 2nd in
the process of moral development of the human being.
Karol Wojtyła’s emphasis is assigned with “the external specificity of the organism”
and man meets with limitations of the body, with its disintegration and mutilation in that
dimension. The body, however, is given also as an object of inner experience. It makes itself
available to the human being through feelings, emotiveness – that is, through “the move
which comes from inside”81. It is thanks to those inner feelings that the internal dimension
of one’s own body comes within the range of consciousness. As it is written by Wojtyła:
“Such crystallization of consciousness with the use of feeling constitutes the full basis of
experiencing one’s own body”82. It is just conscious cognition of feeling where Wojtyła
perceives the appearance of human subjectivity, since those feelings take place just in the
human „ego”.83 In that act of embracing one’s own feeling of the body with consciousness
Wojtyła sees also subjectivisation which is characteristic only for one’s own corporeality.84 Moreover, permeating of internal feelings into the human being’s consciousness is
perceived by Wojtyła as the source of individual sensitivity to values. That is why he writes
that simple bodily feelings are characterized by “inclination towards values”.85 Just those
feelings mould the human being’s individual sensitivity – sensitivity which has perceptive
abilities and, thanks to that, it becomes the sole basis of experiencing values86. The experience of values on the level of feelings is necessary for the act which is especially important
for Wojtyła – the act of reference, of transcendence of one’s own feelings to truth – to take
The rejection of the dimension of corporeality which is accessible in the inner experience causes that corporeality is accessible only as an object which is external in its relation
to ego. Separation of the body from its own ego causes that its individualization embraces
only the visual side which makes me different from others and which can be perceived by
others. The body in its inner dimension is an area which is independent from external physicality and – as it is emphasized by Wojtyła – it becomes a gate to values which determine
our choices and deeds.
In the light of Karol Wojtyła’s adequate anthropology the inner experience of the body
contributes to shaping the human being’s sensitivity to values. Thus it seems that in the conception of the subject which constitutes the foundation of the theory of physical education
it should be taken into account, since pointing out to the source of moral sensitivity could
constitute a panacea for disproportion which often takes place between the man’s physical,
mental and moral condition.
Anthropological issues in the theory of physical education deserve special attention because of the unique role of physical education, which determines ideals, aims of education
and realized values, and which creates also the model of personality which constitutes subsequently the foundation of the conception of the man in the theory of physical education.
That is why reflection on anthropological assumptions is necessary in order to make
the theory of physical education which is constructed on its basis coherent, rational and not
limited to superficial eclecticism it is often accused of.
  1. F. Copleston, Historia filozofii /History of Philosophy/, vol. IV, Warszawa 1995.
  2. K. Ajdukiewicz, Zagadnienia i kierunki filozofii /Issues and Currents of Philosophy/, Kraków 1949.
  3. Z. Cackowski, Filozofia a nauka. Zarys encyklopedyczny /Philosophy and Science. An Encyclopaedic Outline/, Warszawa 1987.
  4. M. Demel, O niektórych obowiązkach teorii wf w wietle doktryn i stereotypów /On Some Duties of the
Theory of Physical Education in the Light of Doctrines and Stereotypes/, (in:) „Wychowanie Fizyczne i
Higiena Szkolna” 1977, no. 2.
  5. M. Demel, Rozwój teorii wychowania fizycznego w Polsce /Development of the Theory of Physical Education
in Poland/, (in:) „Roczniki Naukowe AWF w Warszawie”, Warszawa 1987, vol. XXX.
  6. M. Demel, W. Humen., Współczesne antynomie rekreacji fizycznej /Contemporary Antinomies of Physical
Recreation/, (in:) „Kultura Fizyczna” Warszawa 1971, no. 11.
  7. Z. Gilewicz, Teoria wychowania fizycznego /Theory of Physical Education/, Warszawa–Łódź 1954.
  8. C. p. Hall, L. Gardner, Teorie osobowo ci /Theories of Personality/, Warszawa 1994.
  9. A. Kłoskowska, Socjologia kultury /Sociology of Culture/, Warszawa 1981.
10. T. Kobierzycki, Filozofia osobowo ci. Od antycznej duszy do współczesnej teorii osoby /Philosophy of
Personality. From the Ancient Soul to Contemporary Theory of the Person/, Warszawa 2001.
11. J . Kosiewicz, Kultura fizyczna i sport w perspektywie filozofii /Physical Culture and Sport from the Viewpoint
of Philosophy/, Warszawa 2004.
12. J. Kozielecki, Koncepcje psychologiczne człowieka /Philosophical Conceptions of Man/, Warszawa 1995.
13. G. W. Leibniz, Nowe rozważania dotyczące rozumu ludzkiego /New Considerations Concerning Human
Reason/, vol. I, Warszawa 1955.
14. K. Le niak, Materiali ci greccy w epoce przedsokratejskiej /Greek Materialists in Pre-Socratic Age/,
Warszawa 1972.
15. W. Osmolski, Teoria sprawno ci ruchowej /Theory of Movement Ability/, Warszawa 1935.
16. A. Pawłucki, Osoba w pedagogice ciała /Person in Pedagogy of the Body/, Olsztyn 2002.
17. A. Pawłucki, Pedagogika warto ci ciała /Pedagogy of Values of the Body/, Gdańsk 1996.
18. A. Pawłucki., Wychowanie jako kulturowa rzeczywistość. Na przykładzie wychowania do warto ci ciała /
Education as Cultural Reality Exemplified by Education for Values of the Body/, Gdańsk 1992.
19. E. Piasecki, Zarys teorii wychowania /Outline of the Theory of Education/, Lwów 1931.
20. Z. Rosińska, C. Matusewicz, Kierunki współczesnej psychologii ich geneza i rozwój /Currents of
Contemporary Psychology and Their Development/, Warszawa 1987.
21. A. Skład, Eugeniusz Piasecki, „Nowa Szkoła” 1967, no. 2.
22. L. Szyfman, Jędrzej Śniadecki. Przyrodnik – filozof /Jędrzej Śniadecki. Naturalist – Philosopher/, Warszawa
23. J. Śniadecki, O fizycznym wychowaniu dzieci /On Physical Education of Children/, Kraków 1990.
24. J. Śniadecki, Wybór pism naukowych i publicystycznych /Selection of Scientific and Journalistic Works/,
Kraków 1952.
25. K. Wojtyła, Osoba i czyn /Person and Deed/, Lublin 2000.
26. F. Znaniecki, Socjologia wychowania /Sociology of Education/, vol. 2, Warszawa 1973.
27. K. Zieliński, Człowiek i wychowanie fizyczne /Man and Physical Education/, Warszawa 2004.
28. K. Zuchora, Wychowanie fizyczne naszych dni /Our Days’ Physical Education/, Warszawa 1974.
29. K. Zuchora, Od pedagogiki przymusu do pedagogiki warto ci /From Pedagogy of Compulsion to Pedagogy
of Values/, „Kultura Fizyczna” 1995, no. 5-6.
he paper written in the framework of one’s own research IV-77 financed by the Minister of Science and
Introduction of Information Technology).
One of them is B. Skarżyński, who perceives in Śniadecki’s arguments a clear connection of not only mental,
but also religious processes with physiological processes (B. Skarżyński, Śniadecki jako chemik i biolog /
Śniadecki as a Chemist and a Biologis/, (in:) J. Śniadecki, “Wybór pism naukowych i publicystycznych”,
Kraków 1952, p. 97.
Sources of materialism are perceived in the development of a mechanist way of looking at the world, which
had its origins in the age of Renaissance. Copleston writes that it was first of all Renaissance science, completed later with Newton’s work, which stimulated the development of the mechanist conception of the world.
Copleston emphasises lack of clear distinction between physical knowledge and philosophy which was characteristic for Renaissance. Physical knowledge was called natural or experimental philosophy. That is why
the fact of inspiring influence of fruitful development of astronomy, physics or chemistry on philosophers and
their attempts to work out a science on man based on empirical inquiries was quite natural; (in:) F. Copleston,
Historia filozofii /History of Philosophy/, Vol. IV, Warszawa 1995, p. 17.
Ibid, p. 18.
J. Śniadecki, Wybór pism naukowych i publicystycznych /Selection of Scientific and Journalistic Works/,
Kraków 1952, p. 217.
Ibid., p. 218.
„Moreover, the activity of will and some mental powers, by increasing the activity of many organs, is connected with pouring nervous pulp or some its part into flesh and instruments of secretion (...)” (Ibid., p. 215).
“(...) Life in the most general meaning is an outcome of physical relations happening between inanimate and
animate matter. It is some way of existence of matter and only in it it may take place”, (Ibid, p. 109.
L. Szyfman, Jędrzej Śniadecki. Przyrodnik– filozof /Jędrzej Śniadecki – Naturalist and Philosopher/, Warszawa
1960, p. 213.
Cf. J. Śniadecki, op.cit, p. 222.
“(...) the whole secret of good education is to perfectly shape the body and the mind should, to maintain a
decent equilibrium between them, not to neglect cultivation of any faculty and not to permit any of them to
blossom too exuberantly to the detriment of and with damage to others” (M. Demel, Wstęp /Introduction/,
(in:) J. Śniadecki, “O fizycznym wychowaniu dzieci”, Kraków 1990, p. XX.
Śniadecki in his work O fizycznym wychowaniu dzieci/On Physical Education of Children/ wrote: “In experience physical – that is, corporeal – education should not be separated from intellectual or moral education,
but in science and reasoning they may be treated separately. The man by learning and growing among people
inevitably educates himself both physically and morally. However paying attention to his education in the
moral respect is the affair of philosophers, who can solve, cognize and distinguish all faculties of the mind
and the heart. I do not dare to venture into such a difficult and unfathomable ability. Thus I am going only to
consider and analyse how the child should be brought up in order to develop his body, to extract, develop and
improve his corporeal faculties and powers, to establish and protect his health. Such an education should be
rather called a m e d i c a l one, since all that concerns maintaining and protecting of health is a part of that
competent art” (J. Śniadecki, O fizycznym wychowaniu dzieci, Kraków 1990, p. 9).
In the theory of science that tendency to transfer research methods and ways of explaining the reality from
natural sciences to pedagogical sciences is called naturalism. It seems that in Piasecki’s case we have to do
with naturalism in its positivistic version – that is, with that proclaiming the thesis about the unity of methods
of gaining knowledge. That thesis is based on the assumption about the deducibility of laws of humane sciences from natural laws (Cf. A. Pałubicka, Naturalizm i antynaturalizm /Naturalism and Anti-Naturalism/,
(in:) Z. Cackowski (ed.), “Filozofia a nauka. Zarys encyklopedyczny.”, Warszawa 1987, pp. 404-405.
Cf. E. Piasecki, Zarys teorii wychowania /Otuline of the Theory of Education/, Lwów 1931, p. 21.
Ibid., p. 16.
K. Ajdukiewicz, Zagadnienia i kierunki filozofii /Issues and Currents of Philosophy/, Kraków 1949, p. 179.
The role of an example of a metaphysical conception can be played by parallelism known from works of
G.W. Leibniz (1646–1716). It assumes the existence of some order, harmony – that is, of some “preordained”
compliance between particular series of phenomena (the psyche and the body). That order enables activity of
material things according to the laws of mechanicism. Those laws are, however, a part of a system which was
earlier established by God. It was God who constructed the soul and the body on the pattern of two clocks
which show the exact time without the need to be synchronized (G. W. Leibniz, Nowe rozważania dotyczące
rozumu ludzkiego /New Considerations Concerning Human Mind/, Vol. I, Warszawa 1955, p. 280.
The conception of psycho-physical parallelism was formulated by V. Fechner in his work “Elemente der
Psychophysik” (1860), and then refined by W. Wundt (Cf. Z. Rosińska, Cz. Matusewicz, Kierunki współczesnej
psychologii ich geneza i rozwój /Currents of Contemporary Psychology and Their Development/, Warszawa
1987, p. 35.
It should be mentioned that there are other possibilities of interpreting relations between the body and the soul
such as, for example, epiphenomenalism or the theory of two sides. Epiphenomenalism is a view proclaiming that only physiological phenomena influence mental phenomena – and not on the contrary. There is also
the theory of two sides, which proclaims that physiological phenomena and relevant mental phenomena are
two different aspects of the one and the same phenomenon. Thus, for example, a headache is perceived by
the person who is experiencing it as a mental phenomenon, whereas when it is watched by a physiologist it
manifests itself as a physical phenomenon.
E. Piasecki, Cele wychowania fizycznego /Aims of Physical Education/, p. 11.
I bid., p. 17.
Ibid., p. 17.
E. Piasecki, Zarys teorii wychowania /Outline of the Theory of Education/, Lwów 1931, p. 30.
Ibid., p. 30.
A. Skład, Eugeniusz Piasecki, “Nowa Szkoła” 1967, no. 2, pp. 35-36.
Cf. W. Osmolski, Teoria sprawności ruchowej /Theory of Movement Fitness/, Warszawa 1935, p. 28.
Ibid., p. 28.
Cf. ibid., p. 17.
Cf. ibid.,p. 11.
Cf. ibid., p. 11.
Ibid., pp. 11-12.
Development of behaviourism was influenced first of all by Ivan Pavloff, John B. Watson, Edward L.
Thorndike, John Dollard and Neal Miller; (in:) C. p. Hall, L. Gardner, Teorie osobowości /Theories of
Personality/, Warszawa 1994, pp. 517, 520.
J. Kozielecki, Koncepcje psychologiczne człowieka /Psychological Conceptions of Man/, Warszawa 1995,
p. 13.
Ibid., p. 18.
Z. Gilewicz, Teoria wychowania fizycznego /Theory of Physical Education/, Warszawa–Łódź 1954, p. 5
Z. Rosińska, Cz. Matusewicz, Kierunki współczesnej psychologii /Currents of Contemporary Psychology/,
Warszawa 1987, p.189.
Z. Gilewicz, Teoria wychowania fizycznego /Theory of Physical Education/, dz., cyt., p.7.
Z. Rosińska, Cz. Matusewicz, op.cit., p. 141.
Ibid., p. 142.
Observation and experiment are two methods of empirical cognition. Behaviourists exclude the subjective experience which was written about by precursors of empiricism— G. Berkeley and D. Hume; (in:) Z.
Cackowski (ed.), op. cit., p. 433.
Personality is a central category of psychology and anthropology in the 20th century. It has its sources in
categories existing as early as in the antiquity – inter alia in ancient categories of soul (Gr. psyche), person
(Gr. persona). Cf. T. Kobierzycki, Filozofia osobowości. Od antycznej duszy do współczesnej teorii osoby /
Philosophy of Personality. From the Ancient Soul to Contemporary Theory of the Person/, Warszawa 2001,
p. 7.
Z. Gilewicz, op.cit., p. 33.
Cf. ibid., p. 32.
Ibid., p. 32.
F. Znaniecki, Socjologia wychowania /Sociology of Education/, vol. 2, Warszawa 1973, p. 82.
Ibid., pp. 140-142.
F. Znaniecki, op. cit., p. 221.
Cf. F. Znaniecki, op. cit., pp. 229-348.
Ibid., p. 284.
K. Zieliński, Człowiek i wychowanie fizyczne /Man and Physical Education/, Warszawa 2004, p. 140.
A reductionist tendency in sociology may consist e.g. in reducing the person to only their direct social contacts
(See: A. Kłoskowska, Socjologia kultury /Sociology of Culture/, Warszawa 1981, pp. 298-300).
M. Demel, O niektórych obowiązkach teorii wf w świetle doktryn i stereotypów /On Some Duties of the Theory
of Physical Education in the Light of Doctrines and Stereotypes/, (in:) “Wychowanie Fizyczne i Higiena
Szkolna” 1977, no. 2, p. 30.
Cf. M. Demel, Rozwój teorii wychowania fizycznego w Polsce /Development of the Theory of Physical
Education in Poland/, (in:) “Roczniki Naukowe AWF w Warszawie”, Warszawa 1987, vol. XXX, p. 70.
Cf. M. Demel, W. Humen., Współczesne antynomie rekreacji fizycznej /Contemporary Antinomies of Physical
Recreation, (in:) “Kultura Fizyczna” Warszawa 1971, no. 11, p. 485.
K. Ajdukiewicz, op. cit., p. 154.
If works of Ionic philosophers can be regarded as the staging post between common sense thinking and philosophical reflection, Democritus’ conception is a mature proposal of looking at the reality from the philosophical viewpoint. Democritus perceived the difference between the soul and the body, but he did not treated it as
a substantial, significant difference. The soul and the body are built from the same material – from atoms. In
Democritus’ conception atoms of the soul and atoms of the body were mortal. Atoms of the soul are different
from atoms of the body because of their different shape – they are spherical – and higher speed. According
to Democritus “(…) Nothing, except of primary elements, is real or perceptible; that is, atoms and vacuum.
Those are the only things given by nature, whereas that what makes objects different from each other because
of the constellation, order or shape of atoms are their qualities ”; (in:) K. Leśniak, Materialiści greccy w epoce
przedsokratejskiej /Greek Materialists in Pre-Socratic Age/, Warszawa 1972, p. 261.
K. Ajdukiewicz, op. cit., p. 154.
Cf. M. Demel, A. Skład, Próba uporządkowania praw teorii wychowania fizycznego /An Attempt to Systematise
Laws of the Theory of Physical Education/, “Wychowanie Fizyczne i Sport” 1970, no. 2, pp. 3-4.
Cf. Ibid., p. 4-5.
M. Demel, op. cit., p.16.
Demel’s methodological recommendations mirror his way of thinking about the man. Among them we find a
lot of suggestions concerning consciousness, cognition, intellectualization, self-estimation of one’s own body.
The body is not however analysed as an object of subjective cognition; that fact, although noticed, was not developed in Demel’s works. Demel does not attribute autonomous values to the body. Only Pałucki proclaimed
the need of “education for values of the body” and Zieliński introduced a personalized conception of the body
based on works of John Paul 2nd into the theory of physical education.
K. Zuchora, Wychowanie fizyczne naszych dni /Our Days’ Physical Education/, Warszawa 1974, p. 260.
K. Zuchora, Od pedagogiki przymusu do pedagogiki wartości /From Pedagogy of Compulsion to Pedagogy
of Values/, “Kultura Fizyczna” 1995, no. 5-6, p. 9.
Cf. ibid., p. 148.
Cf. A. Pawłucki, Pedagogika wartości ciała /Pedagogy of Values of the Body/, Gdańsk 1996, p. 71.
Cf. ibid., p. 73.
Ibid., p. 74.
Ibid., p. 78.
Ibid., p. 85.
Cf. A. Pawłucki., Wychowanie jako kulturowa rzeczywistość. Na przykładzie wychowania do wartości ciała /
Education as Cultural Reality Exemplified by Education for the Values of the Body/, Gdańsk 1992, p. 149.
Ibid., p. 154.
Cf. Ibid., p. 23.
Ibid., p. 182.
Ibid., p. 173.
Ibid., p. 77.
Cf. A. Pawłucki, Osoba w pedagogice ciała /Person in Pedagogy of the Body/, Olsztyn 2002, p. 35.
J. Kosiewicz, Kultura fizyczna i sport w perspektywie filozofii, Warszawa 2004, p. 228.
Ibid., p. 77.
Ibid., p. 77.
Ibid., p. 83.
K. Wojtyła, Osoba i czyn /Person and Deed/, Lublin 2000, p. 265.
Ibid., p. 270.
Ibid., p. 272.
Ibid., p. 272.
Ibid., p. 274.
Ibid., p. 275.
It should be emphasised that feelings are for Wojtyła an indispensable stage on the way to objective values.
However their cognition can make the man to act against his own short-term feelings, although that truthrelated integration takes place through the integration of feelings (in:) K. Wojtyła, op.cit., p. 275.
Ivo Jirásek
Palacký University Olomouc
Faculty of Physical Culture
Terms for the naming of movement activities
and their significance
Key words: Sport, physical culture, movement culture, kinanthropology
The paper analyzes the notions of “sport” and “physical culture” (in the English and
Slavonic language areas) including their historical connections. It has been attached to the
name “movement culture” after the summarizing of some critical arguments (the possibility
of the dualistic segmentation of the human way of being, the overly broad expansiveness of
the term) as a suitable umbrella term. In the end the text refers to the meaning and goal of
individual movement activities as a criterion for the possible posting of a concrete movement into the subsystem of movement culture (sport, movement education, movement recreation, movement therapy, and movement art).
The special literature is overflowing with various arguments for this or that name for
movement activities. The same disharmony reigns with regard to the denotation of the theoretical branch concerned with this subject. The worst situation is however in cases when
there are non diversified individual levels of reality and its description and notions such as
“sport science”, “physical culture”, “physical education”, “kinesiology”, “human movement
sciences”, “physical activity” and so on stand side by side. I would like to emphasize in this
introduction my personal preference. It is explicitly attached to the term “kinanthropology”
(kinesis, anthropos, logos) in the name of theory (doctrine) and “movement culture” as a subject of kinanthropological interest. This text argues in favour of this denomination.
Foreign habit: sport
The part of reality (cultural subsystem), which is habitually named in Central and Eastern Europe “physical culture” and for which I offer the term “movement culture”, is the
most often called in plain terms sport (sport in a narrower sense of the word that means as
one of the parts of movement culture will be entered into the following text). While the term
sport became so vague and more confused by various ways of using it that it is possible to
identify up to 127 different applications of it (and 176 variants of its use in word game and
play) (Lenk 1982, 15). Foreign authors are forced to modulate the basic term sport for various needs or requirements for the classification and specification (for at least some accuracy of expression) and so we can come across classifications (Stelter 1994) differentiating
individual models of sport for example in a form which accentuates enjoyment, participation and play in one form of sport, aside from competition oriented sport with its values of
victory with. The third dimension is a commercial sport model (a medial event is its goal)
and the fourth one is a functionalistic sport model making demands on different functions
such as health, relaxation, education, integration, national identification and so on. Sport
is contradistinguished in shorter form according to sport for competition, achievement and
performance besides sport for health and physical efficiency and last but not least sport for
the physical experience. The heterogeneity of sport levels could be signalized at the level of
accomplishment sport, leisure sport and health-oriented sport (Hägele 1994, 10).
The usage of the term sport has certainly one clear advantage: it is possible to designate by one word an activity (sport), its agent (sport person) and connection to an activity
(to sport). We have not got a similar term in movement culture. I think however this lone
advantage could not outweigh a lot of disadvantages, which are connected with using this
First of all it is necessary to demonstrate the fact that sport is loosing its substance,
pungency and predicated value. The boundaries are effaced by an accent on other forms of
movement culture (other forms of expression and movement of the body) as for example:
dance, pantomime, body meditation, yoga, autogenic training and so on are (Heinemann,
1990, 178). But we could perceive this effacement of the content’s lucidity of the notion
of sport also in the positive value of its meaning, because the interpretation of movement
activities and experiences from the Eastern cultures’ provenience is perceived as a revision
of Euro centrism in the interpretation of sport (Lenk 1984).
Limitations of the term ”physical culture”
in the English language area
The general point of view on human movement activity and its theoretical grasp as
conceived by degrees from the primary theory of physical education [which has come as
an accepted conception in the U.S.A. for the first time in the first half of the 1960’s when a
vital article by Henry article (1964) – to this day often quoted as a rupturing moment for expert acceptance within the branch and counted word for word as a turning point from which
the “disciplinarization” of the branch started (for example Rose 1986, Ross 1981, Newell
1990) –opened, for the first time, the topic of the differentiation of physical education as
a subject of study (and therefore as a practical pedagogical branch) and as a theoretical
subject, as an academic discipline having to do with research]. The term physical culture
started to be used in England, France and Germany already at the end of the 19th century
(Kosiewicz 2004, 183, Kirk 1999, 64, Ponomarev & Serebrjakov 1985, 64), or even in
the 18th century (Sage 1969, 11, Hohler 1977, 7) and it stressed education as an agent of
culturalization. It was in connection to the earlier used term of the old Greek provenience
“gymnastics” for the identification of a movement activities program (and it was replaced
in the English language area at first by the name physical training – which however names
the development of muscle and body building – and at last physical education). Physical
culture was accepted by European educators as a content name: an educated person was
cultured. The extensive (five volumes) encyclopaedia of physical culture (with an overall
length of 2 914 pages) from the year 1911 gives us a direct demonstration of the common
comprehensibility of the term physical culture at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries. Its
7th edition from 1926 (Macfadden 1926) is located in an AWF Warsaw library. For all that it
does not quote the physical culture as an independent column, not only by its name (the key
conception of the whole work) but also by the use of these words in a text tells us a lot about
the access to this term in the described era. However the term physical culture was used
less and less after the 1st World War in the professional vocabulary of specialists in physical
education and it completely fell out of common use in the 1930’s in the English language
environment. Maybe some populistic sense of the term connected with its understanding in
the area of the circus and/or bodybuilding could be the reason (Kirk 1999).
So we don’t encounter in common usage the notion of physical culture in the English
language area. There are used terms such as physical education, sport, or some others for a
systematic and overall theoretical grasp. Some authors include sport into the realm of physical education, some distinguish it, somebody perceives games as a specific area, another
diversifies dance. There are the following terms used by the majority: physical education,
sport, game, dance, physical exercise, however in the most various ways of their connections and systematic relations. At intervals we can meet with the endeavour to subordinate
all these notions under the one of “movement phenomenon”, but not even this is a commonly accepted opinion. The terminological disunion (and frequent complaints over this
state of affairs) is characteristic for this branch of research and it is not possible to speak
about any entirety theory.
The promotion of the term physical culture is relatively infrequent. Therefore so much
the more it should and could be approximated. Debates about substance and names of enquiry in human movement come together in the form of the conception by Rose (1986) in
demonstration of the problems of discipline traditionally called physical education and its
moving into the form of culture where the movement is an agent of expression. He argues
that it is possible to understand the branch in the shape of physical culture with the possibility of identification with corporeal activities. Ideas and theories of the branch (crossdisciplinary) would lead to underlining the goal, which is kinaesthetic culture.
Kirk (1999) sees a different sort of goal in the revitalization and renewed usage of this
notion. He wants to describe physical culture as a dimension of physical discourse concentrated on the creation of a body of meaning in sport, physical recreation and exercise
on the basis of the etymology of the term and the compendium of historical moves in its
understanding throughout the twentieth century. This term is the most suitable descriptor/describer of movement activities, which could help researchers in the social sciences
to a more accurate understanding of sport, exercise, recreation or physical education by
means of relational analyses. So Kirk doesn’t want to create a stable categorical system,
but he perceives physical culture as a suitable label for the dynamic description of various
relations among individual categories (it is a more advisable form than the study of every
category in isolation from others). That notion of physical culture could be a useful element
in the theoretical recognition of relations among individual principles operating in the insti-
tutionalized forms of movement activity. The term refers to the scale of representation and
regulation of the body in three institutionalized forms of physical activity. Kirk perceives
as sport the complex of activities having as there main character high-developed techniques
and strategy, the organization of competitions and special equipment. Recreation refers to
our ability to recreate and recover through activities, which are alternatives to work. Sport
(not including the elite level) is their part. The experience then acquires associations (from
1950’s) of physical health, fitness or well-being. This element therefore, on principle, is different from its common usage in our meaning context. It tends more to the topic of a healthy
way of life than to the meanings of physical exercises and how they settled in our environment. However we could not perceive this schedule as being firm, with strict boundaries
of meaning. The author namely offers his whole thinking construct as „a means of understanding how school physical education has been implicated in the social construction of
the body, particularly in its regulation and normalization in modernity“ (Kirk 1999, 69).
Physical education (as well as leisure activities) in this way stays completely out of the
system of physical culture in spite of the fact that it is taken to be cultural practice, an area
of communication and a creation of meanings.
Physical Culture in the Slavonic Language Area
Physical culture as a whole complex of sciences in a system of arrangement was not profile
till after the 2nd World War in the, at that time, Socialist countries. It is possible to define three
basic routes of access to the investigation of phenomena from physical culture in this period: activities (movement activity, physical exercises), values (satisfaction of needs), outcome of activity (physical efficiency, and sport performance) (Matvejev 1985, 80). The time when a system
of physical culture (later system sciences about physical culture) was conceived is characterized
by ideological rhetoric in all areas of social life. The next part of the text omits this more or less
ideological content) (in some texts it created the majority of text) and it concentrates only on
ideas structuring human movement activity into a systematic view.
At first the name gymnastics (tělocvik) was used in Czech conditions (the term which is
used in common Czech or in slang up to the present time, as it has completely disappeared
from expert terminology) as a parallel to the German term Turnen and the French term Gymnastique. The name physical education was used to a wider extent after the end of the First
World War (Libenský 1966, 24). The ideal development after that leads from a conception of
physical education (and its theoretical grasping in the shape of science about physical education, later in the form of system sciences about physical education or theory of physical education) step by step to a profilation of physical culture. For some decades however individual
notions and terms naming various levels and planes were mixed. So for example not only
physical education, but sport as well was included in physical education (and consequently
the theory of physical education also analyzed sport training). Or physical education was
interchanged for physical culture, or the first of them was differentiated for the activities of
participants of adolescent age (and duly performed as a duty) and the second one was understood as an activity of adults (and done) by them of their own accord). A general appeal for
the unification of terminology has not however had any practical outcome.
Let us recapitulate without pretension to any entirety or structural accuracy of a complex taking down of this cultural (polyfunctional) subsystem that assuredly the notion of
physical culture comprehends:
• activities (in particular movement, but also intellectual – cognitive, research and other)
• subjects (individuals and collectives including societies, organizations and institutions
including their systematic arrangement; not only the moving personalities but also their
teachers, trainers, fans, managers or functionaries, doctors, organizers and others)
• reciprocal relations of human and movement activity on the most various levels (relation
of humans and nature, humans and society)
• values (their creation and consumption) and norms
• needs (at the level of physical, psychological/ mental, spiritual and social; not only their
satisfaction but also the creation of something new)
• circumstances of realization, aids, apparatus and laboratory used in the preparation and
realization of movement process
• environment (created specific subsystems in which preliminary points were modified in
a specific way)
• bonds to other cultural and social areas (art artifacts, procurations of economic, law, politics, marketing and agitation propaganda)
It would be possible to comment on individual attempts for definition and to point out
the greater or lesser measure of conceptions, the higher or lower influence of ideological
sight and so on with more or less real argumentation. The theory with a greater ideological
charge doesn’t avow a substantive independence of physical culture and it subordinates
itself as an instrument of political and ideological goals and class influence. Nevertheless it
is possible to ascertain the real content in such texts, which could be an ideal impulse.
Critical Objections
The main objection which is given against the concept of physical culture (if we don’t
take into consideration those protests which ideologically and politically connect – (which
are, by the way, wrong – this name to the infiltration of Soviet values into our cultural
circle) is its potential knot with a dualistic view of the world. The critics (maybe they are
right) believe that the connection of movement exclusively to the body separates corporeal
phenomena from other phenomena of human existence, segmenting the individual into
mind and body. The word “physical” leads not only to the body, but also even to things, it
means to nonliving “meat” or even to any object in space. It has been shown also that this
name contains the possible divaricating of mind and body (mind-body problem) and hereby
as though it accented only the mechanic movement of the body within the framework of
Cartesian dualism (Newell 1990, 270, Slowikowski & Newell 1990, 286).
Nor could a comparison with Slavonic languages could help us with this problem. The
Polish term fizyczna kultura, the same as Russian fizičeskaja kultura, in Czech is translated
as a completely exact synonym of physical culture (tělesná kultura), but it is not its semantically accurate equivalent. In the translation of physical culture (tělesná kultura) it is
possible to use a connection with somatic culture (kultura somatyczna), or direct corporeal
culture (kultura cielesna). The problems however will origin in the endeavour to explicate
this name. As Kosiewicz accents on another occasion (2000, 23-25, 2004, 72-74) the conception of somatic culture also contains the cultural and biological phenomena of human
body movement (which are investigated by the natural sciences – for example as movement
in respiration, the peristaltic movement of the bowels, the movement activity of blood and
others) and at this moment it doesn’t pay any attention to artistic, material and institu-
tional spheres, as the term fizyczna lead to human fysis, comprehended as well as including
qualities both spiritual and symbolic. Somatic (corporeal) culture aims at the biological
nature of human, physical culture focused on the cultural aspects of human movement.
The “physicality” of this cultural subsystem would be again a hapless solution, precisely
absurd, because culture (as a set of values and patterns) is something non-physical from its
own substance and at the same time it is not possible to separate culture which is physical
and spiritual (psychological) (Lipiec 1999, 178).
The term “physical” also has the meaning not only of the connotation of body in English, but also a/the physical, real, material, way of being as a thing. Therefore the concept
of being physical is just the prime consideration leading to the decision to change the name
physical education. On the contrary, body culture also includes cultural phenomena which
don’t refer to movement and which we perceive in the name culture of the body. However
we could fall into the semantic snare of precise expression. If we would disown physical
culture and we would want to direct attention to the use of a verbatim translation of physical
culture (tělesná kultura), we could choose among a minimum of three possible terms: body
culture, culture of the body and body-in-culture. For all that it is possible to at least sense
different meanings (body culture, culture of the body and – let us say – the social or cultural
“construction” of “body”), we reach the very edge of possibilities of different social experiences and cultural contexts transferable from language to language by the same terms.
The too wide content of this notion could be the next argument. We have to classify
all medicine, dancing and actors’ art, circus performance, hairdressing, tattoos, and erotic
techniques into body culture (if we perceive it really as a connection of body and culture,
not only in a limited meaning as movement activity of humans) (Lipiec 2002).
Although an ideal scheme of physical culture is more or less radical (so called in general) abandon [the main apologist stance of the Faculty of Physical Culture of Palacký
University Olomouc and AWF Warsaw – but there is also already a prognosis about the
possible abandonment of this term and an attachment to the international habit of using the
word sport (Kosiewicz 2004, 183)], although the majority of individuals and workplaces
attached to using the term sport in its broader meaning (but with ideologically and politically utilitarian accentuation without any really ideal arguments – namely that documents
of the European Union and the majority of foreign publications operate with the term sport,
it is possible to grasp it as a thinking challenge, as stimulation for thinking. If some ideal
considerations and rational arguments for its usage will be found as cogent enough, it is
completely unnecessary, more precisely non-sense (because it is lacking in any sense), to
abandon this concept. On the contrary it would be all done for a deeper introduction of this
idea (if it is competent) into the expert community.
A Possible Terminological Solution
One of these ways is to wander away from a thinking stereotype when the interconnection of body – movement – culture is looking for a name debarring movement from the name.
Then the potential of “movement culture” is surely higher than it could appear at first glance.
The offered name has several advantages. It cogently argues that the main focus of this cultural subsystem is movement (not other aspects of the culture of body from hygiene through
cosmetics to etiquette or religious cults). It clearly declares that it is a cultural subsystem
and that it is connected with the human way of being. It enables us to take a whole, holistic
approach toward humans (human existence) and their movement activities. It is in closer
connection with the theoretical discipline, which investigates this cultural subsystem, which,
by its name also prefers movement to the aspect of body (kinanthropology = kinesis, anthropos, logos, not soma in hypothetical anthroposomatology or somatoanthropology and so on).
Last but not least it is an item for the possibility of easier international communication. We
could encounter the term movement culture in foreign literature (in the Polish environment
less noticeably, but, all the same, ruchowa kultura, as in the Czech name pohybová kultura).
And it is with this explanation of why this name is preferred over the habitually established
term physical education: the word “movement” directly indicates the subject of education or
study (similarly as to how the content is signalized in school subjects such as “History” or
“the Polish language”, it is first of all “movement” not “body” in a lesson of physical education). Additionally it is movement in all three of its potential dimensions that mean education
in movement, through movement and about movement. Therefore “movement teacher” is a
more suitable name than “teacher of physical education” (Arnold 1995). We can however
encounter the term movement education more often concretely with considerations about the
experiencing of movement as a more important level than the learning of some techniques
(Pöttinger 1990). In the end it is not a new topic in the Czech Republic, either. Though the
frequently used term “physical education” “has been shown to be the most appropriate, even
though more accurate than the offered term »movement education«” (Frömel 1993, 20). It is
only a short distance until we arrive at the notion of movement culture in looking for an accurate starting point within this category in the process of going from the general (that means
culture) to the concrete (Hroza 1972, 79).
The answer of the movement culture to the question, “Body, or movement?” is an unequivocal approach to movement (of course with a full consciousness of the impossibility
of disintegrating movement from its concrete vehicle – it could entice us towards a dualistic
separation of movement from a concrete moving human personality). The investigation of
the body is not the main goal of investigation in kinanthropology. It is human personality,
concretely the meaning of the human way of being which comes via the phenomena of
human movement. The argument against the name movement culture could be perhaps
only one and it is that it includes too much: not only exercise movement, but also work
movement, art movement or others (according to the selected scheme of the articulation
of human motorics). And just there it could convert an illusory disadvantage to something
positive. If we perceive the practical consequences of theoretical reflections, then it surely
is a matter of help for the theoretical concept with its propagation of a healthy life style.
Present day civilization is characterized among others by a catastrophic deficiency of human movement, so to say, at all levels of society. Therefore – according to my deep belief
– we can’t henceforth attach ourselves exclusively to the propagation of exercises, but we
have to be able to find arguments for any movement activity, which could compensate for
its absence in work activity. And exactly all such movement activity (but originating from
the cultural area and therefore are not concerned with the movement of the inner organs,
blood movement or other physiological aspects of body movement) has been investigated
(and propagated) by philosophical kinanthropology as the reflection of movement culture.
Overall it has been shown to be more suitable for practice and as a theoretically more
precise and more adequate consideration over any intentional movement (first of all in the
environment of its cultivation) and then the delimitation of this part of reality as movement,
not physical culture.
Movement culture doesn’t give us occasion to unproductive ideological debate (it
clears away prejudicial objections against the rejection of physical culture on account of
its connection with Marxist or Soviet style of thinking) and withal records a systematic approach and an ideal outcome to preliminary theoretical approaches, it enables us to create
some ideal continuity and conservation of positive thinking impulses of past periods. If
physical culture is non-compatible with the culture of the body, then movement culture and
culture of movement are very much closer in semantics, they predicate de facto the same
and then they don’t give impulse to terminological conjectures.
The Content of the Delimitation of Movement Culture
The previously signalized breadth of the contents of physical culture is valid of course for
this cultural subsystem under a different name. So movement culture includes all activities,
subjects, relations, values, norms, needs, conditions, environments and the broader cultural
connection of human movement and its cultivation. However it is possible to mark out movement culture as space for the realization of the possibilities of authentic existence via movement and its cultivation, as a field for the unfolding of the meaning of the human way of
being by means of movement for the needs of philosophical kinanthropology.
Movement culture in this way enables us to specify the kinanthropological interest in all
forms of intentional human movement activity which we can find in five possible environments: in sport, movement education, movement recreation, movement therapy and movement art. There is no only one lone way of experiencing movement activity, which could be
regarded as providing the only right understanding of movement. The distinction is lead as
well by various forms of human movement in the light of its goal, function, and the context
of other activities. What decides about the categorization of concrete movement activity into
one of five categories (respectively through what we look at movement activity as a part of
differentiated areas) is the value, goal, meaning, or sense of the performed movement. The
meaning of a concrete movement is in its context, in the interpretation of movement as symbol. The reason why we do some movement ranks it into some one sector of the spectrum
of movement culture. For all that the movement is the same, its goal, reason and evaluation
could rank it with completely different ways of human being. Let us connect to this the notice
that no type is rigidly given as independent/self-sufficient – every part of movement culture is
based just on some features of similar structure, context and by means of that on the meaning
of concrete movement. The use of whatever classification enables us to create just a gross,
common idea, it couldn’t say anything to us about any special case of concrete movement.
Sport is, of all areas of movement culture, the most preferred (not only in the case of
the use of this notion as the name of all intentional human movement activity, so called
over the world). It captures the interest of viewers, concentrates on all top achievements,
absorbs (and produces) most of the money. We can say that it is the area most important
for economists, managers and politicians. It is not for propagators of a healthy life style (as
every expert in kinanthropology could be). Although the most attention is dedicated to sport
from the side of spectators as well, sport protrudes beyond the boundary of culturality by
means of a lot of its forms (and it crosses over the framework of movement culture) and at
this time it concentrates the attention of an active minority and a much more preponderant
passive majority. A crucial role is played by endeavours to overcome the steadily decreasing physical efficiency of movement recreation of the population, which affects, we could
say, all people across all age categories.
The possibility of more accurate differentiation leads to the endeavour to differentiate
competitive sport, top sport and sport for all. (The variability of possible differentiations
of sport areas leads maybe at all possible thinkable levels. We can encounter in literature
attributes such as the following categories of sport: individual, collective, elite, familiar,
mass, majority, expressive, racing, commercial, leisure, instrumental, popular, active, passive, alternative, risk, extreme, for all, Olympic…)
Maximum achievement and victory in competition is the meaning, sense, goal and
then the highest value of sport movement. The show of achievements under hard organizational conditions of competitional measuring according to standardized rules leads to clear
measurement and objective comparison of efficiency as a specific realization of human
possibilities. The sport environment is signalized by clear rules a rigorous organization of
This area of movement culture, which gets the most attention of the media, is the
area of the most economically furthered and, at this time, (because) the most traced by
spectators, it shows the most symptoms of crisis. The reason is that much more accent
is put on accomplishment, not consequence (Oborný 2001, 108). Effect as an accent of
present, momentary success, victory is valued much more than in the future, than any longtime perspective health or estimation. Together with traditional and authentic values and
the possibilities of sport (equal chances, fair play, achievement, victory, and sport spirit)
are interconnected in reality with the negative level (victory at all cost, discrimination of
the less successful, the superlative expression of winners and records, superiority and unnoticed aggression, cheating of the rules, the utilization of sport as a media show, using
political, ideological and economical interests). The area of sport is substantively tied with
the dangerous possibilities of ideologization and its manipulation. We are the witnesses of
historical change from sacral, religious relations to competition and achievement by physical movement toward animalization and depersonalization of people with an endeavour
to achieve the instrumentalization of the human body and its achievement which is drawn
without other phenomena noted above.
The phenomena of profesionalization (with increasing oligarchization and beaurocratization of sport structures), commercionalization (which is not stoppable and the increasing
interconnection between sport and economy has to be swallowed as fact) and the politization (political and social signification – the right-of-way on the national level – of sport
achievement is appreciable first of all at the Olympic games) of sport events are counted
for the main signs of the crisis of top sport (Hägele 1994). The increasing ambitiousness
and frequency of sport preparation (training) and the harmonogram of competitions approximate the sportsperson closely and more closely toward the biological limits of their
movement capabilities. From this point two possible ways lead to the next increase in
achievement: one from them is the use of technical and technological agents (Miah, Eassom & Mitcham 2002), the second one is doping. No one of these ways however is the
way of nature in the old Greek sense of the word in its meaning of fysis. And if a concrete
personality is driven by the motive “victory at all cost”, positive values potentially included
in sport cannot be realized. From this point a direct way leads to aggression and violence
which can be viewed so to speak every day by us (specific attention within the framework
of this phenomenon could be given to the behaviour of spectators and fans).
Sport is however the same subsystem also which crosses over the scheme of movement culture and oversteps it. A display of non-culturality in relation to sport events is one
level. If the human being is the goal of sport (and looking for his/her meaning of being), if
there is realization of values such as courage, persistence, and speed of decision making,
so this sport definitely belongs to the area of movement culture. But if but the main goal is
economic, political or media profit (that is the return of investments, earnings, and media
publicity are the main values), sport crosses over movement culture into completely different spheres of social life. Sport as a symbol impresses on us a different interpretation. The
kinds of sport, which observe the conditions of competition and maximum achievement,
but not of the necessity of physical movement, are a second possibility of how sport could
transfer outside of the area of movement culture. The intellectual games such as chess or
bridge could be examples, or events of technological rivalry from modeling through technical sports to automobile races (where the driver approximates more to mechanisms for
long-distance control than to an autonomous human movement expression).
Movement Education
The ascendant goal (the highest value, meaning and sense) of movement is educational potential in movement education and it is present in all possible dimensions: it is
possible to use movement as an agent of education (education by movement), a fractional
goal (education of movement) and content (education about movement) of education.
The preference of this name over the term physical education doesn’t originate from
the endeavour to achieve originality at all cost but from the potential dualistic connotation,
which has been noticed in all cultural subsystems. Preference of movement before corporeality clearly signs the subjective content of education and could be read as the apology
of this approach. The name movement education stresses that the goal of this educational
coverage is not the body, but the personality (the human personality in its uniqueness and
wholeness). Movement is an agent of education in its various dimensions and levels. Education through movement, in movement and about movement are individual dimensions of
pedagogical endeavours, which could help to choose one’s lifelong direction of a personality toward doing movement activity. So the goal of movement education as wholeness
could be the lifelong direction of a personality “toward movement”.
Movement recreation
Movement recreation (which is a broader conception than exercise recreation) is a
term, which we could encounter often (in Czech as pohybová rekreace, in Poland in the
expression rekreacja ruchowa). Movement recreation is closer to antique ideals and to a
holistic conception of being human than sport (especially top sport).
The highest value and then the meaning and sense of movement, its goal, is in the area
of movement recreation first of all for its recreational, regenerative, relaxational dimension of movement being done in leisure time in the shape of sport (with the endeavour to
achieve victory and achievement/success) or in other forms (the domination of experience
independent on achieved achievement/success).
Attention is shifted from typical sport activities (focusing on achievement, victory in
competition) to such forms of movement activities which have contact to traditional movement activities inspired by Eastern ideal systems (but yoga), tai-chi, various techniques of
relaxation and so on). On the other hand movement activities which are called risk sports
or extreme sports, or adrenaline sports – free-style climbing, wild water rafting, BASE
jumping and so on – are coming rapidly into increasing vogue. This quasi-contradictory
direction, which polarizes peoples’ interest into extremes rather than to getting closer by
compromise, has a common denominator. It is experience. Movement activity perceived as
part of movement recreation is not characterized by resignation of achievement and competition (on the contrary – we can see endeavour, dedication and zeal dedicated to games in
such a way that many sportspersons including the top ones could envy them). The accent
on experiencing stands as its characterization. In other words (used originally in connection
with other contexts) we could perceive this area “dialectically, as a unity of performance
and body experience” (Stelter 1994, 17).
Movement therapy
The goal, meaning, sense and value of movement in movement therapy lie in the regenerative or rehabilitative direction of movement activities leading towards health of
the personality. The topic of health is however such an extensive and non-unique meaning
that in these connections this term could not be specified in detail.
Movement art
The esthetic dimension of movement is characteristic for movement art. It is as well
its goal, meaning, highest value, and purpose. The forms of the value of beauty could be
perceived in the area of movement culture in connection with nature and naturalness for
example in the form of the beauty of the human body. Such a body of a sportsperson could
be exhibited to see the axiologically concrete esthetic value and it could be distinguished
among different sets of esthetics values with which this or that area of the body and the
body in movement are interconnected. Also some deformation of the natural shape of body
(for example female but bodybuilding, Japanese sumo wrestling, a bloody body after a free
style fight and so on) could be valued under the ideal of beauty.
It is possible to think over values connected with some kinds of movement activities
near esthetic values connected with human corporeality. Movement art is evident in ballet, pantomime, dance, dance on ice, modern gymnastics, competition diving and a whole
row of other sport disciplines. It is possible to think about the association of sport and art
but also about the differentiation of this specific category as an independent subsystem in
the area of movement culture. Elegance and gracefulness, harmony, rhythm, cleanness of
execution of movement, individual creativity and interpretation, these are factors which are
interconnected with movement art expressively.
Every endeavour for precise classification has to fail because it is not possible to force
life into the narrow partitions of any arbitrary classification, logical thinking and language
expression. The endeavour to terminologically accurately appreciate all phenomena of
movement culture and to classify them into a complete system is the same as Sisyfos’
work. With a consciousness of the impossibility of a complete description, with consciousness of the futility of creating others from many, many classifications it could by so doing
have some meaning. A model could help us in primary orientation, synopsis and maybe
in an understanding of dispersion and incongruity phenomena from the area of human
movement activities.
I am sure though that by means of this relativisation we could enable ourselves via these
five areas of movement (with five different goals, meanings, senses of doing movement
activity), it means sport, movement education, movement recreation, movement therapy
and movement art to perceive them as five basic disciplines enabling us to find ourselves
a primary, basic orientation to kinanthropology within the framework of its investigation.
Movement culture could be, in this way a suitable umbrella term for the name of movement
activities investigated by kinanthropology.
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spoločnosť pre telesnú výchovu a šport.
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P. Matvejev (Ed.), Nástin teorie tělesné kultury: mezinárodní sborník vědeckých prací (pp. 64-73). Praha:
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Doc. PhDr. Ivo Jirásek, Ph.D.
Fakulta tělesné kultury Univerzity Palackého Olomouc
Tř. Míru 115
771 11 Olomouc
Česká republika
[email protected]
Andrzej Pawłucki
University School of Physical Education and Sport in Gdańsk
Homo Olimpicus as Homo Redemptor
The Law of Olympic Peace
Key words: Olympism, Olympic culture, sport education
Education determines cultural continuity in every field of life. Part One of the present
paper discusses the internal complexity of education, as exemplified by Olympic sport, by
demonstrating its intergenerational extent. Education becomes complete when it functions
between three generations, as an encouragement to the student to participate in the Olympic
cultural idea and the Olympic act. Part One explains why education, when following the
cultural idea only, is futile, and when following action only, is incomplete. Education, by
pure participation in it, is not complete as it deprives itself of cultural self-knowledge and is
confined only to a certain form of bodily agony without considering its meaning. Part Two
explains the sense of the Olympic act, considering the war-time circumstances of the emergence of the great social movement for peace. An Olympic deed is an act of making peace.
In this way the Olympic act is understood as a concurrent act of resisting evil, and the
Olympic movement as metaphorically overcoming enmity and celebrating peacefulness. If
it had not been for the evil of war, there would have not been the necessity of redemption
and peacemaking. Recalling of the circumstances of the emergence of sport and Olympic
movement leads to recognition of a certain participant in this field of life: Homo Olimpicus
understood as Homo Redemptor. This relation is considered in the context of the law of
Olympic peace, and it proves that Olympic sport assumes the role of redeemer of the evil of
war. Olympic sport derives from a cultural reality in which the optimistic faith in the sense
of life evokes friendly emotions in order to enable the entire Olympic and non-Olympic
communities to coexist according to the highest humanistic ideals.
Olympic culture as universal humanism of peace
Olympic education is complete, in a theoretical perspective, if it is an intergenerational
relationship developed and maintained by the Olympic pedagogue. In Part One we showed
how education was becoming a social reality in itself – a reality in which mature participants
learning the role of teachers live in accordance with their culture. Their students, encouraged to live together with teachers in this way, enter this reality in order to enjoy its contents
and develop their Olympic identity. A student who is granted the honor to learn the truth
about himself, about his origins and destiny, becomes empowered with self-understanding.
He understands who he really is. The teacher is an expert in the student’s life; he interprets
the code of student’s participation in the life of the Olympic community. The student learns
from the teacher where he comes from, where he is heading for and why he lives.
We define the completeness of Olympic education and understand its value as a set of
complex causes, but not as a complete table of cultural contents. It is important to realize that
Olympic culture, which is ideologically justified, has often contained false codes that exposed
its participants to some “substitute values”, e.g. Nazism, communism, or post-modern Olympic liberalism. Olympic education was to demonstrate this mystification to the student, whereas proper ideological Olympic pedagogy was to legitimize and justify it for the teacher.
Let us then pose a question which applicant teachers are often asked. In what way
should the pedagogue justify the universal sense of participation in Olympic life to
the prospective teacher (educational relation of the second degree), so the latter would effectively share self-understanding with the student (educational relation of the first degree)
and let the student discover the same truth about the meaning of his destiny? Certainly, in
doing so, the teacher must account for the student’s long-term cognitive development: from
sensorial and motor stage to the stage of formal operations1.
The sense of participation in Olympic life, as a kind of participation in a symbolic
social praxis, should be discussed in the students’ perspective of becoming future teachers.
I strongly hope that, on the one hand, understanding the sense of participation will make
students achieve self-understanding (in their discovery of the sense of life); and on the other
hand, it will provide teachers with arguments to convince students to accept this, and no
other, version of understanding the sense of the Olympic act.
The student must then consider this sense as it is revealed to him by the teacher; and the
teacher must do the same as it is revealed to him by the Olympic pedagogue (superteacher).
Thanks to the relationship between the three, education becomes operational as an intergenerational relation, in which all the three constitute, as we explained earlier, the community
of Olympic act through caring of one another.
The meaning of life consisting of values adopted by the members of the Olympic community must be explained to the teacher before the explanation of culture and its causes. Education personalizes culture and arranges the praxis of cultural participation. It is the Word that
makes its semantics real in the student’s actions. The teacher should understand that education
includes culture as a set of ideas about Man himself, and not as mere participation in cultural
acts. Education understood this way makes it possible for the teacher to stop giving simple
behavioral instructions to the student, and to lead the student on his path to independence.2 Let
us stress it once again that only such an educational approach makes education complete.
What is Olympic culture?
I fully realize that the above question touches upon the fundamental ontological problem concerning the entire human reality. I will not be concerned here with the question
what was there first: culture or cultural act. It would be meaningless to debate this question
once again as it was already explained (however, not by Goethe’s Faustus who stated that
“in the beginning was the deed”3). Returning to this original question is necessary in the
particular context of this discourse, but not for the purpose of its total reconsideration.
I will explain later why Olympism and the Olympic act, its Spirit and Movement, must
have emerged in European rather than any other cultural reality. I suppose that if the NeoOlympic movement had not been revived, the Europeans in consequence of doing evil to
one another, would have been forced to use all symbolic formulas of life known to them in
order to “re-humanize their own humanity”. If there had not been Olympic sport, religious
(salvation) and artistic practices used in the process of humanization of interpersonal relations, would have led to redemption from evil and affirmation of good.
Olympic sport, however, exists undeniably. Established in the late 19th century the social praxis of Olympic sport is part of a wider praxis of physical symbolism (non-Olympic
agonism, circus perfection and ballet, dance and pantomime aesthetics) or of an even wider
praxis of aesthetic-artistic symbolism with its innumerable artistic forms and formulas.
All manifestations of the social praxis of cultural symbolism exist in the space of the theater
of life; i.e. in the praxis of non-literal life. Two significant manifestations of this praxis are the
symbolic praxis of religious symbolism and independent praxis of academic symbolism.
In the ontological timeline the symbolic praxis comes later than other manifestations of
cultural participation. The latter appear first due to Man’s primary needs of supply of lifegiving energy, of protection against the evils of nature, of protection of the human race, and
of protection of Man’s own body and organic life. The whole of Man’s cultural undertakings is grounded in ontological “bodily conditions.” And these are the “bodily” grounds for
culture, being also a part of the cultural praxis. In this context nature belongs to culture, as
it is a constituent value of the experience of a social subject, and it demands realization by
way of “bodily” cultivation of human nature.
At the heart of each particular praxis of life there is a social, human being, who is aware
of his participation in inter-dependable acts. This human being is a cultural character who participates in existentially necessary (interested) acts forced upon by nature; and in symbolic acts
(disinterested) taken up as ontic consequences of literal actions. To be more precise, these consequences concern the moral side of social relationships made by individuals in literal deeds and
“responses” of participants in symbolic cultural life to the ethical value of these deeds.
The case of praxis of Olympic sport confirms the emergence of the Olympic act – one
might say autotelic and disinterested – from the social sphere of literal life replete with
negative moral experience.
Metaphorically speaking, the above relation is like a relation between a kitchen of life,
in which the order of social life is disrupted and interpersonal dignity is threatened (as if
in the heat of the struggle for existence, not only the co-participant’s personal dignity were
destroyed, but also his life became annihilated4), and a salon of life, in which the rule of
common good holds good for everyone (by way of religious or secular sacrum).
The participants in the salon of life express their discontent at human moral imperfection of the literal act with all means of symbolic semiosis, and at the same time these participants teach others the correctness of moral references and remind them of their obligation
to restore humanity in the “theater of life for the moment” created by them.
Cultural symbolism seems to be a continuation of literal life in its dialectical movement
of alienation as an outcome of a mission to improve the external world. It is a movement
towards a deepened synthesis of oneself, made thanks to one’s discovery of true self and
destiny. It is also the discovery of the fact that no art can be art for art’s sake; otherwise the
creators of such art will make fools of themselves in front of History. There is so much evil
to root out and so much good to do, and you – instead of joining the discourse of humanization – waste your talents given to you for your life, in your artistic styles, being shameless
in your obscene provocations.
The alleged disinterestedness of cultural symbolism in the narcissistic self-presentation
of postmodern art masters, manifested by one’s focus on oneself to create one’s own aesthetic image, and intended to evoke admiration of the masses for the form and per-form
(from performance), is unacceptable in the discourse on moral responsibility for life of
every member of the human family. Aversion to moral questions and ethical self-knowledge expressed by rank-and-file artists and their intellectual leaders astonishes many with
its ontological short-sightedness. Paradoxically, what is disinterested – what sociologists
of culture call an autotelic symbolic semiosis – turns out to be, contrary to all anarchistic
tendencies in art, deeply grounded in calculated defense and affirmation of life values5.
Olympic symbolism, in its humanistic version, confirms its dialectical relation with literal
life, which will be discussed later, whereas post-Olympism affirms its perversion. As a symbolic
phenomenon it is highly, existentially “interested.” If for some reasons Olympic symbolism
were to be of interest to itself, i.e. disinterested about literal life and its moral dimension, it
would find itself in a dead end. In this context, Olympic symbolism does not appear to be a mere
error in evolution, and Olympic movement does not appear to be in a cul-de-sac of history.6 On
the contrary, thanks to its exposition of morality it is a collective order-making subject.
The aforementioned types of existential and symbolic praxis are represented by the
following cultural characters:
Existential praxis is represented by:
a) H
omo Economicus – a participant in the praxis of production of life-giving goods;
b) Homo Politicus – a participant in the praxis of distribution of life-giving goods (including legislative praxis);
c) H
omo Technologicus – a participant in the praxis of production of life-giving tools (including defense praxis);
d) Homo Phisicus – Vitalis – a participant in the praxis of medical regeneration, hygienic
protection, salubrious improvement of the body and life;
e) H
omo Ecologicus – a participant in the praxis of revitalization, recreation and protection
of nature.
2) Symbolic praxis is represented by:
Homo Religiosus – a participant in the praxis of personalization of the sacrum of God
aimed at protection of life, health and at salvation (including propitiatory and thanksgiving
Homo Aestheticus – a participant in the aesthetic-artistic praxis of sanctification of
oneself with the secular sacrum;
Homo Phisicus-Sportivus – a participant in the praxis of bodily symbolism in his pursuance
of the ideal of harmonious and complete person (including Homo Sportivus – Olimpicus);
Homo Academicus – a participant in the praxis of the quest for the truth.
The cultural character called Homo Sportivus-Olimpicus appears in the salon of bodily
symbolism next to the non-Olympic athlete, circus artist, or ballet dancer, in its European
original. Its features can be only defined against the background of culture from which this
character originates and which this character legitimizes. Homo Olimpicus is obviously associated with the character of athlete, but only in the colloquial sense. In fact it is a complex
subject composed of multiple social roles, manifesting itself with actions, interrelations,
and collective social realities and associated institutions such as the Olympic community,
the National Olympic Committees and the International Olympic Committee constituting
the aforementioned Olympic Movement.
What is then the Olympic Spirit? If we accept that it is simply the Culture of the Olympic Movement, some questions will still remain. What are its ontic, constituent parts?
What are its origins? How is it developed and developing? And finally: What is the relation
between the Spirit and the participants in the praxis of Olympic sport?
The Olympic athlete did not invent himself. He was created the same way any new
social reality is created. He was first imagined in an individual creative mind, justified in
meaning and put in action. He was invented along with the entire Olympic community and
their Neo-Olympic stadium by creative individuals, among whom one stood out in particular from the very beginning as a cultural leader in this new field of life.
I would like to state more generally, while inquiring about the origins of this new social
reality, that its ideas, significance and ways of functioning must have preceded the reality
itself. The idea preceded the reality of Olympic social praxis, becoming a human reality on
its own, being transformed from the very beginning by the continuous discourse about the
meaning of this new form of life.
For instance, the first Modern Olympic Games were to be seen by some as a historical
continuation of the Ancient Olympics, and were held in Greece. Others gave them a new
meaning justified by the good of modernist international changes.
Proto-Olympism as an erroneous idea
Early Olympism was an erroneous idea. For its uncertainty and vagueness it can be
called proto-Olympism.
Proto-Olympism as a culture did not contain a fully developed idea about itself. It was
simply impossible as proto-Olympism was not a rational science or “Olympology” (a science
able to elevate self-knowledge to a higher level than popular or doctrinal). Moreover, proto-Olympism separated its own “disorderly” contents from the essence of its destiny. Let us note that
its real destiny became known 20-26 years after the first modern Olympics, i.e. when its symbol,
the key to its secret – the five interlaced rings – became embedded in social awareness.
The symbol of rings appears later than the Movement. The rings themselves symbolize
a certain symbol. It is like an act preceded by the idea of the act’s true destiny. The act was
certainly accompanied by another idea with a meaning different from the true one.
It can be concluded that the first Olympic deed was ill-conceived. Before its real sense
was discovered, an error was committed in its definition. Thus, the self-awareness of the
Olympic destiny in the participants, and in consequence Olympic self-knowledge, did not
develop immediately after the very establishment of the first Modern Olympic Games.
The erroneous ideas of the creators of Modern Olympics are reflected in the Olympic
Hymn, the very first symbol of the Movement. The lyrics of the Hymn return to the past:
“Ancient immortal Spirit, pure father…, hurries at the temple here, your pilgrim every nation”; the Hymn diverts attention away from what should be done, towards what has been
done and may not be done once again.
The first symbol of modern Olympic Games, the Olympic Hymn, is not an expression
of the spirit of the inhabitant of the Olympic village, but of the olimpionik from an ancient
polis. The Olympic Hymn goes off the topic; it is about someone who is not there any more.
It does not raise awareness, and it even causes confusion in the modern Olympic athlete.
It can be an indication of the incapability of the intellectual leaders of the Neo-Olympic
Movement. Those leaders’ ideas constituted proto-Olympism. These ideas would mature
along with the leaders themselves. As the leaders’ unfinished legacy, they would be passed
onto future generations with the commandment to build up the spiritual deposit of the Olympic “faith.”
Proto-Olympism as a thought fell into contradiction soon after its conception, remaining for a while unable to develop the key idea about its destiny. Its reference to antiquity
calls up associations with attempts to revitalize a mummified corpse. It would be as impossible as bringing back to life a knight from the Age of Chivalry in the present-day social
reality, in which this particular cultural character is simply not useful in attaining the once
valuable ideal of good.
Proto-Olympism is a product of a culturally foreign rather than culturally native ideal
of good.
Olimpism as a culturally native idea
Various ideas clashed with one another in order to refine the contents of Olympism.
Day after day, Olympics after Olympics, the idea about the participants in the Olympic
praxis and later about participants in the entire Movement became more refined to constitute a source of new self-knowledge. Whoever wanted to benefit from this knowledge in
search for self-understanding came closer to answer the question: Are, and if yes when,
the Olympic acts sensible?
The idea was subject to debate among many creative individuals – the first eulogists
of Olympism – and also among scholars and thinkers recognizing the cognitive subject in
the newly-founded ideal reality. The idea soon developed its own history, but first of all, as
new scholarly self-knowledge, contributed with its achievements to the effort of crystallization of the Olympic idea. It equipped the prototype of Olympism with logical judgments,
and thus formed its own culture: the “cultivated” idea was gaining the status of culture
itself. Since its cognitive subject was the socially organized Homo Sportivus-Olimpicus the
idea of him became his own culture.
We must remember, however, that scholarly humanism today forms the higher layer
of Olympic culture, accessible for its discursive creators who use the language of their sciences: axiology, ethics, pedagogy, history and most importantly philosophy.7 It is a field of
objectified ideas, consisting of methodologically ordered theorems; it is “arranged” according to its own academic law and it features its own dynamics. It is certainly not an illusion
that the scholarly idea “precedes” the Olympic praxis. A disturbing paradox is the fact that
this resourceful and sophisticated humanist idea justifying the sense of the Olympic act
in the best way possible, fails to permeate the popular consciousness of the Movement
participants. Scholarly self-knowledge develops, pursuant to its logos, but not to self-un-
derstanding among the common participants in the Olympic movement. There are certainly
exceptions: there are Olympic athletes using the language of ethics, knowing history or at
least thinking in a scholarly way about themselves with reference not only to their Olympic
spirituality but also physicality. These cases show that permeation of the humanist idea is
taking place, but not everyone is involved, i.e. the cognitive powers can differ subjectively
(not everyone is able to get to know oneself), and this type of thinking is far from being
universally applicable in the educational discourse.
What can be observed is a widening deficit of self-knowledge which can only by explained by negligence in the educational relations of the first and second degree: teacher v.
student and superteacher v. teacher. One deficit causes another.
In consequence, the neglected popular consciousness of the participants in Olympic life,
in its constant search for meaning, conceives justifications of Olympic acts in its own way,
or with reference to some other false consciousness suggested by some false ideologue. In
general, the Olympic Movement, to the astonishment of the representatives of its scholarly
Spirit of humanism, expresses itself in a rather colloquial way. The unsteady Movement put in
a state of collective anomie can be easily manipulated. Unaware of danger, it begins to contradict itself internally. It undertakes actions not in agreement with their constitutional meaning;
instead of values it propagates counter-values. The impending catastrophe is noticed by the
Olympic humanists-apologists8. By sharing the feeling of inner anxiety they talk about the
dusk as a harbinger of self-destruction. They are constantly astonished that the dusk, symbolizing preposterousness of an act, comes in time when the spirit of Olympic wisdom becomes
mature. Humanistic self-knowledge of Olympism becomes complete when disaster strikes. It
is, however, too late to prevent the disaster. Life ends but its Spirit remains in an unfinished
form. It will not develop internally since the cause of its being ceases to exist. Perhaps, that is
why, with the feeling of its impending end, the idea soars again, but this time in vain. When
the dusk comes the flight becomes impossible. The Olympic Spirit must conclude its story
of self-creation. It will always remain a half-open Word with the contents it has been able to
accumulate. The Owl of Olympism will not fly further than it was destined to. The above
scenario is, of course, purely hypothetical.
The question how the humanistic and scholarly idea, i.e. sophisticated self-knowledge
permeates the consciousness of an average participant in the Olympic praxis is an important
research question requiring further study. The permeation of the scholarly self-knowledge
as Olympiology, into the popular individual consciousness can be achieved by way of:
a. offering lessons to cultural leaders of the Olympic Movement (chairmen of the Olympic
Committees and other activists);
b. offering lessons directly to prospective teachers;
c. popularizing humanistic sport sciences, using indirect educational channels.
If the propagation of scholarly Olympism were to bring results in establishment of
legitimate awareness of participants in sport life, it would have to forsake studying the
scholar’s kitchen (Who cares about the scholar’s problems in his field of activity?) and
reach straight for the end. Humanistic scholarly education becomes, paradoxically, harmful
when it is not methodologically planned.9
Olympic culture, known as Olympism, contains two levels of its universal idea:
lower – popular and higher – scholarly.
The lower level of the idea is the primeval contents of Olympic culture; it was formed
first as a collection of reflections about the essence and destiny of Olympic sport. It was
formed by the creators of a new order who – by convincing the World of the significance of
life – passed on the Idea to their potential allies using all means possible, and showed the
rightness of the new path of life to prospective participants.
The popular Olympic culture collected its ideas in two stages: before establishment
of the postulated way of life and during its formation. Before the Movement became realized in society, it was first conceived and given consideration in the World. After the Movement was established, its Constitution had to be articulated, i.e. its being and destiny had to
be formulated and described by the Idea.
The intellectual leader of the Movement included his reflections in speeches, addresses
and letters that generally justified the need to establish a new form of life, appoint Olympic
athlete as the Movement’s leading cultural character, and define its values.
In the next stage, despite numerous problems, the new social movement was given
the name of Olympic Games of modern era. It was also to be given some kind of codified Constitution that would define the idea of significance of Olympic life. The climax
in the development of Olympic self-knowledge became a formation of symbols with their
synthetic non-verbal expression of the sense of the Olympic act. It was not the word, but
the sign-symbol which incorporated the idea about the entire Movement and made each
participant feel to belong to the same Olympic Family.
The Olympic Idea, in its verbal formulation of the destiny of the Olympic Family
members in a constitution known as the Olympic Charter, is also rendered as a sign-symbol
to better express the idea of common good attractive to everyone but also demanding from
everyone to define and respect their indispensable Olympic humanity.
Let us take note that the culture of Homo Olimpicus was not a product of his own private thoughts. An average participant in Olympic life has undoubtedly come up with some
personal opinions about himself, but the real truth about him is revealed for him by the
philosopher of his life, i.e. philosopher of Olympism.
The first Olympic athlete could not have invented himself. If there had been any sources
of inspiration for him (say memoirs), they originated from Olympic experience understood
as experience that gave the athlete understanding of himself and of what really happened.
The Olympic athlete was invented by someone else, not by himself. He was made up as a
Word that was to become real through the proper meaning of the athlete’s act. It is possible
that the athlete thought about himself otherwise, perhaps erroneously, like that ignorant
discus thrower who was certain he knew the truth about himself and his destiny.
No cognitive idea, not to mention any practical idea, constitutes its ideal being other
than by experience of an act. This act is the idea’s source, but thanks to the idea the act realizes its meaning. “The act realizing its meaning” is an individual subject performing a given
act and realizing its meaning (sense) and way of expression (norm). It is possible thanks to
the act’s existence as an idea, i.e. as its cognitive source.
This idea could not have been conceived in the mind of its creator if it had not been preceded by the experience of a sport act. The idea of Homo Olimpicus was conceived ex post,
but its source was an experience of a similar athlete. The primogenitor of the new act, called
later the Olympic act, that gave rise to a new form of participation in social life on a global
level was the experience of a sport act in which the subject realizing its moral value noticed
its applicability in a different set of events. This was how the new idea about the significance of the sport act, as a neosport act, was formulated by its creator Pierre de Coubertin
when he learned about educational and amateur sport in England and about sport games in
New England. His experience was also preceded by the real – although indirect, through
archeological findings – and the imagined experience of the ancient Olympic social order.
The newly conceived sport act attributed to the athlete as a neo-Olympic athlete, was not
supposed to be a rendition of the ancient act or contemporary folk play. It was thought out
to be different, despite its similar behavioral form (e.g. the aforementioned tug-of-war);
however, it remained for a long time in an unfinished form and meaning.
The existing sport act with a different meaning gave rise to a new sport act – the neoOlympic act; and the existing social reality of sport gave rise to a new social reality with
a new meaning and destiny. This new reality would have never been created, if it had not
been conceived earlier as such (if it had not been preceded by the idea). But also the idea of
the new act would have never been formulated in Pierre de Coubertin’s creative mind, if it
had not been for an act existing before that had been conceived with its own meaning10.
The idea was there before the Olympic act, but for the social subject – the first Olympic
athlete – it was of fundamental importance: it fostered his awareness and provided him with
the sense of existence. It became the contents determining the value of the Olympic athlete’s act as well as his standards of conduct. It became disseminated in the consciousness
of many participants in the Olympic act making them experience its sense in the Olympic
village, Olympic stadium and in the entire Olympic community. The creative individuals
who conceived this new form of life, initially many of them meeting with incomprehension,
engaged in a cognitive praxis and started to form a platform open to changes in the contents
of the acts of Homo Sportivus-Olimpicus. As they themselves aspired to participation in
this new form of life, their ideas became self-reflections. By reflecting on the significance
of their Olympic life they created a cultural reality as a living global idea of participants in
the Olympic social praxis. Thanks to their self-ideas, they gained self-knowledge for others and themselves. They established the Olympic culture based on the significance of the
participants’ acts and standards of conduct in this social praxis.
The culture as a self-knowledge consisted of evaluative and normative judgments. The
ideas as self-knowledge, and self-knowledge as evaluative judgments, as well as the standards of conduct constituted the culture of Olympic sport, i.e. Olympic humanism. Whoever became acquainted with its contents, formulated in one’s consciousness a subjective
idea about oneself as a participant in Olympic life. Who meets the demands of Olympic
culture in accordance with its constitution, fully achieves Olympic humanity. One becomes
consecrated (in a secular sense), as the good he achieves is a value determining human dignity. By experiencing the Olympic culture one could understand a lot but not everything, as
Olympism had been in the constant process of development of its self-knowledge. It would
remain as such following this internal dynamics until the Olympic Movement dies out11.
Paradoxically, the idea itself will never die, nor the idea of Homo Sportivus-Olimpicus, but
could merely lose its dynamics due to the fading away of the social Olympic Movement.
The idea’s death will be like an extinct Word that does not lose its potential, but regains it
under more favorable circumstances
It seems, therefore, that Olympic culture as an invisible sphere of human reality has
order-making powers. It permeates, as a universally accepted and valid idea, the individual
consciousness of the participants in the sport praxis. In this context, it appears to be the
primary cause of social change, as a primary cause of the order-making force in nature can
be the invisible Earth’s magnetic field or the Higgs field endowing mass on elementary particles through its interactions with them. An intensified cognitive idea may uncover these
invisible fields, and in the case of culture – which itself is an idea born in human mind – it
can become the subject of self-analysis.
With the above considerations in mind the following definition of Olympic culture can
be offered:
Olympic culture is a global idea conceived by creative individuals who reflect
upon it and aspire to the participation in and the leadership of the Olympic Movement. Olympic culture consists of evaluative and normative judgments; it constantly
transforms its contents, and by permeating the consciousness of the participants in
sport life it forms their identity manifested with acts of significance (sense) and expression (norm) according to the Olympic Spirit.
This culture is an idea rendering the act possible and the subject comprehensible. The
cultural idea exists on its own but it also exists to make order among those who do the same.
The Olympic idea “requires” each member of the Family to live in harmony on the individual, group and national levels. This requirement is represented by the Olympic symbol
of five interlaced rings showing the ideal of Olympic humanity. This symbolic sign is home
to the Idea of Homo Olimpicus who is a cultural character on the mission to humanize the
World. It shows how the universalism of Olympic humanism transforms humanity into
inhabitants of a global village of peace. The symbol as a sign idealizes human reality and
makes it perfect.
Olympic Hallelujah
How was it possible then that the Olympic sport was assigned a task of such enormously universal significance? Why, by order of Olympic culture, is the disinterested Olympic
Movement involved in a project of building a World of peace?
The answers to the above questions cannot be found either in the Ode to Sport or in any
other scholarly “Olympiologic” or philosophical work. One may conjecture but doubts will
never be dispelled. We suggest, therefore, that the Olympic Movement be placed against
the background of other “disinterested” manifestations of symbolic life to see why Man
decides to stop living his literal life and starts living for the moment.
What are the reasons behind the establishment of disinterested forms of life? What is
the reason for the establishment of Olympic life as a new form of sport life? What justifies
the peaceful friendship and joy manifested by the Olympic act?
Our cognitive aim is to support the hypothesis that the Olympic Hallelujah is a peaceful joy expressed in a symbolic act of humanity. This act is also symbolically represented
by the Family (Olympic Family symbolizes humanity globally and is the symbol of peace).
This act must be undertaken to overcome war and redeem those from evil who harm one
another in their acts of hostility.
The Olympic act is a peace-making act that only becomes comprehensible as a simultaneous act of redemption. The entire Olympic Movement is only comprehensible as an
act which metaphorically overcomes enmity and celebrates peacefulness of interpersonal
relations. It is a symbolic act but not a faked one, like a holy mass which is not faked but
remains a metaphor of a real situation.
If the evil of war is not overcome by the Olympic peace, the Olympic joy – as an emotional expression of the winners of good – cannot be justified. When the Olympic Family
– the most numerous of all – rejoices, it is not because of its relatively young age, its beauty,
its strong muscles and its fecundity, but because it discovers its power to make peace12. If
the Family discovers that it is also involved in redemption from the evil of war, it becomes
strengthened in the conviction of its own instrumental powers. It rejoices when it fights evil
with its peace and wins. Peace appears finally in the Ode to Sport in verse IX, but it remains
unknown why it is assigned to the “youth of the world.” The Ode fails to explain what the
primary cause of Olympic joy was13.
Let us add that the most accurate symbolic scene illustrating the final participation in
redemption from evil is the closing of the “session” of the Olympic Family, and not the
opening which announces its intention to form a community of peace. Once the intention
is revealed it deserves joy, but the formation of “friendly bonds” between people deserves
more than that. The image of war preceding this celebration of peace does not exist as evil
has been atoned for before. The contribution by the members of the Olympic family is joy
from experiencing peaceful relationships, but not joy from the feeling of participation in
a successful act of redemption. Homo Olimpicus states that he was successful in making
peace, and not that by making peace he atones for someone’s evil. Homo Olimpicus is
classified as Homo Pacificus because he recognizes himself as Homo Redemptor, i.e. a
redeemer who is driven by the feeling of shared responsibility for the evil of war done to
one by another.
We will never know whether Pierre de Coubertin was ashamed about the French who
started wars and robbed other Europeans – the English, Spaniards, Austrians and Prussians of
their human dignity. On the other hand, those allegedly civilized Europeans were also greedy
for conquest and did great harm to others. We will never know whether Coubertin’s dream
about the utopia of Olympic peace resulted primarily from his intention to make up for the
wrong done by everyone to everyone. We will never know whether Homo Militaris, who
filled de Coubertin with shame, did not establish de Coubertin’s identity as a redeemer and
then found his own identity as a savior in the apparent Olympic war: the stadium is a conventional battlefield given for you to respect one another; as for you loving one another I have no
illusions it is not possible. We can be certain of one thing: de Coubertin managed to build the
Olympic stadium (symbolizing friendship) next to the real battlefield (symbolizing enmity).
The idea of Olympic peace was not invented by a man of war. It was not Napoleon
Bonaparte who built the stadium. If he could, he would have simulated peace inside it and
waged war outside it. He would have established an anolympas (non-Olympiad)14, as it
happened at the 22nd Olympics when during a grotesque display of friendship, a blatant lie
was told by one of the members of the Family, who “was playing the song of peace on an
instrument of violence”15.
If not for the evil done, there would never be joy as a collective expression of emotions
of people of good will, who are friendly to one another and eager to celebrate the re-forged
bond of friendship in the characteristic Olympic way. We do not insist anymore on the
validity of a highly controversial ontological relation stating that good (of peace) would
not be possible if it were not for evil (of war)16. Good needs no evil as it is self-determined.
The impact of moral evil on interpersonal relations was so enormous that in order to save
humanity from self-destruction it became necessary to resist evil through improvement of
bonds of friendship between people by all means possible. One of such means became the
Olympic peace, extolled by artists – a caste of the Homo Olimpicus family – but also by
people of religion offering mystical peace, or people of wise politics establishing ties of
peaceful coexistence.
The Olympic act need not have been justified by humanism for peace, if modern humanity with its experience of wars had “revived” the ancient cultural pattern in a museum.
Here, mankind would have wasted its energy in its reconstruction of naked olimpionikas
– ancient heroes craving glory. It was a dream of the Greeks of the 19th century, but Pierre
de Coubertin did not wish it to happen and simply attributed signs apparently representing
(consciously or not) historic continuity of modern Olympic sport. On the other hand, the
sign of the five interlaced rings came to represent the intercontinental community of peace
and friendship and placed the new Movement in an ideal reality, let alone geographical
reality unknown in antiquity.
The geographical imagination of the Ancients conjured up Atlantis but it did not encompass five continents. Ancient Greeks could not have possibly comprehended the symbol of five continents, not because they did not know the Earth as a globe, but because they
could not have understood that everyone, including slaves, could join a modern community
celebrating ekecheiria against war, and not simply regarding peace as the eve of war. The
ekecheiria suspended war, whereas the Olympic peace averts it. The ekecheiria of ancient
olimpioniks and modern Olympic peace are two extreme ideas of good affirming two different agonistic cultures. There is no similarity between them in any axiological and ontological sense.
If Olympic sport, as a symbolic peace-making movement, had not been born, the intellectual and spiritual leaders of the nations of Europe – representing a culture of love and
deep faith in the sense of life (both earthly and eternal), a culture suffused with axiology of
optimism – would not only have decided to redeem us from evil but also found a way for us
to coexist peacefully. And peaceful coexistence is justified by the most fundamental right
of Man: the right to live.
Europeans are characterized by optimism. The establishment of the League of Nations,
the United Nations or the European Communities is the pronounced proof of this optimism.
Europeans are optimistic as they originate from the culture of optimism and they remain in
a cultural space of self-knowledge. They can effectively use this self-knowledge to defend
human dignity and human life any time their dignity is threatened and their lives are put to
the test of war.
The European part of humanity experiencing a historical dilemma between hating and
loving one another has always been forced to constantly re-humanize its identity by creating personal communities of love. The better part of Europeans has always sought its own
values in a culture of mutual respect and responsibility for the good of another, and has
always been learning of the highest good.
The law of Olympic peace
The law of Olympic peace stipulates that as long as there is war, there will be the
Olympics of peace, but only in a culture whose highest good is the value of individual
life. If human life is not the highest good there is no valid reason to affirm human life by
all means necessary: by restoring moral order literally and symbolically and by forging
peaceful and friendly bonds, including bonds of love and mercy. In cultures where Man
is regarded as a means to achieve an end, the Olympics may not serve as a symbol of humanization. In cultures of holy war commanding hostility to others celebrating peace in the
Olympic style would create a contradiction that could only be overcome by waging a holy
war against these cultures. Life often verifies the correctness of the above statement. It is
enough to recall the holy war waged against the Olympic peace during the 20th Olympic
The Redeemer
Homo Olimpicus is well-disposed towards every member of his family, regardless of
his or her racial, class or national origins. Affirmation of the good intentions of Homo
Olimpicus is the primary manifestation of Olympic humanity expressed with joy and optimism. Why must there be affirmation of life in Olympic sport? Why does this affirmation
not have to be present in non-Olympic sport? These questions require answers to show that
the Olympic act would be pointless, would be like joy of a fool who is happy for no
reason, if it did not fulfill the humanistic requirements imposed on it.
How can one reach such ascertainment? Only by explaining the primary cause of “suspension” of literal life, as there is a cause for every thing.
Sport, as a manifestation of non-literal life, has its own cause. Olympic sport has its
own cause as well, but it is different than the one for non-Olympic sport. These causes must
be different as Olympic agonistics with its Olympic culture has different effects than sport
with its culture of “sport for sport.” Formally speaking, the word sport used in both types
of agonistics: Olympic and non-Olympic, makes it impossible to make out these differences. A good example is a publication entitled Chronicle of Sport, otherwise a very useful
educational aid, which lists simply every thing the authors associate with the word sport.
Olympic sport appears in the Chronicle in chronological order – along different varieties of
sport fanum and even profanum – whereas, in axiological (ideal) order, it is clearly sacrum.
Olympic sport deserves its own Chronicle, for it is a cultural reality created for a cause different than any other non-Olympic agonistics. No one can deny that non-Olympic athletes
are supposed to fulfill a different standard than the participants in Olympic life who are
recognized as a Family through their symbol of the five interlaced rings. A non-Olympic
athlete has no symbol through which he could explicitly define the sense of participation
in this form of life.
On a lighter note, one can say that the difference between sport and Olympic sport is
like the difference between a beer drinking contest, where the friendship between participants is determined by the amount of consumed beer, and Holy Mass, where wine is present
only symbolically preceding the mystic sign of peace between participants. Sport needs a
moral standard to perform the role of a spectator event for the participants in fanum. Olympic sport needs a moral standard as a real confirmation of the manifested friendship in the
sacrum of peace.
We surely hope that by explaining causes for departure from literal life, we will be
able to notice the manifestations of non-literal life and see the reasons why Man does not
live by bread alone. We hope to provide the answer to the question why Man always needs
circuses, knowing that he needs bread even more (certainly avoiding historical references
to the ideology of “bread and circuses” propagated by Roman emperors).
When does Man then “suspend” his life? When does Man renounce his existence and
give up the praxis of participation in being? There are certain circumstances, or experiences, in which Man “suspends” his life. These experiences are different for sport as a festivity,
for amateur sport and for the Olympic movement for peace.
1. Experience of life’s adversities
One experiencing life’s adversities loses his vigor and “does not want to live anymore.”
Everything becomes destroyed, especially the life-giving tools. Man wishes to depart from
life once and for all. Suspension of life means its final renouncement.
2. Experience of loneliness
One experiencing loneliness has no one to live for and with; his life has no meaning to
him, “he does not want to live anymore.” In this case Man’s wish to depart from his literal
life is tantamount to his life’s end.
3. Experience of going through hard times
One going through difficult times worries about the passing of time and unavoidable
death. He tries to fill his life with ludic, carnival and festival activities to forget for the
inconveniences of existence (“as for hardships of life and death, let us at least have a good
time or even let us play to death” N. Postman). Man is fed up with his life, but only momentarily. He thinks about blowing off steam. Staying the course of literal life is inevitable.
Exhaustion with the hardships of life, resulting from overwork (to live is to accept one’s
own worker’s fate), leads to the necessity of rest. A hard literal life should be suspended in
order to be able to return to it. During suspension one can or even should have a good time
and play. Play as a festivity becomes the most frequent kind of organized leisure. Sport as
a festivity can be one of such varieties of play. This is why sports festivities have been part
of ethnic cultures worldwide.
4. Experience of idleness
One experiencing idleness tries to find justification for oneself in substitute activities.
When life does not have to be work one can be justified in his escape into play as a substitution for work. This is how the idle do. Life becomes subject to play following idleness.
Literal life, suspended anyway, is replaced by a pretense of life. One must do something
in life; one must not be idle. During suspension one can do anything but work. Play is a
self-imposing, fully disinterested activity. Man of play, originating from the community
of idleness, assumes the role of amateur of life. Sport, called amateur sport by man of
play, is one of many varieties of “play of life.” Amateur sport should not be, however,
confused with sport as a festivity. First of all, from the sociological standpoint, the former
refers to the idling class, the latter to the working (plebeian) class. More importantly, it is
the ontological context of both varieties of sport that makes them so different from each
other. The sporting festivity is one necessity out of another necessity, whereas amateur
sport is a necessary pretense of life. Paradoxically, amateur sport must take place because
renunciation of literal life as idleness brings about the necessity of rest since idleness is
5. Experience of evil done to another
Literal life is suspended to redeem one from evil by living a non-literal life. One does
it for oneself by performing religious acts of propitiatory and penitential character. Religious life “for the moment” is not a self-purposeful act, but on the contrary, it is ontologically linked to the moral dimension of literal social life. But for moral evil, there would not
be any cause for redemption. In this context, religious acts suspending literal life are highly
significant. They make life continue by restoring moral order among the co-participants in
existence, willingly or unwillingly, dependant on one another.
The above condition confirms the accuracy of the idea – so often questioned by advocates of life “without morality” – about the significance of all acts of disinterested life
featuring a normative moral train of thought. That is why each sport which cultivates moral
good becomes a tremendously significant manifestation of social life. Indirectly, such sport
brings order to life and allows various social subjects to fulfill economic and political tasks
of life-giving importance.18
The above relationship leads to the emergence of Olympic sport in the apparently paradoxical sphere of disinterested literal life19.
6. Experience of evil done by people to one another
In experiencing evil done by people to one another, someone suspends his literal life
for the evil -doer to re-establish good using all means available to him.
When one does evil, another one (a better one) feels responsible for it and tries to resist
it. When one does evil, another tries to redeem him from evil by way of symbolic acts.
In real-life time the redeemer suspends his literal life, whereas the evil -doer lives his
life in the same way: when someone does evil, someone else feels responsible for it and
starts living “for the moment” to attain redemption. The life of an evil -doer goes on, but
at the same time another life comes to symbolize the destruction of evil and establishment
of good. In ontological time the act of symbolic redemption and re-establishment of good
becomes possible because it is preceded by the act of evil. If evil was not there, there would
be no need to symbolically overcome it and to establish good. Only in this context can one
say that, “if there is no evil, there is no good”, or that hell is indispensable to heaven (infernum conditions sacrum)20. In this context a conclusion might be reached that evil is not
necessary for good to exist and that evil – remaining in a dialectical relationship with good
– makes Man’s social life possible. It makes it possible because there are people among
those responsible for life who are eager to overcome those adverse circumstances which
destroy life, in the name of the highest good – the value of life. There are, therefore, good
and wise people who as redeemers use all kinds of symbolic acts to undertake the mission
of humanization.
In their religious activities they assume the role of redeemers in order to obtain grace
for everyone and the entire world. They often become stigmatics suffering for the sins of
others. For their sacrifice of their life for others they become canonized.
In their artistic activities: poetic, literary, theatrical or musical they are also engaged
in redemption, using their characteristic means of expression and at the same time giving
their dissenting voice and expressing their convictions about the ideals of good. They are
artists committed to the most important issues in this world. In the broadest sense the artists
create the theatrum of non-literal life in which the most serious ethical problems of literal
life are brought up. Paradoxically, the life suspended in the theatrum felt to be a life “for the
moment” refers in its contents to literal life. In its disinterested nature it becomes the most
purpose-oriented theatre of life: through religion, art and Olympic sport.
This theatre of cultural symbolism, in which the most important role is played by the
magnanimous redeemer, would not exist if Man in his literal social life had not been morally imperfect, had not done evil to others, had not declared war on others and had not been
hostile to others.
Olympic sport, as we already know, is a social movement for peace established by
good and wise people who experienced the evil of war. Since its foundation the Movement
has assumed the role of collective redeemer from evil of war as it originates from the same
cultural reality. The ontological optimism of this reality forces the Movement to secure
peaceful coexistence to enable the entire non-Olympic community to live their lives according to the highest ideals of good21.
Assigning Olympic sport the task of global humanization of mankind serves as an explanation why any other kind of sport – amateur sport, ethnic festivities or global, marketoriented spectator sports – cannot be equal to Olympic sport.
One does not come to the Olympic Games as to a fest, i.e. to forget about the world full
of worries about day-to-day existence. One comes to the Olympics to celebrate the holiday
of peace, i.e. to remember about one’s fundamental commitment to the world: protection
of life through friendship. During the “reunion” of the Olympic Family one must overcome
his or her ethnic identity in order to forge a new social, supra-ethnic or even supranational,
bond. This should be a pan-ethnic, global relationship symbolized by the Olympic village,
the largest of all villages of this world. No single inhabitant of the village, no matter what
the particular culture of his origin might be, may place his own order of play above others.
The Olympic Games are not a collection of ethnic “coops.” All participants in the Olympic Games should know that the plebeian sport festivity is always moving away from the
travails of everyday life, thus it is, by definition, quite different from the global festivity of
Olympic peace which is an obsessive attempt of symbolic return to everyday life. Exhortations of various ethnophiles to recognize all possible local patterns as common Olympic
property – otherwise a useful idea in terms of preservation of some forgotten plebeian agonistic forms – can be only regarded as a transient illusion or as a sort of ontic afterimage
seen in place of the original.
Linking Olympic sport with amateur sport is also preposterous from the ontological
point of view. It is not because a sport amateur in his “pure” sociological form would be
beneath the modern Olympic athlete, who symbolizes subjectivity of work and objectivity
of training, but because each movement of amateurs of life, including amateurs of sport life,
relates to the idle society seeking the truth about itself in the playful version of seeming life.
The Olympic athlete is not an amateur. He is a professional wearied worker in the global
village working toward the good of peace. He does not play for the fun of it. The Olympic
act, achieved at a high price, leads, nevertheless, to joy, to fun for fun’s sake since Homo
Olimpicus, forging the bonds of friendship, declares himself winner as Homo Pacificus.
This is also the reason why it is simply enough to join the Olympic family to win, not the
Games, however, but the Olympiad.
  1. Kopania, J., Etyczny wymiar cielesności (Ethical Dimension of Corporality), Kraków 2002, Aureus.
  2. Kosiewicz, J., Filozoficzne aspekty kultury fizycznej i sportu (Philosophical Aspects of Physical Culture and
Sport), Warszawa 2004, Wydawnictwo BK.
  3. Kowalczyk, S., Ks, Elementy filozofii i teologii sportu (The Basics of Philosophy and Theology of Sport),
Lublin 2002, KUL.
  4. K
rawczyk, Z., Sport w zmieniającym się społeczeństwie (Sport In a Changing Society), Warszawa 2000, AWF.
  5. Kuczyński, J., Gra jako negacja i tworzenie świata (Play as a Negation and Creation of the World), Wychowanie Fizyczne i Sport, 1985, 2.
  6. Lipiec, J., Filozofia Olimpizmu (Philosophy of Olympism), Warszawa 1999, Sprint.
  7. Lipoński, W., Olimpizm dla każdego (Olympism for Everyone), Poznań 2000, AWF.
  8. Pawłucki, A., Podmiot olimpizmu wobec prowokacji ponowoczesności (‘The Olympic Subject Against
Postodernist Provocations’), in: Społeczny wymiar sportu (Social Dimension of Sport) (ed. Z. Dziubiński),
Warszawa 2003, SALOS.
  9. Piątek, Z., Naturalizm i antynaturalizm, nowa synteza (Naturalism and Anti-naturalism: a New Synthesis),
Szkice Humanistyczne, 2005, 3-4.
10. Znaniecki, F., Znaczenie rozwoju świata i człowieka, Pisma filozoficzne (The Significance of Development
of Wan and the World. Philosophical Works.), Warszawa 1987 (1913), vol. 1.
ollowing J. Piaget’s and L. Kohlberg’s theories of stages of moral and cognitive development.
I would also like to stress the importance of another issue discussed in the context of these theoretical, pedagogical deliberations, i.e. pedeutological argumentation, which renders the teacher’s personal competencies
necessary for good and effective education. The fundamental condition a teacher must fulfill is his ability
(potentia) to respect the student as a person. Once this condition (of personalistic norm) is fulfilled, the student
as a social subject respected by the teacher, entrusts the latter with his educational fate. In the student’s eyes
the teacher as a person respects him not as a student but as a person. Thus, the teacher, being a good person,
creates good inter-subject conditions for effective education, already at the onset of the educational relation.
In a morally negative relation, in which the teacher as a person diminishes or completely disregards student’s
personal dignity, education will never be complete, even if the teacher happens to be a recognized expert in his
field of education. The student will never entrust his teacher with his cultural fate, if he does not trust him as a
person. An unreliable and morally evil man will never be a good teacher.
It was actually explained by young Florian Znaniecki, who wrote over one hundred years ago that, “Even if we accept out of necessity Faustus’ statement that ‘in the beginning was the deed’ we do not know anything about those
early deeds at the absolute beginning of the world; we only know, while living in a social and natural world, deeds
related to the substance and meanings, and we can talk only about these deeds” (1913, 1987, pp. 205-206).
The pronouncement of vileness in the economic and political spheres of life is outrageous. “When all methods
of elimination of the opponent fail, there is one more solution: annihilate the opponent physically. (…) when
problems appear, managers easily reject the principles of fair play” Mikołajewska B. “Konkurencja w stylu
wolnym” (Free style competition), Polityka, 11, 2006.
I hereby express my gratitude for inspiration to Z. Piątek, who in his discourse with Z. Bauman “emphasizing the disinterested nature of morality” stated that, “both morality and religion serve life, as life is of highest
value. And it turns out that the best way to secure survival is to act disinterestedly” (2005, p. 146).
J. Lipiec asks rhetorically ”If there is no analogy to modern sport, perhaps there is some kind of developmental
dissonance as far as the principles of evolution are concerned; or it can be a pathological case of irrational
extravagance guiding the humanity into a cul-de-sac of dysfunctionalism? (1999, p. 74).
The lower layer was formed earlier. It contains speeches, lectures and presentations by the Olympic ideological
leaders; the Olympic doctrine written in a colloquial language called the Olympic Charter; as well as literature, poetry, paintings and music expressing the Olympic ideals, signs and symbols. This level can be named
popular Olympic humanism. In the first level of education the contents of the lower layer of Olympic culture
are of greater significance than scholarly humanism as far as its communicativeness is concerned. For instance,
interpretation of P. Breugel’s “Landscape with the Fall of Icarus” can be more useful in education of a young
student who can learn that the character of Icarus symbolizes irrationalism and pride (as “pride goes before a
fall”) and has no positive relation with any Olympic ideal whatsoever (following the Olympic motto of citius,
altius, fortius), than a scholarly text written by a sport ethicist which discusses the problem in a language usually understood by few.
The metaphor of Minerva Owl was used by Józef Lipiec in his “Filozofia Olimpizmu” (Philosophy of
Olympism, 1999).
Wolfgang Brezinka writes convincingly about this problem by disclosing cases of ineffectiveness of scholarly
humanism in education of teachers (Wychowanie i Pedagogika, Kraków 2005, WAM).
he development of social reality was studied by Florian Znaniecki. As he put it, “This process starts with
appearance of a new act followed by a series of other acts becoming more and more similar, expressed by
some symbol. These acts, as they become associated with this symbol, form a new kind of phenomenon: a
new meaning” ((1913) 1987, pp. 189-190).
It is not that “nothing lasts forever.” By “dying out” I mean a possibility of replacement of the modern
Olympic movement with some other culture of ideological and anti-humanist contents. This problem was
mentioned by Aleksander Krawczuk in his “Ostatnia Olimpiada” (The Last Olympiad) as well as by Wojciech
Lipoński in his sensational report from a session of the Olympic Academy in Ancient Olympia in July 1983.
During this session “countries from outside the circles of so-called Western Civilization” recognized Olympic
universalism as “neocolonial imperialism.” I would like to add that having a grievance against Europeans that
their culture gave rise to universal Olympism is like having reservations about a beautiful Miss World coming
from an Arab country. What is universally good or beautiful is part of the whole humanity, although it comes
from a particular human community.
One of the most frequent illusions maintained by a number of commentators is the treatment of the Olympic
Games as a festival of youth.
It is similar to the joy of discovery that death is not the end of life. The joy is greater when death takes place
through suffering. Contrary to popular belief, there would be no reason to joyfully sing Hallelujah that evil
committed earlier has been atoned for.
Olympic Games in 364 B.C. when the Arcadians broke peace by occupying Olympia.
Quoted after Adam Podgórecki.
This issue was discussed by John Paul II who wrote that, “Evil, in some sense, appears to be necessary – as
long as it is an opportunity to do good” (Memory and Identity, 2005). Somehow differently this problem was
observed by J. Ratzinger who wrote that, “… evil is not the one side of the whole that we need but it is the
total destruction of existence (quoted after Father Jerzy Szymik, “Kim jest zło i jaka jest jego miara?” (What
is evil and what is its dimension?), Gość Niedzielny, 2006.02.05.
Considering the origins of sporting festivity – in its ethnic and spectator forms – and of amateur sport, we will
notice that the participants in both varieties have never undertaken any mission to improve the world morally.
J. Kosiewicz is quite right in his opinion that the rule of fair play is, after all, not the highest value in sport
(2004, p. 287).
A good example is awarding people of business with fair play statuettes. Fair play awards are also handed out
to leaders of administrative districts in Poland competing with one another on the economic level.
The purposeful significance of play was noticed by J. Kuczynski in his study Gra jako negacja i tworzenie
świata (Play as negation and creation of the world). Kuczyński claims that, “play is an attempt to create a better, or at least different, world…” (1985). Sport is also discussed in a similar way by Z. Krawczyk who writes
that sport is “suspension of the material world and establishment of a normative reality” (2000, p. 48).
This relationship was noted by Z. Cackowski. It confirms my opinion included in one of my papers from 2003
that the founders of modern Olympism would have never invented the stadium and the Olympic Games, if
Man had always manifested himself as a lofty ideal of good; when Man is tormented with the evils of violence, trickery, hate and war, he decides to sanctify himself with moral good in symbolic manifestations of
non-literal life, hoping that the physical world will be better and he will be better as well (p. 273).
I am making here a reference to J. Kopania’s description of the specificity of European humanism “shaped by
Christianity” (2002, p. 206).
Henning Eichberg
University of Southern Denmark in Odense
Sport as festivity – Education through festival1
Case one: Dance across * Case two: Across the ages * Danish sport and festival
History: From popular festivity to disciplinary work – and to event culture
The need of event management * (1.) How to transmit experience * (2.) Cultural change * (3.) International comparison and learning * The educational challenge of festivity: festival academy
The discursive challenge of sport festivity: festival journalism … * … and cultural analysis
Key words: Carnival, event culture, education, sport for all, festival academy, management, journalism, Denmark
Sport has historically started as a component of popular festivity. And sport is in some
respect on a way back to festivity – as Sport for all under the new conditions of event
culture. The Danish landsstævne, the national meeting of gymnastics and popular sports,
constitutes a sort of link between the ‘traditional’ and the ‘post-modern’ festival events.
A central feature of stævne as compared with other sport tournaments is that all participants are active. In principle, all are actively involved, continually changing their roles
between their own activity, applauding public and voluntary work. Popular sport can be
defined as a sport where people meet in festivals to be active. In this respect, the stævne
festival is a democratic event, encouraging people: Do it yourself.
The crucial role of festivity for nowadays-popular sport includes an educational challenge. Managerial know-how has to be transmitted – and more than this.
And conventional sports journalism is challenged, too. The journalistic question is,
how to report festivity and diversity, which cannot be reduced to top results and heroes.
Case one: Dance across
June 2002, in the stadium of Rønne on the Baltic island of Bornholm. The Danish
national festival of popular sport, Landsstævne, is hit by stormy rain. But the spectators
nevertheless squeeze together under the shelter of the stand.
They follow the arrangement of “dance across” (dans på tværs) on the grassy ground
of the stadium. Folk dancers in their traditional costumes alternate with country and square
dancers, line dancers and ballroom dancers. Each group has its own style, accompanied by
live music from the stage.
In the midst of these changing groups, there is a further one. What are they showing?
The spectator sees some more simple forms of dance in the circle. People move in a
more clumsy way in couples. What’s the point of this performance?
It looks strange in some way. The spectators crane their necks. Until they understand:
Here are handicapped people dancing their part of the games.
Some may ask whether these somewhat awkward movements of handicap dance are
really worth showing off in a sport festival. Do they deserve to be presented side by side
with sharp rhythms and colourful costumes?
Other participants will, however, take just this event with them home – as a special
memory from the festival of people’s sport, of folkelig sport – dance telling a story of otherness in festivity.2
Case two: Across the ages
”The twelfth time in festival.
Inger Kristensen from Horsens, a leader of folk dancers, is one of the most experienced
participants in the gymnastic festival. Now she has participated for the twelfth time, and
she remembers each festival as very special.
First time, I participated in Odense in 1954. Since that time, I took part every time, and
every festival was a unique experience. Now I am 79 years old, and I do not know whether
I shall experience more festivals. But I enjoyed this event in Bornholm very much, she tells
to our reporter…”
This is how the local paper Bornholms Tidende3 reported about the Danish Landsstævne
festival in 2002. Popular sports festival is – or can be – a story of personal life.
Danish sport and festival
Every four years, thousands of Danish gymnasts and sports people meet in the
so-called Landsstævne, the “national meeting”, organized by Danish Gymnastics and
Sport Associations (DGI). The latest events took place in Svendborg 1994, Silkeborg
1998 and Bornholm 2002, with between 20.000 and 40.000 participants. The festival
consists of large opening ceremonies, followed by larger and minor demonstrations of
gymnastics, rifle competitions and other sport tournaments, social events and discussions, theatre-like mass events and huge concerts of rock music. Also foreign sports
teams participate in the events. The competitions and demonstrations are not oriented
towards the production of records, though they may be on a high level of performance.
The national festival Landsstævne is regarded as a highlight of Sport for all in Denmark. Its historical roots go back to national rifle competitions, which started in 1862; in
the late nineteenth century, the events became more gymnastic in character and since the
mid-twentieth century, they included more and more sport.
Besides the central Landsstævne, there exist several regional festivals of similar character.
Summer stævne, the regional summer meetings and demonstrations of gymnastics and sport,
being often placed in a beautiful environment of natural landscape, have a central position in
Danish folkelig idræt, popular sport. Side by side with forening (the local association), stævne
(festive meeting) can be seen as the basis of popular involvement in Sport for all. Stævne is
both an organizational feature and an emotional event, creating or affirming identity.
A central feature of stævne as compared with other sport tournaments is that all participants are actively involved. Spectators may join the event, but in principle are all active,
changing continually their roles between their own respective activities and applauding
public for ‘the others’ – and besides also often participating in voluntary work. Popular
sport can be defined as a sport where people meet in festivals to be active. In this respect,
the stævne festival is a democratic event, encouraging people: Do it yourself.
History: From popular festivity to disciplinary work
– and to event culture
The connection between festival and sports is not an isolated phenomenon and not
restricted to Denmark. Historically seen, sport has grown out of people’s festivity culture.
This modern development can be described as a process of three stages.4
(1.) All over pre-modern Europe, sport was a part of farmers’ and town-folk’s carnival,
religious festivities and seasonal celebrations. In the context of popular feasts, revels, fairs
and wakes, people met in sportive competitions, mock tournaments and amusing games.
These festive sports were connected with music, dance, rituals and the culture of laughter.
The by far largest part of historical sources, which modern historians use to write the ‘history of sports’, are at a closer glimpse related to festivity events.
(2.) With the genesis of industrial society, however, the connection between sport, folk
culture and festivity changed fundamentally. Modern sport, as it developed in the Western
world from the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, broke the close links between
sport and popular festival and became an autonomous sector of activity. Modern sport demanded a new sense of discipline and brought a new set of rules for social relations. What
had been folk sport before, became now highly organized in strictly separated disciplines,
which aimed at systematizing results and producing records. Festivity was replaced by specialized work – work of achievement, work of health and educational work. The laughter of
festivity – and the fool of carnival – disappeared from the world of sports.
However, festivity remained present and developed in the ‘underground’ of people’s
sports culture. Local sports clubs held their annual ‘ball’, the workers’ sport movements
organized large festivals,5 and Pierre de Coubertin developed new-religious visions for the
festival of the modern Olympics. Soccer supporters developed more and more features of
carnival culture. The gymnastic festivals of the German Turner gymnasts,6 of the Czech
Sokol movement7 and of the Danish folkelig gymnastics were a part of this ‘underground’
history of festivity inside modern sport.
(3.) With the rise of ‘post-modern’ event culture during the last decades of the twentieth century, festivals got a new actuality. Now the commercial market has discovered the
economic gains of popular festivity. People’s marathons adopted elements of new carnival.
Olympics and World Expos delivered the hegemonic pattern of mega-events,8 but festivals
of popular sport enter into this genre, too.
What continues to characterize the festivity of popular sports is that people meet across
the delimitations of everyday life to be active themselves – while the market works on a
surrogate festivity, ‘the show’, as a festival of consumption. Popular festivity is sport across
the ages, dance across the life styles, handicapped and non-handicapped people, play together of social classes, encounter of ethnic groups…
The need of event management
The festive event lives off its ‘magic’, of personal emotions and collective atmosphere.
By this experience, the festival contributes to democratic education. As an experiential
education it encourages people to do it themselves.
However, magic must be organized. At this point, event management appears as a new
challenge. Several practical problems of the Danish Landsstævne show that event management constitutes a challenge for education, too.
(1.) How to transmit experience
In the tradition of Landsstævne, four years pass from one festival to the other. This is a
crucial period where experience of leadership and practical know-how has to be transferred
– and may be lost. In the case of Landsstævne, one tried to find a solution by publishing
after each festival a “white-book”, which collects useful practical information from the last
event to the coming event.9 But the Landsstævne white books consist of purely technical
details, while more fundamental and controversial recommendations are not discussed. It
has also shown that recommendations of more political character – as the ‘green’, ecological agenda of the event and the international dimensions of the festival – have not been
followed up later on.10
It is normal to make mistakes in the organization of a mega event. But the question
remains, how to work on these mistakes. How to mediate the experiences of coping with
mistakes to a future team. And how to create a public sphere and forum, which can discuss
and qualify the political-cultural agenda.
The problem is sharpened by the current tendency that voluntary leaders and collaborators are active in the organization only during shorter and shorter periods. This makes the
transfer of experience a more urgent question.
In pre-modern pagan societies and in non-Western cultures, priests function (or functioned) as experts of festivity. The know-how of how to organize a ritual festivity was at
the core of the priest’s religious competence. The priest as expert of the ritual represented
cultural continuity in the tribe through the years and through the generations – while the
shaman represented innovation and ecstasy, the ‘wild’ elements of festivity. Thus, there
were more than ‘managers’ engaged in this field – and there is need for more than managerial knowledge and education for the festival of future popular sport.
(2.) Cultural change
On one hand, festivals are in high degree repetitive in character: People expect to
recognize and experience the same again and again. This ritual and conservative element
in festivity is the traditional field of the ritual expert or ‘priest’. On the other hand, the
practice of movement culture is subjected to changes, which correspond to general changes
in culture and society. This innovative aspect is the traditional field of the ‘shaman’ as the
artist of the tribe. The changes in modern festivals of popular sports, however, require new
One of the recent challenges in Sport for all is, whether festivals and the new focus on
health can be united. When health appeared in event culture, it had traditionally a place but
as an exposition. Indeed, it was often in connection with in world expositions and health expositions at the end of the nineteenth and the beginning of the twentieth centuries that early
sport competitions were arranged. Exposition with its clear division between exhibitor and
public is fundamentally different from popular fest, where all are active. That is why the
question remains open, how a Festival of Sport for all and Health could look like.11
Another challenge is the question of cultural identity under the premises of globalization.
The Danish Landsstævne has, just like gymnastic festivals in other countries, a strong national
tradition. The question must be solved, how this can be combined with international encounter.
A third challenge is the rise of event culture. It concerns especially the relation between
festival and media. How and to which degree can or should the festival be adapted to the
‘optic of the camera’?
The administration of festivals has normally one quick answer to the pressure of innovations: hiring an enterprise, a consultant, in order to analyse a certain problem. In 2002,
the Landsstævne was hit by a dramatic lack of participants, which caused a serious economic backlash for the festival organization DGI. A consultant was hired to send out questionnaires in order to check: How many people will come and join the next festival? The
interest in quantitative management of festival sports corresponds to the prognostics of
(potential) participants of Olympic Games, of visitors in museums, of consumers on the
market. The problem is that the experts hired from outside lack the specific qualifications
and connections with the political and cultural agenda of Sport for all.
Questions of cultural quality concern among others the relations between elite performance and mass sport. Which role should the elite gymnastics of Verdensholdet, the Danish
National Gymnastic Team, play in the context of a festival, which has its force in non-elite
gymnastics? How can it be avoided that elite gymnastics threatens the do-it-yourself principle of popular festival and thereby damages festival democracy?
Other questions of cultural quality concern the political tales of the festival. As a part
of the opening ceremony, the speeches of royals, prime ministers, ministers, lord mayors,
DGI presidents and rifle presidents have an important representational character. Often,
they have degenerated to a series of bureaucratic and repetitive formulas, which are well
known to the participants before they have heard them – or just uninteresting. On the other
hand, these speeches may give the chance to transmit contents of popular sports to the
public – they may even be the only chance to do so. They may provoke, they may deliver
keywords of cultural-political change. This includes a challenge – but what is missing is a
forum to qualify this challenge.
(3.) International comparison and learning
Festivals have an international and comparative dimension. Gymnastic movements in
different countries of Europe have developed festivals, which sometimes resemble each
other: Deutsches Turnfest of the German Gymnastic Federation (DTB), Landsstævne of
the Danish DGI, Sokol Slet of the Czech Sokol movement. Also other traditions of popular
games and Sport for all have contributed to festivals of new and changing type: Festivals of
traditional games, festivals of New Games, tournaments of Sport for all.
Sometimes it seems as if the organizers of these events try to invent the world from the
very beginning – again and again. It would be helpful to compare these festivities, both their
successes and their deficiencies – both their elements of continuity and their change. For
instance, the Czech gymnastic Sokol festivals have changed from the nineteenth century’s
national demonstrations over the Spartakiads of the mid-twentieth century, when some of
their essential elements were copied and transformed into a Communist propaganda event,
towards the mass meetings of Sport for all from the 1990s onwards.12
International comparison and exchange of experiences become still more urgent when
one tries to build up more regular international encounter. This has been tried in the framework of International Sport and Culture Association (ISCA) on the basis of festivities of
gymnastics and Sport for all, which were started in Alicante 1995 and 2003. Festivals of
sports are increasingly important fields of international meeting – and the question becomes
more and more: Which type of sport and which type of festival for which type of international encounter?13
The educational challenge of festivity: festival academy
Transferring experience from one generation to the other, matching cultural change,
international comparison: Event design and event management cannot be solved by hiring
consulting experts from outside and sending out questionnaires about participation, age,
gender etc. to potential participants. The culture of festival requires a deeper and political
And it requires a certain readiness to critique. Sometimes it may look as if sports organizations were afraid of critique. But to build up and to take down, this constitutes a
double movement of learning. Instead of being afraid of critique, frame-works should be
developed to qualify critical self-reflection.
This can be done by educational means.
Normally, festival and education are regarded as two separated fields of cultural action.
This has, however, been changing during the last decades. In Germany, the Turnfest has
since the 1990s given birth to the so-called Turnfest Academy, which offers a large variety
of educational courses linked to the gymnastic festival.14 The academy is here an educational supplement of the festival, and this has proven as a success and attracted a larger and
larger public. But the festival itself can – and should – be a subject of education, too.
Sport and festival are more closely connected than the modern functionalism of sport
makes us believe. The festival of sport is more than just a tournament – it is a way of building identity by meeting, by encounter. It is the field where the people of popular sport shape
Festival is a field of basic experience in movement culture. From festival to festival,
know-how can be transferred free of charge. Educational forms must be found, which relate
tradition and change in a conscious way to each other and to public debate. An elaborated
frame-work should help to develop political consciousness and expert knowledge in connection.
The Danish højskole may deliver a model: team building, combining study and common
life, education by experience, developing knowledge by practice in temporary community.
The needs of festival culture can give birth to courses of a “festival academy”. Groups
are formed, which follow the festival with educational targets, which the groups define
themselves step by step – in responsibility to the cultural task of developing festival culture.
First attempts into this direction were made when the research committee of DGI financed
a research group, which followed the Landsstævne 2002 on Bornholm. But the educational
project is broader than research. The course of ‘festival academy’ is a way of studying and
developing the cultural quality of festival by practical participation. It includes new possibilities of international learning: A Danish group follows the German Turnfest, a Czech
team follows the Danish Landsstævne…
The festival academy is thus combining two different tasks. One is education for festival: developing technical and managerial qualifications for the implementation of festivals.
Another is education through festival: developing the humanist qualities of sport as festivity.
The discursive challenge
of sport festivity: festival journalism …
The educational challenge of festival in sports is not only a question of practical organization. It is also and in high degree of intellectual character and concerns, last but not
least, the discourse of sports. This discourse may be more journalistic or more analytical.
The journalistic discourse of sports has established a certain professional tradition telling in standardized forms about what is happening in sports. Sports pages are filled with
record lists and narratives about spectacular events and athletes. The journalism of sports
and the journalism of festivity are, however, not identical.15
Media react to sport mainly as a way of producing results and heroes, that is why traditional sports journalism focuses on records and their producers. In ‘post-modern’ event
culture, this is completed by some elements of pop entertainment, which are related to the
frameworks of the sportive production of records. The traditional journalism of sports,
though having appeal to a broad public, has always been hampered by a certain underestimation or even non-recognition in the world of journalism, the sports journalist being
treated as a sort of underdog among journalist professionals.
Festivity of popular sports – as in the case of the Danish Landsstævne – and similar
festivals of Sport for all demand another approach. They do neither produce records nor
heroes. An analysis of festival journalism has shown a broad spectrum of differentiated
genres, all fumbling and trying ways towards an alternative description of the event. A part
of these is also known from Olympic events.
A journalism of ersatz records counts and compares the numbers of participation, of
spectatorship, and of TV switches. (Headline: “Falling participation gives deficit of millions.”)
A journalism of the spectacular casts light on the events inside the event. This spans from
the extraordinary achievement of the elite gymnastic team or unexpected troubles by rainy
weather and storm. (Headlines: “World team!” and: “Water, water and water again.”)
A sort of problem journalism develops around negative aspects of the festivity. Corresponding to questions of corruption, doping and violence in Olympic sports, the festival
of Sport for all may include features of political corruption or of alcohol over-consumption,
which is open for investigative journalism (Headline: “In best Samaramch style, the DGI
president sharpens the profile.”)
The positive side of the spectacular is presented by a journalism of the joyful faces.
People are happy in festivity, they express their happiness, and journalists collect sunshine
stories by making people express their pleasure. This may be used for the jubilation PR
of the festival organization. But there is also a welfare interest in ‘the good story’ telling
about the volunteers and the happy faces of civil society. (Headline: “Pleasure of life at the
festival – Rain showers, storm and festivity for the community.”)
Whether joyful or critical, journalism has a chance to come closer to the human beings
who are involved in the festival. This is tried by human touch journalism presenting the
‘normal’ participant, his personal experience and her biographical background. The report
is built up around the deep concern of the human face. Strange minor events at the margin
of the festival may cast light on the situational, the anecdotic narrative often having ironical
undertones. (Headline: “Veterans: the heroes of every-day sport.”)
Show journalism, in contrast, focuses on the extraordinary, the great glittering show,
and the well-known faces of pop-culture involved by rock music or one the tribunes. This
genre has a certain bias towards the visual, the picture (Headline: “40 000 seduced by
dreamlike atmosphere at the opening of the gymnastic festival.”)
Some types of cultural journalism try to connect people’s sport and its cultural atmosphere with people’s lives in a broader way. This may be achieved in very different ways, by
ironical nonsense, by lyric romantic philosophy, by more analytical socio-cultural descriptions or by personal provocation. Cultural journalism of festivity has often a very personal
style, being marked by the journalist as a cultural and literary personality.
Political journalism, finally, turns attention towards relevant conflicts, typically between the festival organization and its economy, or between the festival ideology and the
related social movements. (Headline: “ Olympic populism – The festival shall continue, but
this waste of money should be stopped.”)
All this is not only a question of journalistic techniques. The different ways of reporting the festival of popular culture lead to some fundamental questions about the relation
between camera and democracy: How to report about the non-Olympic people of sports?
… And cultural analysis
The festivity challenges the analytical discourse of sports, too. The question to be
solved by sociology and anthropology is, how to organize knowledge about the festival of
sports. What is needed is a cultural analysis of festivity, describing the configurations of the
event in space, time and atmosphere.16
The configurations of the festival can be analysed on different levels. Some are of more
basic character, where human beings move in relation to each other, forming patterns of
bodily practice.
– The space of festivity: Where and in which environment is the festivity arranged? How
do space, place and movement play together – or against each other?
– The time of festivity: When is the festivity placed in relation to people’s lives, which is its
course and progress, and which rhythms can be observed?
– The energy of festivity: Music and practices like clapping and ‘waves’ in the stands may
contribute to a certain atmosphere. There may be elements of carnival, and the popular
culture of laughter creates a certain ‘energy’ of the ‘non-serious’.
– The relations of festivity: Which groups and inter-group relations develop during the
festival? The usual rhetoric of ‘the masses’ conceals important relational connections and
processes inside ‘the crowd’.
– The objectivity of festivity: How is the festival ‘objectified’ if not by competition and the
production of results? An important role is played by visual presentation – the politics of
the camera and the media…
Above these more basic levels of bodily practice, certain superstructures of institutions
and values are built up making the festivity ‘go’ and mediating it to the surrounding society.
Also they show different configurations worth to be analysed:
– The organization of festivity: How is the relation between power and the people institutionally built up and organized in the festival? How do the top-down strategies of the
makers meet with the bottom-up activities of the participants?
– The ideas of festivity: Which ideas are expressed by which means through festival? What
is for instance ‘popular enlightenment’ (folkelig oplysning), which plays a central role
among the values of Danish people’s sport and popular festivity?
The analysis of cultural configurations shows that festival is not like festival. There is
a difference in humanistic quality.
All together, the configurational analyses of festive culture, the new festival journalism
and the educational approach to festivity have a deeper meaning, telling about the current
relationship of culture and alienation. In a world of commercial event culture, where the
media expose ‘post-modern’ mega-events like the Olympics and World Expos as hegemonic models, there is need for critical studies and for alternative practice from below. The
cultural development of popular festivity becomes crucial for the practice of social movements in civil society.
In other words: Sport has historically started as a component of festivity. And sport
is in some respect on the way back to festivity – as popular sport and Sport for all under
the new conditions of event culture. This is not the whole story, but an important one – to
understand the dynamics of the global market on one hand and of bodily democracy on the
  1. Blecking, Diethelm 1990: „Sokolfeste der Ruhrpolen.“ In: Hans-Joachim Teichler (red.): Sportliche Festkultur in geschichtlicher Perspektive. Clausthal-Zellerfeld: DVS, 34-48.
  2. Carr, Gerald E. 1987: „The Spartakiad, its approach and modification from the mass displays of the Sokol.”
In: Canadian Journal of History of Sport, 18: 1, 86-96.
  3. Danó, Orsolya & Petr Roubal 2001 (eds.): Bodies in Formation. Mass Gymnastics under Communism.
Budapest: Central European University. Exposition and bilingual catalogue. Website: http://www.osa.ceu.
  4. Eichberg, Henning 1994: “Travelling, comparing, emigrating. Configurations of sport mobility.” In: John
Bale & Joseph Maguire (eds.): The Global Sports Arena. Athletic Talent Migration in an Interdependent
World. London: Frank Cass, 256-280.
– 1995 a: „Alte Spiele – Neue Feste.“ In: Rainer Pawelke (Hrsg.): Neue Sportkultur. Neue Wege in Sport,
Spiel, Tanz und Theater. Ein Handbuch. Lichtenau/Regensburg: AOL/Edition Traum­fabrik, 165-181.
– 1995 b: „Vom Fest zur Fachlichkeit. Über die Sporti­fizierung des Spiels.“ In: Ludica, annali di storia e
civiltà del gioco, Viella, 1:183-200.
– 1995 c: „Fest und Fachlichkeit. Widersprüche in der Bewegungskultur.“ In: Pia Pauly (red.): Happy Gymnastics. DTB-Kongreß 1995 in Berlin – Theoriebeiträge. Frank­furt/M.: DTB, 9-17.
– 2003: “’Popular sports cannot just be measured and weighed’ – Festival journalism or: How to report diversity?” In: Acta Academiae Olympiquae Estoniae, Tartu: National Olympic Committee of Estonia, 12: 2, 35-50.
– & Bo Vestergård Madsen 2006: Idræt som fest. En kulturanalyse af Landsstævnet. (= Bevægelsesstudier.
7) Århus: Klim (in press).
– 2006: Bevægelse i festen. Idrætshistorie som festhistorie. (= Bevægelsesstudier. 8) Gerlev: Bavnebanke
(in press).
– & Jerzy Kosiewicz & Kazimierz Obodynski 2006 (eds.): Education through Sport – International Approaches to Non-Formal Learning in Sport for All. Warsaw (in press).
  5. Hansen, Jørn 1993: “’Fagenes Fest’. Working-class culture and sport.” In: Knut Dietrich & Henning Eichberg (eds.): Körpersprache. Über Identität und Konflikt. Frankfurt/M.: Afra., 97-129.
  6. Hvidbog for Landsstævne 2002. Preface Lars Rasmussen. (Vejle: DGI) 2002.
  7. Kellner, Douglas 2003: Media Spectacle. London, New York: Routledge.
  8. Lane, Christel 1981: The Rites of the Rulers. Ritual in Industrial Society – The Soviet Case. Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press.
  9. Neumann, Herbert 1987: Deutsche Turnfeste. Spiegelbild der deutschen Turnbewegung. Wiesbaden: Limpert.
10. Ockert, Gritt 2002 (red.): Deutsches Turnfest Leipzig 2002. Ed. Deutscher Turner-Bund. Leipzig: Stoneart.
11. P
aul, Gudrun & Kathleen Raschke 2002 (red.): Deutsches Turnfest Leipzig 2002. Turnfest-Akademie Programm. Hrsg. Organisationskomitee. Leipzig: Klingenberg.
12. Roche, Maurice 2000: Mega-Events and Modernity. Olympics and Expos in the Growth of Global Culture.
London & New York: Routledge.
13. Triet, Maximilian & Peter Schildknecht 2002: Die Eidgenössischen Turnfeste 1832-2002. Streiflichter auf
ein nationales Ereignis. (= Schweizer Beiträge zur Sportgeschichte. 4) Olten: Weltbild.
first version of this article was written for a European project of comparative research in Education through
Sport for All. The report will be published as: Eichberg/Kosiewicz/Obodynski 2006.
A cultural analysis of the Danish Landsstævne festival 2002 can be found in: Eichberg/Madsen 2006. This case
study is the basis of the following article.
29.6.02, see Eichberg/Madsen 2006, xxx.
A detailed historical account in Danish: Eichberg 2006. In German: Eichberg 1995 a, b and c.
About the Danish festival of trade union sports: Hansen 1993.
About the history of German Turnfest: Neumann 1987. About Swiss Turnfest: Triet/Schildknecht 2002.
Blecking 1990.
Roche 2000 and Kellner 2003.
Hvidbog for Landsstævne 2002.
A critical analysis of this ecological dimension: Eichberg/Madsen 2006, xxx.
Some propositions from DGI about the place of health in future landsstævne festivals can be found in: Idrætspædagogisk Årbog 2004/05. Gerlev: Bavnebanke.
Lane 1981 and Danó/Roubal 2001. About the transfer of patterns from the Sokol festival to the Communist
Spartakiads: Carr 1987.
Eichberg 1994.
Ockert 2002 and Paul/Raschke 2002.
The following is based on a case study of journalism from 2002: Eichberg 2003.
For a more detailed case study of configurational analysis see: Eichberg/Madsen 2006.
Jerzy Kosiewicz
University of Physical Education in Warsaw
Faculty of Physical Education
Philosophy of Physical Culture in Poland
Various basic forms of manifestations of philosophical thought in physical culture sciences which have been presented above. The foundations and rudiments of the philosophy
of physical culture and sport, as well as contributions to it, include mainly the presentation of views of particular (although not of all) thinkers – either of philosophers of culture
interested in physical education, or of theoreticians of physical education, or, finally, of
philosophers of physical culture and sport in the strict sense. This complex situation results
from difficulties which are caused by attempts to draw sharp distinctions between their
variegated connections, tendencies, currents or schools of thought. Generally speaking, all
the discussed views and interests of the authors discussed are so differentiated, so individualized, that they are impossible to be globally organized without remainder. In other words,
the structure and the contents of philosophical problems of physical culture significantly
implicate the formal and the contents-related order of their positions. An optimistic signal,
however, is the fact that eminent Polish humanists – including philosophers and Christian
thinkers – more and more often share their reflections on physical culture, sport, tourism
and recreation with others.
In spite of specifying many basic categories, notions or research procedures, physical culture sciences have no established and defined field of research. Such a reflection
appears while making a retrospective analysis and is consolidated especially after finding
that physical culture sciences – including the philosophy or the theory of physical culture –
inspired by thinking about the future, permanently go beyond horizons defined on the basis
of existing research results. Due to this, more and more specialist disciplines exploring
various manifestations and functions of physical culture, physical activity, sports rivalry,
etc. come into being and their development acquires a special and important meaning, since
they usually aspire to achieve a full autonomy in their relation towards the other branches.
The ambiguity of their character and methodological status is both a consequence and,
simultaneously, a reflection of difficulties in the realm of establishing qualities of physical
culture sciences as well as their place in the general system of science.
At the beginning of the 20th century there was an opinion that various branches of
knowledge dealing with problems of physical culture should create (after the period of
heterogeneous, incoherent contamination) a uniform and coherent science of human movement activity, on physical culture. However the expected depolarization and establishment
of proper methodological foundations for the emerging theory of physical culture did not
take place. Still there are various physical culture sciences. There is no common science
with regard to it and no common science is going to come into being. Quite the opposite
– there is pluralism and many mutually incompatible disciplines exist and there are numerous occasions when their languages, terminologies, categories, notions or methodologies
exclude the possibility of meaningful correspondence. We can suppose that progressing
specialisation will deepen the above-mentioned difficulties.
An important role among the discussed sciences can be acted by the philosophy of
physical culture as a specific field of generalizing, strictly philosophical – what makes it
different from the theory of physical culture – reflection on numerous spheres of physical
culture, both theoretical ones and practical ones. It is a discipline which is only coming into
being and tries to start existing both within physical culture sciences as well as one of the
branches or sub-disciplines of philosophy in general. Although attempts at philosophical or
quasi-philosophical reflection on various spheres of physical culture appeared in the past,
although many world-famous philosophers of various ages considered its various manifestations,1 these were usually reflections on the margin, far from the main current of a given
thinker’s interests.
Among statements concerning physical culture there were no precisely defined, worked
out theoretical canons and methodological assumptions which tell how to investigate issues
from the field of just that branch of culture. Non-philosophers posed and solved problems
in a non-organised way, usually utilising strictly philosophical theories and conceptions
in a non-ordered way (or not utilizing them at all). That is, among other things, why their
considerations, are not professional enough and somehow placed below the threshold of
categories and norms required in philosophy, did not arouse the interest of philosophers
in the strict sense of the word WHICH WORD? They WHOM distanced and separated
themselves from them WHOM. Incidentally, the existence of this phenomenon can be still
observed. On the other hand, philosophers taking up issues from the field of the said disciplines used experiences arising from the realisation of their main currents of interests,
such as the philosophy of values, philosophical anthropology, the philosophy of nature,
etc. And they were usually too hermetic, esoteric or inaccessible for others – that is, for
representatives of physical culture sciences without philosophical education. I think that
is just because of the above-mentioned reasons there was no meaningful correspondence
between representatives of physical culture sciences (non-philosophers) and philosophers
who sporadically took up questions from the range of the discussed discipline.
Besides the philosophy of physical culture, among physical culture sciences an integrative function has been indubitably performed by the theory of physical culture. I think that
it had one constant, universal feature, in spite of the fact that it was variously understood
by many authors from various countries. It means that primarily, when physical culture
sciences were not dealt with by philosophers, there was an attempt to unify, synthesise and
unify categories, conceptions and theories from the field of those sciences.
Relations that take place between the philosophy of physical culture and the theory
of physical culture are worthy of attention on that account alone. Among other things, it
is assumed that the first should be superior in its relation to the second.2 And that is right.
However, at the time being, this assumption should be treated as a postulation which could
be fulfilled in a distant future, since the philosophy of physical culture – both in its relation
to the theory of physical culture or physical culture sciences as well as to philosophy in
general – is a new domain which is only gaining self-consciousness and aspiring for delineating and defining directions of its own research.
Problems from the field of the philosophy of physical culture appear in the area of
physical culture sciences in a heterogeneous way. Three forms can be distinguished:
l. Historical or contemporary philosophical reflection appearing in the margin of other
research topics constituting the main current of given thinkers’ interests.
2. Philosophical aspects of considerations of theoreticians of physical education.
3. Statements of philosophers of physical culture.
1. Problems of physical culture
and Polish philosophers’ interests
In this section two groups of philosophers – or, more generally, of humanists – who
have not dealt with the philosophy of physical culture as a branch of science; that is, who
have not carried deliberate research in this field, have not aspired to develop or deepen its
self-knowledge as a branch of physical culture sciences or the philosophy of culture – can
be placed. The first group is constituted by thinkers who among many other problems took
up issues from the range of the philosophy of the body, the second by philosophers creating works where some topics from the field of the contemporarily understood theory and
philosophy of physical culture can be noticed.
2. In the realm of the philosophy
and the theology of the body
In this group Edward Abramowski and Stanisław Brzozowski as well as John Paul II
can be placed. In the sphere of the discussed topic the above mentioned thinkers present
considerations of philosophical/anthropological and theological/anthropological character,
which have no connection with the philosophy of physical culture as such, since the philosophy of the body – as I think of it– is situated rather in the field of philosophical anthropology. However, influences from the philosophy of the body on the philosophy of physical
culture are, or can be, significant enough that its problems are worth being acquainted with
in their most important interpretations. The philosophy of the body constitutes factual: ontological, epistemological, axiological (ethical, aesthetical, pragmatic) basis of the theory
and practice in the field of physical culture, which is founded and focused on the human
body. The notion of the philosophy of physical culture is associated to some degree (in
spite of some – sometimes significant – differences) with the notions of the philosophy of
bodily or somatic culture. From that viewpoint, the philosophy of the body, similarly as the
philosophy of culture, constitutes somehow a factual and formal basis for reflection in the
area of physical culture.
The most prolific period of Stanisław Brzozowski’s writing activity fell in the years
which were marked by the influence of Marx’s thought. He was writing then (Prolegomena filozofii pracy, 1904) that the history of the world is from the human viewpoint the
history of human work and that it constitutes the history of “humanization of nature”
(Marx’s description). Due to this, he was of an opinion that work creates the only language nature answers for. Every mental content, every thought can influence the world
then and only then when it finds its expression in the form of work, when it “finds” a
body. Just through bodily activity, through “the exchange of muscular energy”, through
work, the collective man provides himself with his own identity and with the identity of
his world, which encounters that nonhuman world. In that sense, it is possible to speak
about the great metaphysical significance of the body.3 Thus the body is, according to
Brzozowski’s interpretation, a precondition for work and, hence, of the acquisition and
humanization of nature. And, thanks to work, man, his body and cognitive abilities, also
On the other hand, at the basis of Abramowski’s philosophical views the coexistence of
two seemingly contradictory standpoints: of Kantian phenomenalism and Bergsonian intuitionism. Abramowski was deeply convinced that the intuitional sphere of ourselves, which
enables the man to get in contact in an organic, bodily way with the whole environment of
the universe, possesses a greater value.4 Thus the body is, according to his interpretation,
the basis of cognition, which – similarly as in Bergson’s case – limits intellect, thought
included in scientific and common-sense knowledge: The body, as a mirror of the infinite
environment, is that giant who imprisons and binds the human thought.5
The issue of the body has become also one of the basic problems of the contemporary
Catholic (as well as Protestant) philosophy. Contemporarily a change of theological orientation – a shift from Theo centrism to a relative anthropocentrism – has taken place within the
doctrine of the Catholic Church. This thesis is confirmed by the analysis of the interpretation
of the philosophy of the body which was formulated by the pope John Paul II, first of all in
four works: Mężczyzną i niewiastą stworzył ich. Chrystus odwołuje się do „początku”. O
Jana Pawła II teologii ciała /They Were Created as Man and Woman. Christ Invokes the “Beginning’. On the Theology of the Body of John Paul II/ (Lublin 1981),6 Mężczyzną i niewiastą
stworzył ich. Chrystus odwołuje się do „serca”. O Jana Pawła II teologii ciała /They Were
Created as Man and Woman. Christ Invokes the “Heart”. On the Theology of the Body of
John Paul II/ (Lublin 1987),7 Mężczyzną i niewiastą stworzył ich. Chrystus odwołuje się do
zmartwychwstania. O Jana Pawła II teologii ciała /They Were Created as Man and Woman.
Christ Invokes the Resurrection. On the Theology of the Body of John Paul II/ (Lublin 1983),
Mężczyzną i niewiastą stworzył ich. Odkupienie ciała a sakramentalność małżeńska /They
Were Created as Man and Woman. Redemption of the Body and Sacramental Character of
Marriage/ (Vatican 1986). The philosophy of the body of John Paul II, which is called also
adequate anthropology or the anthropology of gift, constitutes an attempt to sketch on the basis of the Holy Scripture – that is, on the basis of the revelation – such a vision of man which is
as full as possible. Since according to the assumptions of John Paul II (referring to the Bible)
the body functions as „God’s image”, and plays a special role in interpersonal relations acting
as a mediator enabling nonverbal communication. In noting the existence of one person for
another or direct correspondence between two or more persons, John Paul II notices that the
man experiencing his own difference, loneliness, is a “betrothal sense of the body”, nakedness. In this he perceives his own corporeality as the source of ethical obligations of divine
provenance. An adequate anthropology implies ethics, moral needs of a vertical and horizontal character, obligations towards God and towards other persons. It constitutes – as founded
on biblical assumptions – a significant enhancement of human corporeality, granting it with
sacral values, both in the genetic (deriving from the Absolute in the creation-related sense)
and obligation-related sense.
3. Philosophical thought
and chosen forms of physical culture
In the case of many distinguished Polish thinkers, whose works occupy an important
place in the history of Polish philosophy, such as Jędrzej Śniadecki, Florian Znaniecki, Sergiusz Hessen, we have to do with a thorough analysis of some elements of physical culture,
which considerably influences contemporary reflection of physical culture sciences. It refers to such topics as: physical education, education in culture, sport, hygiene and others.
Jędrzej Śniadecki, like his brother Jan, belongs to the most outstanding scholars in the
history of Polish science. His philosophical and social (pedagogical) thought was submitted
to various influences characteristic for the age of Enlightenment. In the first period it was
considerably influenced by French philosophy, but as early as at the end of 18th and at the
beginning of 19th century he was keenly interested in English and Scottish philosophy and
focused his attention mainly on Thomas Reid’s and Dugald Stewart’s views.
Jędrzej Śniadecki was even more critical towards sensualism and empiricism than his
brother. He shared also his critical attitude towards Kant, but he was not so uncompromising as Jan, since in his first publication Mowa o niepewności zdań i nauk na doświadczeniu
fundowanych /A Speech on Uncertainty of Propositions and Sciences Founded on Experience/ (1799) he shared some assumptions of the thinker from Königsberg pointing out that
cognition depends on the subject’s active attitude or attempting, like Kant, to combine empiricism with rationalism on the epistemological level. Finally, however, in his subsequent
works, Jędrzej Śniadecki appears to be an opponent of Kantianism and new intellectual
currents connected with reception of German idealism.
Jędrzej Sniadecki was not only a philosopher, but also an eminent scholar – a chemist
and a biologist (he is the author of Teorii jestestw organicznych /Theory of Organic Beings/,
Wilno 1804). Owing to this, he started to be interested also in the problems of physical education.8 Incidentally, those interests constitute a slight part of his works. Jędrzej Śniadecki’s
philosophical considerations and considerations on education were a significant inspiration
for contemporary Polish theoreticians of physical education and sport, who wished, more
or less consciously, to use his vision of man for building their own quasi-philosophies of
man constituting the basis for education. In his work O fizycznym wychowaniu dzieci /On
Physical Education of Children/, referring to Jean Jacques Rousseau’s views which were
popular then, he pointed out to the need of direct contact between the human being and
nature. He was of an opinion that the man can fully self-realize only within nature as its
creation and element, submitted to its unchangeable laws. On the other hand, the social
environment in its present form is artificial, it thwarts primary human activity, and culture
in its present form deforms human nature.9 Departure from the ideal of primal existence led,
according to his opinion, to the unevenness of spiritual and physical development, to degeneration taking place in the contemporary civilization. Jędrzej Śniadecki was convinced
that the achievement of the full ontological and educational ideal depends on the harmony
between the human individual and the world of nature as well as between the spiritual and
the corporeal side of the man, which is to come into being. He formulated two significant
theses, which became axioms of the theory of physical education in later consideration.
I think about the theses constituting the basis of the humanist version of physical education, emphasizing the need of the development of spiritual human being’s qualities and
about the theses constituting the source of the biological orientation, which in its extremely
limited version conceived human being’s education merely as the shaping of motor qualities and physical fitness.
Comprehension of Sergiusz Hessen’s pedagogical views – in contrast to those of
Jędrzej Śniadecki – can take place only if his philosophical considerations are taken into
account, since he treated pedagogy as applied philosophy. Sergiusz Hessen’s works were
influenced by the Badenian School and the Marburgian School and especially by Wilhelm
Dilthey, Wilhelm Windelband and Heinrich Rickert. Hessen proclaimed that, as a disciple
of Rickert and, indirectly, of Kant, he had been developing towards Platonism, attempting
to work out a multi-storey theory of reality crowned with the theory of spiritual being. One
of the most significant elements of that Pro-Platonic evolution where the Hegelian dialectics of the objective spirit constituted some staging post was the recognition of existence of
objective values. Just the human being’s biography depends on the realization of objective
values by him (there is no biography without the realization of those values). A significant
role in realizing them is acted by the process of education, which is the process of introducing into the world of the objective spirit, the process of directed development of values,
what is identical with the process of the development of the personality.10
The most important form of educating the personality, according to Hessen, is played
by the introduction into the world of spiritual values. This affair determines the aim
of education and its deepest essence while other educational issues perform additional,
subordinate functions towards that essence. The above aims – that is, a set of internalized cultural values – and the division of fields of education to make them, correspond
with separate values are determined by philosophy; that is, by applied philosophy (pedagogy).
Hessen divides pedagogy, as the theory of education, into the theory of moral education,
of scientific education, of artistic education, of economic education, of religious education
and of physical education.11 Physical education is for him, as a matter of fact, nothing else
but the combination of moral education, artistic education and scientific education applied
to the body as its material, and it has no separate task which, after being closely examined,
does not divide into education tasks we already know.12 However, Hessen proclaims then
of physical education that, if it is not moral, scientific, artistic and economic shaping of the
body, but it has its own task, constitutes not so much the subject of education, but rather of
hygiene in the broad sense of the word. This way the theory of physical education concerns
a group of medical branches constituting a part of a broad notion of the theory of hygiene13.
Hygiene is unconceivable at all without means directed at increasing the immunity and
the workability of the organism – that is, without physical education – since, according
to Hessen’s opinion, it is impossible to mark out a clear border between a classic issue of
school hygiene – discovering means preventing, for example, curvature of the spine or sight
impairment, issues of normal nutrition of the organism of the child helping it to preserve
its vitality and growth – and the issue of physical education consisting in increasing its
organic forces (that is, heart and lungs), its muscular power, its endurance, velocity and
agility (that is, nervous power)14.
Florian Znaniecki – a philosopher of culture and a sociologist, was growing up, similar
to Hessen, in the climate of philosophical and methodological controversies concerning the
subject of the humanities and the particularity of the comprehension of the human world
(participated, among others, by Dilthey, Windelband, Rickert). Znaniecki’s basic philosophical credo was Socratic: a statement that man’s worth is in cognition, whereas all other
things have worth only in relation to their value for man. Man is the final aim of philosophical aspirations, a centre where logic, the theory of cognition, ethics and aesthetics,
metaphysics of nature and metaphysics of history must meet.15
The main subject of his pedagogical interests (Znaniecki is included also into a circle
of eminent pedagogues of culture. Like Hessen, he represents the axiological orientation.
Education was the issue of adjusting youth to quick transformations of contemporary civilization. Being of a common opinion with theoreticians of American pedagogical thought
grouped around the Teachers College at the Columbia University (John Dewey, William H
Kilpatrick, William F. Russel, William Ch. Bagley, George S. Countse, Dawid Snedden) he
considered the problem of directing the current of social change was of the greatest importance. He proclaimed that the ideal of the personality characterized by versatile creativity
and he demanded social reconstruction by means of education leading towards constructive
democratism. As the only author during the interwar period he took up – departing from
idealistic determinants of the pedagogy of culture – an attempt to look at physical education
and sport from a sociological viewpoint. However, it should also be remembered that those
problems constituted only a fragment of one of the sections of the sociology of education;
that is, a slight particle in the context of all works of that very prolific, world-famous author.
In the sociologically interpreted theory of education, understood as a reflection on social
activity which has an individual being a candidate for a member of a social group as its subject and preparation of that individual for the post of the full member as its task determining
its actual intentions and methods16, he placed the theory of physical education as its component. Due to it, Znaniecki was of an opinion that physical education should be understood
very broadly as providing one’s own members with direct preconditions of desired physical
development of the group and the stimulus for that development. He thought that education
influencing corporeal qualities of future members; that is, physical education in its broadest
meaning, consisted in moulding physical types according to social demands17
Florian Znaniecki, because of the assumed philosophical and methodological assumptions, did not want to treat the physical side of man as a basis of consciousness, since that
hypothesis was contrary to the basic statement of his philosophy of culture; that is, with the
opinion that everything what positively exists constitutes the human world. It refers to the
world of nature, to man’s physical properties and consciousness and to his products, but
only when they are accessible for man. And when they are accessible, they have a value
which was granted to them by man.18 It is so, since Znaniecki was of an opinion that such
a standpoint would be legitimate which preserves the character of an important value for
the body – a value, which is often more important, influences numerous facts in the world of
values, but influencing as an element of that world and not beyond it19. The body exists as
a value among other values and not as a precondition or the basis for others.20 The value of
the body is relative and it is measured with the scale of values which are proper for the spirituals culture of a given social group. That is why, while distinguishing the value of mental
and physical activities, Znaniecki refused the conception of equal treatment of intellectual
and physical work. Physical work was thought by him to be a natural process. Therefore
in the case of physical education he recommended theoreticians and technologists of that
education to refer to natural sciences (to biology), which are starting point sciences for
every theory of education, but he was also of an opinion that it should be supplemented
with sociology and social psychology. The same refers to sport, which was understood by
Znaniecki as every kind of physical activity which strives for the best possible results in its
own field, but which does not attempt to create any directly useful values. Thus he distinguished sport from physical work, where results are measured with the utility of products
and from physical play, which is not about the result at all, but about the pleasure of the very
activity.21 Incidentally, the borderline between sport and play is fluent for Znaniecki and the
range of activities connected with sport is inaccurate and ambiguous.
Znaniecki, Hessen or Śniadecki, in spite of the fact that physical culture was treated
by them marginally, interpreted its phenomena in a holistic way and looked at it from the
viewpoint of physical education as on a theory which was only in the course of embracing
all sciences connected with physical culture. Only then physical education appeared to be a
notion which is not broad enough and was replaced by the notion of physical culture, which
embraced many fields including physical education.
On the basis of the above considerations, these thinkers’ reflections cannot be described
as comprising works in the philosophy of physical culture in the strict sense of the word.
However, in spite of this, the influence of those opinions on the development of the discussed field existed and still exists.22
4. Man between nature and culture
The next part of the text refers to the philosophical issues included in the views of
numerous thinkers, practitioners and theoreticians of various forms of physical culture,
including physical education, hygienic movement,23 tourism, Tatra mountain climbing and
sailing. There were taken into account reflections and researches which appeared within
the space of the last century, but – in spite of this – in various historical ages, which are
different regarding socio-economical, political and cultural relations. It refers to the three
following periods: a) the turn of the 19th and the 20th century, when Henryk Jordan, Mariusz
Zaruski and Eugeniusz Piasecki formulated their conceptions; b) the interwar period, when
Władysław Osmolski’s views developed and matured. Incidentally, it was the time when
Mariusz Zaruski and Eugeniusz Piasecki were still writing, but in spite of that they are
placed within the first period, since they had begun their activity a long time before Poland
regained independence; c) contemporary Poland where, among others, theories of Zygmunt
Gilewicz, Maciej Demel, Andrzej Pawłucki and Krzysztof Zuchora have been born.
Philosophical aspects included in views of Zbigniew Dziubiński, who played and is
playing an important role in associating and shaping Polish thought in the field of physical
culture, and especially of physical education and sport, in the 1990s and at the beginning of
the 21st century are also worth paying attention to.
5. Considerations of theoreticians of physical education
and theoreticians of physical culture from the turn
of the 19th and the 20th century
Henryk Jordan’s conceptions concerning physical education have qualities characteristic for the Galician canon of socio-political conservative positivism.24 He implicitly re-
ferred to Jean Jacques Rousseau’s views and moderately, because of the above reason, to
guidelines of the Committee of National Education or to Jędrzej Śnidecki’s conceptions
making the need of educating “the whole man” the general principle of his assumptions.
He introduced into the educational curriculum, apart from education of the mind and religious/moral education, physical education proclaiming that: inseparably connected, moral
education and physical education will be able to give the society a virtuous man and to
give the homeland a good citizen.25 Independently from the patriotic and moral overtone of
that philosophy, Jordan emphasized, maintaining a dualistic conception of man, the need of
versatile education of the individual, who should cultivate the whole self in order to live life
to the full. The basis of that view was constituted by a commonly accepted popular version
of Spencerism and social Darwinism together with the theory of the struggle for survival
where the strongest individuals win. Due to it, extending that principle to social phenomena, Jordan proclaimed a national philosophy. He aspired to the increasing of Poles’ fitness
and was of an opinion that it could prevent their degeneration and restore natural laws of
existence in the process of necessary development or disappearance of social groups or
Mariusz Zaruski, on the other hand, as a theoretician and a practitioner creating foundations of Tatra mountain climbing and sailing – intellectual and socio-tourist movements
– was accompanied by reflection of philosophical ambitions. In his texts, written in the
period of the Young Poland movement and in the interwar period, it is possible to find influences of Schopenhauer’s, Nietzsche’s, Bergson’s, Brzozowski’s or Abramowski’s works.
It refers to the philosophy of mountains and the sea – that is, to the philosophy of nature,
characteristic for modernist philosophy and literature, characterized by hylozoist properties, including elements of pantheism, animism, sacralisation, aestheticisation, infinitism,
anthropomorphism of powers of nature, escapism from alienation as well as from reification and social atomization, looking for one’s own identity and for authentic ties with
nature – which can be found in his numerous writings. A dichotomous distinction between
values of nature and values of culture led him to the elevation of the former, which were to
create the most precious foundations for objectifying “higher” abilities of people living in
the world of nature.
Although Zaruski emphasized pantheistic and pantheistic (dependently on the interpretation) character of nature and an organic unity between the human individual and nature
(referring in this respect to Bergsonism), in his philosophy of nature he placed man interpreted not with existential but with essential categories – that is, as a metaphysical being
– in the centre of interests.27 The need of partial and periodical isolation of the individual
from the environment was saturated with anti-civilization ideas of neo-romantic philosophy and with the negation of free market industrial society. Tatra mountain-climbing and
sailing – as forms of qualified tourism and recreational forms of tourism, were to favour
purification and revival of the exhausted psyche of the contemporary man, to facilitate the
penetration of the depth of the human individual by nature conceived in a pantheistic or a
penetheistic way, the identification with its all-embracing being through voluntarily taken
tests – through “active romanticism”; that is, attempts and struggles with powers of nature
threatening to kill.28
However those powers of nature do not act – according to Zaruski’s opinion – in an accidental, chaotic and indefinite way. He perceives in their activity the Pythagorean harmony
and the order of the universe, the influence of the Heraclitean reason of the world. In his
quasi-philosophical interpretations he refers to views of Ionic philosophers of nature – travellers, who explained functioning of nature in a naïve (from our viewpoint) and superficial
(because of lack of proper philosophical method) way.
Eugeniusz Piasecki was a theoretician and a practitioner of a hygienic movement and
a proponent of mass sport, an opponent of record-breaking sport and women’s sport.29 In
the sphere of physical education he promoted a Renaissance ideal of man. He thought
that physical education, as a branch of general education, realizes, apart from corporeal
education, moral, intellectual, aesthetical and utilitarian/practical education. Physical development of the individual was not the main aim for him. He attached the greatest weight
to the versatile development of the man, his interests, and his education. Simultaneously
he pushed the significance of moral and intellectual values to the foreground, he posed a
problem of a creative attitude to life as well as of the human being’s autonomy and of his
contact with nature.
Piasecki, continuing Jordan’s work, protested against a disharmony between nature
and culture, against a dissonance caused by processes of industrialization and urbanization
with special determination. He called for using and broadening various forms of coming
back to nature in order to stop those processes and a one-sided, degenerated development
of man. His, not very elaborate, assumptions from the area of philosophical anthropology
constituting the foundation of the theory of physical education were an attempt to continue
two systems of values: the ancient Greek vision of man and Christianity understood in a
modern way.30 They were a synthesis creating an image of the human individual close to
the Renaissance ideal.31
6. Conceptions of physical education
and sport in the interwar period
In that period Władysław Ostolski was active. He belonged to the circle of the most
energetic theoreticians of physical education and teaching specialist in it, he was an organizer and an ideologist of physical education and sport. In his theory of education Osmolski
refused a dualistic conception of man characteristic for the views of Jordan, Piasecki and
their adherents. Thus he challenged an anthropological tradition of Platonism and Descartes, which affected European reflection including the conceptions of physical education
coming into being in Poland at the turn of the 19th and the 20th century. Osmolski treated
man as a unity of body and soul. He emphasized their organic monism writing that the
body is the means for the mind; the mind is the end for the body. The body and the spirit
taken together create life.32 Thus he pointed out to an autotelic character and, simultaneously, the instrumentality of the body in its relation towards the mind. He criticized views
that emphasized the inferiority of the body in a dualistic vision of the human being. He
treated the body as the only source of spiritual energy. It corresponded with monistic assumptions of numerous visions of the human individual in the 19th century, among others
of those presented by Feuerbach, Engels, Darwin and other philosophers of nature. He
emphasized the significance of nature in shaping man interpreted in a phylogenetic and
ontogenetic way. Anatomic and functional fitness was born in the bosom of nature during
the struggle for survival. Undermining natural relations between man and his ecological
niche leads – according to Osmolski’s opinion – to alienation and isolation both from nature
and from culture. Protesting against the degeneration of culture and nature as a manifesta-
tion of technical civilization, industrialization and urbanization, he does not proclaim – as
his predecessors did – a naive in fact slogan of coming back to nature, he accepted neither
pessimism, nor – the more so – quietism. A possibility and a guarantee of the abolishment
of negative sides of modern human life was perceived by him just in the development of
civilization and technology. Hence he was of an opinion that, among other things, by the
means of physical education and sport it is possible to humanize reality, to overcome the
crisis of contemporary conditions of human existence.
7. The attitude of contemporary theoreticians
towards natural, humanistic
and health-related aspects of physical education
An important place among those thinkers is occupied by Zygmunt Gilewicz, who belongs to a group of theoreticians of physical education whose views can be described as of
a naturalist orientation. His conceptions, similarly as Władysław Osmolski’s, Eugeniusz
Piasecki’s and Mariusz Zaruski’s assumptions, refer implicitly to John Locke’s doctrines
as well as to Jean Jacques Rousseau’s and Jędrzej Śniadecki’s pedagogical theories. He
stated, following Rousseau and Śniadecki, that the basis of every form of education should
be physical education and that it sets itself improvement and ennoblement of the material
basis of the human personality as its goal.33 Gilewicz’s assumptions are based on the need
for shaping, improving and developing human motor qualities and fitness, which create the
basis for the human being’s intellectual, aesthetical and moral development.34
Maciej Demel, on the other hand, belonging to a circle of the last, most eminent theoreticians-naturalists, had preceded, similarly as Jordan and his successors, interest in physical education with thorough medical and pedagogical studies. He became a founder of the
Polish movement of health education and health-related pedagogy being somehow a successor of rudimentary assumptions of the Committee of National Education (Piasecki or
Hessen’s pedagogy). In spite of the fact that primarily he represented conceptions of naturalist character, as the first in the discussed period he made an attempt to deport from the
solely naturalist vision of the human individual. It resulted from his conviction that also humanistic assumptions should be introduced into education maintaining the balance between
the biological and the humanistic (social) content. Thus Maciej Demel is against both an
abiological version and an extremely naturalist interpretation of physical education.35
Currently, the most outstanding the most creative theoretician of physical education
(except for Henryk Grabowski, who does not take into account philosophical reflection in
his considerations) is Andrzej Pawłucki. His views are founded on a reliable, developed
context of justification based on deepened studies in pedagogy and sociology as well as –
especially recently – to a greater and greater degree on the assumptions of personalism and
especially of Catholic personalism.
Due to these antecedents, he takes a critical attitude toward values (or, to formulate it
in a broader way, axiological systems) characteristic for postmodernism as a philosophical
as well as pedagogical (and, simultaneously, cultural) current, which exerts – according to
his opinion – a negative influence on contents, methods and ethos of physical education and
physical culture in school environment and outside school. The thinker from Gdańsk pays
special attention to values and development of the body in its relation to the permanently
developing personality, in interactions with social, cultural and natural environment as well
as in its relation towards God, if it is needed by and necessary for a given individual to
achieve self-realization and self-affirmation.
Pawłucki is constructing a developed and continuously supplemented (thanks to new
publications) theory of physical education of a holistic character, which is based on four
assumptions-foundations: ontological, pedagogical, sociological and axiological. The first
of them defines the body as the ontological foundation; that is, the final premise in the range
of theoretical and practical activity in the realm of physical culture; the second points out
that physical education should be – according to the first assumption – focused first of all
on qualities of the body; the third emphasizes the significance of social relations concerning
the teacher and the pupil as well as the environment where the process of education takes
place, whereas the fourth premise informs about the significance of the axiological source,
sense and context from the viewpoint of education for values of the body and that it should
proceed independent of pedagogical relativism arising from the theoretical assumptions of
postmodernism. That irrefutable axiological foundation of education for values of the body
should be – according to Pawłucki’s opinion – an axiological system coming from personalistic anthropology, referring to adequate anthropology of John Paul II as to its source.
In Pawłucki’s views three periods may be distinguished. In the first of them he rejected
Demel’s views, in the second he affirmed them to a considerable degree36, whereas in the third
he created his own original theory of physical education based on anthropological and axiological assumptions of Catholic personalism – he described it as education for values of the body.
Firstly, he maintained following Znaniecki that it is impossible to create the theory of
physical education in the borderland between social and natural sciences, since its contents,
as methodologically heterogeneous, which, coming from various branches of knowledge
on nature and culture, cannot be synthesised.37 Andrzej Pałucki is an advocate of the humanist version of physical education. He continued Znaniecki’s tradition in this respect.
However it was probably against Znaniecki’s intentions (but, among others, on the basis of
Socjologia wychowania /Sociology of Education/) that Pawłucki interpreted the theory of
education with sociological categories. In the first research period he maintained that the
theory of education, including the theory of physical education, should not be connected
with pedagogy – that is, with a discipline of teleological and optimisation-oriented character, but with the sociology of education, since even pedagogy is – according to his opinion
– a strictly sociological field as a basic discipline.
Secondly, as an author of original assumptions of the pedagogy of values of the body
and, simultaneously, an opponent of so-called korporeizm (aiming at biotechnologisation of
physical education and sport as well as at reification of the pupil or of the athlete), he proclaims the need of treating the theory of physical education in terms of pedagogy, of treating the development and improvement of corporeal fitness-related qualities in humanist
terms opposite to postmodern relativism. In the second period of his writing activity he paid
attention, referring clearly to Demel’s pedagogy of health, to the need of permanent development of the body perceived from the viewpoint of values of health education. Pawłucki
achieved a synthesis of assumptions from the field of the humanities, natural (bio-medical)
sciences as well as sociology and pedagogy without establishing superiority of any of those
disciplines from the viewpoint of axiological rigour which is affirmed by him and which
assumes that there are some objective, universal and fundamental values which can be
transgressed neither in the pedagogy of the body, nor in individual corporeal self-education,
nor in activity taking place in the cultural sphere (including physical culture).
Thirdly, Pałucki based his theory of physical education on philosophical assumptions
characteristic for Catholic personalism. Although currently he presents in his considerations Catholic axiology and anthropology in an open way, he does it in a secularized (not
in a religious) form, pointing out to merits of Catholic personalism in the process of school
and extraschool education. It does not constitute a danger for a holistic conception of the
theory of physical education, since every pedagogical context (including a holistic vision of
education) should include a content-related and methodological foundation which is characteristic for it, a specific theoretical background. Otherwise, some educational ambiguity
or relativism appears and that is just the thing which is by Andrzej Pawłucki fundamentally
and consistently opposed.
The circle of theoreticians of physical education of humanist orientation should also certainly include Krzysztof Zuchora. The above-mentioned author of Wychowanie w kulturze fizycznej /Education in Physical Culture/ may even be included into the circle of philosophers
of physical culture, especially because of the fact that he openly maintains that the theory of
physical education in his version should be understood as a “community” of deeds and thoughts,
“a specific philosophy of life” understood “broader as a philosophy of physical culture”. Great
influences of Hellenic philosophy, thought and culture can be seen in his considerations on sport
and Olympic education.38 However, Krzysztof Zuchora does not introduce philosophical nomenclature, definitions, notions, categories, methodological technique, etc. – that is, a necessary
apparatus organizing the construction of philosophical conceptions – into his considerations.
Therefore, his field can be treated only as the theory of physical culture posing problems of
philosophical character. It is possible to notice philosophical messages in his considerations and
it enables to situate them within the humanist version of physical education.
Krzysztof Zuchora negates those conceptions (of a naturalist and biological kind)
which has one-sided physical development of the human being as their highest aim and
only the healthy and fit man as their ideal. In his works the ideal of the comprehensively
developed, fully fit and healthy man, who is provided with a versatile knowledge on physical and health education, who probes into the essence of his psychophysical needs and tries
to understand the sense of relations which take place between the individual, the society
and culture, appears.
The object of Krzysztof Zuchora’s special care is the development of the individual’s
personality, health and physical culture – development which enables proper energetic exchange between the organism and the environment. Thanks to such an exchange, a creative,
specifically human “cultural element” is to dominate in human activity. Physical education
– as it is written by Zuchora – is a continuous process, it acquaints the pupil with the world
of culture, it facilitates shaping socialist views and customs.39
The specificity of Krzysztof Zuchora’s opinions consists especially in the fact that a
thesis on a common genesis of and mutual relations between physical culture, aesthetics
and art is strongly emphasized there. He maintains that they constitute an inseparable entirety which implies the need of development and improvement both of the biological and
of the cultural side, increasing various spheres of human interests.
On the basis of the analysis of philosophical assumptions underlying views of Polish
theoreticians and practitioners of physical education, hygienic movement, tourism, Tatra
mountain-climbing and sailing it is possible to proclaim that they can be characterized
with the conceptions of nature and culture worked out by Zbigniew Krawczyk in his work
Natura, kultura, sport /Nature, Culture, Sport/, which is quoted in the footnotes and which
concerns thinkers from the turn of the 19th and the 20th century and from the period of
interwar Poland – Jordan, Znaniecki, Piasecki, Osmolski and others. The antinomy natureculture refers to the vision of the human individual in the process of physical education. In
its extreme interpretations it means, firstly, shaping only physical qualities and, secondly,
development of all qualities and especially those of a mental, spiritual kind, in the process
of physical education. In the post-war period the first trend was represented by Zygmunt
Gilewicz and the second by Krzysztof Zuchora. Those ambivalent attitudes were tried to
be mediated by Maciej Demel and Andrzej Pawłucki, especially in the second and the third
period of his writing activity abundant in daring solutions and theories. A special recognition is deserved by the third period which bore fruit of working out an original and mature
conception described as education for values of the body.
In his extensive works, Zbigniew Dziubiński, as a graduate of the Academy of Physical
Education and of the Department of Religious Studies of the Warsaw University, as well
as the director of the Department of Physical Education of the Christian Theological Academy and the chairman of the Silesian Sports Organisation of the Republic of Poland, tries
to associate issues concerning physical education and sport (and, more generally, physical
education) with Catholic anthropology.
Dziubiński, apart from sociological issues, takes up also philosophical problems, but it
is disturbed by his lack of proper education. He attempts to create humanist – Catholic in
this case – and especially personalistic background for the theory of physical culture and
especially for sport and physical education. It is testified, among other things, by his doctoral dissertation entitled Wartości ciała i kultury fizycznej we współczesnej filozofii katolickiej
/Values of the Body and Physical Culture in Contemporary Catholic Philosophy/. He does
not shy away from – both in that as well as in his other works – connecting theological
issues with various phenomena from the field of physical culture. He does it taking as his
basis the so-called theoretical background of the Catholic Church. He points out to the evolution of its doctrine consisting, among other things, in raising the status of this world and
of the “flesh and blood”, both real and historical man living in this world “here and now”.
Human work, the activity to transform this world, gains a new significance in post-conciliar
teachings. The rehabilitation of the body takes place and it gets a new sense resulting both
from philosophical and theological grounds (an essential change of the status, a semiotic
function, inclusion into the pantheon of sacrum).
The positive evaluation of these phenomena is justified by writings of the Old and the
New Testament which are interpreted by the Church in a new way (e.g. work is no more
evaluated as punishment for sins, but as participation in God’s creation and that participation – as man is becoming God’s partner) means the exceptional enhancement of work and,
first of all, of the very man-person.
Thanks to these inquiries, Z. Dziubiński showed a theoretical background of the Catholic Church, which – to say it in the most general way – contrary to common opinions has
a positive attitude to physical culture and exerts an inspiring influence on the assumptions
of physical education.
A special area of Z. Dziubiński’s interests is constituted by personalistic views of Karol
Wojtyła – John Paul II. He looks for grounds for ontological, anthropological and ethical
foundations of physical culture, physical education and sport in them. He strives, as he
maintains, after creating a theoretical background for these fields. He takes this task up led
by Christian inspiration subordinated to Christian aims.
The next area of Z. Dziubiński’s interests is physical education and sport (or, more
generally, physical culture) in higher seminaries of the Catholic Church in Poland. In works
dedicated to this issue he shows, among other things, programme and organizational principles of seminaries and, coming into the area of sociological problems, he confronts them
with the actual state of affairs realized in everyday life by the seminary communities.40
8. Philosophers of physical culture
Currently the circle of persons creating the philosophy of physical culture include, in
terms of existing works and formal findings, Andrzej Wohl, Zbigniew Krawczyk, Józef Lipiec, Jerzy Kosiewicz, Alisja Przyłuska-Fisze, Maria Zowisło, Jakub Mosz, Bohdan Misiuna, Bohdan Urbankowski, catholic philosophers such as Stanisław Kowalczyk or Mirosław
Mylik as well as a protestant philosopher Zachariasz Łyko.
The above pointed authors represent the following orientations: the socio-propedeutic
(A. Wohl., Z. Krawczyk), the Christian (S. Kowalczyk, Z. Łyko, M. Mylik) and the strictly
philosophical one (all others). Taking into account views of the representatives of the third
orientation, J. Lipiec’s works concern the philosophy of sport and the philosophy of Olympism, while J. Kosiewicz’s publications concern mainly anthropological, axiological and
methodological problems. A. Przyłuska-Fiszer’s and B. Misiuna’s works deal with ethical
issues; J. Mosz’s works concern the aesthetics; while J. Bittner’s writes on anthropological
and cultural ones. In B. Urbankowski’s writings the issues connected with the theory, ethics and mythology of sport prevail and in M. Zowisło’s considerations that is a many-sided
contextual characteristics of various forms of the dialogue-taking place between philosophy and sport.
The views of the first two thinkers have been greatly influenced by their sociological
outlook. They are co-creators of the Polish school of the sociology of sport and its development has been especially contributed by Zbigniew Krawczyk. An especially important
role in the development of the sociology of sport on the international arena has been played
by Andrzej Wohl, who contributed to the International Sociology of Sport Association’s
coming into being. He was the first chairman of this organization for many years and then
its Honorary President. He initiated also the establishment of an international journal (first
a yearbook, then a half-a-yearbook and finally a quarterly) dedicated to the sociology of
sport, entitled International Review for Sociology of Sport. He held the post of Chief Editor
for seventeen years. Krawczyk was first the secretary and then the deputy chief editor of
this periodical, he also became an honorary member of the above-mentioned organization.
In 2004 he was also made an honorary member of the European Association for Sociology
of Sport.
The main academic writings and institutional successes of both thinkers are connected
first of all with the sociology of sport and just that discipline has left its impression on
the shape of their views and the way they formulated them both in the formal and the
content-related sense. Their statements in the field of the philosophy of physical culture has
a preparatory character and they prove that they attempted to introduce into the area of the
theory of physical culture and physical culture sciences basic information concerning various philosophical branches, currents and theories, and assimilate them.
The first of the above-mentioned – Andrzej Wohl – proclaimed that after the period of
the development of the biological, the pedagogical and the methodological currents in physi-
cal culture sciences the time for generalizations and philosophical syntheses, embracing all
specialized branches of those sciences, had come. The philosophy of physical culture should
distinguish such sets of issues as the origin of physical culture and regularities of its development, connections between physical culture and work and play, connections between physical culture and military affairs, the problem of sports spectacularism, cultural significance of
sport from the viewpoint of contemporary fashion and of architecture of cities and housing
estates, the problem of social bonds and to embrace those issues with its interest.41
Wohl was the first on the Polish ground to examine and explain all those issues as
well as all manifestations of physical culture, similarly in culture more generally, from the
viewpoint of the assumptions of Marxist historical materialism and dialectical materialism
of Soviet provenance. On that basis, he created his conceptions in the field of the sociology
and then of the philosophy of physical culture. The subjects of the solutions made from
the Marxist viewpoint began mainly: methodology of research, biosocial bases of physical
exercises, genesis, transformations and various forms of sport (such as, inter alia, the Olympic movement, working class sport or sport in conditions of the socialist society). Wohl
was also interested in problems of war and peace and in their connections with physical
education as a manifestation of physical culture.42
Wohl’s work was also an attempt to explain human movement activity as an activity which is significant not only from the viewpoint of its physiological or biomechanical
functions, but also from the viewpoint of its emotional or aesthetical and, especially, informational contents. Due to it, Wohl formulated a theory of motor activity and he attempted
on this ground to overcome a traditional, naturalist conception of the human being’s movement activity, treating language and verbal expressions as instruments of activity understood as components of the subject’s motor mechanism being specific for homo sapiens and
constituting the basis for interpersonal communication.
His conception is permeated with the idea of the unity between consciousness and
movement acts, of their co-dependence and co-operation in the process of constituting individual and social praxis. Wohl again referred in this case to the Soviet science, to the
conceptions of I.M. Syetchenov and I.P. Pavlov, who pointed out that on the basis timeconditional connections as signals of the first degree a secondary signalization system came
into being – a system of sounds being an interpretation and verbal-visual generalization of
direct perceptions transmitted by the first system of signals.43
Krawczyk, on the other hand, proposed another attempt to constitute the philosophy of
physical culture as an autonomous research discipline. Incidentally, the creation of a new
autonomous branch of philosophy is a long-term affair and it demands increased activity
of many specialists being able to dedicate their time to the chosen field. Hence the theoreticians setting themselves such a task face, first of all, the need of creation of some more or
less general project inspiring for further development of a given field. Krawczyk, referring
to Wohl’s views as of a generally postulative character and to his sociological and ideological orientation, aspired however to redefine the theoretical foundations of the said field
in a way separated from the orthodox determinants of Soviet Marxism, which came into
existence after the period of “the Great Breakthrough”; that is, within the framework of the
doctrine of so-called MELS (the doctrine of Marx-Engels-Lenin-Stalin).
The conception proposed by Krawczyk attempts to go beyond the existing political
dogmas, referring to various orientations from the field of various academic theories from
the range of the sociology of culture of Western provenance. It exerted an influence on a
new shape of the theory of physical culture. It can be said that a step towards that new vision was a book of sociological provenance (from the field of the history of social sciences)
dedicated to theoretical controversies of the predecessors of the present-day physical culture sciences and especially of theoreticians of physical education (Natura, kultura, sport
/Nature, Culture, Sport/).44 His later views were presented by Krawczyk in a collective
work entitled Filozofia i socjologia kultury fizycznej /Philosophy and Sociology of Physical
Culture/ 45 and in a book Studia z filozofii i socjologii kultury fizycznej /Studies on the Philosophy and Sociology of Physical Culture46. They point out to his sources of inspiration,
to a close connection between his philosophical reflection and the sociology of physical
Krawczyk proclaims that the modern theory of physical culture, because of interdisciplinary character of knowledge, is forced to look for its foundations in philosophy in order
to find the source, inspiration and arguments justifying its own standpoint. He is of an
opinion that an especially important role in the philosophy of physical culture is played by
ontological, anthropological, gnoseological and methodological problems.
It is not, however, a fully sufficient evaluation, since it does not take into account the fact
that an important function in the philosophy of physical culture is played also by axiological,
ethical, aesthetical, social (regarded from the viewpoint of social philosophy) and religious
problems – the last of them especially because of Western conceptions of the human body
media mediated in religious ideas and beliefs from the Hellenic period to the present time
(considered from the viewpoint of the philosophy of religion). Later however Krawczyk enriched his philosophical viewpoint with axiological and ethical considerations.
Ontological problems enable – according to Krawczyk’s opinion – to interpret the human world as a reality being in constant motion and change, they constitute a starting point
to learn dialectical and evolutional reflection on man and his products. It places man in the
universe and in the surrounding world of nature, it treats man as a being simultaneously
subordinated to nature and changing its laws, gaining his identification thanks to the natural
unity and, at the same time, thanks to his autonomy gained through culture.
In the range of anthropological problems there are, on the other hand, problems connected with explaining man’s attitude to nature, to society and culture and to himself. They
constitute an especially important component of the philosophy of physical culture since
man in his phylo- and ontogenesis, as an integrated bio psychical, social and cultural being,
constitutes the foundation of the basic categories of the discussed field. We might think of
this analogously as a buckle; fastening various themes and aspects included in a thematic
current conceived in such a way is the category of personality.
Gnoseological problems in the field of the philosophy of physical culture which are
taken up by Krawczyk are connected mainly with considerations concerning the psychophysical conception of man, the issue of mutual dependence between matter (or, to say it
more strictly, with matter on the highest level of organization) and the psyche, or – speaking more generally – consciousness in its individual and social dimension.47 Both gnoseological and ontological (as well as anthropological) problems were treated by Krawczyk as
methodological directives for explorations in the area of researches on physical culture.48
Krawczyk focused his philosophical interests mainly on anthropological problems,
which were presented by him in papers concerning the axiology and the ontology of the
body. He distinguished – while examining human corporeality from the axiological viewpoint – instrumental and autotelic values of the body taking into account the basic aim
human bodies are subordinated to. In the first case the body functions as a means, a tool
making it possible to achieve non-corporeal values inter alia of an economic kind (an instrument of work), a military kind (an instrument of fight), etc. On the other hand, autotelic
values are present when conscious cultivation of the body as a value in itself is practiced.
They are connected with the fitness of the human organism and with developing it because
of existential, hedonist or aesthetic reasons as a disinterested creative element of the lifestyle, as a complementation of the versatile man’s development.49
In his considerations on the ontology of the body Krawczyk emphasized five following
issues concerning: a) dependence of the bodily build on the socio-ecological structure, b)
the technique of using the body, c) control of the body, d) the body as a sign, e) patterns of
bodily culture.50
In Kraczyk’s works philosophical aspects of reflection on sport also appear. He interprets it as a cultural phenomenon with lucid, phenomenological, psychoanalytical anthropological/cultural, semiotic, structural/functional, dialectical and axiological categories. In
his writings it is also possible to perceive methodological considerations on the theory of
physical culture, its development in Poland, and its connection with the theory of physical
education.51 He has presented also an attempt to structure physical culture science.52
In recent years, his research (especially in the period 1993-2003) has been dedicated by
Krawczyk to inquiries in the realm of the sociology of physical culture and the sociology
of nation. He has paid also attention to problems of the development of sociology in Poland
as well as to basic sociological issues as a co-author and a co-editor of collection works,
handbooks, the editor of Encyklopedia kultury fizycznej /Encyclopaedia of Physical Culture/ (Warszawa 1998) and the author of Sport w zmieniającym się społeczeństwie /Sport in
Changing Society/ (Warszawa 2000).
Recapitulating Krawczyk’s and Wohl’s views, it can be pointed out that both sociologists
of sport dedicated their most interesting texts in the field the philosophy of physical culture to
anthropological problems. The first of them concentrated on the issues concerning the human
body, especially on its ontology and axiology. The second, on the other hand, focused his attention on connections between the body and consciousness. He situated his considerations
on the ground of Syechev’s and Pavlov’s behaviourism. Krawczyk supported them (probably
unintentionally) with the behavioural definition of physical culture referring to Kłoskowska’s
views. He postulated also, following Wohl’s example, the need of creating and developing the
general theory and then the philosophy of physical culture. Nowadays he is backing out from
it because of – as he maintains – ideological, pro-Soviet roots of the notion of physical culture
and he proclaims, according to a Western and better and better established tendency, the need
of shaping and developing the philosophy of sport.
This conception displays ambivalent attitudes in Poland, since, firstly, the philosophy
of physical culture (or philosophical reflection on physical culture) develops in Poland
in a way independent from the post-Stalinist ideology, referring to more recent Western
philosophical trends. Moreover, the very notion of physical culture comes from the turn
of the 19th and the 20th century – it was used in France, England and Germany as well as
by marshal Józef Piłsudski. It is, due to it – in its genetic sense – a means of conveying
of not only Soviet cultural values. The notion of physical culture is in principle identical
with the notion of sport functioning in Western literature, since the latter refers to top sport
(professional, Olympic) and sport for all, which includes the other forms of movement
activity connected with physical culture. In the future the notion of physical culture will
be probably replaced by the notion of sport (although it does not seem necessary). Maybe,
because of the need of closer integration of Poland with Western institutions in the sphere
of scientific activity a unification of terms and notions from the range of the philosophy of
physical culture and the philosophy of sport will take place, but it does not prove the necessity of breaking up with the hitherto achievements and tradition.
Jerzy Kosiewicz is Zbigniew Krawczyk’s close collaborator (disciple and doctoral
student). Within the range of his interests there are, inter alia – as it has already been
mentioned – axiological problems connected with looking for and studying the source and
sense of values in physical culture. He deals also with issues from the field of philosophical anthropology, with the analysis of human being in the light of the dynamic theory of
man, with the interpretation of the subject as a being composed of three ontic layers: the
relational (social) one, the ideal (mental) one and the material one. It created a basis for the
formulation of conceptions of personality and health of ontic and phenomenal status on the
ground of physical culture. They are understood as beings which appear or not and, if they
exist, as ontic facts mediated in man and in society, which means that they can be examined
from the ontological viewpoint.
Personality and health understood in such a way are the basis for the philosophically
interpreted pedagogy of physical culture – the field which aims at educating, developing
and improving man according to the assumed ends and ideals of education referring to
axiology– the source and the sense of physical culture values. Reflection on the pedagogy
of physical culture has been interpreted in the light of general assumptions of Hessen’s
philosophy of culture and pedagogy as a part of the philosophy of physical culture – that is,
as philosophy realizing the assumed world of values, changing on that ground ontic layers
of the human individual, health and the personality, creating and shaping man as the subject
of culture and civilization.
Kosiewicz’s sphere of interests has embraced also methodological issues; that is, the
analysis of the logical structure of optimizing propositions of the pedagogy of physical
culture on the basis of the theory of physical education and other sub-disciplines included
in that pedagogy (health education, education through sport, pedagogy in its praxeological
interpretation, theory of training, theory of sport contest). As a result of the pointed out
research, he has come to a conclusion that the pedagogy of physical culture (and its subdisciplines) is a classic practical discipline where aims, sets of values, ideals of education,
personality and health of teleological and optimizing character are constructed and ways of
their realization, fields and variants of practical activities are determined.53
The discussed author is of an opinion that the foundations of anthropological assumptions of physical culture are constituted by a conception of man taking into account his
physical – that is, corporeal – base. It results, among other things, from the fact, that physical culture is understood also as somatic culture, bodily culture (incidentally Kosiewicz
opposes using the term somatic culture or bodily culture, which is expressed by him in his
text Rozważania o pojęciu i metodologii kultury fizycznej /Considerations on the Notion
and Methodology of Physical Culture/). Due to it, considerations on human corporeality are
treated as researches of fundamental significance for physical education, which constitutes
a genetic – that is, possessing the character of the source or basis of physical culture and
the connected disciplines.
Kosiewicz focuses also his attention on the problems of the body in Christian anthropology examined from the historical point of view. It concerns, first of all, three books,
which have been reissued several times: Bóg, cielesność i przemoc /God, Corporeality
and Violence/ (1997), Myśl wczesnochrześcijańska i katolicka wobec ciała /Early Christian and Catholic Thought in Its Relation towards the Body/ (1998) and Bóg, cielesność i
miłość /God, Corporeality and Love/ (1998), embracing over three millennia of religious
thought, theology and philosophy created within European culture. There he paid attention
to Judaist and Hellenic roots of Christian anthropology as well as to the early Christian
basis of the development of Catholic conceptions of man and diverse attitudes towards
the human body. He has presented also an analysis of the contemporary form of Catholic
anthropology pointing out to significant effects and consequences of biblical influences and
of religious influences of Greek and Roman antiquity. He has also discussed the attitude of
the Russian Orthodox Church and of Protestantism towards the human body and its needs.
Considerations on roots and various forms of Christian anthropology – and especially on
conceptions of the human body – are especially helpful to explain a negative attitude of
Christian churches towards corporeality, physical culture, physical education, sport, tourism and recreation which has lasted for almost two thousand years. It refers to the patristic
– early Christian period, to the Middle Ages, to the modern times and the present day. That
explanation is necessary to understand reasons of the revision of that attitude, which took
place in Catholicism, in the Orthodox Church and in Protestantism in the 20th century, and
of considerable affirmation of the body and his needs connected with various forms of
physical culture.
At the present moment he and the team are coming to the end of the final stage of the
research concerning corporeality and physical culture from the viewpoint of independent
– non-religious – Western philosophy aspiring for the synthesis enabling to define the relations taking place between conceptions of the body and physical education, physical culture
and sport. He has begun also a new philosophical and sociological team research based on
an international (German, Austrian, Hungarian, Czech, Estonian, Russian and Polish) staff.
In the course of the research it was joined by other eminent experts on broadly understood
physical culture from Australia, England, Scotland, Japan and Denmark. The research concern Values and Cultural Patterns in Sport which came into being in Athenian civilization
(e.g. those of a perfectionist, a utilitarian, a military, a hygienic, an aesthetic, a hedonist, an
erotic, a religious, an Olympic kind), which nowadays are present in an archetypical and
modified form and which has contributed to the appearance of new values and patterns.
Summing up, it can be proclaimed that two significant currents have appeared in Kosiewicz’s considerations. The first, the basic one, has embraced three spheres of interests
– that is, issues connected with: a) physical education and sport, b) with general theory,
methodology and philosophy of physical culture and c) with philosophical anthropology
focused on the philosophy of the body. Due to it, he concentrated his attention on, inter alia,
conceptions of man, personality and health underlying the theory of physical education;
on social, pedagogical, methodological and axiological (concerning the sense and source
of values) assumptions of physical culture and of its particular branches, on the role of the
pedagogue of sport and Olympic education, on ethical aspects of sports activity (including
the meaning of the fair play principle); on manifestations of social pathology in sport; on
functions of free time, tourism, children and youth holidays and of sport for all. He has also
paid attention to the aesthetics and structure of the sports spectacle; to systemic transformations of physical culture and sport in Poland; to the significance of sport in the process
of European integration; to the development and forms of the philosophy of physical cul-
ture and the philosophy of sport; to the genesis of the Olympic Games perceived from the
viewpoint of religious and philosophical conceptions of the body; to the Christian attitude
towards corporeality, sport and Olympic competitions; to ethical aspects of sport activity;
to sources and transformations of the conception of the body in European philosophy; to
the philosophy of the body in the Hellenic period, in early Christianity, in the Orthodox
Church, Protestant and Catholic thought.
The second current, on the other hand, has had a supplementary character, situated in
the margin of the fundamental considerations. It was connected with enquiries in the fields
of the philosophy of religion, culture and nature, the theory of values, general methodology and the theory of theatre. However, that exploratory current was significant for the
fundamental research connected with reflection on physical culture, since it enabled the
working out of a broader humanistic perspective, and a deepening of the analytic and the
holistic viewpoint. It was reflected both in the formal – theoretical and methodological –
background of considerations and in factual arguments.
Philosophically interpreted issues of physical culture also interest Ireneusz Bittner.54
He examines them mainly from anthropological and cultural viewpoint. He treats physical culture as a sphere of psychophysical human activity. He assumes that it performs a
function of means enabling man to influence himself, to make life safe and tolerable, to
“handle” the surrounding world. Due to this, Bittner analyses physical culture from the
viewpoint of situational and existential human behaviours. He aims to show the place of
issues of physical culture in the area of philosophical/anthropological problems as well as
to show the connected question of human attitudes and activities related to the body and
making it – as it was expressed by Nicola Abbagana – “the way of being in the world”.
Bittner concentrates understanding of physical culture on such notions as: activity, attitude, individual, personality, person and he points out to their exploratory power (although
he signalizes also their applicative aspects). He goes beyond narrow, reductionist borders of
sociological interpretations, beyond the categories of attitudes and activities characteristic
for behavioural tendencies. This implicates, in his opinion, the interpretation of physical
culture with axiological categories – that is, with the categories of needs and obligations
functioning in the world of values.
Alicja Przyłuska-Fiszer, on the other hand, deals first of all with ethical aspects of
sport.55 In her research reflection of the following questions seems especially important.
First, the problem of psychological, sociological and social conceptions of understanding
the human body and of their various possible interpretative layers needs to be apprehended.
At this point an influence of diverse philosophical perspectives (concerning conceptions
of man) on shaping the contemporary way of understanding the body in physical culture,
sport and medicine is important. It concerns, first of all, implications resulting from Cartesian dualist conception emphasizing the rift between the spiritual substance and the bodily
substance and from the phenomenological perspective, which demands to define the man
as an embodied subject.
Secondly, philosophical and ethical implications of models of the man assumed in
the theory of physical culture and sport; consequences resulting from using two different
models – namely the biomechanical model, assuming that the man is a properly functioning
body, and the axiocultural model, taking into account not only biological facts, but also the
inner world of the human being’s experiences and entanglement with cultural systems of
values. Thirdly, there is recognition of the problem of the axiological entanglement of the
notion of health, the ideal of psychophysical fitness and the vision of the ideal human body.
Fourthly, the conception of the body as the human being’s “property” and its implications
in the field of moral problems of physical culture and medicine (e.g. of medical genetics)
is observed. The problem of the value of the human body, responses to the questions if the
body can have a value independently from the value of a person, if it can be treated like an
object and if it is possible to point out and morally substantiate the limits of instrumental
treatment of the body seem Przyłuska-Fiszer to be especially important.
She focuses her attention on the analysis of the argument over the legitimacy of ways
of interpreting and range of possible limits of instrumental treatment of the body in sport
and physical culture. Due to it, she takes into account issues connected with doping in elite
(professional, Olympic) sport and in sport for all.
Jakub Mosz characterizes the sports phenomenon with aesthetic categories56 and studies genological (genre-related) qualities of films on the subject of sport and the presence of
top sport in Polish documentary and feature films,57 whereas Bohdan Misiuna concentrates
on issues of fair play and connections of the ethos of chivalry with the situation of sports
fight or rivalry.58 Bohdan Urbankowski is interested in connections taking place between
philosophical anthropology and the general theory of sport. He studies directions of researches in this area.59 He makes also an attempt to change the general theory of sport
into the basis for or a sketch of the philosophy of sport60 and he is interested in ethics and
mythology of sport.61
An extremely important role in creating the philosophy of physical culture is played in
Poland by Józef Lipiec, who has been practicing philosophical reflection on sport and Olympism for many years. Its expressions are collective works edited by him: Duch sportu /The
Spirit of Sport/ and Logos i etos polskiego olimpizmu /Logos and Ethos of Polish Olympism/
– a great work expounding Polish humanistic – and especially philosophical – reflection on
sport in the fullest way so far.62 In his researches J. Lipiec considers also questions concerning
antinomies of physical education,63 relations between sport and peace,64 contemporary interpretation of sport65 or interpretation of its phenomena with Kantian categories.
An important contribution to the philosophy of physical culture is constituted also by
an excellent monograph entitled Kalokagatia /Kalokagathia/, showing the place of sport in
Hellenic culture, in ancient paideia, awarded the Olympic Laurel in 1988.66 Special roles in
Lipiec’s research achievements and in the philosophy of physical culture as such is played
by Filozofia olimpizmu /Philosophy of Olympism/.67 It stands out thanks to its attempt to introduce philosophical thinking into reflection on sport as discursive/cognitive consideration
immanently and organically linked with it. In other philosophical considerations on sport
philosophy was used as a means, an external instrument in order to understand and explain
practical manifestations of physical culture. Lipiec treats philosophy as an element internally consistent with the subject which is discussed by it. The Kraków scholar has undertaken an idea difficult to realize – to build the philosophy of Olympism without the philosophy of sport and, more general, without the philosophy of physical culture. He has fulfilled
that task in an excellent way, since he was not solving problems from their foundations and
gradually, first building the philosophy of physical culture and then the philosophy of sport,
what would make it impossible to articulate the philosophy of Olympism (which was to be
created first of all) in foreseeable time. Thus the author himself has formulated extensive –
and necessary for the presentation of the main current of considerations – Prolegomena to
the Philosophy of Sport, embedding both reflection on sport as well as on Olympic sport in
the context of the philosophy of culture, which has the philosophy of physical culture as its
derivative, since physical culture is an integral part of culture in general.
It was facilitated by his main philosophical interests expressed in numerous books in
the field of social philosophy, the philosophy of values and philosophical anthropology. It
enabled the first in Polish literature full presentation of issues and problems constituting
contemporary philosophical reflection on sport.
The philosophy of Olympism which has been constructed by him takes up, within the
framework of an original author’s analysis, the most important problems connected with
the nature of sport, his ethical and aesthetical values and dangers to non-regulated, noncodified rules of gentlemanly behaviour during sports rivalry – that is, to dangers concerning the essence of fair play and the athlete’s subjectivity. Lipiec takes also up problems
connected with the antinomy of freedom and discipline, connections between sport and its
ecological and architectonical setting, creation of health, fitness and beauty of the body in
movement, in the course of the spectacle. He discusses also, in the cognitive and postulative sense, an immemorial question of the nobility of the moral deed in sport admired by
millions of people in the whole world.
The philosophy of Olympism answers a simple question: why sport has become an
extremely popular and important field of world culture? What are its evolutionary and historical roots? What is its future? Is sport worth practicing and why? Does it befit to treat
its champions as mythical heroes, symbols of yearning for “superman”? Is sport a Great
Experiment testing in an attractive form, the abilities of our species?
It follows from that that Lipiec does not treat sport as exoticism or at the margins
of purely philosophical considerations. He treats sport as a significant, autonomous and,
simultaneously, gradually discovered, explained area of deeper and deeper philosophical
penetration. His research is testimony to this importance in a reliable and excellent way. He
treats sport – both in the phenomenal (as a phenomenon) and the theoretical (in the shape
of practical, praxeological and pragmatic reflection on it) forms – as an ontological fact in
the material and consciousness-related sense. Sport is in fact for him an integral – merged
into a unity – fragment of the ontology of the social being.
Relations taking place between philosophy and sport are discussed also by Maria Zowisło
in a superb, deepened in a philosophical sense, book entitled Filozofia i sport. Horyzonty dialogu /Philosophy and Sport. Horizons of Dialogue/.68 The central theme of her work is a specifically understood dialogue between philosophy and sport, which has been taking place in
the history of the latter and in humanistic reflection on it. Zowisło treats it as an imaginary
symposium, as an intellectual feast imagined in imitation of the magnificent philosophical
meeting of Greeks. Philosophy – what is justified, since it is rooted in its own ample tradition
of the art of dialectics and dialoguing – is at the forefront of that conversation, although its full
attention is directed at those ideas which are suggested by sport. Those ideas are the idea of
knowledge (on the world and on the human potential), virility, virtue and pedagogy, exercise
and ascetism, nature and culture as well as their possible or impossible integration, game
and play, ethos and myth, corporeality and life. While talking to each other about them, their
senses and history of those senses, sport and philosophy consider the possibility of integration
of their own traditions; that is, archetypes founded on the tradition of Olympia and Academy
(the Olympic Games and the Platonic Academy); they take also (and maybe first of all) into
account the problem of man himself, the author of many cultural creations including sport and
philosophy as recognized elements of that set.69 Zowisło is of the opinion that man is problem-
atic, since he is a being mysterious for himself and a problematizing being – one that is able
of becoming astonished, asking questions, doubting, uncertain of nature and the sense of the
world he inhabits. While penetrating mysteries of being, man has created not only daring generalized theories and artworks, but also the phenomenon of sport, as if he wanted to stand up
to the impenetrable not only with his mind and imagination, but also with his body. From this
viewpoint sport is – according to her opinion – not only an excellent and noble school (with
the tradition as old as the tradition of philosophy) of beauty, fitness and power of the human
body, but first of all a required reading of humanity.
Problems of physical culture and sport are more and more often taken up in a systematic way by Christian philosophers, introducing into the field of the philosophy of physical culture new significant conceptions and solutions. Due to it, independently from their
other research interests, they are included to a small circle of philosophers of physical
culture and sport. It refers especially to Catholic thinkers – to Stanisław Kowalczyk (from
the Catholic University of Lublin and the Stanisław Wyszyński University) and Mirosław
Mylik (from the Stanisław Wyszyński University) and to a representative of Protestantism – Zachariasz Łyko from the Christian Theological Academy).
Stanisław Kowalczyk, while considering issues specific for physical culture, has assumed – as the basis for his inquiries – a philosophical option and methodology without
interspersing them with the religious order. He has taken up, first of all, problems of the
philosophy of sport emphasising mainly its cultural, anthropological/personalistic, teleological/social and ethical problems connected inter alia with the fair play principle.70
He proclaims that it is commonly assumed that the philosophy of sport is a part of the
philosophy of physical culture and, more generally, of the philosophy of culture as such.
That ascertainment demands, according to his opinion, to be specified more precisely. He
thinks that culture is closely connected with man as its subject and creator. Every form of
culture is created by man, who is a rational and free agent. Hence physical culture finds its
source in the human person’s fundamental needs and aspirations. The character and sense
of physical culture are understandable only when man’s nature is interpreted in the integral/
personal dimension. Thus the adequate formulation of the philosophy of sport demands
referring to its anthropological/personalistic foundations.
Sport, according to Kowalczyk’s interpretation, includes all forms of social activity,
spontaneous or organised, aimed at expression or improvement of fitness and the achievement of good mental state through this activity as well as those aspiring for the creation of
qualitatively new interpersonal relations and for the best possible achievements in competition on all levels of rivalry.
That interpretation emphasizes mainly aims of sport as well as pays attention to its social dimension. Kowalczyk points out that when we have in mind the subject of practicing
sport, we can talk about individual sport and team sport, recreational/amateur sport and top/
professional sport, elite sport and mass sport, active and passive sport. Strictly speaking,
real sport consists – according to Lublin scholarly opinion – in active participation, whereas
all those who watch sports events in stadiums, ski jumps, TV screens, etc. are concerned
only with passive sport. Sport is always an attribute of the human world and hence it is a
specific form of culture.
Cognitive personality/creative values are not the only consequence of sports activity.
An important role in the human being’s life is played by moral values, which are also a
precondition of practicing sport. Sports training – Kowalczyk maintains – demands per-
fectionism, accuracy and consistency of performance, patience, perseverance, resilience to
tiredness and pain, it demands also the will to survive and consequent aspiring for the victory or another form of success. The athlete should be also characterized by courage, which
is necessary in the course of rivalry with other competitors or in confrontation with powers
of nature. It is even repeatedly said – as it is emphasised by this eminent Catholic philosopher – that asceticism is needed to practice sport: both of an achievement-oriented and an
amateur kind. Sport indubitably requires inner self-discipline, ability to direct one’s own
body and its needs, ability to restrict oneself, to respect the coach’s orders. Simultaneously
it is sublimation of the aggression instinct, since it demands the ability to self-control. That
is why it is possible to say about the pedagogical and the perfectionist function of sport.
Active sports involvement requires social integration according to Kowalczyk. Sports
competitions are always participated by a smaller or greater group of contestants, which
requires from competitors the ability to communicate, to realise assigned tasks, to obey the
coach, etc. The sports group is similar to the orchestra, where every player must synchronize his or her activities with those of others. In some sense sport is a school of democracy,
since everyone can aspire for the victory and winning medals. Sports rivalry is not a brutal
struggle, since the fair play principle is in force there. Sports politeness is a specific continuation of medieval chivalry towards the opponent. Sport performs an important sociointegrative function on the micro- and the macro scale: it integrates the sports team, makes
athletes from the whole country spiritually closer to each other, finally it contributes to the
fraternity of people of various nations and races. Sports’ Olympic Games are the best confirmation of this statement.
Sport, as every human activity, is liable to moral estimation. Thus it is not surprising,
Kowalczyk states, that an integral element of the philosophy of sport is ethics. Humanist/
personalistic philosophy of sport, which is adhered by Kowalczyk, recognizes the primacy
of ethics over the rules of sport. The ethics of sport may not limit itself to sociological
description of contemporary athletes’ behaviour, but it should formulate stable norms of
conduct. The aim of sport should always be the good of the human being qua person; that is
why sports ethos is to protect every competitor’s life and dignity. Basic values and norms of
the ethics of sport include inter alia: honesty, justice, fair play, friendship, respect for other
competitors, culture of speaking, reliability, discipline, obedience to the leader of the group,
will to win, but also readiness to accept defeat, ability to cooperate, perseverance, selfcontrol. Sports’ ethos should not only have a pragmatic and utilitarian character, but rather
should appeal to universal human fraternity and to the idea of loving the human being.
Kowalczyk is of an opinion that the philosophy of sport is an important form of physical culture. Its point of gravity is aimed at the activity of the body, which is always considered in the context of the whole human person. The subject and the aim of sport is, first of
all, man. That is why the depersonalization of sports activity leads to serious dangers. Sport
is a part of human culture. Hence it may not distance itself from moral/spiritual culture of
the human being as a person. It refers both to amateur/recreational sport and to top/professional sport. The domain of sport must not be an axiological desert. Sport is created by man
and for man’s physical and moral good. Separating philosophical reflection on sport from
assumptions of personalism utterly shatters – according to the Christian thinker – the sense
of the philosophy of sport, which has the rationalization and humanization of this extremely
important sphere of human activity sport indubitably is as its significant aims. The philosophy of sport can be created only as based on anthropological/personal premises. Such
doctrinal/systemic context demands however from sport not to restrict oneself to solely
quantitative development of human abilities, since it should be also qualitative/personal
Mirosław Mylik has also taken up philosophical issues of sport,71 treating them, similarly as Kowalczyk, as central and basic for the philosophy of physical culture in general.
He united in his consideration – this time unlike Kowalczyk – the philosophical order with
religious values (and values characteristic for Parafiada competitions. He decided to define
sport from a metaphysical viewpoint based on Thomistic assumptions, to point out from an
objective and essence-related – according to his opinion – perspective of what sport really
consists in, what sense (aim) motivates it, what possibilities and limits of development it
has, what threatens it, and so on.
Mylik points out to fallibility of popular and scientific cognition and, due to it, he
argues for the necessity of reflecting on sport “within the framework of classic philosophy
(metaphysics)”; that is, he argues for the superiority of intuitive cognition, which – according to, for example, Plato – directly gets to the essence of things and which was radically
countered by Aristotle. Discovering by means of it the essence of sport enables – according
to his opinion – to show all possibilities and irreplaceable necessity of sport in the human
life and to delineate the final limits of sports improvement. It enables also to define the
sense and aim of sport and, as a consequence, social and religious dangers from the perspective of the religious destiny.
Mylik thinks that positive and negative influences of sport concern not only the nature
and aim of human existence, but also morality. He considers ethical issues from the viewpoint of Thomistic foundations of the Catholic Church’s teachings. He comes to a conclusion, introducing sports activity on the ground of religious experience, that not only the
man’s fate, but also the man-athlete’s fate is dependent on practicing the proper ethics; that
is, the Christian ethics. Due to it, Mylik’s reflection on sport gains not only a philosophical
dimension, but also a doctrinal, theological dimension. In Mylik’s philosophy we have to
do, on the one hand, with philosophy referring to the methodology of the humanities and,
on the other hand, with a standpoint characterized by visible presence of Catholic axiology and connected principles of evaluating ethical norms. It is a deliberate idea of Mylik,
who consequently aims not only at explaining, understanding sport on the basis of the
philosophical system he accepts, but also at defining its qualities and possibilities from the
perspective of confessional practice. In fact, that explanation aims at promoting a religious
worldview: it performs a subordinate and instrumental function; it is not – in the cognitive
sense – an end in itself. One of the examples of that form of activity, of realization of philosophical, theological and ethical assumptions of sport, is – according to his opinion – the
Parafiada competitions movement, taking up teachings of the Second Vatican Council,
referring somehow to ancient and contemporary Olympic ideals.
Zachariasz Łyko, a protestant philosopher and theologian (connected with the Church
of Seventh-Day Adventists), after having written some texts on sport and health from the
viewpoint of Christian values,72 presented a major treatise in the form of a book Filozofia
rekreacji, sportu i turystyki /Philosophy of Recrreation, Sport and Tourism/73. It had been
already heralded by earlier statements which were published in collective works of the
Salesian Sports Organisation.74 Łyko attributes to recreation the priority over such forms
of physical culture as sport and tourism. He proclaims that it is primary and basic in its
relation towards them and that both sport and tourism, and even art, derive just from it:
that reflection on particular above-mentioned fields refers to the reflection on recreation.
What, however, Łyko does not do is to consider two other sources of the origin of sport that
are notable. Namely it is said that it comes from military exercises based on striving for
perfectionism, from rivalry in the field of fitness and abilities concerning soldier’s practice
and that the beginning of sports agonistics on the highest level is also connected with religious ceremonies, which, in European culture, include the Olympic Games. Incidentally
both cult-related phenomena of religious character and, whether connected or independent,
Olympic Games and other sports competitions, as well as movement recreation and tourism occur in free time (except of professional sport, which is a form of very active and
exhausting work).
Moreover, taking into account relations taking place between recreation and tourism, it
is difficult to pronounce which of those forms was more primary. An intermediate solution
should be rather chosen – the solution pointing out to the coexistence of those two manifestations of physical culture in the form of recreational manifestations of tourism in the
genetic and functional sense.
Łyko’s considerations lack also the distinction between active and passive recreation
as well as between mental (that is, ideal) recreation as well as movement (physical, bodily,
concerning first of all the body) recreation (that is, sport for all) and relational recreation
(referring mainly to social relations). Sport, understood as sport on the highest level – taking into account the above diversification – would be connected, mainly in the contentrelated and source-related sense, with movement recreation as its possible, also not the only
(taking into account religious cult and military exercises), starting point.
Apart from that, it is worth emphasising that reflection on recreation, sport or tourism
should be however founded on reflection on free time, which constitutes the source of all
activity out of work. Incidentally, meditations on free time have an impressive philosophical library, which was started as early as in the times of Hellenic antiquity.
Łyko is of an opinion that the significance of recreation – that is, of its functions – is
momentous and many-sided and that within that many-sidedness there are not only important gnoseological (that is, cognitive) elements, but also axiological (especially ethical,
referring to the idea of good) and aesthetical ones. He proclaims that according to this
interpretation, the significance of recreation is essentially triple: first, it is the chance of
affirming good; second, the chance of negating evil; third – an educational factor. It is an
important element also of axiological nature.
Sport as psychosomatic and cultural human activity is – according to Łyko’s opinion
– the first and extremely developed branch of recreation, which is the most basic field of renewal of the man’s vital psychophysical powers in the course of processes of his existence,
development and education. If recreation is metaphorically imagined as a trunk rooted in
the natural, social and anthropological reality, sport – besides tourism and arts – is its first
and extremely luxuriantly developing bough.
That view unfortunately does not take into account a division into top sport and sport for
all. And sport for all – according to Teresa Wolańska – means the same as movement recreation or physical recreation.75 From that viewpoint it is impossible to maintain that recreation
is the source of sport, since sport itself is its own source, whereas its most sublime kinds
in the form of more or less spectacular sport on the highest level – that is, Olympic sport,
achievement-oriented sport or professional sport – originate either from sport for all, or from
religious cult, or from military exercises concerning fitness and movement abilities.
Zachariasz Łyko, while discussing the philosophy of sport, tries to pay attention to all
ontological, gnoseological (that is, epistemological) and axiological issues of sport as an extremely vigorous field of human activity which are basic according to his opinion. Thus,
he turns attention to the following questions: first, to human activity of psycho-somatic and
cultural kind; second, to activity aimed at constant increase of fitness and of its aesthetic
manifestation as well as at the achievement of the best possible results; third – to activity
practiced systematically according to definite rules; fourth – to activity where an element of
competition (rivalry) is present; fifth – to activity developed in the public environment; sixth
– to activity providing not only competitors, but also the public environment with definite
emotions and experiences; and, seventh – to activity creating mass entertainment, which is an
important cultural and civilisation-related element of the contemporary world. He also points
out ethical/moral values, which constitute a spiritual barrier against human dishonesty, commercialization of sports events, forbidden doping, release of aggression among the youth as
well as against brutalization, politicization and all other negative phenomena accompanying
– as he writes – noble feats of sports activists, athletes and competitors.
According to Łyko, tourism is the highest form of recreation, since he is of an opinion
that all elements of recreation are present not only in sport, but also in tourism, and that
here they undergo versatile development in quantitative, spatial and qualitative dimensions, and causative factors are: first – dynamized natural man’s needs; second – universal
accessibility of that form of human activity. All this, however seems disputable because of
the reasons presented above.
A rational, thinking and contemplating man is not only a playing man (homo ludens),
but also a wandering man (homo viator). There is a specific itinerant (nomadic) drive manifesting itself by the desire to travel (migrate), which is additionally enhanced by the inborn
mark of curiosity and will to get to know the surrounding world. If the itinerant drive – that
is, the need of travelling – has idiogenetic character; that is, it is immanently included in
human nature; it means that it has primary character and cannot be secondary in its relation
towards other needs realized in free time – that is, to any other forms of recreation or to
recreation in general.
Many researchers, as Łyko remarks, point out to a number of features setting tourism
apart from other forms of human activity. There are four of them: first – mobility; second –
evaluation of space; third – freedom of decision and choice; fourth – fulfilment of definite
psycho-somatic and cultural needs.
Christian thinkers’ considerations considerably enrich philosophical reflection on physical culture and sport (Kowalczyk and Mylik) as well as on recreation and tourism (Łyko).
Their great merit is formulating and solving problems from beyond the paradigm of persons
professionally connected with physical culture. Those research standpoints, which are different than the established paradigms, produce precious and invigorating controversies, and
stimulate for looking at well-known issues from a new perspective, for more insightful and
deeper analysis and even for changing research perspective.
I t refers to among others: Plato, Descartes, Friedrich von Schiller, Kenneth L. Schmitz, Johan Huizinga, Marshall McLuhan, Eugen Fink, Jean-Paul Sartre, Karl Jaspers, Gabriel Jaspers, George Santayana, etc. See inter
alia: Sport and the Body. A Philosophical Symposium. Edited by Ellen W. Gerber, Ph. D. Lea and Febiger,
Philadelphia, 1972.
ee Z. Krawczyk, „The Taking Shape of the Theory of Physical Culture in Poland. Preliminary Analysis of the
Problem”, Scientific Yearbook Academy of Physical Education in Warsaw, Vol. l, 1987, p. 19–29.
See B. Urbankowski, „Metafizyka ciała – krytyka i inspiracja” /”Metaphysics of the Body – Criticism and
Inspiration”/, Studia Filozoficzne, 1975, no. 2, p.112–113.
Cf. Z. Krawczyk, Socjologia Edwarda Abramowskiego /Edward Abramowski’s Sociology/, Warszawa KiW,
1965, p. 157–177.
E Abramowski, Źródła podświadomości i jej przejawy /Sources of Subconsciousness and Its Manifestations/.
Warszawa, 1914, p. 130.
Jan Paweł II, „Mężczyzną i niewiastą stworzył ich. Chrystus odwołuje się do „początku”” /”They Were Created as Man and Woman. Christ Invokes the “Beginning””/, In: The same author, Mężczyzną i niewiastą stworzył
ich. Chrystus odwołuje się do „początku”. O Jana Pawła II teologii ciała, LublIn, 1981, p. 19–82.
In 1984 a cycle of articles was published in 0sservatore Romano (also in its Polish version). It included the
next part of the theology of the body according to the interpretation of John Paul II: „Mężczyzną i niewiastą
stworzył ich. Chrystus odwołuje się do „serca”. O Jana Pawła II teologii ciała” /”They Were Created as Man
and Woman. Christ Invokes the “Heart”. On the Theology of the Body of John Paul II”/, Lublin 1987. Apart
from that, considerations on the pope’s theology of the body can be found inter alia in: I. Mroczkowski, Osoba
i cielesność. Moralne aspekty teologii ciała /Person and Corporeality. Moral Aspects of Theology of the Body/,
Płock 1984; J. Kosiewicz, Myśl wczesnochrześcijańska i katolicka wobec ciała /Early Christian and Catholic
Thought in Its Relation towards the Body/, Warszawa 1998; J. Kosiewicz, Bóg, cielesność i przemoc /God,
Corporeality and Violence/, Warszawa 1997; J. Kosiewicz, Bóg, cielesność i miłość /God, Corporeality and
Love/, Warszawa, 1998, 1999, 2000.
J. Śniadecki, O fizycznym wychowaniu dzieci /On Physical Education of Children/, Sanok, 1855.
Ibid., s 4–5.
P. Hessen, „Autobiografia” /”Autobiography”/, In: La pedagogica russa del XX secolo, Rzym, 1956, p. 9–62.
T. Nowacki, „Wstęp” /”Introduction”/, In: P. Hessen, Filozofia kultura, wychowanie, Warszawa 1973, p.
Ibid., p. XXIII.
S Hessen, „Podstawy pedagogiki” /”Rudiments of Pedagogy”/, In: Filozofia ..., p. 306.
Ibid., p. 306.
F. Znaniecki, Humanizm i poznanie /Humanism and Cognition/, Warszawa, 1912, p. 149.
The same author, Socjologia wychowania /Sociology of Education/, Vol. l, Warszawa, 1928, p. 25.
The same author, Socjologia wychowania /Sociology of Education, Vol.. 2, Warszawa, 1930, p.159.
Z. Krawczyk, Natura kultura sport. Kontrowersje teoretyczne w Polsce w okresie międzywojennym /Nature,
Culture, Sport. Theoretical Controversies in Poland in the Interwar Period/, Warszawa, 1970, p. 283.
F. Znaniecki, „Studia nad filozofią wartości. Elementy rzeczywistości praktycznej” /”Studies on the Philosophy of Values. Elements of Practical reality”/, Przegląd Filozoficzny 1912, p. 22.
The same author, Socjologia wychowania /Sociology of Education/, Vol. 2, op. cit., p. 248–249.
Polish philosophers of the present generation concentrate solely on studying one, but the most spectacular
element of physical culture – that is, sport – passing over other its elements and they do not describe their
researches with the name of the philosophy of physical culture. They usually pass over Polish specialist literature in the field of physical culture sciences.
It is worth emphasizing that the Polish tradition of the hygienic and health education movement was started by
Grzegorz Piramowicz, Jędrzej Śniadecki and the programme of the Committee of National Education.
See Z. Krawczyk, Natura, kultura..., p. 7 i 71–72; and: „Mowa prof. dr Henryka Jordana” /”Prof. Dr. Henryk
Jordan’s Speech”/, In: Zgromadzenie wyborców miasta Krakowa, Kraków, 1895, p. 39.
See Z. Krawczyk, Natura, kultura..., p. 7 i 71–72; and: „Mowa prof. dr Henryka Jordana”, In: Zgromadzenie
wyborców miasta Krakowa, Kraków, 1895, p. 39.
Cf. Z. Krawczyk, „Antynomie natury i kultury w polskiej teorii kultury fizycznej” /”Antinomies of Nature and
Culture in Polish Theory of Physical Education”/, Studia Filozoficzne, 1969, no. 3.
Z. Krawczyk, Natura, kultura…, p. 138.
Cf. Ibid., p. 317-318.
E. Piasecki – active before and during the interwar period – habilitated in the field of school hygiene at the Medical
Department of the Lwów University; held the post of an expert of the Section of Hygiene of the League of Nations;
got a degree of an ordinary professor in the field of school hygiene and the theory of physical education.
f. ibid., p. 210- 211.
See B. Suchodolski, Narodziny nowożytnej filozofii człowieka /Birth of Modern Philosophy of Man/, Warszawa,
1963. The author reconstructed the Renaissance ideal of man, which is mentioned in the main text.
W. Osmolski, „Stanowisko wychowania fizycznego w wychowaniu człowieka” /”Standpoint of Physical Education in Human Education”, Wychowanie Sportowe i Wojskowe, 1923, no. l, p. 3.
Z. Gilewicz, Teoria wychowania fizycznego /Theory of Physical Education/, Warszawa, 1964, p. 19.
Ibid., p. 39. Cf. A. Pawłucki, Ewolucja teorii wychowania fizycznego w naukach o kulturze fizycznej /Evolution of the Theory of Physical Education in Physical Culture Sciences/, Warszawa, 1982, p. 23–25.
M. Demel, A. Skład, Teoria wychowania fizycznego /Theory of Physical Education/, Warszawa, 1970, p. 11.
A. Pawłucki, Ewolucja..., p. 64–73; The same author, Wychowanie jako kulturowa rzeczywistość. Na
przykładzie wychowania do wartości ciała /Education as Cultural Reality. Using Education for Values of
the Body as an Example/, Gdańsk, 1992; The same author, Rozważania o wychowaniu /Considerations on
Education/, Gdańsk 1994; The same author, „Kulturowy paradygmat w pedagogice wartości ciała” /”Cultural
Paradigm in the Pedagogy of Values of the Body”/, In: Nieobecne dyskursy (red. Z. Kwieciński), Toruń, 1994:
The same author, Pedagogika wartości ciała /Pedagogy of Values of the Body/, Gdańsk, 1996; The same
author, Nauczyciel wobec wartości zdrowia – studium krytyczne /Teacher and Value of Health – a Critical
Study/, Gdańsk, 1997; The same author, Personalism for sport pedagogy, Gdańsk, 2003.
A. Pawłucki, Ewolucja..., p. 64–73; The same author, Wychowanie jako kulturowa rzeczywistość. Na
przykładzie wychowania do wartości ciała; The same author, Rozważania o wychowaniu; The same author,
Nauczyciel wobec wartości zdrowia – studium krytyczne.
K. Zuchora, Wychowanie w kulturze fizycznej /Education in Physical Culture/, Warszawa, 1980, p. 10.
The same author, „Wychowanie fizyczne jest tak dostępne, że nie dopuszcza żadnego wyjątku” /”Physical
Education Is So Accessible that It Does Not Permit Any Exception”/, Kultura Fizyczna, 1976, no. 9, p. 392.
The most important publications where Z. Dziubiński has taken up philosophical problems: “Zagadnienie
ludzkiego ciała w doktrynie Tomasza z Akwinu” /”The Issue of the Human Body in the Doctrine of Aquinas”/, Rocznik Teologiczny, ChAT, Warszawa 1986, p. 153-169; “Czy antropologia Jana Pawła II jest otwarta
na wartości kultury fizycznej?” /Is Anthropology of John Paul II Open for Values of Physical Culture?”/,
Kultura Fizyczna, Warszawa, 1989, no. 3-4, p. 8-11; “Wartości kultury fizycznej w tradycyjnej filozofii
chrześcijańskiej” /”Values of Physical Culture in Traditional Christian Philosophy”/, Sport Wyczynowy,
Warszawa, 1991, no. 1-2, p. 71-75; “Wartości ciała i kultury fizycznej we współczesnej filozofii katolickiej” /”Values of the Body and Physical Culture in Contemporary Catholic Philosophy”/, Roczniki Naukowe,
AWF, Warszawa 1992, p. 57-80; “Sport w wymiarze etycznym i religijnym”/”Sport in Ethical and Religious
Dimension, (In:) J. Lipiec (ed.), Logos i etos polskiego olimpizmu, Kraków, 1994, p. 279-286; “Katolicka
aksjologia ciała” /”Catholic Axiology of the Body”/, (In:) M. Barlak (ed.), Personalisticyczna wizja sportu,
SALOS RP, Warszawa, 1994, p. 77-91; “Rola kościołów chrześcijańskich w ideowej sanacji sportu” /”The
Role of Christatian Churches in the Ideological Reform of Sport”/, (In:) Z. Krawczyk, J. Kosiewicz, K.
Piłat (eds.), Sport w procesie Integracji europejskiej, AWF, Warszawa, 1998, p. 307-315; “Chrześcijańskie
stowarzyszenia kultury fizycznej III Rzeczypospolitej” /”Christian Associations of Physical Culture in the 3rd
Republic”/, (In:) Materiały Kongresu Sportu Polskiego, Spała, 1998, p. 181-188; “Studencka kultura fizyczna
na przełomie wieków. Próba diagnozy i propozycje zmian” /”Student Physical Culture at the Turn of the
Centuries. Attempted Diagnosis and Proposals of Changes”/, (In:) Z. Dziubiński, B. Gorski (eds.), Kultura
fizyczna studentów w okresie transformacji szkolnictwa wyższego w Polsce, Politechnika Warszawska,, 2000,
p. 148-164; “Prolegomena etyki sportu” /”Prolegomena to Sports Ethics”/, (In:) Aksjologia sportu, SALOS
RP, Warszawa 2001, p. 9-17; “Sport”, (In:) kp. A. Zwoliński, Encyklopedia nauczania Jana Pawła II, Polskie
Wydawnictwo Encyklopedyczne, Radom, 2003, p. 478-481.
A. Wohl, „Kierunek filozoficzny i społeczny w naukach o kulturze fizycznej” /”Philosophical and Social Current in
Physical Culture Sciences”/, In: Społeczne problemy kultury fizycznej. Wybór artykułów, Warszawa, 1968, p. 95.
The same author, „Wychowanie fizyczne dla wojny czy dla pokoju. Dwie odmienne tendencje i wizje sportu
i wychowania fizycznego” /”Physical Education for War or for Peace. Two Different Tendencies and Visions
of Sport and Physical Education”/, Kultura Fizyczna, 1986, no. 7–8.
See: A. Wohl, „Rola układu ruchowego w kształtowaniu poznania ludzkiego” /”Role of Motor System in
Shaping Human Cognition”/, Kultura Fizyczna 1961, no. 10, 11, 12 i 1962, no. l; The same author, Słowo
i ruch /Word and Movement/. Warszawa, 1965; The same author: Bewegung und Sprache. Schorndorf 1977;
J. Kosiewicz, „Zagubiony paradygmat – motoryczność ludzka” “Lost Paradigm – Human Motricity”,
Człowiek i światopogląd, 1984, no. 7.
Z. Krawczyk, Natura, kultura...
he same author, (ed.), Filozofia i socjologia kultury fizycznej /Philosophy and Sociology of Physical Culture/,
Warszawa, 1973.
The same author, Studia z filozofii i socjologii kultury fizycznej /Studies on the Philosophy and Sociology of
Physical Culture/, Warszawa, 1978.
Ibid., p. 152 – 153.
Ibid., p. 153.
Z. Krawczyk, „Aksjologia ciała” /”Axiology of the body”/, Roczniki Naukowe AWF w Warszawie, Vol. XXIV,
1979, p. 5 – 18.
The same author, „Ontologia ciała. Studium z pogranicza antropologii filozoficznej i kulturowej” /”Ontology of the Body. Study on the Borderland between Philosophical and Cultural Anthropology”/, Wychowanie
Fizyczne i Sport 1984, no. 2, p. 3 –19.
The same author, O kulturze fizycznej. Studia i szkice /On Physical Culture. Studies and Sketches/, Warszawa,
The same author, „Nauki o kulturze fizycznej. Próba strukturyzacji” /”Physical Culture Sciences. Attempted
Structuralisation’/, In: Filozofia kultury fizycznej. Koncepcje i problemy, Warszawa, 1990.
The issues characterised in the text have been presented inter alia in about two hundred papers and chapters
in journals and books (including some tens in foreign languages – mainly in English) and in the fullest way in:
J. Kosiewicz: Kultura fizyczna, osobowość, wychowanie. Zagadnienia metodologiczne /Physical Education,
Personality, Education. Methodological Issues/, J. Kosiewicz: Kultura fizyczna i sport w perspektywie filozofii
/Physical Culture and Sport from the Perspective of Philosophy/, Warszawa 2000, J. Kosiewicz, Sport in the
Mirror of Philosophy, Warsaw, 2004.
I. Bittner, Kultura fizyczna jako sfera psychofizycznej aktywności człowieka. Studia teoretyczno-metodologiczne /Physical Culture as a Sphere of Psychophysical Human Activity. Theoretical and Methodological Studies/, Łódź 1995; Cf.: J. Kosiewicz, „Czy filozofia kultury fizycznej jest możliwa?” /”Is the Philosophy of
Physical Culture Possible?”, Edukacja Filozoficzna, 1998, no. 25.
B. Misiuna, A. Przyłuska-Fiszer, Etyczne aspekty sportu /Ethical Aspects of Sport/, Warszawa, 1993.
J. Mosz, „Sport w kategoriach estetyki” /”Sport from the Viewpoint of Aesthetical Categories”/, In: Filozofia
kultury fizycznej, op. cit., p. 250-264.
Those issues were the subject of J. Mosz’s doctoral dissertation entitled Sport wyczynowy w polskim filmie
dokumentalnym /Top Sport in Polish Documentary Film/, which was defended in 1997 (thesis supervisor – J.
See: B. Misiuna, A. Przyłuska-Fiszer, Etyczne aspekty sportu.
B. Urbankowski, „Antropologia filozoficzna i ogólna teoria sportu. Kierunki poszukiwań” /”Philosophical
Anthropology and General Theory of Sport”/, In: Kultura fizyczna i społeczeństwo, Warszawa, 1976; The
same author, „Homo creator – filozoficzne koncepcje człowieka aktywnego” /”Homo Creator – Philosophical
Conceptions of Active Man”/, In: Humanistyczne wartości sportu, Warszawa, 1978.
The same author, „A General Theory of Sport Reality”, Dialectics and Humanism, 1984, no. 1.
The same author, ”Etyka i mitologia sportu” /”Ethics and Mythology of Sport”/, In: Sport i kultura, Warszawa,
Józef Lipiec (ed.): Duch sportu /Spirit of Sport/. Warszawa 1980; The same author, (ed.) Logos i etos polskiego olimpizmu /Logos and Ethos of Polish Olympism/, Kraków 1994; The same author, “Kultura – kultura
fizyczna – sport – olimpizm (refleksje esencjalne)” /”Culture – Physical Culture – Sport – Olympism (Essential Reflections)”, Zeszyty Naukowe, 2001, no. 85, p. 31-43.
The same author, “Antynomie wychowania fizycznego” /”Antinomies of Physical Education”/, Kultura Fizyczna, 1987, no. 3–4.
I think about the paper which was presented by Józef Lipiec during the International Symposium Sport and
Peace in Warsaw in 1986.
The same author, „How is Sport Possible?”, Dialectics and Humanism 1984, no. l.
The same author, Kalokagatia. Szkice z filozofii sportu /Kalokagathia. Sketches on Philosophy of Sport/.
Warszawa – Kraków, PWN, 1988.
Filozofia olimpizmu /Philosophy of Olympism/, Warszawa, 1999.
M. Zowisło, Filozofia i sport. Horyzonty dialogu /Philosophy and Sport. Horizons of Dialogue/, Kraków, 2001.
Cf.: M. Zowisło, “Idea holizmu w starożytnym olimpizmie wobec kryzysu współczesnej kultury” /”Idea
of Holism in Ancient Olympism in the Face of the Crisis of Contemporary Culture”/, In: J. Lipiec (ed.),
Logos i etos polskiego olimpizmu, Kraków, 1994, p. 81-87; M. Zowisło, “Potlacz współczesnych stadionów –
pomiędzy etosem mocy a magią pieniądza” /”Potlatch of Contemporary Stadiums – Between Ethos of Power
and Magic of Money”/, Studia Humanistyczn,e 2001, no. 1, p. 17-31; The same author, „Sport – męski, kobiecy czy ludzki ?” /”Sport – Masculine, Feminine or Human?”), In: A. Pawlak (ed.), Polska manager-woman
sportu, Warszawa-Kraków, 1998, p. 56-61.
P. Kowalczyk, „Założenia chrześcijańskiego personalizmu” /”Assumptions of Christian Personalism”/, In: M.
Barlak (ed.), Personalisticyczna wizja sportu, Warszawa, 1994, The same author, „Personalisticyczna koncepcja
osobowości” /”Personalistic Conception of Personality”/, In: M. Barlak i Z. Dziubiński (eds.), Kościół a sport,
Warszawa, 1995, The same author, „Sport a religia: opozycja czy komplementarność” /”Sport and Religion
– Opposition or Complementarity”/, In: Z. Dziubiński (ed.), Sacrum a sport, Warszawa, 1996; The same author, „Antropologiczno-personalisticyczne podstawy sportu” /”Anthropological and Personalistic Foundations
of Sport”/, In: Kongres sportu polskiego. Materiały kongresowe, Warszawa, 1998; and in: Z. Dziubiński (ed.),
Salezjanie a sport, Warszawa, 1998; The same author, „Elementy personalisticycznej etyki sportu” /”Elements
of Personalistic Ethics of Sport”, In: Z. Dziubiński (ed.), Wiara a sport, Warszawa, 1999; The same author, Elementy filozofii i teologii sportu /Elements of Philosophy and Theology of Sport/, Lublin, 2002.
M. Mylik, Podstawy filozofii sportu Podręcznik ruchu parafiadowego /Foundations of the Philosophy of
Sport/, Warszawa 1997; The same author, „Jaka filozofia sportu?” “What Philosophy of Sport?”, In: Z.
Dziubiński (ed.), Teologia i filozofia sportu, Warszawa, 1997.
Z. Łyko, “Elementy teologii zdrowia” /”Elements of the Theology of Health”, In: Z. Dziubiński (ed.), Sacrum a sport, Warszawa, 1996; The same author, „Uniwersalne znaczenie Encykliki papieskiej „Divini ilius
magistri” dla rozwoju kultury fizycznej polskiej młodzieży katolickiej” /”Universal Significance of Papal
Encyclical „Divini ilius magistri” for the Development of Polish Catholic Youth’s Physical Culture”/, In: Z.
Dziubiński (ed.), Wiara a sport, Warszawa, 1999.
Z. Łyko, Filozofia rekreacji, sportu i turystyki /Philosophy of Recreation, Sport and Tourism/, Warszawa
Z. Łyko, „Elementy filozofii sportu w aspektach kulturowo-moralnych” /”Elements of Philosophy of Sport
in Cultural/Moral Aspects”/, In: Z. Dziubiński (ed.), Aksjologia sportu, Warszawa, 2001; The same author,
„Przedpole sportu, turystyki i sztuki” /”Outskirts of Sport, Tourism and Art”/, In: Antropologia sportu,
Warszawa, 2002; The same author, „Elementy filozofii turystyki” /”Elements of Philosophy of Tourism”/, In:
Społeczny wymiar sportu, Warszawa, 2003.
T. Wolańska, Leksykon. Sport dla wszystkich – rekreacja ruchowa /Lexicon. Sport for All – Movement Recreation/, Warszawa, 1997.
Zbigniew Dziubiński
University of Physical Education in Warsaw
Faculty of Physical Education
Roman Catholic Church and Physical Culture
Key words: Sociology, physical culture, Roman Catholic Church
The goal of this paper is to examine the Catholic Church’s stance on physical culture. We seek the foundations of those views in the modern interpretation of the Bible,
philosophical and theological systems, social teachings of popes and the teachings of
John Paul II. We have employed premises of the following sociological theories in our
synthetic approach to the problem: interpretative sociology, social change and social
In its theoretical base, the post-Council Roman Catholic Church takes a fully approving and supportive position on physical culture. Relying on this base, the Church can pursue
important psychological and social goals which serve the growth of physical culture and so
it can: 1) create social ties based on the values of physical culture originating from religion;
2) become a psychological support for the population and constitute a symbol of a human
being’s physical relation with the ultimate conditions on existence; 3) consolidate the fundamental norms and values of physical culture by pointing to their Divine origin and attributing
unearthly sanctions to them; 4) the Church can prompt social change which is expressed
through the public’s common acceptance and realisation of the values of physical culture.
In the paper’s conclusion, the theoretical considerations lead to the formulation of a
personalisitc definition of physical culture.
There are a few reasons why this paper takes physical culture as analysed from the
point of view of the Roman Catholic Church as its subject. Firstly, the general knowledge
of the Roman Catholic Church’s position on physical culture is very limited. This is true
about the general knowledge among the Polish public and knowledge among representatives of diverse humanistic studies, including studies on physical culture. What may come
as a surprise, it is also true about representatives of the hierarchical Church itself (diocesan
priests and friars).
Secondly, the Roman Catholic Church has evolved in its views on the human body and
physical culture. This evolution rehabilitates and enhances the value of physical culture,
the domain that interests us the most in this paper. All changes are always interesting and
intriguing to a researcher from the cognitive point of view and, consequently, for social
Thirdly, the Roman Catholic Church has played an important role in the life of our
society and its teachings are accepted by a significant percentage of Poles. It is thus important not only to bring issues of physical culture closer to the hierarchical Church, but to
incorporate them into the Church’s educational strategy.
Fourthly, getting to know the stance of the Roman Catholic Church on physical culture
is of great importance to the governmental administration, local governments on all levels
and institutions and associations which deal with physical culture. It is important to know
whether the Catholic Church is an ally, or not, in the process of enhancing the physical
culture of Poles, at least as far as social education is concerned. And consequently, will the
process of popularizing physical culture in our country involve the powerful organizational
machinery of the Church – the thousands of priests and nuns who in their individual, different areas of activity (parishes, religion classes, special chaplaincy) rear children and
Fifthly, it is extremely important to show the Roman Catholic Church’s theoretical base
concerning physical culture to the dynamically developing Roman Catholic sport associations, or more generally, Christian ones. With each passing year, the associations broaden
their scope of activities and enhance the quality of their sport and educational work among
children and adolescents, many of who come from poor and/or pathological families, unable
to provide them with adequate education. Therefore, getting to know the Roman Catholic
Church’s stance on physical culture is important from both the cognitive (explicative) and
social (applicative) point of view [10].
While trying to determine the above, in this paper we shall draw on the theoretical
base of the Church concerning the human body and physical culture. We present the
evolution of the Church’s views on the matter, all the way to the modern concept of the
human body and physical culture, which will be henceforth adopted as the paradigm for
the domain under discussion. This is not a paradigm that was worked out by Catholic
intellectuals with physical culture in mind. It rather stems from more universal concepts
in ontology, epistemology, anthropology, axiology, aesthetics, ethics and social contemplation. We shall seek the foundations for those views in the modern interpretation of the
Bible, philosophical and theological systems, social teachings of popes and the teachings
of John Paul II.
The synthetic approach to the question will employ elements of diverse sociological
theories. First of all, we shall reach for the paradigm of what is called interpretative sociology, based on humanistic sociology, and, in Weber’s terminology, to the understanding
theory, a part of which is the theory of symbolic interactionism. We shall also avail ourselves to the theories of social change and social conflict. The three aforementioned cognitive perspectives seem to be the most useful in the exploration of the main subject, owing to
their general nature, significance and the role they play in sociological research. The three
approaches are also useful because of the reputation of their creators which endorses the
research [13, 31, 56: pp. 93-133, 57].
The Bible and physical culture
By searching for the substantiation of physical culture in the Bible, we refer to the oldest and the most fundamental reserves of Christianity. It is the Bible that contains descriptions of all the most important events in the history of mankind, related to people’s existence in Paradise and on Earth. The Bible does not make any direct statements on physical
culture, but it indicates every person’s religious and eschatological goals which can be
pursued in unity with God. However, passages contained in the Bible which do not make
any direct references to physical culture, but touch upon fundamental issues concerning the
life and goals of people, enable an attempt at formulating an answer to questions concerning the Bible’s message on physical culture [1, 29: p. 175].
Biblical anthropology regards human beings as fully integral entities and at the same
time, it differentiates between the immaterial constituent of people – the soul – and the material constituent – the body. In the biblical approach, the human body is a positive value,
for example because man was created “in our [God’s] image, in our [God’s] likeness” (Gen
1: 26). If corporality is God’s creation, then rational care for the body becomes a human
right and obligation [22, 27: pp. 19-28, 42].
This way, citing the Bible, especially the Divine act of creation, as a testimony to
a disapproving attitude to the human body and physical culture really finds no justification. However, disproportionate apotheosis of the body, as manifested in corporeism, is
not justified either. In a slightly different form than today, this apotheosis is presented
in 2 Maccabees (4:14). It cautions Jewish elites against an exaggerated cult of the body,
against pedantic physical exercises, modelled on Hellenic customs, coupled with negligence of the Law of God, native customs and failure to show zeal in service at the altar
[6, 45: p. 227].
The creation “in God’s image and likeness” also constitutes an obligation to subordinate one’s life to the spiritual sphere and not to the body. This by no means diminishes the
value of the body, it only indicates the need and necessity to govern the body in line with
reason and truth which protect human beings from morally reprehensible deeds. This understanding of the role of the body in the composition of a person is present in the practice
of physical culture, including sports. In the teaching version of physical education, the ultimate goal is a situation where personalities are moulded so as to influence people’s physical behaviour which serve the development of the somatic domain and health. Things look
similar in sport, where the soul is supposed to have control over the body. Father L. Wolker,
a prelate in Munich, remarked on this in his work entitled The Joy of Sport, in which he
wrote that “the joy of sport is essentially the joy of the soul resulting from the victory over
matter. It is joy of will resulting from overcoming the limitations of the body and adversities of the climate. It is joy of will and strength resulting from the victory over the will and
strength of the opponent” [23, 44, 67: p. 107].
The broad meaning of human praxis, which includes the physical effort related to the
work on one’s body and health – or in other words, physical culture activities – is not
interpreted as a “punishment for sins”, but as a kind of honour and elevation which result
from the fact that by engaging in any kind of labour, people become continuators of the
magnificent work of God’s creation and in some way, they become God’s partners in the
process of creating the world. By being granted this honour, people get immensely elevated
in theological terms and gain special eminence [66].
The essence of taking part in active forms of physical culture is not just the participation per se, for breaks in exercises, or relaxation, play an important part as well. The process
of refining one’s physique incorporates not just moments of physical activity, but intermissions in the activity. “Motion and stagnation are thus equal elements, just like eating and
fasting in dietetics, like sounds and rests in musical works” [8: p. 25].
The need to take a rest certainly finds theological justification in the Bible. If God
himself took a rest having created the world, human beings too should rest after work,
especially after a week’s worth of hard labour. However, the biblical imperative to observe
the Sabbath does not rule participation in physical culture. It encourages active forms of
relaxation on holidays, though at the same time, it obligates the faithful to spend the day
in a way that does not contravene the fundamental (religious) purpose of the Sabbath [28:
pp. 24-29].
One special way of biblical enhancement of the human body’s value is to recognise
people as God’s partners in the work of calling new human beings to life. This is the most
important moment of a person’s involvement in the Divine act of creation. Man appears
as one of the subjects here, the continuator of the great act. The human body is part of the
act and therefore Saint Paul named the intimate body parts the holiest ones. This way, the
human body, analysed from the biblical point of view, was inducted into the realm of the
highest Christian values, namely, the sacred [65: p. 118].
Without a doubt, one of the most significant events in the Bible is the Incarnation
of Christ, which also needs to be interpreted as re-elevation of human corporality to the
beginnings of existence. The human body became the arena of extraordinary splendour,
dignity and loftiness precisely because through the Incarnation, God in a way united with
everybody. This perfection of the human body is expressed through full integrity of personal existence, in which the body becomes a precise sign of a person’s inner, spiritual life
[66: p. 285].
The perfect body of Christ also became the model for the structure of the Church
as God’s people. Each of its members takes an appropriate place in the structure and assumes responsibility for the respective tasks that lie with it (Eph 4: 10-16, 1Co 12: 12-13).
Moreover, during Holy Masses said in churches around the world, the Body and Blood of
Christ in the form of bread and wine are means of daily eucharistic communication to the
faithful. Taking the Body and Blood is also the fundamental condition on receiving the
greatest, ultimate reward. “Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life,
and I will raise him up on the last day” (Jhn 6: 51-58) [11].
In 1 Corinthians, Saint Paul writes: “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the
Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God”? (1Co 6: 19). The passage is of capital
importance to the theological substantiation of the need to become involved in physical
culture. In a way, it is an obligation to take good care of the “residence” of God. Any negligence in this department can be interpreted as a deed aimed against the obligation. “If
anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him” (1Co 3: 17).
The New Testament contains numerous references to sports, especially in Saint Paul’s
letters. Being a good observer of his contemporary culture, influenced by Hellenism, Saint
Paul noticed that sport played an important role in the lives of societies. He found that the
language of sport was comprehensible, a fact which was worth taking advantage of in the
pursuit of religious goals. A lot of Saint Paul’s writings make references to the agon of
sport, to training, racing, wrestling, the strength of athletes, etc. [53: pp. 29-33].
Those of his thoughts which compare the physical effort of athletes to the moral effort
of Christians are extremely inspiring. The most well-known and most frequently quoted
passage is his metaphor on the race of runners in 1 Corinthians (1Co 9: 24-27): “Do you
not know that in a race all the runners compete, but only one receives the prize? So run that
you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a
perishable wreath, but we are imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one
beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to
others I myself should be disqualified”.
The author clearly states that life takes maximal effort, as if we were all fighting for
one award which in sports goes to the winner. In Christian life, anyone can be a winner and
receive the prize of salvation. In sports, we deal with physical effort, whereas in life the
effort is of spiritual nature and eternal life is at stake in this struggle. In both sport and life,
the title of a champion is a result of the ability to take advantage of one’s skills and talent.
Competition in sport usually ends with the announcement of the results and the award
ceremony. As he approached death, Saint Paul summed up his lifetime competition for
the imperishable award in 2 Timothy (2Tm 4: 6-8): “I have fought the good fight, I have
finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of
righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not
only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing”.
Saint Paul’s use of sport metaphors can be interpreted as his positive and favourable
attitude toward sport. However, this status of sport also entails that sport should not be the
exclusive and the ultimate purpose in life. It can, in turn, be an important element of the
philosophy of life, as presented by Saint Paul, but it must not become the philosophy itself
[9: p. 121].
Philosophy and theology on physical culture
Primeval Christianity disapproved of the ideals of ancient Olympism. This bias was
mainly based on religious premises and resulted from the line drawn between sport and
polytheist Greek rituals. This connection was expressed in the oath which athletes took
before the altar of Zeus and in the portrayal of gods to people’s image and likeness. The
negative bias to ancient Olympism was not synonymous to a negative attitude to the human
body and people’s physical activity. In early Christianity, the human body was subject to
a twofold assessment. One the one hand, that was the time of the rise of what is called the
biblical trend, while on the other, there was the Platonic-Manichean trend, inherited from
the antiquity [22: pp. 13-110, 29: pp. 178-183].
The biblical trend, which invoked to the writings in the Bible – Genesis, Saint Paul’s
letters and Christological dogmas in particular – represented an affirmative attitude towards
the human body, treating it as a gift from God and an ontic good. Representatives of the biblical trend and the resulting line of reasoning included Saint Irenaeus, Tatian, Saint Justin,
Theophilus of Antioch and Maxim of Chrysopolis. Saint Cyril of Jerusalem underlined the
virtues of the human body in the following words: “Suffer none of those who say that this
body is no work of God: for they who believe that the body is independent of God, and that
the soul dwells in it as in a strange vessel, readily abuse it to fornication. And yet what fault
have they found in this wonderful body? For what is lacking in comeliness? And what in its
structure is not full of skill? (…) Who imparted the incessant pulsation of the heart? Who
made the distribution into so many veins and arteries? Who skilfully knitted together the
bones with the sinews”? [22: p. 52-88, 7: p. 67-68].
The greatest thinker of early Christianity was Saint Augustine, whose thoughts on the
human body were not uniform. In the initial period, Saint Augustine was influenced by the
Orphic-Pythagorean current, affirmed by way of Plato, and his views on the earthly world
and the human body were full of contempt. He treated the body as “a prison of the soul”
which only constrained and inhibited the soul’s potential. Relying on this premise, he also
formulated a practical directive, according to which anyone who wished to become what
God had created him should “scorn everything corporeal and renounce all this world” [2:
pp. 13, 58, 111; 24: pp. 57-71].
The first period of Augustine’s creative output did not last very long, but it was very explicit in its message and therefore it made such a strong mark in the minds of intellectuals,
especially non-confessionist ones, that they see Augustine’s legacy from the angle of that
very period. In this conception, “man was deprived of everything human, everything that
was beautiful and lofty in the way of humans, what was good and noble, active and creative. Evil is all that’s left and man is supposed to be the sole wrongdoer”. This is a dramatic
vision of the human existence on earth as a distortion of life in which people only exist, but
not live [49: p. 41, 55: p. 45].
Augustine’s works in the latter period and his practical recommendations can testify
to a change in his attitude to the body and physical activity of humans. Augustine himself
led a very active life, full of pastoral voyages which involved, as it were, intensive physical activity. He was most fond of those activities which required physical effort. He also
appreciated physical work which he recommended to the clergy in those days [22, 26: pp.
59-73, 129-138].
The Middle Ages are associated with the growth of the Christian thought which, in turn,
is associated with Saint Thomas Aquinas, who based his philosophy on the Aristotelian realism and biblical personalism. A thorough review of Aquinas’s views on the human body
in the ontological, esthetic and ethical aspects is contained in the book Sport i wychowanie
fizyczne w świetle etyki św. Tomasza z Akwinu [3]. The author presents Aquinas’s views on
the physical activity of people or, as we would put it today, on physical culture. He presents
Aquinas’s personalistic concept of corporality which is integrated with the structure of a
personal being, joining the immaterial soul to form the being’s natural composition. In
this concept, the human body is an ontic good, it is perfect and characterized by a natural
Saint Thomas Aquinas recommended care of the body and its good physical shape,
which helped to foster virtues and enabled normal functioning of one’s mental powers,
namely, the intellect and will. Actions to degrade the body were unacceptable, as was disregard for the body’s needs. In his concept of corporality, Aquinas opposed the Manichean
contempt for the human body, but he also opposed exaggerated apotheosis and absolutizaton [29: p. 181, 50, 61].
Saint Thomas also raised the question of taking a rest after work. He advised involvement in play, but such kinds of play which corresponded to the nature of a human person
and respect the demands of conscience. “It is sense that organizes play. The skill to follow
the rules of sense is, in turn, a virtue” [61].
In conclusion, we need to underline that Saint Thomas Aquinas took a positive stance
on the human body and all kinds of physical activity manifested in play, entertainment,
games and leisure. Participation in physical culture was an inalienable right of a human
being. However, it is noteworthy that Aquinas advocated all those forms of physical culture
which served relaxation after work, fostered good health, provided good entertainment,
shaped the body and exerted a positive influence on one’s mental state. All forms of involvement in physical culture should be sagacious and responsible, that is, organized by
sense and serve versatile development of people [11, 22: pp. 80-88].
The most well-known continuators of the Thomistic thought include such personalists
as J. Maritain and E. Gilson, who in their dissertations elaborated on Aquinas’s thoughts on
the human body and people’s physical activity. They laid special contributions by developing and validating the raison d’etre of a person, whom they presented as a creature living
in this world, but at the same time, rooted in the supernatural reality. Christian humanism,
or personalism, which J. Maritain called “integral humanism,” raises the status of every
aspect of a human person. It underlines the role and significance of the body and soul,
biological and intellectual life, ontogenetic social structure and the need for economic activity. Integral humanism puts an emphasis on the importance of cognitive, aspirational and
emotional needs, it points to the need to learn the truth, it endorses the right to freedom, autonomy, but it also shows people’s close ties to God [14, 22: pp. 125-128, 29: pp. 40, 37].
The personalism of Mounier was not constructed relying on the guidelines of a single current, the way Maritain’s was, but in an ideological connection with existentialism, Marxism,
the traditions of French philosophy and the German immoralism of F. Nietzsche. Mounier
believes that Christian personalism presents humans not just as solely spiritual beings, as that
would entail angelisation of people, but as embodied beings which live their earthly existences here, on earth, and are predestined to perfect earthly matters. According to Mounier,
Christian personalism is not spiritualism either. “The facts that I exist subjectively and that I
exist physically constitute one and the same experience” [22: pp. 128-136, 39].
Mounier’s concept of a person’s structure is eclectic and yet it clearly manifests a desire
to enhance the value of the human body and all activities which serve its physical development. Mounier validated the value of the human body primarily with the necessity for people
to be more active in efforts to make the world a perfect place. This requires healthy and
physically fit people who are dynamic and have a youthful imagination enabling them to face
the challenges of today. This approach also approves of games involving physical activity,
gymnastics and sports, as these make more realistic the vision of strong, buoyant and dynamic
people who are capable of undertaking the effort to transform the world [40].
Followers of the philosophy of Nietzsche gave his method an aggressive, critical and
resolute edge in the analysis of phenomena and events in the first half of the 20th century.
Nietzsche made people responsible for the vicissitudes of the world. “If man was created
to become a god in the natural or supernatural sense, he cannot agree for his wisdom to
function as deliberate and monotonous acquiescence to human nature, defined once and for
all” [38: pp. 21-23].
Nietzsche was an ardent supporter of science and technological development. He regarded technology as an extension of the human body, because “through machines, the human body extends into the body of the world”. Those who “put a curse on technology” were
Manichaens in a new form and while traditional Manichaens had condemned “the natural
body”, the new Manichaens condemned “the artificial body” [40: p. 106]. Consequently,
Nietzsche encouraged all kinds of physical activity in every respect. In his opinion, physical activity on the one hand should serve the satisfaction of people’s needs in the physical
department and support human development, while on the other, it should prepare people
to work for a new world – the result of a combination of spirit and matter, body and soul,
wisdom and power, that is, the best values inherent in spiritualism and materialism.
In recent times, there have been very few Christian intellectuals to have stirred so much
heated controversy as P. Teilhard de Chardin did. The life and work of Teilhard were full
of tensions and contradictions. On the one hand, he rebelled against the Thomistic tradition, but on the other, he humbly acknowledged the superiority of the Church, criticized
religious alienation and failure to take part in the ongoing transformations of the world, he
praised the progress in knowledge, science and technology and he combined those with
the truths of the Revelation. The innovation that Teilhard introduced was neither about his
achievements in science nor his concept of religion, but the fact that Teilhard perceived the
two worlds – of science and faith – which to most of our contemporaries seem if not antagonistic, then at least separate, as a single world of an admirable harmony of thought and life.
The fundamental problem in Teilhard’s evolutionism was to find the answer to the following question: “How to combine – and then intensify – the love for God and the healthy love
for the world, the effort to become detached and the effort to grow” [58: p. 17].
Similarly to Mounier, Teilhard advocated involvement in the affairs of this world. This
is a very important observation from the point of view of physical activity, which interests
us the most in this paper. It implies that Teilhard advocated a concept of Christianity where
involvement in issues of development was an obligation and a necessity. This fully concerns people’s involvement in physical culture whose superior criterion is physical activity
channelled into developing one’s body and health.
Teilhard’s transformism is based on the proposition that all elements of the universe
stay in unity. This means that all forms of entities which appear in the world are a consequence of transformations of the same material substance. Thought and matter are “coupled
variables”: a greater extent of the complication and complexity of matter heightens the
participation of psychism [59].
Man did not appear as a result of the Divine act of creation, but as a result of a “mutation leap”, a “qualitative leap”. The leap was a result of matter’s reaching a critical point in
complexity, it occurred through a “breach created by hominization, or a wave of complexity – consciousness”. There appeared people, introducing a new kind of consciousness to
the world, namely, contemplative consciousness. From that moment on, people became the
center of evolution and the responsibility for the evolution’s direction and pace has rested
on their shoulders ever since. People are still in for the following development phases:
vitalization, hominization and superhominization, as a result of which “some form of an
overman will emerge” [60: p. 192].
This concept presents the human body in a twofold way. On the one hand, the body is
an ordinary portion of the animate matter, an ordinary element of the universe, unremarkable in terms of its size. On the other hand, its amazing complexity puts it at the very top
of the world of all beings. In the human body, matter reached such a complexity extent that
a new quality of existence emerged – contemplative consciousness and social awareness,
which are the most advanced stages of the development of psychism.
What effect does the above have on the human body and physical culture? Putting
somewhat complicated and convoluted terminology aside, we can easily say the body plays
a key role in Teilhard’s concept [59: p. 74]. Refinement of the body, which includes involvement in active forms of physical culture, moves forward the process of a human be-
ing’s growth and consequently, the process of the evolution of the universe. In other words,
refinement of the body, the effort to make it more and more complex, breeds hope for
subsequent phases of the development of humanity.
Physical activity of humans aimed at refining the body and health has an absolutely affirmative sanction. It is one of the things that enable further progress of the world
through consecutive phases of the growth of humanity, until the “spiritual Cosmos” is finally reached.
Physical culture in the teachings of popes
When P. de Coubertin revived the modern Olympic Games in the 19th century (1896),
he gave the beginning to an extremely dynamic development of sport, witnessed by the
entire 20th century. The situation could not pass unnoticed by the Roman Catholic Church,
which became aware of the rapidly increasing importance of sport and consecutive popes
made attempts to take a stance on the phenomenon [5, 35, 51].
Prior to reviving the modern Olympic Games, P. de Coubertin found inspiration among
Catholic clergy, including Father H. de Didon, a Dominican and a friend of de Coubertin’s.
Father H. de Didon made a speech at a session of the International Olympic Committee in
1897, chaired by de Coubertin. Pope Pius X gave his moral support to the beautiful initiative
to revive the Olympics. In 1905, he had a friendly meeting with de Coubertin in the Vatican
and even pledged to find an award for athletes taking part in the Fourth Olympic Games
in London (1908). During those Games, in a mass at the St. Paul’s Cathedral, Bishop of
Pennsylvania E. Talbot said the famous sentence: “The important thing in these Olympiads
is less to win than to take part in them” [4, 36].
In an address to members of Catholic sport associations, Pius X emphasised that
“young people should love sport, as it is good for their souls and bodies”. On a different occasion, he said: “I admire you, I praise you and bless your exercises (…). I praise and bless
your accomplishments, for physical exercise is relaxation to the soul and when you give
yourselves to your games, you stay away from slothfulness which is the beginning of all
misdeeds. Practise fraternal competitions, but also practise virtue. I recommend that in all
this you keep pure intentions, as there is virtue in exercising moderation”. In other words,
already at the turn of the century, when the foundations of the Olympic Games were being
laid, the pope saw sport as a chance to refine the somatic potentials of people, but he also
remarked that well-organised competition which respected moral principles, supported the
evolution of the spiritual sphere [62: p. 356].
Pius XI was a pope who held the development of physical culture close to his heart. He
was a well-known and outstanding mountaineer, the first one to climb the Italian slope of
the Monte Rose summit [51: p. 15, 52]. As the Archbishop of Milan, he addressed young
people in the following words: “Practise studying the gospel and practise sport. Neglect
neither the soul nor the body”. On another occasion, he said: “Of all sports through which
people pursue wholesome entertainment, none is as beneficial to the soul, health and body
as tourism. The hard work and the environment of pure and light air regenerates and consolidates one’s strength, while at the same time, the soul toughens up to face the obligations
of life and its adversities through overcoming all possible difficulties. The contemplation
of the immense views which stretch from the tops of the Alps easily elevates the mind to
God, the creator and lord of nature” [52: pp. 95-96]. The numerous advantages of sport and
mountain tourism presented by the Pope testify to his strong emotional affinity for physical activity. The Pope saw in it elements which helped to build up one’s physical shape,
prepared for playing diverse roles in the society, stimulated one’s esthetic sensitivity and
created the right conditions to meet with God.
In his encyclical Divini illius Magistri from 1929, Pius XI pointed to the importance of
physical education, a vital element in the process of the growth of children and youth. He
postulated the establishment of diverse educational projects aimed at training young people
in literature, science and others, but he also recommended physical games and exercises
for young people to take part in. His encyclical significantly influenced the evolution of
Catholic pedagogy, including the popularisation of physical culture and sport [46].
The dynamic development of sport in Europe and the rest of the world encouraged the subsequent pope, Pius XII, to pay more attention to the phenomenon. In 1945, the Pope addressed
Roman athletes in the following words: “Both those who accuse the Church of not caring for the
body and physical culture, and those who want to restrict her competence and activity to things
described as ‘purely religious’ and ‘exclusively spiritual’, are far from the truth. As if the body,
a creation of God like the soul to which it is united, did not have its part to play in the homage
to be rendered to the Creator” [47]. With this address, the Pope provided a theological validation of the Church’s approving attitude towards the body and physical culture and the Church’s
involvement in the development of the domain which this paper discusses.
“The Church must not abandon the care for the body and physical culture, as if these
matters were alien to her”, the Pope wrote. “When applied to sport, Christian principles and
norms open loftier horizons before it, even illuminated by rays of mystic light. Sporting
education facilitates the growth of the body, mind and will and furthermore, it refines the
growth of the virtues which are characteristic of this kind of activities. They include reliability which forbids deception, recommends acquiescence and obedience to the trainer;
the spirit of sacrifice when you need to stay in the background for the good of your team;
faithfulness to obligations; modesty in triumph; nobleness for the defeated; cheerfulness
in defeat; understanding for the spectators who are not always able to keep restraint”. “All
these virtues, while relating to physical and external activities, are true Christian virtues.
Sport, when practised this way and transplanted to the realm of supernatural life, may in a
way become asceticism, as Saint Paul the Apostle encourages for all human achievements
to be dedicated to the glory of God” [48: p. 727-731].
John XXIII will be forever remembered as a great reformer of the Roman Catholic
Church, the one who decided to summon the Second Vatican Council. Despite his old age,
he also became famous as an advocate of physical culture and sport and a friend of sporting
youth. Before the opening of the 1960 Olympic Games in Rome, he cut short his holidays
at the Castel Gandolfo in order to come to St. Peter’s Square and meet with over 4,000 athletes from 87 countries of the world the day before the Games were opened. He addressed
the excited athletes with the following words: “(…) it is a sure thing that one should always
esteem and heartily recommend wholesome physical exercises and noble sporting games.
The advantages and qualities which develop in a person through sporting games are many
and immensely important. With regards to the body, they include health, strength, agility,
shapeliness, gracefulness and beauty; with regards to the soul: perseverance, fortitude and
the skill to make sacrifices” [3: p. 15-16].
John XXIII underlined the important role which sporting activity played in the development and refinement of the body and physical skills. He also said physical exercises
not only had a beneficial influence on the body, but the very activity improved numerous
spiritual virtues and qualities of the soul. Like his predecessors, John XXIII remarked that
sport should have a definite place in a person’s life rather than become identified with life.
People should remember to respect moral principles in sport, so as to make it a true school
of social and ethical upbringing.
John XXIII opened the Second Vatican Council (1962-65), but his passing never let
him close it and behold the wonderful effects. The conciliar documents fulfilled the ideals of enhancing the value of the realities of earth and of people as continuators of the
Divine act of creation. The documents opened the Church to human problems. Although the
Council did not devote too much time to questions of physical culture and sport, its decisions concerning more general and fundamental issues constitute a Magna Charta of sorts
for the subject of this paper.
The Declaration on Christian Education reads: “The Church esteems highly and seeks
to penetrate and ennoble with her own spirit also other aids which belong to the general heritage of man and which are of great influence in forming souls and molding men, such as the
media of communication, various groups for mental and physical development, youth associations, and, in particular, schools”. The Second Vatican Council found physical culture
associations to be an important constituent of the education of young people. Consequently,
this also means that the Council regarded physical culture and sport as important instruments in the education of children and youth [54: pp. 537-620].
The document entitled The Church in the Modern World reads: “May this leisure be
used properly to relax, to fortify the health of soul and body through spontaneous study
and activity, through tourism which refines man’s character and enriches him with the understanding of others, through sports activity which helps to preserve equilibrium of spirit
even in the community, and to establish fraternal relations among men of all conditions, nations and races” [54: pp. 537-618]. The Second Vatican Council referred to physical culture
as a form of physical recreation on the one hand, while on the other, it discussed the values
of competitive sport as entertainment. The Church has a positive attitude to both aspects,
attributing different values to them.
The line of the Roman Catholic Church’s renewal was continued by Paul VI, the Pope
who lived to close the Second Vatican Council and start the work on the implementation
of the Council’s decision. Paul VI addressed athletes in 1964: “The Church perceives sport
as gymnastics of the soul, as physical exercise and moral exercise; therefore, the Church
admires, encourages and approves of the development of sport in its diverse forms, especially in its regularity, in the need for the entire young generation to focus on a harmonious
growth of the body and its energy; this also applies to the professional form of sport”. “The
Church admires, encourages and approves of the development of sport, especially when
physical involvement is coupled with moral dedication, which can turn sport into a superb
personal skill through strenuous training in social relations, on the foundation of self-respect and respect for others; sport is also the beginning of social understanding aimed at the
establishment of friendly relations on the international scene” [43: p. 893].
Paul VI perceived sport as a chance to mould man in his spiritual, moral and physical
spheres. For that reason, the Pope admired and accepted sport in both its recreational and
professional variations. He pointed to the need to combine physical culture with moral and
spiritual culture, the latter two being essential to the normal growth of a human being. Paul VI
also emphasized the significance of sport in integration on a national and international scale.
Physical culture in the teachings of John Paul II
For a broad overview of sport, one of the most important questions is to determine the
attitude of the Roman Catholic Church towards earthly realities and people’s activities aimed
at improving the world around, because no positive attitude towards sport is possible without
acceptance of the natural world and the activity of humans. The ontic foundations of sport are
an element of natural reality and the progress of sport is taking place as part of the refinement
of earthly existence, the basic element of which is man [11: pp. 75-78, 25, 34].
Drawing on the legacy of his predecessors, John Paul II made an attempt at opening the
Church for “the signs of modernity” by reaching beyond both the traditional theocentricism
and the post-Renaissance anthropocentricism. He emphasized that Christian humanism was
directed “to humans”. For that reason, as part of a wider, theocentric concept of reality,
Christian humanism should be anthropocentric. People constitute the highest value in the
natural world and therefore they should become the purpose of the Church’s redemptive
mission. John Paul II expressed his position by writing: “Man is the primary and fundamental path for the Church (…), a path which in a way runs at the basis of all paths for the
Church to tread on”. This eliminates the antinomy between anthropocentric humanism and
Christian theocentricism, between the earthly aspirations of people and their obligations to
God. The absolutely highest value is pursued via other people and the realization of man’s
earthly plans lies somewhere on the road of his supernatural aspirations. This, in turn,
proves that anthropocentricism and theocentricism are not contradictory and what is more,
they actually complement each other [15, 18].
The elimination of the antinomy between anthropocentricism and theocentricism is
of capital importance to sport. To begin with, in this way people are no longer forced to
choose between two alternatives: humans and their sporting aspirations versus God and the
pursuit of spiritual perfection. The realization of those values in sport which are related to
the earthly dimension of a human being coincides with the realization of the highest values
which elevate an athlete and show loftier horizons to him or her. Well-organised sport “is a
promoter of moral and educational values, becoming a school of virtues, inner equilibrium
and external control, as well as an introduction to true and enduring benefits” [16].
John Paul II made an attempt at enhancing the value of the subjective creation of every
human being within the theocentric Divine creation. He believed that God was the primary
subject of all creativity, whereas people, thanks to Divine grace and Redemption, were the
subjects of creative acts as well. The Pope not only meant what J. Maritain and E. Mounier
had written about, that is, the autonomy of a human person and freedom of choice in the
natural order of acting. He first of all meant people’s actions which did not only involve
transformation of the earthly reality, in line with the Old Testament’s instruction to “subdue it” (Gen 1: 28), but first of all involved ennoblement of a human person. This form of
creativity uses people themselves as the primary material. The dimension of human actions
is not confined to the creation of the world, but it extends to self-creation and so human
actions are a way to express oneself through creativity. Through work, people do more than
enhance the surrounding world, because they also “make themselves real” and “become
more human”. This interpretation of work does not exclusively concern objective goals,
but subjective in the first place. Labour is one of people’s goods, it has an anthropoformative dimension as well as a moral one, because work is a manifestation of the dignity of a
human being [18].
In a way, John Paul II’s teachings on human activity are a proclamation of sporting
activity and constitute the Christian foundations of the humanities dealing with sport. The
value of sport is primarily connected with the realization of the goals of self-creation and
anthropoformation through sport. The goals refine the personal structure of people taking
part in sport. The structure is not confined to the body, but it also encompasses the social,
mental and spiritual spheres [16].
The value of the human body depends on the extent to which the body is integrated
with a person’s spiritual side. Full integrity of the body and soul is a model solution and
a very desirable one in sport. For the essence of sport is to accomplish such an extent of
development which enables “the powers of the spirit to overcome the capabilities of the
body, limited by nature”. In other words, the point is for an athlete’s actions not to be of
instinctive character, but to express his or her personal, inner life. This is the Christian
vision of an integral person, but such is also the Christian concept of an ideal athlete.
To be a true athlete is not just about accomplishing the ultimate corporal perfection, but
accomplishing the ultimate spiritual perfection, so that the activities on the sports field,
objectivized in the body and through the body, could match the inner order of the heart
and mind [41].
The theological value of the human body in the teachings of John Paul II is primarily a
result of the fact that the body was created by God and confirmed through the Incarnation
of Christ. In a broad outline, this is the lesson from the Revelation, a lesson of the greatness
and dignity of the human body created by God and redeemed by Jesus Christ.
The process of sport education, in which a lot of effort is channeled into refining the
body, should never miss the paradigm of the body which involves Jesus Christ. Therefore,
efforts in sport should be focused not only on the body, but also on the soul, so as to accomplish full integration. After all, “every athlete is obligated to be a fit competitor of Jesus
Christ, that is, a faithful and courageous witness of His Gospel” [21].
Ethical questions are the very core of the humanities dealing with sport [34]. They are
usually referred to as fair play, which is most often interpreted as disinterested respect for
the rules of the game, respect for the opponent, observance of equal chances in fight, resignation from exploiting accidental advantage, minimization of the opponent’s suffering and
resignation from convenient benefits [30: pp. 75-81, 32, 33].
John Paul II founded his concept of ethics on Thomism, but at the same time he enriched it with Scheler’s phenomenology. According to the Pope, every human deed has
an ethical dimension and is tied to experiencing it. The experience primarily concerns a
person’s soul. However, every deed and every action involves contact of a person’s soul
with the external world and the contact always occurs in the body and through the body.
Consequently, not only deeds and persons have an ethical significance, but so does the
corporal side of a human being.
John Paul II opposed all trends of relativistic ethics and based his views on the premises of normative ethics. People do not create moral laws, because the laws “come from God
and have their source in Him”. The laws are called the natural law, which was “incorporated
into the nature of rational beings and induces them to do the right things. (…) This is an
internal law, written not in ink, but in the Spirit of the Living God; not on stone tablets,
but on the living tablets of hearts…”. It is people’s task to discover the law and abide by it.
“The whole of man, including the body, is entrusted to himself and is the subject of his own
moral acts through the unity of the body and soul” [20].
John Paul II’s concept of ethics is of a personalistic character. It invokes to what is
called the personalistic norm which exists in two variations: negative and affirmative. The
former protects a human person from different kinds of abuse. Its meaning results from I.
Kant’s categorical imperative, according to which people could never be used as the means,
a person should always be the goal. The Pope also makes references to the axiological arrangement of beings described by Thomas Aquinas. In line with this approach, all beings
in the universe occupy a certain place on the axiological ladder, depending on the value
they represent. Beings ranking lower in the hierarchical structure should serve the ones on
the rungs above them. Human persons are the uppermost beings, representing the highest
value in the created world, and all other beings should be subordinated to people and serve
them. All kinds of attempts at reversing the order violate, humiliate and degrade a human
person [12, 64].
There is also an affirmative variation of the personalistic norm. Drawing on the intellectual legacy of M. Scheler, this variation shows that the most valuable relation to another
person is selfless love which protects the person from being treated like an object. The
power of the norm results from the selfless gift of love where the recipient of the love opens
up to the gift and returns the love in the same manner. In this relation, the donor of love affirms the ego of the recipient who, in turn, responds with the same so that the separate egos
are no more, replaced by integrated egos in the interpersonal exchange of gifts [63].
John Paul II’s personalistic norm, in its negative variation, comes into a maze of the
fundamental ethical problems of contemporary sport, because it relates to the very fundamental issue of instrumental treatment of a person/athlete. Examples of such practices in
sport are too numerous to be quoted here. They occur when the eyes of athletes and their
coaches are so fixed on the glitter of the gold medal, on the championship and records, that
those people lose orientation in the axiological and ethical order of things and decide to use
an athlete like a tool. In the light of the negative variation of the personalistic norm, such
conduct is unacceptable, as it degrades and humiliates persons/athletes who should always
be the goal of actions, regardless of the situation and circumstances. “Sadly”, John Paul II
wrote, “spectacles of such kind undermine the sense of sport for purposes which are alien
to sport or totally contradict its very nature. On such occasions, sport is used for different
purposes and, worst of all, such manifestations unleash dishonourable emotions of hatred,
or even vengeance, thus transforming places and moments of entertainment, joy and cheerfulness into places of fear, intimidation and grief” [17].
Applied to the reality of sport, the affirmative variation of the personalistic norm clearly shows that selfless love is the most appropriate way to relate to a person in sport. This
applies not only to partners in a team, but also to opponents in sport competition. The love
should be disinterested, that is, nothing should be expected in return.
The human body is an important element in the exchange of the gift of love. In this
case, the body functions as a sign. It is a sign of God’s love and expression of a person’s
love. Seen from this angle, the ethical value of the body relies on the precision in expressing personal meanings in the body and through the body. This way, the positive variation of
John Paul II’s personalistic norm does not stop at respect for written rules and regulations
or acceptance of cultural norms, but it demands submission to the absolute norms established by God, norms which protect a person/athlete from degradation.
The opposite of love is hatred, with violence as its most extreme manifestation. Violence
“is always an insult against a human being, both the person who resorts to it and the one
who falls victim to violence. Violence is preposterous, immensely absurd, especially when
it occurs during sport competitions…” [17].
The outline of John Paul II’s teachings presented herein shows that sport cannot be
analysed in isolation from a broader cognitive horizon. In John Paul II’s approach, sport is
a cultural, but also a theological reality. People are the centre of the contemplation of sport:
a human being is made up of a soul and a body, the latter is tied to the mystery of the Incarnation and the fact that the Word was made flesh. This approach clearly elevates sport, in
spite of sport’s evidently gravitating down. When it comes to the gravitation, it is not about
the range and dynamics of sport and its development in the 20th century. The progress was
utterly impressive in this department. The gravitation first of all concerns the dimension
of sport which reaches back “to the beginning” and is linked to its anthropological, social,
axiological and ethical foundations.
In his teachings, John Paul II brought about a theological rehabilitation of the human
body and sport and elevated them. Sport no longer has an exclusively cultural sense, but
also the most profound theological sense. This sense allows to look at sport and evaluate
it from the angle of the highest Christian values. Therefore, John Paul II wished for “sport
competition to help” athletes to “pursue the highest purposes” to which they were “called
by the Olympics of life…” [19].
The sociological overview of the fundamental theoretical guidelines of the Roman
Catholic Church clearly shows ongoing transformations in the Church’s attitude towards
physical culture. During the Second Vatican Council, the transformations reached a turning
point, for which the foundations had been laid by intellectuals such as E. Gilson, J. Maritain, E. Mounier, P. Teilhard de Chardin and others. The process was culminated during the
pontificate of John Paul II, the creator of the theology of the human body and an ardent
advocate of the development of physical culture in societies around the world.
In its theoretical base on physical culture, the post-Council Roman Catholic Church
takes a fully affirmative and supportive stance. Relying on this base, the Church can pursue
important psychological and social goals which serve the growth of physical culture and
so it can:
1) create social ties based on the values of physical culture values originating from religion;
2) become a psychological support for the population and constitute a symbol of a human
being’s physical relation with the ultimate conditions on existence;
3) consolidate the fundamental norms and values of physical culture by pointing to their
Divine origin and attributing unearthly sanctions to them;
4) the Church can prompt social change which is expressed through the public’s common
acceptance and realisation of the values of physical culture.
The Roman Catholic Church’s affirmative attitude to physical culture stems from an
analysis of the theoretical base. However, the attitude does not mean that the Church’s hierarchical structures implement the premises of physical culture in their respective dioceses
and parishes as much as they should and with appropriate commitment.
The Church’s vision of physical culture is of a fully personalistic character. In this
vision, people are the basic value and all beings and all actions should be subordinated to
people. Regardless of circumstances, participants in physical culture should, in turn, be
guided by ethical values of Christian provenance, such as good, truth, dignity of a human
person, love and solidarity.
In conclusion, let us try and present a definition of physical culture based on the theoretical premises of the Roman Catholic Church. The definition reads as follows: Physical
culture is a deliberate transformation of the corporal, spiritual and social nature of a human
being aimed at fostering versatile development of the person, for the person’s good and
prosperity as well as the good and prosperity of the human community. In this approach, the
goal of physical culture is to pursue the good of man, not only as interpreted by the society
and culture, but also as a result of the Divine endowment, its culmination being Salvation
after death.
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II. sport – Articles
Henryk Sozański
University of Physical Education in Warsaw
Faculty of Physical Education
Current trends in the process of training
and criteria of its optimisation1
The contemporary rhythm of sport is being determined by principal events in the international competition, above all – by the Olympic Games. Every four years an extremely
hard but fascinating test takes place – test of the efficacy of preparations, of the perfectness
of individuals and of systems, of the efficacy of competition and of management, of the
rightness of approaches and of the costs borne. What have we gained and how much have
we lost? Where do we belong? Why? What should be done to produce an improvement?
What shall we afford in four years?
The entire sport community experience such dilemmas alike. Everybody wants to participate but everyone wants to win. A big race continues, engaging increasingly more people, means (including the financial ones), latest achievements of science and technology,
and entering new areas of competition.
Another Olympic Games, the 29th in turn, are awaited soon. We reached the halfway
stage from Athens to Peking. The increasingly sophisticated, long-range preparations, are
underway. The race goes on.
An earnest of that grand event, the most spectacular one between the Games, has just
passed: the World Championships in football, which took a whole month from the 9th of
June till the 9th of July in German stadiums. Thirty-two teams are selected through a long
qualification stage of 64 matches. Hundreds of thousands of spectators in stadiums, billions
of TV watchers. A huge sport event, but also medial, cultural and economical. And only
one single sport!
The opinions of experts were consonant that the level and requirements of sport competition were supreme, higher than ever before. An excellent preparation of a majority
of participating teams made the competitive opportunities noticeably equal. Winning was
a very hard task and the fact that Asian and African teams passed to the cup stage was
indicative of a relatively even level of the participating teams and players. The image of
those championships can be related to that of the sport in general in the first decade of the
21st century. The 29th Olympic Games in Peking shall crown that sequence of events. Only
several hundred days are left!
The Olympic Games in Athens were really outstanding: 10 891 athletes in 202 National
teams participating, 71 of which won Olympic medals and 115 teams won scored places.
According to experts, the Peking Games shall be more straining than those of Athens due to
expanding fields of efficient sport training based on new knowledge and scientific research.
The approaching Games may bear a distinct Asiatic touch. China, the Olympic host,
made tremendous progress, occupying the 11th place in general Olympic classification in
1988, 4th place in 1992 and in 1996, 3rd place in 2002 and second place in 2004! Moreover,
Japan and South Korea are expected to join, having scored places 5 and 9, respectively, in
Athens, and 11 other Asian countries were among the 71 medalist countries, some of them
for the first time. We ought to seriously consider a potential confrontation of Asian countries with the rest of the world, remembering that the traditional sport powers – the United
States and Russia – would not easily give in. They would be, of course, followed by others,
and that should bring about further improvements in competitive preparations. This, in turn,
shall raise the hardship of competition by increasing the level of achievements necessary to
qualify for Olympic nominations and, thus, chances to win.
All that prompts to seek innovations, preparation systems, better suited to contemporary requirements and more effective; to seek long-range, strategic solutions, meeting the
criteria of modern preparation systems, rationally managed by the objective function – an
effective Olympic performance.
The conclusions from the most recent events lead to formulating the strategy and optimisation of Olympic preparations, the starting point being our earlier studies (4, 21, 27) in which
the presumptions for such solutions and procedures were presented, based on the then existing
conditions. However, sport reality changes very fast and consecutive Olympic cycles force
us to consider and implement new developments, in terms of modern science and, which is
equally important, of generalised practical experience verified by top world achievements.
What do we know more and deeper now? What do the results of training processes we
conduct teach us? How to approach the concept of long-range training programmes?
The data on the efficacy of Olympic preparations conducted in countries which have
been rated among the top 15 in general Olympic classification since 1972 enable us to
investigate into those issues. Detailed information from nearly 35 years of modern sport
development enable identifying the principal factors and conditions. The conclusions resulting from the analysis of those data justify viewing them as presumptions of optimisation
processes, provided the competition efficacy and sport results are considered an optimisation criterion, and the main sets of process conditions – the limiting factors (22).
What ought then to be considered in the strategy of Olympic preparations? How to
identify the prime factors which condition highest positive predictions at the planning stage
and next in the execution processes and procedures? How to take modernising and optimising decisions, necessary in view of the actual trends?
Olympic preparations, viewed strategically, are a complex system (6, 28). A system
approach, involving the highest possible number of subsystems (sets of factors), their functions and mutual relations, is thus indispensable in all programmes and rationalising undertakings. In that way, all the components can be logically and functionally classified and
chronologically arranged, thus forming a set of nodal segments of Olympic preparation
strategy (8, 29). Such reasoning opens way to undertake definite programme procedures.
What is contained in such a list? How to expose the most essential undertakings, regarded as system ones, and determining the strategically viewed training efficacy?
1. Selection and precise defining of achievable sport objectives at Olympic Games in
view of individual potential. This represents prediction of own capacity as related to developmental trends in Olympic sports (13). Nowadays, only few countries are capable of
very extensive, multidirectional activities, hence the necessity to make selections. That
may result in unusual decisions, e.g. a long-range setting up a National team, when given
sport is not popular in that country, the sport level is low or the team consists of naturalised athletes. The kind and number of sports entering the Olympic programme is subject
to partial alterations, which ought to be taken into consideration. The competition grows;
the number of National representations participating in the Games steadily increases, the
level of preparedness also increasing and becoming even (cf. the distribution of 71 medals and 115 scored places of National representations in Athens, mentioned in Page 2).
These facts ought to be taken into consideration and no decisions should be taken unless
well founded; the achievable objectives should be reliably formulated.
2. Selection (a multiple one) of a group of athletes (including substitutes) expected (according to the criteria of championship model in given sport) to achieve the assumed
sport objective (7, 25). The small number of highly experienced athletes and a slow
progress in sport careers make the shaping of Olympic teams difficult and this factor
was indicated as one of the causes of low competitive efficacy in Athens, also for Polish
representation. The same applies to coaches and expert teams. Moreover, the recruiting
of foreign specialists has intensified; namely, in the last 4 Olympic cycles, some National
teams from the top 10 in general classification (including the Greek team – the hosts),
employed up to 25% of foreign or naturalised experts at various stages of the Olympic
cycle. In China, in the last few years, foreign coacheshave constituted up to as many as
40% of all coaches (with a high fluctuation in the years 2000–2003)2. This is another sign
of globalisation.
3. Detailed recognition of geoclimatic conditions at the competition target place and
defining the adaptive requirements. All resulting procedures ought to be reflected in
training programmes and verified at control competitions conducted under similar conditions or,at best , at the end of a competition site, at least several months in advance (2, 3,
10). That issue has been raised for over 10 years but many facts continuously point to a
necessity of perfecting the respective solutions regarding adaptation to local conditions
and individual adaptive responses of the athletes. Peking is expected to be a difficult
site, both climatically and culturally, and the Olympic preparation programme ought to
consider that.
4. Defining the approaches to achieving the assumed sport objectives and designing
a long-term training process according to the sequence: prognosis → programme →
schedule, considering the intermediate training and sport objectives (24). The duration
of that process steadily increases. Putting together a new National team for the forthcoming Games in a 3-year cycle only after the last Olympic Games have finished, becomes
rare (a shorter cycle is still in use in the U.S. because of tradition or the strength of a
given sport, not always with success, though). Cycles lasting 4–6 years (more often the
latter) have become a rule. The hosting team practice 6–8 year cycles, but before the
Seoul Games the preparation programmes in some “European” sports started as early
as 10 years in advance, although the site was unknown then. A similar phenomenon has
been noted for the last several years in China, where quite extensive programmes were
initiated, in some cases going on parallel within the same sport and run by coaches of
equal rank. Some Chinese provinces were charged with running all training tasks in
given sports in a manner identical to shaping the National representation and this was a
novel solution. Such decentralised programmes were conducted in the 2000–2004 cycle,
thereafter they were gradually centralised again.
5. Systemic approach to training programme and the resulting training process, initiating the entire system and not its isolated components. That tendency is a clearcut one: once an objective has been defined, and the athletes, coaches and programmes
(including infrastructure) are there, the entire system ought to be started according to its
logics (5, 27). Partial solutions usually do not work, and nothing would put together by
itself. The available data more or less speak for themselves: a delay or total lack of an
important element, e.g. medical care, essential element of infrastructure, planned competitions, etc., usually make attaining the assumed objective impossible, even if other
elements have been strengthened, e.g. a new coach from abroad, financial incentives, etc.
This includes the system-induced trend to reduce the incidence of unpredicted events,
like disruption of a team or change of an athlete’s function. Factors like changes in the
organisational structures, a breakdown of sport budget 2000–2001 and a deficit of top
quality coaches were mentioned by experts as responsible for the failures of the Polish
representation in Athens (information of PKSport).
6. Accuracy of structuralising the training process (in material and temporal view), according to the assumed objectives, ways of approach, programme assumptions and dynamics of real processes. The expression “shape for the right time” (9, 17) is appropriate
here. An analysis of over a 1000 top athletes (also Polish ones) makes it clear that this
very issue is being solved increasingly efficiently and accurately. While the assumed
aims (sport result levels, not classification positions!) were attained by best teams/athletes in about 35% in the 1972–1976 cycle, that level of achievements rose to over 50%
in the 1976–1980 cycle, now exceeding 70%. These are facts and they are clearly indicative of an improved ability to build up the sport and shape the best ones. However, many
programmes are not as accurate, which brings about exaggerated expectations from the
tapering phases (regarded as an all-cure) and from climate-adaptive training, as well as
statements concerning discomforts, psycho-emotional indispositions, etc. It should be
added that according to the available data some negative effects in the structural area
originate from systemic errors. Evidently, a rational structure has to include training rallies, an important structural element enabling intensification of efforts and achievements
of assumed training objectives. As follows from the available data, work of that kind lasts
(in various countries and for various sports) up to as many as 200 or more training days
throughout an annual macrocycle, and sometimes even 300 days. Individual adjustment
of the training structure according to specific objectives and tasks, as well as to training
conditions for given athletes and sports, always poses problems. The planning of training
on training camps should refer to specific phases of an annual cycle and should take into
account the stimulating geoclimatic (climatic) effects, as well as the comfort of training
conditions (10).
7. Accuracy of selecting a sport competition policy and an event schedule in a multiannual cycle, consecutive annual cycles and in the season of the target event. The
pressure in that area gradually increases – attractive events, including those with high rewards, pile up together with highly individualised needs and justifications. Competition
policies run in Olympic preparation cycles for top athletes differ considerably, the peculi-
arities of the respective sports contributing to that differentiation. Some sports, e.g. most
team games, are quite “normalised” due to the formula of the pre-Olympic eliminations,
other sports seem rather “haphazard”, e.g. bicycle racing or tennis, in which competitive
approaches dominate. In the latter sports a reliable “competition operation curve” can
be reliably drawn, showing how the rule of control, intermediate and final competitions
are being observed. In most sports, however, the athletes approach the final competition
in a “classical” way, sometimes highly individually, even with repeated character and
schedule of intermediate competitions in consecutive annual and multiannual cycles,
sometimes they resign from participation in other high-rank events like European or
World Championships, cups, etc. As mentioned before, sport event schedules increase
in volume and are now rarely designed from the point of view of training needs (6, 15).
When designing Olympic preparations, rigid choices in a function of strategic objective
should undoubtedly be made, also in the adjustment to the qualification system. Special
attention ought to be drawn to those qualifications as they open the way to Olympic
events not only or always a specific athlete, but other individuals practising a given sport
as well. In the 2001–2004 cycle in Poland we were too often incapable to manage, both
in terms of the temporal training structure and of the competition policy. This resulted in
focusing on only qualifying an athlete, often in the last minute and, in effect, the Olympic
start was only a poor resultant of earlier sudden decisions.
8. Optimisation of training technology. Technology is the key point of executive activities, the most sophisticated procedures directly affecting the direction and impact
of long-range adaptive processes which are the gist of running a training process. This
is also the area of pronounced, dynamic changes and modernisations, sometimes even
experimental ones, undertaken for improving the efficacy of shaping activities. Technological symptoms are those which determine the level of modern training (11, 18). The
respective data from that field are being kept secret for some period of time like those
pertaining to industrial technology, and this is quite obvious. After all, technology, the
spirit of a process, a set of direct activities, “creates” the shape or form (21). Optimising
processes, according to the criterion of training efficacy, should be split into several issues, regarding them in a function of systemic objective (result). These are:
➢ Training loads (classified by the kind, size and structure), according to the objective,
initial state, approaches, etc., in strategic and operational categories, always considering the requirements of a given sport and of athlete’s specificities and needs (22, 23).
We have, for instance, long observed that Polish junior athletes often apply more
extensive and specific loads compared with their competitors abroad; in contrast, top
Polish senior athletes often employ lower and less specific loads compared with the
leading ones in that sport.
➢ Rational use of principal load components – training volume and intensity, adjusted to the type and structure of the process in cycles of various lengths (14, 17).
Again, the available information shows that Polish junior athletes usually train more
and more intensely than their competitorsabroad. In contrast – senior athletes train,
sometimes, 30% less and with considerably lower intensity and that tendency has
stabilised over many years.
➢ Appropriate choice of methods, forms and means of training – these basic “technological tools” determine the technology and characterise its direction, selectivity
and operational capacity (16, 20). The widely known, now classical, training methods
have been specifically modified and as authorship procedures applied to training of
top world athletes. The same applies to the choice of training means used in accordance with the shaping objectives and methods used. A purposeful choice and rational
variety of means (and their relative stability at the same time), characterise the training of champions highly individually (“efficacy” of a given method, “belief” in given
exercises) but only when confronted with a very distinct “basic set” according to e.g.
the phase of the process, kind of training, shaped features, etc. Comparative data show
that, generally, two extreme modes prevail in the training of Polish athletes: a great
variety of methods and means (which would seem adequate in the training of juniors)
or, much more frequently, a static mode, for years employing the same few methods
or groups of means (sometimes only over 10). The only changing factors are loads
(applied resistance, numbers of repetitions and/or series, break duration, etc.). At the
same time, those Polish athletes who achieve outstanding, permanent international
success represent a refined model, which reflects the complexity of objectives and
ways of process dynamics, and this seems the right way to take.
➢ Adequate use of technical system-supported training – this includes purposeful
uses of training devices, special appliances, measuring equipment and other technical means supporting the athlete’s effort or immediately informing of training effects
(11, 18). Available reports of training courses of top foreign athletes are suggestive of
a steadily increasing contribution of that kind of infrastructure. That range of technical means is being continuously modernised; load-adjusting training devices, which
also report the essential functional effects and adjusting optimum characteristics of
consecutive exercises, are a standard nowadays. This facilitates greatly the performance of many tasks in the preparatory periods and explains, to some extent, potential
performance at higher loads (cf. the 30% deficit mentioned above). For many years,
training devices have been only rarely employed in competitive training in Poland and
only in some sports and for specific purposes. That fact has no economic justification
and is suggestive of a purposeful avoiding world trends aimed at increasing comfort,
quality and efficacy of work.
➢ Implementation of systems for monitoring the training-induced effects is one
of the basic requirements of modern training. Along with executing the increasingly
complex and burdening training programmes, information on their current, operational
and cumulative effects is indispensable (21, 30), hence the need to accumulate and use
(directives for training technology) data from coaching and training monitoring and
from diagnostic examinations. A great progress has been made, e.g. in miniaturisation
and computer-aiding of measuring devices which improves the current, operational
and strategic training management. Such a systemic, science-aided training does not,
practically, exist in Poland despite repeatedly submitted opinions of experts.
➢ Adequate programmes of climatic training and of biological recovery, which substantially support training technology. Training records of top athletes are indicative
of a special (and increasing) importance of those factors. Climatic training, in various
specific versions, is in equal use both in the preparatory periods (complex stimulation
of athlete’s potential) and in the pre-competition (tapering) ones (amplification of the
effects of specific training). The use of climatic stimuli is undoubtedly a necessity
in competitive sports (3, 10). Furthermore, various specialised and technically aided
programmes of biological recovery enable a faster functional regeneration and natural
recovery processes, thus improving the readiness for the forthcoming loads. Such programmes gradually become an integral component of the training process, purposefully applied according to the kind of exertion and magnitude of loads, independently
of procedures applied occasionally in cases of e.g. fatigue, overload or, simply, for
habitual or hedonistic reasons. It could be inferred that an appropriate use of such
procedures would improve tolerance of higher loads (again, 30%!). Our training programmes regard biological recovery procedures rather universally and indifferently;
those procedures are not routinely included as part of the training in spite of having a
steadily improving, modern appliances, e.g. at COS units.
➢ Well-founded solutions for training aid, including pharmacological (but not illegal doping!), represent now an obvious and normal support of the body subjected to
highly strenuous work. For various reasons, no detailed data can be discussed. As follows from the available literature, the rule “everything’s permitted unless forbidden”
has been widely accepted. Combined with the evidently right rule – “above all, never
bring harm” it creates ethical and medical background for monitored (by a physician)
health support with nutrients, energy substrates, homeostasis-restoring means, vitamins, minerals, trace elements, etc., according to the needs and requirements posed
by the exertion programme and its effects (6, 30). This is of paramount importance
for improving the efficacy of training technology and these progressing possibilities
should be exploited in order to function effectively in the world competitive system.
➢ Implementation of technologies of training data collection and processing is, beyond the discussion, a necessity also in view of the earlier mentioned requirements
and rules. In some countries, such systems have been operative for years – they create
central databases and facilitate planning and are in use either centrally or by individual federations. Apart from accumulating current information on the training process, such data are used in various studies, e.g. on the training in given sport, on sport
careers, on the relationships between training loads and the results of tests and sport
results, and all that in view of practical solutions (19, 23). Modern training systems
cannot exist nowadays without that element and this is directly associated with technical and programme consequences. It is reflected in computer-aided techniques of
automatic accumulation and processing of data recorded by an accepted technology,
as well as in computer-aided decision making. This is another necessity, well set in
many countries through practical applications, e.g. prediction of results, training simulations, training efficacy calculus, etc. Obviously, here are the chances for a marked
acceleration of many conceptual and programme activities and of training designs.
This is still a future objective in Poland in spite of repeatedly submitted opinions and
solution proposals.
9. Purposeful nutrition programmes. According to some experts, appropriate nutrition
programmes may improve the chances for a high fitness by as much as 30% and more,
for stabilising the athletic form and sport records (2, 17). It should be emphasised, without going into details, that the issue of nutrition and specific diets finds a steadily better place in training programmes of elite athletes. This is estimated indirectly, e.g. by
analysing the curricula of professional advancement of coaches and other experts, by
the amount of published material on that issue, and by monitoring nutrition modes of
selected groups of athletes at training camps or offers of renown training centres, now
also Polish ones.
10. Adequate programmes of prevention, health care and medical service (including
clinical assistance) – a very important and wide programme complex (15, 30), whose
significance increases with the complexity and duration of competitive training. It concerns an active, specific prevention, accessibility and reliability of results of periodical objective and subjective examinations, complexity of certification, accuracy and adequacy
of interventions, high effectiveness of therapeutic procedures (including the sometimes
unavoidable clinical treatment). That set of issues is being variously handled in various
countries. The comparisons are, however, hardly possible due to professional secrecy and
lack of detailed data. Incidental post-hoc analyses, e.g. resuming training following a typical contusion or injury, seem to point to a relative decrease of treatment duration. This is
of significance for the training process and an important indicator of medical potential,
along with preventive measures, certification and scheduled activities in the support and
biological recovery.
11. Final assessment of health, fitness and athletic form, combined with antidoping control, which represents the final step in the evaluation of the course and effects of the
training process (17).
Dealing with the issues mentioned in Sections 8–11 is rather complicated in Poland as no
National system of medical care combined with biological recovery exists, neither functions
a system of science-aided training a systemic monitoring of training course and effects.
It may be presumed that in the set of issues (8–11) potential reserves are present
which, when systemically activated, might considerably improve training efficacy by
engaging many important elements of modern thinking, technology and management.
All this implies drawing attention to four sets of co-existing factors of serious,
albeit non-measurable impact on realisation processes. These are:
12. Making use of scientific achievements and formulating science-addressed demands. Every significant sport achievement is now backed by sciences, ranging from
material science and industrial technology to most refined and narrow medical ones.
Sport-directed research, i.e. mostly applied science or research-and-development, are
an obvious normality (18, 24). Increasingly more research projects result from specific
demands of sports (the art of asking questions!), and the results of such projects are rapidly absorbed by training technology (1, 30). The mounting demand of world sport for
research results and implementation programmes is bound to be included in our, Polish
system and in the consciousness of coaches, which is equally important. That drawback, although verbalised many a time, has not found a systemic solution in Poland.
13. Openness to innovations. One of the principal rules of training effectiveness is a continuous search for new, original solutions, for training is actually a steady sequence
of experiments (15, 19). Analysis of foreign reports shows that irrespectively of the
abovementioned purposeful engagement of research potential, various innovations
from many fields of science, organisation, medicine, etc., which prognosticate a higher
efficacy, are continuously borrowed, verified and implemented in training, with diverse
effects. The results of that innovative openness may be noticed in e.g. training technology, use of training and measurement devices, nutrition, training aids, equipment
and biological recovery, etc. Even the products of space technology find application in
sports. Unfortunately, there is no ground for systemic management of those problems;
only occasionally some coaches undertake certain efforts but they are not met with interest and support of decision makers and are, thus, of low significance.
System functioning is related to the professional level of its users. This implies:
14. Professional advancement of experts (mainly of coaches) is always an integral part
of Olympic preparation programmes. A thorough selection is not sufficient; experts
ought to advance throughout the programme, they should gather up-to-date information and improve shop procedures (12, 29). Those procedures are carefully planned and
incorporated into programmes. We have analysed such programmes from the end of
the nineties running in those European countries which were among the top ten in the
general Olympic classification. Those issues are broad and hard to make comparisons
by issues, therefore we use mainly quantitative data. All this takes 120–150 project
hours a year, split into seminars, consultations and conferences lasting 2–4 days each,
as well as in the form of workshops (use of measuring equipment, computer software
training, participation in research, etc. These requirements are clearly harder than in
our country, hence suggestions to establish Coaching Academy and a licensed way of
employing coaches.
The availability of printed materials (books, periodicals), video cassettes, movies,
computer software, etc., on the market is an indispensable element of supporting the
process of training and advancement of experts. The amount of printed information in
Germany, France and Italy, is several fold greater than in Poland and this includes books
and textbooks (many translations) and professional periodicals, which are mostly of a
high standard. A steady progress in that field can be seen in e.g. Russia and Ukraine but
in Poland it is practically non-existent: apart from academic editions, addressed, by and
large, to other readers, a few books a year edited by COS and one monthly, addressed
partly to coaches (“Sport Wyczynowy” – “Competitive Sport”), no material useful in
professional advancing can be found. This is another deficiency in our sport reality,
again despite many demands and proposals.
Having in mind the discussed sets of Olympic preparations and their functions and
the relations to the situation in Poland, the last subsystem, opening the way to the future,
shall be presented.
15. Parallel training of Olympic reserves is a paradigm of all organised systems (25,
26). The programmes reach down to the sport for talented youths and include a longrange selection and, often, multistage qualifications. The training of selected reserves
is applied to groups counting 3–6 times more than the Olympic teams; this varies with
the sport. The age at which best results are achieved is now relatively stable, usually
exceeding 22 years for sports of so-called normal course. That means that a young
champion, aged 16–18 years, when classified as Olympic reserve, has 4–6 years to
become a full member of the Olympic team. That period is extended to 8–10 years in
team games (4, 5).
Training Olympic reserves is an exceedingly important issue in contemporary
Polish sport since at the time of final Olympic preparations (for Athens) the trained
groups proved particularly narrow. The right demands to increase the numbers of sport
representations cannot be effected because of a lack of candidates representing sufficiently high athletic level. Young champions, who splendidly perform at European and
World Championships in their respective age categories, experience great difficulties in
advancing at senior age and, for various reasons, too early abandon theirsport career.
This represents another difficult field of rationalising Polish sport which, after all, conditions an effective functioning of the Olympic preparation system.
All those versatile, long-range activities, are systemically concluded by three (according to the classification used here) final sets of programmes:
1. Establishing the Olympic team (for target Games),
2. Organisation of departure and of stay at the competition site,
3. Management of participation in trainings, stay at the Olympic village (target
competition site) and in competition.
All these activities are detailed and highly specific, and depending on a variety of factors.
This is an overview of the most essential areas dealing with the Olympic preparation
and elite sport training processes. This is also a specific list of potential rationalising and
optimising activities leading to a modern, effective training. It is to be remembered that the
optimising undertakings have to be systemic but specific for the three levels: individual
athlete, team or sport, and National representation as a whole. That statement is important
since the conditions, needs and limitations may be highly diversified and no “averaging” is
acceptable. In every case, optimisation should serve the purpose of improving the efficacy
of the system of preparations and of competitions.
The presented draft of Olympic preparations and strategy of optimising undertakings
must not be regarded as isolated from socio-political and economic conditions in given
country and from the degree of the state’s interest in creating favourable conditions for its
realisation. Moreover, the preparations, responsibility of system participants and a clear-cut
assignment of duties and rights ought to be institutionalised. A definite solution emerged
recently and has the following features:
I. Identification of Olympic sport and Olympic preparations in the system of social policy of
the state (defining the tasks of state administration and positions of all co-operating parties,
defining rules of management, competence and responsibility, financial assurance for realising tasks, possible classification of the programme as a governmental commitment);
II. Defining the principles of strategic control of preparations, including optional solutions
for operational management provided uniform systemic criteria are accepted. Designing the system of preparations under the priority of material competence and stability
of strategic assumptions, operational solutions remaining relatively elastic;
III. Making the system and functions assigned to participants and contractors fully professional;
IV. Initiation of contractual and allocated realisation solutions, criteria and forms of control, and the mode of evaluating the outcome.
Such solutions are being sought nowadays by training systems in countries having the
highest competitive sport potential and traditionally attaining high Olympic positions, i.e.
systems operating in countries having long-standing democratic traditions and well developed Olympic ethos.
The here presented approach to dealing with Olympic preparation strategy, with various modifications resulting from rather internal conditions, has been adopted by the most
powerful (not only in the sport sense) countries. Those countries can afford such strategy
economically but a high position of sport in their tradition and culture, together with its
place in social life, also play an important role.
In the past, but also at present (see China and Cuba as examples), such programmes
seem to be executed for mainly political reasons, economy and social factors becoming
secondary to the spectacular objectives. That trend would certainly persist for sport is a
perfect carrier of promotion.
The list of countries preparing for Olympic Games by running long-range, strategic
programmes shall expand for various reasons and this will make achieving a success quite
difficult; this calls for realising the necessity to continuously optimise the system.
The degree of difficulty shall also increase due to the discussed changes in the Olympic
movement. The competition programme, steadily expanding in last decades, ought to be
gradually but consistently reduced.
Some sports would lose their Olympic status; some might appear occasionally, e.g.
because of their popularity in the region where the Games would take place. New sports
would have to pass tedious procedures in order to qualify as Olympic ones. All those modifications, emphasised by the IOC, shall have to be reflected in Olympic preparation and
training programmes in individual countries.
A smaller number of sports means lower chances to win. Changes in the Olympic programme will be imbalanced and shall touch various countries to a different degree because of
uneven potential of various sports. Introducing new sports may require investments and implementing procedures which may prove unaffordable or unwanted. Obviously, great powers would
absorb changes rather smoothly; other ones may experience many a decision problem. This
shall call for making choices of what seems to be easier, achievable and/or affordable. Adaptive
procedures will have to be implemented, preparation and training processes optimised.
The strategic approach to an Olympic preparation system shall certainly gain importance in the nearest future in view of a marked complexity and optional handling of every
18 components discussed above. In order to reasonably expect success, the proceedings
ought to be consistently optimised and this includes a continuous modernisation of training
technology, training and professional advancement of experts, capable of creative handling
new situations and efficient control of the process.
In Poland, the successes of undertakings will depend, to a high degree, on appropriate decisions resulting from sections I–IV. Both principal matters and necessary finances are beyond
the sport community; their activation is in the hands of political circles; still, the awareness of
the necessity to take decisions that would open possibilities for a fair sport development by
standards of a modern European country, stays at a very much preliminary stage.
Dealing with that shall take years. In order to break out from the present situation,
intelligent decisions have to be taken today but the implementation of necessary processes
would not alter the reality in an instant. Olympic 2008 medallists live amongst us and have
serious achievements. Only few of them are Polish. No profound changes can be effected
but we have to try with all our knowledge, strength and potential.
The social, educational and athletic effects of corrective actions shall, if undertaken,
materialise in 6–8 years. This calls for patience and consistent, intelligent efforts. Only then
the implemented modern solutions would produce effects in the Olympic 2012 preparations. We should be aware of that ...
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25. Sleamaker, R. Serious Training for Serious Athletes. Human Kinetics. Champaign, 1993.
26. Wilmore, J. W., Costi, D. L. Physiology of Sport and Exercise. Human Kinetics. Champaign, 2004.
27. Schnabel, G., Harre, D., Borde A. Trainingswissenschaft. Sportverlag. Berlin, 1994.
28. Balcewicz, W. K. Otokinezjołogia cziełowieka. Tieorija i Praktika Fiziczeskoj Kultury. Moscow, 2000.
29. Łasiński, G. Sprawność zarządzania organizacją sportową. Academy of Physical Education. Wrocław,
30. Sozański, H. Systemowe uwarunkowania modelu treningu młodocianych i ich wpływ na rozwój karier.
[In:] Śledziewski D. [Ed.] Modelowe rozwiązania treningu w szkoleniu młodzieży uzdolnionej sportowo.
PTNKF. Warszawa, 2004, 9–27.
he study was supported by grant No. AWF-DS63 of the Polish Ministry of Science
Based on unpublished proceedings of the Conference “Computer systems in sports and scientific and methodological presumptions in the contemporary concepts of Olympic preparations”. Kyiv, 16-18.06.2004, Ukraine.
II. sport – Articles
Wojciech J. Cynarski, Kazimierz Obodyński
University of Rzeszów
Faculty of Physical Education
Factors and Barriers of Development
of Far Eastern Martial Arts and Combat Sports in Poland
Far-Eastern martial arts may be successfully used as a form of acculturation for active
participation in physical culture (recreation, sport for all for the whole of life). What is more
since originating from the Far East martial arts and combat sports have become popular
and are developing throughout the world, also in Poland, despite coming from a different
cultural circle. They are becoming an element of cultural exchange within the process of
cultural globalization (Cynarski, 2000; 2003; 2004).
The development of martial arts is undoubtedly made difficult by cultural barriers
(strangeness, not being in accordance – in a common opinion – with Christian axiology,
associating them with violence), psychological and also economic ones. On the other hand,
one may distinguish factors supporting their development: cultural (popularity in mass culture), psychological (especially the need for security) and utilitarian (the will to learn for
possible use of techniques of hand-to-hand fighting).
The subject of the study is the problem of development conditioning of originating
from the Far East martial arts and combat sports and so the barriers making this development difficult and factors supporting it. The aim is in particular to state the significance of
cultural conditioning for the popularity of martial arts in Poland.
A set of complementary methods of research has been used such as long-term participating observation, experts’ judgments, the analysis of literature on the subject.
The results of the research may be divided into the following remarks and statements,
– The development of martial arts in Poland is disturbed by cultural barriers (strangeness,
not being in accordance – as it is commonly perceived – with Christian axiology, associations with violence) psychological as well as economic ones;
– The following factors of development may be distinguished: cultural (popularity in mass
culture), psychological (the need for security) and utilitarian ones.
Factors and barriers of popularizing physical culture
In the field of physical culture or the culture of spare time one may distinguish two
groups of barriers – economic ones and those concerning people’s awareness (cultural ones).
A crucial interdependency between the level of socio-civilizational advance and the economic
level of particular countries and societies on one hand, and on the other the range of so-called
cultural consumption occurs – also when participation in physical culture is concerned.
In highly developed countries of Europe certain social bodies play a dominant role. For
instance, the German Sport Association and the Sport Council of the United Kingdom of
Great Britain are of this character. However, in the USA sport institutions of associative and
private character prevail. The percentage of funds spent on sport by the state is different for
different rich countries of the West – from 5.6% in Switzerland to 39% in Denmark. Participation in recreational sport is a mass phenomenon in postindustrial societies. Motion activity
currently concerns 69% of people systematically exercising in Germany, 68% in France, 65%
in Great Britain, 70% in the USA. In Poland (according to CBOS survey) only 7 to 14% of
the adult population do physical exercises regularly or ‘quite often’. Here, “Men do sport
more often than women (both regularly and occasionally). However, women avoid any forms
of physical activity more often than men’ (according to the research of R. Kostka quoted by
Krawczyk, 1998). Preferences in the range of forms of physical activity differ depending on
the country. Richer societies often choose these sports which require greater funds or a proper
base. The following are quite commonly preferred: swimming, skiing, tennis, also golf, sailing, surfing or parachuting. Motives for these forms of activity are improvement of health and
fitness, recreation and relieving stress, contact with nature or social contacts.
Economic barriers for the development of ‘sport-for-all’ in Poland are analyzed by B.
Marciszewska (1998, p.81). She states reasons for very little increased interest in sport as
a form of spending free time indicating several aspects of this problem: 1) Psychological
(there may be a barrier against taking up motion activity caused by fear of showing limited
skills in this respect and also a tendency to place this kind of activity on a further position
in the hierarchy of needs); 2) Social (lack of examples to follow in the closest surrounding
– family, social group, school – has been noted); 3) Political (not always consequent policy
of the state in the sphere of widely understood promotion of sport which does not ensure its
accessibility for all social groups); 4) Economic (progressing diversification within Polish
society, as far as the level of real income is concerned, limits placing motion activity in the
range of needs which can be financed from family budgets in case of many social groups).
This author also draws attention to the fact that including sport in the tourist offer of
our country may be beneficial in the following ways, 1) reducing structural unemployment,
mainly thanks to creating new jobs in the sphere of sport and services (e.g. food, construction and transport); 2) creating additional demand for consumer goods and increasing
income for local budgets; 3) strengthening chances for development in the sphere of local
services for the benefit of local society and people participating in sport for all in the holiday period or within weekend trips (Marciszewska, 1998, p.96).
Among social qualities influencing the level of active participation (the range of activity) in physical culture the following may be mentioned: 1) the level of cultural awareness
and consumption; 2) education; 3) social background and local traditions; 4) kind of work
done; %) level of income and financial possibilities; 6) age; 7) sex; 8) accessibility to sport
infrastructure (compare: Krawczyk, 1995, pp.185-237).
In the case of physical activity barriers of other sorts are also mentioned, as follows,
“Those who are more likely to become inactive are: 1) the elderly, 2) smokers, 3) overweight or physically challenged individuals, 4) those who exercise alone, 5) those who exercise
vigorously as opposed to moderately, 6) adolescent girls, 7) those reaching the end of compulsory physical education, 8) those who become parents, especially working women, 9) low income
groups, 10) less educated individuals, 11) members of minority groups, 12) African American
women, 13) undernourished children in developing countries” (Bédard, 1995, p. 14).
And here are factors which are “shown to encourage physical activity”: 1) family social
support, especially for women, 2) individuals who exercise with their parents, 3) moderate
intensity, individually tailored, home-base exercise programmes, 4) simple programmes to
improve fitness, such as walking, especially for older adults and low-income individuals,
5) the availability and proximity of community facilities and safe environments, 6) linking
physical activity to personal interests and pursuits that can be followed as a family over the
entire lifespan, 7) targeted interventions which are theoretically based and provide printed
support materials – these should include resource manuals describing activity options in
the community, and offer no-cost organized events, such as fun walks, 8) physician-based
counseling, 9) workplace-based exercise programmes and educational campaigns – these
have been successfully used both to increase exercise behavior among employees and reduce costs associated with health insurance and absenteeism (Bédard, 1995, p. 15).
Factors and barriers of development
of martial arts in Poland
How does the situation of originating from the Far East martial arts and combat sports
appear on the background of general problems of popularizing sport culture, free time activity and recreation?
The favoring factors of their popularization are especially utilitarian aspects such as
their usefulness in uniform services and quite common motivation for exercise, namely the
will to learn fight techniques for the purpose of self-defense. It is connected with the psychological factor of gaining the sense of security. Other psychological factors result from
attempting to identify with the cultural archetype of a man-warrior or also with the will to
know what is mysterious, exotic. Of course, the condition for interest in products of foreign
cultures is the attitude of openness to such patterns (Cynarski, 2003; 2004).
The archetype of a warrior is connected with the knightly ethos and searching for timeless values. It is favored by culture, especially literature, art, film (Cynarski, & Obodyński,
2004 a). Moreover, the very martial arts and combat sports due to their show-like qualities
are nowadays promoted in the media and so in the sphere of mass culture. The genre of
martial arts film has emerged (Cynarski, 2000). The cultural factor is also occurring briefly
fashion for martial arts connected with the oriental New Age trend, the countercultural
movement or ecologism. On the other hand those oriental cultural patterns in the form of
martial arts have educational values, thanks to which regardless fashions and dominant
ideologies more and more scientists (especially pedagogues) recommend doing selected
Asian martial arts.
Among the barriers of popularizing martial arts one may also distinguish psychological
barriers – something unknown, strange, hard to comprehend appears as dangerous, threatening, especially when accompanied by lack of competent knowledge and the attitude of
openness. Stereotypes, as strengthened by primitive films associating martial arts with violence, is yet another factor form the borderline of popular perception and cultural patterns.
The strictly cultural factors limiting the development of martial arts may include perceiving the strangeness of this kind of sport traditions on the ground of western and Polish
physical culture. Accepted schemes of combining, for instance, physical education with
other forms of physical culture especially with Olympic sports in connection with the lack
of solid knowledge about martial arts create the atmosphere which does not favor popularizing martial arts teaching. Additionally religious officiousness of some Christian groups
causes identifying martial arts with religion of the East. It is true to the same degree to
which contemporary Olympic sports are pagan. However, as it results from conducted research (Cynarski, 2004), the meaning of this ‘religious barrier’ is marginal.
In Polish reality quite evident economic barriers of martial arts development occur.
Those are in particular, 1) lack of base (for institutions) and accessibility of infrastructure of
this kind (for the society); 2) lack of or highly insufficient support of state and local governments – especially state sports authorities finance the Olympic sport, professional sport at
the cost of many forms of sport for all which include most martial arts. Additionally, as it is
indicated by the martial arts master and long-term leader of one of the German associations
(DDBV) Lothar Sieber, large commercial organizations of martial arts eliminate competition from the market of martial arts, which may soon concern Poland as well. On the other
hand, a variety of possible adaptations, the mosaic character and a number of perceptions
of the great richness of Far Eastern martial arts and combat sports or rather ways of combat
enable the choice of suitable interesting forms and development of some valuable varieties
for us (Cynarski, 2004; Cynarski, Sieber, & Litwiniuk 2005).
The choice of the most valuable forms of psychophysical culture for the needs of
school physical education or motion recreation should be made by scientific authorities. In
Poland the representatives of physical culture sciences and humanists such as E. Jaskólski,
R. M. Kalina, S. Sterkowicz and A. Szyszko-Bohusz, similarly to researchers from other
European countries (M. Ďuriček, V. Lyakh, J. Palm, M. von Saldern) indicate the so far
insufficient use of various values of martial arts and the need for their wider use with the
benefit for the level of physical culture of the society.
How do sociologists discuss the problem of this very interesting form of physical culture in particular? So far the interest of sociologists representing sociology of sport in the
problems of martial arts is rather modest (Cynarski, & Obodyński, 2004 b). Yet they may
indicate facts from the participation in widely understood sport culture and also draw attention to worth noticing patterns of behavior in this respect.
Physical culture as part of general culture
Social-cultural mechanisms decide about the place and of the value of physical culture
in social awareness and its scale of values which are accepted, declared and realized. Physical culture is an integral part of culture and this fact is not always noticed. “Participation in
physical culture is viewed as an integral part of participation in culture (in its global perception) and analyzing it mainly from the individual and personal perspective it is treated
mainly as a field of cultural consumption referring to the set of values, norms and ways of
creating the human body” (Kocemba, 1995).
Physical culture consists of: physical and health education, physical recreation, rehabilitation, tourism and sport, which is in its professional form the most spectacular part and
a phenomenon with a great intensity of influencing the mass-media. Professional sport in
comparison with other forms of physical culture activity concerns only a slight number of
people, that is why in further considerations the issues of recreation called sport for all will
be analyzed to a greater degree. In physical recreation, being a domain of free time and a
form of active rest, as well as, to a certain degree, in tourism we find (in case of the adult
part of society) effects of the school subject of physical education which in its prospective
function should prepare for constant participation in physical culture. Difficulties in breaking stereotypes of behavior, mentality and social (un)awareness in this sphere as well as
improper perception of importance of physical culture are reasons for insufficient participation of the Polish in so-called mass sport in the scale of the whole country.
The specific quality of the Japanese society is orientation towards competition or rather rivalry in perfectionism, which is culturally conditioned (the bushidō code as a normative system
for budō). The self-progress in a Japanese way (the German term Leistung consists e.g. such
meanings as achievement, result, fitness, efficiency, power) is discussed by Hans Lenk (1983,
pp. 141-157), perceiving the culture of bushi warriors as the motor of actions in the sphere of
physical culture and a part of economic success. He also compares the Samurai ideology with
the spirit of protestant capitalism (compare: Nitobe, 1969; Tsunemoto, 1980; Weber, 1969). For
these reasons, among others, only jūdō is practiced by about 4 million Japanese.
Patterns of participation in physical culture
The intention of the authors is presenting conclusions which could result in certain
modification of patterns and customs concerning participation in this part of culture, especially in case of small local communities. Basic distinguished in the humanist theory
of physical culture patterns of participation have been presented and referred to Japanese
traditions of physical culture – the budō (Jap. The way of stopping the spear) martial arts.
The second part of the reflection concerns local customs in the sphere of participation in
physical culture and formulates conclusions – recommendations resulting from sociological research in this field.
In large cities with quite good institution and base-equipment infrastructure in case of
communities with already formed habits in applying active forms of recreation the situation, as far as participation in physical culture is concerned, is indeed better than in the case
of so-called provinces but still far from the European standards. This kind of activity is
rather neglected in small towns and in the country.
Generally Z. Krawczyk distinguishes the following patterns of somatic culture:
The aesthetic pattern – which influenced the contemporarily dominant ideal of harmony,
strength and physical fitness in the esthetic cannons of beauty of the body, sport fashion and
sporting lifestyle. Here, harmonious body-building of people practicing widely developing martial arts contrasts the proportions of bodies of other sports representatives in a positive way.
The hedonistic pattern – concerns kinetic impressions (in this approach). Movement
is treated as a source of pleasure. That is why many martial arts are practiced on a recreational basis.
The ascetic pattern – originally it meant depreciation of the body and its needs. Currently (according to the author) it functions in the ideologies of systems of psychophysical
self-realization (contemporary teachings of the Catholic Church, monastic rules, philosophy of martial arts – especially Japanese budō etc. with high requirements in ethics and
self-discipline) and it is contrasted with the consumption style of rich Western societies.
Budō is basically a ‘way of non-aggression’, a moral and ‘spiritual way’, but the practice of physical exercise originating from the traditions of Buddhist and Taoist monasteries
as well as the zen meditations serve reaching inner (psychophysical) unity and harmony
with macro-universe. Overcoming one’s own weakness (the catch-phrase of karate-dō) and
the mystical parts decide about the ascetic provenience of Far Eastern martial arts. In the
area of functioning of the socio-cultural phenomenon of Far Eastern martial arts one may
distinguish a new ascetic educational pattern, where ascetics is viewed in a positive way
as a moral way of perfecting personality through self-discipline and practicing the noble
art of self-defense (Obodyński, & Cynarski, 2003). Research on lifestyle and reception of
the ‘life way’ of advanced adepts, instructors and masters-teachers of martial arts indicate
the present motive of self-realization and obeying ethical rules being in accordance with a
given axionormative system (related to the knightly ethos), which confirms the premises of
the ascetic cultural pattern (Obodyński, & Cynarski, 2005).
The hygienic pattern – realizing existential and utilitarian goals is, thanks to the actions undertaken by schools, education system and health service, being made the most
common. It is connected with the goals of health prophylaxis and developing physical fitness of the youth. The system of physical and health education is e.g. jūjutsu popularized in
Poland and in Europe since the beginning of the 20th century.
The fitness pattern – it is a continuation of knightly and military traditions. At present
it seems to be useful especially for the military forces and as an idea of compensating
actions in the situation of civilizational deficit of physical movement and effort causing
atrophy and a number of civilizational diseases. Nota bene, military traditions of far-eastern
martial arts are here a valuable cultural heritage and are used quite widely.
The agonist pattern – realizing the category of bravery as it expresses itself in the
sport fight and rivalry. At first agonist behaviors were limited according to the class stratification – they applied to the gentleman’s aristocratic sport. Along with the idea of pure
amateurship and the fair play principle this pattern established the axiological cannon of
contemporary sport. Most of the Asian combat sports take part in international competition
and accept the ideas of Olympism or rather Neo-Olympism.
Military-utilitarian behaviors of an archetypical warrior and then of the cultures of OldGreek warriors (Sparta, Pan-Hellene Olympics), of European or Japanese knights and their
noble epigones as well as of the creators of the idea of sport – as a substitute of a real fight –
are the main source of establishing and the development of physical culture. The sports originating from the circles of the noblesse like tennis, fencing, horse riding or e.g. the Japanese
art of reaching for the sword iaidō, seem to be socially (due to the principle of assimilating the
culture of a higher state) especially attractive. On the other hand, sports requiring large funds
such as golf, yachting, motor-water, car, balloon etc. sports seem to be interesting for the new
financial elites more for the snobbish reasons (similarly to tourism to exotic countries).
Social conditions cause that essentially in the societies originating from the working
class team games are popular (especially football) and boxing and among the country’s
youth those are cycling, wrestling, weight-lifting and also football.
Empirical studies on correlations between the level of education and activity in the
sphere of physical culture show that the youth from intellectual families show significantly
greater participation in the sport and recreational activity than in the case of those coming
from families with a low level of education. NB the best-educated sportsmen among the
representatives of Poland were the judokas and fencers (in majority university education)
and the lowest level of education occurred in case of the representatives of field hockey
(secondary professional education).
Values of physical culture are perceived to a various degree and in a different way by
particular social classes which is influenced by age (not exactly correlating to the date of
birth but perceived in a biological and psychological way as placing between the young
vitality and dynamism and shiftlessness and passivity), sex (women from the ‘Galician’
provinces most frequently finish their contact with physical culture with finishing lessons
of physical education), above-mentioned education and social provenience as well as inertia of local customs and habits (with uncritical admiration for certain sports especially those
preferred by the media).
The need for modification of local pro-bodily customs
The analysis of the research results on the communities of small towns and villages
in Poland, as far as the participation in physical culture, especially in sport and the forms
of active physical recreation, is concerned, indicates marginal participation in this form of
culture caused by a low degree of recognition for the need in this sphere and by economic
reasons. Values of the body and physical culture are more often accepted and declared than
realized. The state of civilizational regress in this respect may only partially be explained
by the lack of a wide base and offer of services (small offer is a response to a small demand), low budget of free time in the case of certain people and the pauperization of society. Particular social unawareness in matters of physical culture value occurs in country
communities where the cult of directly useful work dominates.
Due to changes in the economic basics for the functioning of physical culture in Poland
after 1989 local communities should support development of this field through sponsoring
(companies) or patronage (local authorities). Functioning of the physical culture, professional sport in particular, without this kind of help.
The model of passive participation in culture, including physical culture (watching
sport events, most preferably sitting in a comfortable armchair in front of a TV set or a
radio) should be changed or completed with patterns of direct active participation – not
sporadic but systematic. Physical culture for its health values (compensating deficits of
movement or one-sided effort, building positive health, physical creation and recreation),
pleasure, esthetic, self-realizational ones should be constantly participated by the modern
man taking care of his versatile development.
Martial arts being at present in the top ten most willingly practiced recreationally sports
deserve even wider popularization due to their significant health and education values.
They constitute a certain counterweight (or an alternative) for common in the West model
of physical culture and especially of commercialized sport.
The problems of the value of physical culture and contemporary approaches of social sciences concerning these problems is presented more widely by the founder of Polish theoretical school of sociology of physical culture, Zbigniew Krawczyk and his cooperatives (within
this research program) (Krawczyk, 1995; 2000; Jankowski, & Krawczyk, 1997) and also –
from the point of view of philosophical anthropology – by Jerzy Kosiewicz (2004).
From the perspective of conducted research practical functions of sport sociology
(more generally – sociology of physical culture) may be schematically described as follows. They are 1) Axiological-acculturational functions and 2) Socio-technical functions. The important field of research subordinated to the socio-technical function of sport
sociology is research on attitudes, life preferences, interests, the systems of values and
personality of ‘sports people’.
What will be practical recommendations of physical culture sociology for ‘customs
concerning the body’ in relation to budō martial arts like? In the light of the presented
above interpretation the sociology of martial arts explains the real sense of these forms of
physical culture indicating socially valuable elements introduced by philosophies of the
ways of martial arts. An explanation of their axiological content destroys stereotypes and
prejudices. The axiological-acultural function builds the area of openness, dialogue and
understanding between various sport cultures influencing attitudes of tolerance and the will
to understand the heritage of foreign cultures in a positive way.
The basic cannon of martial arts, not only the Japanese budō is the principle of constant
participation, continuous practice and active participation in this form of psychophysical culture. Another value of martial arts is combining physical exercise with a moral way of ethical
principles and spiritual perfection (the ascetic pattern) (Obodyński, & Cynarski, 2003).
In turn the socio-technical function indicates the necessity to study the perception of
martial arts, their institutionalization and popularization, the influence of training and the
sphere of martial arts values on the personality of practitioners, the structure of practicing
group, management of martial arts institutions etc.
The conclusion of the research may be formulated as follows, originating from the Far
East martial arts and combat sports have become popular and are developing throughout the
world, also in Poland, despite coming from a different cultural circle. They are becoming an
element of cultural exchange within the process of cultural globalization.
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2. Cynarski, W. J. (2000). Sztuki walki budō w kulturze Zachodu. Rzeszów: WSP.
3. Cynarski, W. J. (2003). Globalizacja a spotkanie kultur. Rzeszów: UR.
4. Cynarski, W. J. (2004). Teoria i praktyka dalekowschodnich sztuk walki w perspektywie europejskiej.
Rzeszów: UR.
5. Cynarski, W. J., & Obodyński, K. (2004 a). Ethos of martial arts in the movie at the beginning of the 21st
century. In J. Kosiewicz & K. Obodyński (Eds.), Sports involvement in changing Europe (pp. 136-152).
Rzeszów: PTNKF.
6. Cynarski, W. J., & Obodyński, K. (2004 b). Modern sociology and sports philosophy in the face of socio-cultural
issues of Far Eastern martial arts based on Polish and German papers from the years 1995-2001. In G. Anders, J.
Mrazek, G. Norden & O. Weiss (Eds.), European Integration and Sport (pp. 47-60). Münster: LIT.
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arts in the West: a sociological analysis. Archives of Budo, 1, 13-18. (
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porównawcze. Warszawa: AWF.
9. Kocemba, W. (1995). Społeczne zróżnicowanie uczestnictwa w kulturze fizycznej. In Z. Krawczyk (Ed.),
Socjologia kultury fizycznej (pp. 250-251). Warszawa: AWF.
10. Kosiewicz, J. (2004). Filozoficzne aspekty kultury fizycznej i sportu [Philosophical aspects of physical culture and sport]. Warszawa: BK.
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rawczyk, Z. (Ed.) (1995). Socjologia kultury fizycznej. Warszawa: AWF.
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Fizyczne i Zdrowotne, 1.
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14. Lenk, H. (1983). Eigenleistung. Plädoyer für eine positive Leistungskultur: Texte und Thesen. Zürich: Edition Interfrom.
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II. sport – Articles
Tomasz Michaluk
University School of Physical Education in Poznań
Selected aspects of the semiotics of a sporting event
Scientific research, reflections and even common convictions connect sport with a
sphere of values which are not directly related to it and yet find their expression, representation, or realization in sport. That phenomenon can be observed especially well during
global sporting events, such as world championships or Olympic Games. Every such event
triggers a renewed dispute in media, recurrent topics being, among others, commercialization of sport and resultant pathologies (i.e. bribery), the principle of fair play, the educational role of physical culture, and consequently, the issue of financing amateur sport from
public means, etc. This situation is the result of a common belief that sport does not exist in
itself, does not constitute an autonomous phenomenon, the interpretation of which could be
contained in an isolated, known only to a select group of experts system of values, functioning solely in relation to strictly understood sporting events.
The very essence of sport1 is the act of mediating or representing values, which only to
a minimal degree are created by the sporting competition itself and whose source is rooted in culture, sport being only one of numerous implementation forms. In the reflections
presented here an effort will be made to look upon the phenomenon of sport in terms of
semiotics, focusing especially on the concept of symbol as a triadic relation postulated by
Charles Sanders Peirce’s semeiotics2 and connected with this concept synechism3, i.e. the
continuity of processes of semiosis, the act of interpreting signs via further signs. Sport is
perceived as, possibly universal, element of the system of signs functioning within the sign
universe. The application of Peirce’s semeiotic concepts affords possibilities for discerning
a continuity between sport and the whole cultural sphere of meaning, due to seeing a sporting event as a sign process, the full interpretation of which lies outside sport itself.
Sport is understood as a phenomenon, in which relation between competitors and receivers of the show, i.e. fans, or audience, is necessary to generate a sporting event, being a
proper way of realization for contemporary professional commercialized sport4. This is the
only type of sport which influences noticeably spheres of culture outside sport, such as consumption, lifestyle, peculiarly understood patriotism, fashion, etc. In the context of observations presented here, jogging in a wood is not sport but recreation, connected with sport
only by broad similarity of physical activities. Professional sport, as opposed to recreation,
does not have as a goal physical development or improvement in the health of a sportsman5,
but the achievement of a score, which starts to function in semiotic processes. An impressive score can be attained only by coming close to, or – better – beating a record.
Analyzing differences between the best competitors’ results, one can imagine the overstraining of the organism needed to achieve these results. In grueling sports records are
beaten by hundredths and thousandths of a second after years of intensive training. As far as
spectacularity of the show is concerned, differences between competitors’ scores measured
in fractions of a second or centimeters are hardly perceptible and could be calculated only
by using highly advanced technologies. Conversely, the semiotic difference6 between the
winner and those who came in second or third, is qualitative.
It should be stressed that competition between sportsmen is only a part of the full
phenomenon which is called here sport and which remains unconstituted and fragmentary
without receivers. Ontologically, we get a situation when the term sport denotes a system
containing the competing sportsmen and the audience who receive, or consume, the competition.
If the phenomenon of sport is described in terms of the system of values realized via
symbols, it becomes clear that professional sport is distinctly different from amateur sport,
and the similarity of their external forms is most significant in spheres not directly connected with sport, e.g. commerce (the promotion of a product, such as shaving razors).
In the context of observations presented here, the essay will also attempt to consider
the problem of hooligans and phenomena described as pathological, which accompany
professional sport, or, more exactly, sporting events. The author of this article claims that
those regrettable incidents are not degeneration, or pathology of a sporting event. They are
not accidents but a regular phenomenon, which could be classified using the tools offered
by Peirce’s semeiotics. The observed phenomena are one of the possible developments of
sport in the process of interpretation, or semiosis. Their evaluation is relative and rooted in
the system of values directly connected to the commonly understood purpose of sport. The
so called problem of hooligans has been “analyzed” in the press and other media, where it
has been superficially kept within the stereotype of ‘fathers and sons’ on the one hand, and
sociopaths on the other, who have no idea what a real reception of a sporting event should
be like. The situation thus viewed is encumbered with normative postulates7, which have
nothing to do with actual results of research into semiosis processes at work.
CSP’s concept of a sign as a triadic relation. Synechism
It is impossible to present shortly the full version of Peirce’s semeiotic concepts. It is
worth noticing that observations on the subject of sign have a central place in the prodigious
philosophical output of Charles Sanders Peirce.8 In this article only selected fragments of
semeiotics will be used, focusing particularly on the concept of a sign as a triadic relation and its significant consequence, i.e. synechism, or the continuity of the semiotic sign
universe, allowing the introduction of sport into actually functioning systems of values, as
opposed to normative research postulates, existing only in an abstract situation.
The sign as a triadic relation consists of three elements: the First – Sign9 (representamen), the Second – Object, and the Third – Interpretant. Consequently, Peirce introduces
trychotomies of the triad, which define formal conditions of being a sign.10 The trychotomy
of the First divides sign according to its mode of existence, its material nature, into a qualisignum, i.e. a pure possibility of a sign – everything can become a sign; a sinsignum, which
is a singular object or event; and a legisignum, which is a general sign, a law. The general
legisignum is realized through so called Replicas which are singular instances of a sign, or
a sign of sinsignum type. The trychotomy of the Second is based on the relation of a sign to
its object, not dependent on its existence on a sign relation, through which it is represented
only in some respect. An Icon represents an object through similarity. A Symbol is bound to
the object by convention, habit or natural interpretative inclination. The trychotomy of the
Third is conducted by considering the relation of a sign to the interpretant. A sign is either a
Rhema, or a Dicisign, or else an Argument. This division is modified for needs of semeiotics logical division into a Term, a Proposition and an Argument. A Rhema, like a Term, is a
name of a class or a proper name, and as a sign is neither true nor false. A Proposition is a
Dicisign (symbol), which is not a judgment, strictly speaking, but a sign capable of conveying a judgment. A Dicisign can be either true or false. An Argument is a syllogism and is
always necessary and true. Basing on the above-presented trychotomies of the triad, Peirce
defines ten categories of signs.11 Although sign is a triadic relation, one of the three aspects
of this relation can be privileged in a given category of signs: presentative, representative
or interpretative. For example, the sign can be meaningful because of the quality of the
medium of communication, can represent an object by iconic similarity or allow an open
(rhematic) interpretation. Peirce devoted special attention to the trychotomy which divides
a sign into an Icon, an Index or a Symbol.12 These aspects, i.e. being an Icon, an Index or a
Symbol, are used in some cases as representative of a full sign.
Every sign is an element of other triadic relations, any of the elements of other signs.
The process of semiosis has no beginning or end, and there is no possibility of predicting
a moment of final interpretation, which would not disclose, or constitute, further signs. No
signs are isolated, self-standing. Semiosis does not start from a primary sign, unpreceded
by any other sign. It is worth noting that this viewpoint is distinctly different from the
Cartesian one, postulating the existence of an absolute, and, more importantly, achievable
beginning of cognition.13 According to Peirce, thinking is a sign process, a thought is a sign
which develops into other thoughts-signs, and the expression and conveying of experience
or knowledge is possible only via signs.
Every mode of conveying experience or knowledge about phenomena is mediated
through signs. No direct cognition, which would not be mediated through signs, is possible, because the mere fact of being an object is enough to constitute a semiotic relation. A
phenomenon is an object of cognition in a certain respect, which is defined in the process
of interpretation, constituting a transcription into a further sign. A sign replaces an object,
but not wholly, only in a certain respect. Therefore signs can exist which represent the same
object in various respects, or in relation to different ground of the sign.
Semeiotics of sport
Competitors and formal elements14 of a sporting event are the First (representamen),
which has no meaning in itself and becomes meaningful only when it is bound to the Second (its object, for example a score), in the relation constituted by the Third, i.e. an interpretant or several interpretants generated by the receivers of a sporting event. The choice of a
sport, or the First, is practically limited by the number of recognized sports, together with
their accepted forms of competition and formal elements. The Second, or the object of the
signs of sport is usually a score15, so during or after a sporting event a competitor represents
a score which he has achieved. In subsequent semiotic processes, a sign constituted during
a sporting event, which binds a sportsman to the score, can be the First in a sign relation,
where the Second is an object not connected with sporting competition. The binding of the
two elements into a representation is possible thanks to an interpretant, which however is
not logically necessary, i.e. does not belong to the category of arguments. Naturally, each
succeeding transcription of a sign generated from the primary sign created during a sport
event is acceptable. It depends only on an interpreter’s invention, whether a given chain of
semiosis will become popular and will be accepted by other interpreters.
The continuity of semiotic processes, i.e. the postulated synechism, is visible if we take
into account expectations connected with a given competitor or team. Most of these expectations are the result not of detailed knowledge concerning a competitor’s form and training, but of previously constituted meanings and interpretations. In the majority of sporting
events appear competitors who in earlier semioses were interpreted as a symbol of success,
or seen as a carrier of culturally significant values not connected with sport, like belonging
to a given nation, a life success. During a sporting event, a process of interpretation (the
constituting of an interpretant) takes place. At the moment of predicting the rules and the
result of the competition, this process will bind a competitor (representamen) to the object,
i.e. a score, and in a further interpretation to a success, or, equally strongly, to a failure. The
process of interpretation, i.e. constituting a sign binding a sportsman to the object, belongs
to the receivers of a given event16 and is unequivocally determined at the final moment of
the competition. The elements of the show (the First) are the sportsmen’s physical actions,
which in themselves are not meaningful, but constitute a possibility of a triadic sign. As
it was stated above, for a person not aware of taking part in a sporting event, they are not
meaningful in any way, and can even be unperceptible, or can allow another interpretation
as equally justified, e.g. a work of art17 or a religious ritual. Interpretations of this kind can
be rejected later, but only due to the knowledge of signs, the interpretations of which will
consequently lead to triadic relations containing as their elements the above-mentioned
actions. The element binding the First to the Second in the concrete situation of a sporting
event is the interpretation, which generates the Third (interpretant) of the sign relation. The
Second of the triadic relation is the achieved score, or result, the goal, to which the competition, in the spectators’ opinion, leads. During a sporting event, a competitor (team) is the
First, which represents the Second, i.e. most often a score, taking into account the Third,
which is the interpretant of the triadic relation at work.18
The Second, or the object of a sign, is what a sporting event (competitors) represent,
and in the professional sport the privileged object of the representation and the goal of all
efforts is victory.19
If activities of competitors and competitors themselves are regarded as the First of a
sign, not a full sign, the phenomenon of popularity of some sports, which could not attract
crowds of fans by sheer subtlety, dynamics or aesthetic merits, becomes understood. A
good example is football.20 A sportsman and his achievements in themselves do not constitute a sign; they are an element of a triadic relation. An object, which is represented by a
sportsman, is needed, as well as an interpretant, which will create a relation between those
elements. The popularity of a sport does not result from its spectacularity, but from the attractiveness of semiotic transcriptions of the signs of sport into other spheres of meaning
and culture. Considering for instance the phenomenon of football, it is worth noticing that
football is not a global, cosmopolitan sport, equally popular in all cultures; less still does it
carry universal values. The United States, for example, are one of the countries which treat
sportsmen with greatest esteem, but football played a subordinate role there for the majority
of the twentieth century. Naturally, that cannot be explained away by “medial separation”
between the USA and Europe, or, for instance, Latin America. The phenomenon may be
the result of fact that football gained popularity in the USA only when semiotic patterns
have been generated, linking football to the continuity of cultural patterns of semiosis. The
popularity of football in Europe, Brazil or Argentina stems from the values immanent not
in football but in culture.
Is the behaviour of hooligans, who are called pseudo-fans21 in Poland, an aberration of
a fan model, or is it a form of semiosis not accepted in the sphere of dominant values and
modes of interpretation of sport? The question above is controversial. Vandalism, rows,
fights, often resulting in death, are an illness destroying the healthy atmosphere of sporting
events and constitute a negation of the ideal of fair play. It is difficult to deny that; however,
it is also not easy to discover mechanisms responsible for this state of affairs and claim with
absolute certainty that it is a degeneration in the reception of sport.
Why, despite numerous efforts, the dialogue between hooligans and so called normal
fans does not lead to a durable solution of the problem? Naturally, the above-mentioned
pathologies have to be fought, but is a part, or a majority of the sport audience privileged
in interpreting, or decoding the symbols of sport, and, more importantly in transcribing the
symbols of sport into action? The basic difference in the reception of sport and reaction to
it lies in the modes of interpretation, the semioses developed by fans and by hooligans. The
phenomenon of hooligans is a model example of the mediating role of sport and sporting
events, which are entangled in the processes of semiosis continually taking place in the
experience of the real world and culture. Competition and victory are differently interpreted
by different groups of interpreters and further signs, appearing in the process of semiosis,
may lead to aggressive actions, not at all caused by emotional impulses. The interpretation
of a sporting event is not characterized by logical necessity, i.e. is not represented by signs
from the category of arguments. A sporting event for a fan is not an isolated fragment of
reality, limited to a strictly defined time in its influence on everyday life. Hooligans connect objects (the Second) of sporting events into signs, or semioses, generating a pragmatic
reaction in the form of aggression.
It is difficult to imagine a common ground for a dialogue, or “conversion” of hooligans,
considering the difference between the two semiotic processes. The openness of the interpretation of a sporting event is possible, because the interpretants of the signs representing sport are
not necessary arguments; sport does not represent necessary conclusions, or is not their result.
Treating sport as an integral part of the sign universe, where even between the most
distant signs mediate chains of other signs, enabling the preservation of continuity (synechism) of the process of semiosis, makes possible the disclosing of the real goals, which are
realized through professional sport, or a sporting event, within culture. Sport is not by definition a carrier sign of universal values, or any other values which could be unequivocally
attributed to sporting competition and would not refer to a dynamic process of interpretation, i.e. searching for interpretants of sporting events. The meaning of sport is generated in
the process of interpretation, which does not have to develop in one desirable or suggested
direction. The truth of this observation is constantly proved by the problem of hooligans or
other pathologies accompanying sporting events.
Philosophy, and especially Peirce’s semeiotics, provides tools allowing the analysis of
sport within the whole phenomenon of culture. Observations presented here do not postulate new normative goals, which sport should strive to follow and which should find their
implementation in sport.22 The author intends to call attention to the possibility of a semeiotic view on the phenomenon of sport, of seeing a sporting event as an occurrence which
for its constitution needs a receiver, being at the same time the most important creator of
interpretations and the meaning of the whole situation. Sport as potential acts (as opposed
to a realized sporting event) is an open sign. It is the First, whose Second usually is a score,
a victory, but can also be a commercial product, national pride, aesthetic merits, etc., especially in further processes of interpretation, taking part in a given event. Thanks to the
synechism of the semiotic processes it is possible to understand the phenomenon of popularity of chosen sports, such as football, whose powerful attraction does not result from
immanent features of the game, but from being the First, whose Second (the object, which
is represented by sport) lies outside the sport itself. It is only in the process of interpretation
that the sign is created and this sign begins further chains of semioses, leading on the one
hand to the acts of violence, and on the other hand to the increase in the sale of commercial
products, the latter having no more direct relation to the idea of sport than the former.
he term sport is limited here to professional sport. That does not mean that the described here phenomena do
not occur in amateur sport or broadly understood physical culture and recreation. In this context the term sport
had decidedly narrower scope than, for example, physical culture.
The use of the term semeiotics is justified by the originality of Peirce’s concepts, essentially different from the
dyadic approach to sign concept in the tradition of Ferdinand de Saussure’s semiology, as well as by remarks
made by Peirce himself, e.g. CP 8.377.
Peirce defines synechism as “the tendency to regard everything as continuous” Essential Peirce, p.1, vol.2, Indiana University Press, Blomington and Indianapolis, 1998; CP 7.565). He was convinced that continuity is an indispensable element of our whole experience, therefore I assume it is also true concerning sporting experiences.
Modern Olympic Games, conceived as an amateur – free from mercenary motivation – competition, are essentially a commercial sporting event, provided we assume audience an integral part of a sporting event. Even
if the advertisements are removed from the stadiums for the time being, the live broadcasts in TV and radio are
full of commercials, e.g. under cover of informing about official sponsors of events/broadcasts. A similar form
of commercialization of assumedly uncommercial events is placing an information about their sponsoring on
various products. After, or even during the sporting event, competitors earn financial profit by appearing in
commercials and promotional actions. Those who took medal places can be seen especially often.
It is disputable whether contemporary professional sport, as shown in mass media, at least promotes recreation
or healthy lifestyle. The pictured is rendered worse by scandals connected with bribery among the sport activists and doping used by competitors, which are regularly made public.
A competitor who is a sign of victory, represents victory, is undoubtedly the most desirable sign in the processes of semiosis linking the sign of victory, i.e. the sportsman, to the sphere not directly connected with sport.
The sportsman representing victory is transcribed in the process of interpretation into the symbol of a company, a product, or an organization. The sportsman clearly gains a substantial material profit from this situation.
For example, sport as a festival, carrier of so called “higher values”, or a preferred leisure activity.
part of philosophical works of Peirce was published as Collected Papers, the most frequently used source
of quotes (CP volume.fragment). A big project to publish Peirce’s output as Writings of Charles S. Peirce is
currently in preparation. It is intended to be a fuller and free from the mistakes of CP edition of works of the
American philosopher. In Poland Peirce’s works and thought became popular mainly thanks to the works of
Hanna Buczyńska-Garewicz. A good introduction into the issues of semeiotics is Peirce’s semiotics (1994).
The first element of the triadic relation is sometimes called a sign, like the whole triadic relation. In order to
avoid misunderstandings, in this article the first element of a sign will be denominated a represetamen, or the
First, and the whole triadic relation – a sign.
For example, CP 2.243–2.253.
For example, CP 2.264.
CP 2.275.
In this context, a sporting event is not an isolated experience, which can be abstracted from other cultural
phenomena, but a part of processes of interpretations and transcriptions, happening within culture. It can be
assumed that the relation between sport and other forms of culture is reciprocal. To understand the synechism
of sport, one can imagine a hypothetical situation, when they for the first time experience a certain form of
a sporting competition, with rules unknown to them. This experience probably will not trigger in them any
semiotic process transcribing the received signs into the signs of sporting competition, and further, into a representation of values relating to success and its possible interpretations, e.g. in axiological sphere. Therefore,
the proper reception of a sporting event is a continuity based on previously known signs, the elements of
which are the signs of a given sporting event. A sporting event does not exist independent of values realized
through other cultural phenomena, or other signs.
By formal elements I mean here the whole material sphere of sport necessary for a sporting event, e.g. a pitch,
a swimming pool, a chessboard, competitors’ outfits. As a concrete material object, existing in a given place,
none of the formal elements is meaningful for the semiosis of the competition itself. Naturally, it is easy to
give examples of sports buildings, where sporting events gain, colloquially speaking, “symbolical meaning”.
However, this places do not constitute a formal element influencing the result, i.e. none of the competing parts
has any codified advantage based on the fact of playing in a given place.
The score can be the First of subsequent sign triads.
Peirce’s important division concerning the person of an interpreter or, more broadly speaking, in the process
of real semiosis, is a division into an immediate interpretant, dynamic interpretant and final interpretant. It is
also worth noticing that the person of an interpreter is not a necessary condition for the existence of a triadic
relation, and interpretant is also a sign.
If a sporting show represented aesthetic values, it would be difficult to explain the popularity of football,
where they are manifested in a rather modest degree.
Emotions accompanying the reception of a sporting event are not the most important meaningful element of
sport and tend to lose importance in time, despite their intensity during the show itself.
In this case the principle of fair play is not the object of the signs of sport, which are sportsmen rewarded
for their victory, not integrity. The attitude to the principle of fair play is one of the elements distinguishing
professional sport from recreation, where violating the principle of fair play actually negates the sense of the
activity. Interesting observations on the principle of fair play in sport and on the philosophy of sport are made
by J. Kosiewicz, e.g. in Philosophical aspects of physical culture and sport, Wydawnictwo BK, Warsaw 2005,
pp 281-293.
The author of the presented text is aware that for many fans football is a beautiful and dynamic sport. This
article is not a good place to discuss the aesthetic merits of this competition. However, it is difficult to prove
a thesis that the popularity of football results only from the beauty of the game itself.
Pseudo-fans is a term widespread in Polish media. It seems, however, inadequate, since it suggest lack of authenticity in supporting a sporting team, which is not justified It aims at expressing negative attitude towards
a certain group of fans, and not defining their way of showing their support, which, although probably very
different from accepted standards, does not deserve the blame of lack of authenticity.
The author of the article would go as far as to doubt any positive influence of professional sport on pedagogic
II. sport – Articles
Monika Ślęzak
University of Rzeszów
Identity as a subject of study for sociology of sport
(with the use of a biographic method)
The aim of this article is to draw basic questions and issues related to the identity of
sportsmen and to show the necessity of research in this area. First, methods of defining types
of identity will be presented. Also, the author will characterize a biographic method that she
proposes to use in a research on sportsmen’s identity and the most important research from the
area of sociology of sport related to a greater or lesser degree concerning the issue of identity
that demands biographical and qualitative methods. First, the term ‘identity’ will be defined.
The term ‘identity’
The term ‘identity’ is used in many meanings. First of all, because various scientific
disciplines use it. A. Mrozowicki understands it similarly to T. Luckmann, that ‘identity’ is
a structure in time, creating and motivating a meaningful; rule for steering of the subjective
consciousness that is historically and biographically defined [Mrozowicki 2003, pp. 43].
Therefore, a biographic identity is accepted by an individual’s total concept of oneself,
treated ‘implicite’ while formulating assessments and realizing social practices, sometimes,
on the other hand, only formulated ‘explicite’ as an answer to a question about a meaning
of one’s life (ibidem).
A whole review of definitions of identity is presented by Z. Bokszański [1989, pp.
11-14], who himself assumes that a group identity is the result of characteristics of members of a group and these characteristics are visible in a given group’s behaviors and ways
of thinking [Bokszański 1995, pp. 115]. As B. Misztal writes, an identity is a kind of collection of abilities for recognizing one’s similarities and dissimilarities, achieved cognitive,
emotional, moral and political qualifications that allow for describing one’s place in the
world [Misztal 2005, pp. 24; see also: Bielska 2001, pp. 21]. Similar view is presented
by A. Jawłowska, who explains that ‘’cultural identity’ is a process of a self-definition in
relation to some ‘ingredients’ of a symbolic reality, cultural world, allowing to differentiate oneself from others, take a place in a social sphere that is structures even in periods of
revolutionary [Jawłowska 2001, pp. 53]. It can be generalized that identity is a whole set
of psychic and cultural characteristics describing an individual or a group. On the basis of
these characteristics they (an individual or a group) can describe the degree of their similarity and difference to other groups or individuals.
H. Mamzer points the existence of three ranges of identity. The first is a social identity, then individual identity and cultural identity. All of them are reflected in an individual
psyche, all of them coexist with each other and their ranges overlap [Mamzer 2002, pp.
100-101]. The social identity is created as a result of belonging to a group. The individual
identity includes such characteristics of an individual as gender, look, personality in a psychological meaning; it is supposed to underline an uniqueness and distinctiveness of a
person. An individual participates in the lives of various communities and therefore he/
she makes a choices of characteristics presented by these groups [ibidem, pp. 104-105]. P.
Boski [1992, pp. 71 and further.] notices that one of the identities, a social or an individual,
dominates. The cultural identity is a result of an individual’s critical approach to his/her
surroundings. It is identification with values spread by a culture of a given collectivity, internalization of norms and group values, methods of interpretation of behaviors and events.
The identity of this type allows an individual to describe his/her belonging to a culture and
to define non-material signs of this belonging. A special degree of individual thinking is
necessary to achieve it [Mamzer 2002, pp. 107]. A cultural identity connects an individual
level with a social level and can be built only after these two have taken shape [ibidem, pp.
H. Mamzer assumes that cultural identity can be created in two ways. The first is related to a reference to such external characteristics as the color of skin, or, in the case of a
state – material status, national symbols, monetary and legal system, borders, etc. Such a
way is useful when an individual is in a contact with such elements. The second method of
building identity is based on the acceptance of internal characteristics – ideas, system of
values – that can be deduced from characteristics of a behavior. The social identity, then, is
connected to a specific community in which an individual lives, and cultural, on the other
hand, is based on the consciousness of the existence of norms, values, acceptance of a
particular way of interpreting the surroundings. We deal here with an individual choice of
values, often made against the group. The cultural identity includes also elements of other
cultures, or it can concern only some values that function within one’s own group. In general, it can be said that cultural identity is the result of all social identities that result from
individual’s belonging to various groups [ibidem, pp. 109-112].
The term ‘cultural identity’ describes society as a whole, as long as its members accept
the same values, symbols and meanings [Grotowska 2003, pp. 76]. The cultural identity is
made of: beliefs concerning the nature of the world (imaginations about its rules), ethos described by values based on legal, religious and custom sanctions that regulate all actions of
a man, and continuity of meaning and forms of artistic expressions that take shape of canons of culture and styles [Bokszański 1995 quote from: Grotowska 2003, pp. 76]. Presently,
societies are characterized rather with a pluralism of values and norms, symbols, patterns
of culture, etc. rather than a commonness of understood contents. As an effect, a range of
use of the term ‘cultural identity’ is becoming narrower and narrower [Świątkiewicz 1991
quote from: Grotowska 2003, pp. 77].
A. Jawłowska writes about identity as an issue that becomes visible in the situation of
the borderland, which can be explained as ‘life’ at the contact point between two worlds,
cultures or in the case of invasion by an alien culture. We can also talk about a religious,
ethnic, vocational, class and ideological borderland [Melchior quote from: Jawłowska
2001, pp. 58]. Beyond that, the author also points to a special influence of an ideology of
consumption and treating identity as a good [ibidem, pp. 65-78].
Biographic method
One of most often used methods recently in identity studies is a biographic method.
For the first time, the method was used in sociology by the so called Chicago school, that
related in its research to the methods used in anthropology and ethnography [Hałas 1994,
pp.7]. A top achievement of this school was the work by Thomas and Znaniecki “The Polish
peasant in Europe and America” [look: Włodarek, Ziółkowski 1990, pp.3]. Znaniecki assumed that individuals are active participants of social life, and a researcher should collect
data from a viewpoint of a participant of social life with an assumption that he/she should
have a limited influence on the collected materials. Therefore his method assumes a free
expression of views and feelings in the context of a situation in which an individual is.
Znaniecki’s idea was continued in Poland by J. Chałasiński and J. Szczepański, thanks to
whom concourses for the best diaries became popular. Later, an interest in the biographic
method can be found in works of Berger, Luckaman, Thompson, Niethammer, Harre, Secord, Kohli, Bertaux, Shaw, Garfinkel, Cicourel, Denzin, Glaser, A. Strauss, Schutze and
others [Helling 1990, pp. 14-15].
As Jan Szczepański wrote, methods of biographic documents that is conducting sociological research in which (…) only materials including people’s relations concerning their
participation in events and processes that are subject of the research are collected. On the
basis of these materials, a description of given processes and hypothesis explaining it are
made [Szczepański 1973, pp. 619-620]. The method takes various forms and names: biography, autobiography, history of life, life-story, personal documents, in-depth interview –
and especially, the narrative interview, research of cycles of life, etc. and, it focuses first of
all on a course of individuals’ lives, treated as a part of a social reality and relations between
individual biographies and a society and the processes that takes place within it [Włodarek,
Ziółkowski 1990, pp.4-6].
The biographic method has its supporters among advocates of many theoretical disciplines (symbolic interactionism, phenomenological sociology together with ethno-methodology, structuralism and Marxism, conversational analysis) and, because of it, the subject
of the research is varied, including: social change in a perspective of a generation or a few
generations [por.: Ross 1987, pp.107-177], work and vocational career [por.: Dobrowolska
1987, pp. 119-132; Konecki 2000, 1987, pp.199-206], orientation towards time [WorachKardas 1987, pp. 133-144]. As N. K. Denzin writes: the aim of biographic analysis is to find
the sense in what everyday people lived through; besides that, the biography is explored
from a viewpoint of a subjective meaning of an experience, therefore the meaning is more
important than the method [Denzin 1990, pp. 55]. Since the publication of “The Research
Act” (1970r.) by Denzin, this method again started raising interest of sociologists, social
psychologists and historians [Helling 1985, pp. 93]. In relation to the use of biographic
materials as a basis of sociological research we have two methodological tendencies: using
only these materials for an analysis of the researched issues or treating them as supportive
and additional materials [Szczepański 1997, pp. 365-366].
The “biography as a topic”, when we ask about typical sequences of events in the lives
of individuals and groups, a meaning prescribed to these events and their structure must be
differentiated from the ‘biography as a mean’ where biographic information is supposed to
serve as answers to given questions and issues. Modern researchers that use the biographic
methods want to find regularities in relation to individual cases, groups in a given context,
formal structures of interactions, common knowledge and others [Helling 1985, pp. 96].
Because of the phases of the research process we can distinguish a complete biography,
which is a collection of materials concerning the whole life of an individual or a group,
topic biography, directed towards collection of data concerning a given area of life, i.e a vocation, or a phase of life and biography for publication [Denzin za: Helling 1985, pp. 96].
Rokuszewska-Pawełek [2002, pp. 28-29] stresses attention to the fact that by studying
a biography as a construct and an element of an everyday life, three directions of interest
can be pointed: 1) a course of life – an institutionalization course of life and a related concept of ‘normal’ biography that is a pattern showing stages of life according to expectations
of social institutions and social norms [por.: Kohli 1985]; 2) biography as an individual
actualization of objective social models of the courses of lives – i.e. relations between an
individual and the society ( stress between processes of socialization and individualization)
[por.: Prawda 1987, Schutze 1990]; 3) relations between the levels mentioned above with
consideration for structures creating their social context – biography as a reconstruction
and a search for the rules (study of rules of selection and connecting events) [por.: Fischer
1982, Brose 1990 et al.].
According to A. Giza, an autobiography is a reflective approach to ones’ own life,
putting it into a coherent and interpreted form [Giza 1991, pp. 5]. These factors that make
it happen and that give it a particular shape, that is: factors, mechanisms and conditions related to the ability to live through and telling the story of one’s life as a history, influencing
the ways of life and interpretation are especially interesting [ibidem, pp. 5]. Autobiography
is a creation of an activity of an individual subject that is interpretative, expressed and recorded in symbols (…). Its existence is dependent on individual consciousness (…) and its
creation is decided by a fact of intentional reshaping of a set of events into meaningful and
structurized whole and consolidation (objectivisation) of this wholeness in a text [ibidem,
pp. 99]. Autobiography is accused for a lack of objectivity, lack of representativity and homogeneity of materials as well as for a lack of precise description [ibidem, pp. 103].
According to M. Prawda, presently, so called normal biography is being replaced by
a biography that is shaped to a greater degree by itself. It happens because of a growing
necessity of making choices and decisions in social life. She also notes that a sphere of
individual verdicts is growing [Prawda 1989, pp. 81].
Among the modern “qualitative” sociologists, a program of biographic research by
Fritz Schutz became especially popular. His method is based on connecting various types
of biographic research and is called biographic sociology, his main subject of interest is
biography of an individual. Most of the works from the area of biography that are written
in Germany bases on the concept of Schutz, who thinks that it is necessary to direct our
attention to a “process” character of biographic phenomena and at the same time step
out – while analyzing them – beyond “paradigm of action”. For him, the basic biographic
material is the material gathered during an autobiographic interview. The material is
recorded and analyzed according to its content and way of presentation [Prawda 1989,
pp. 83-84].
Schutz has shown that an individual biography is made of “process structures” that
appear in particular biographies in addition to various combinations. He distinguished four
such structures:
1) “biographic plan of action” – that relate to rules of perspectivistic planning of the course
of ones own life and attempts to realize these plans;
2) “institutional patterns of the life course” (institutional normative patterns) – concerning
direction on normative institutional expectations that an individual takes and their control influence on the individual;
3) “trajectory” – being taken by external, independent from an individual events and circumstances (this is what Schutz focuses on);
4) “biographical changes” (metamorphoses) – they relate to radical, positive changes in the
course of life that are related to events (factors) appearing on individuals’ way of life,
enriching his/her life [Rokuszewska-Pawełek 2002, pp. 47-49; Schutz 1997; Riemann,
Schutz 1992].
One of the techniques of the biographic research is a narrative interview. K.
Kaźmierska points out that the clue of narrative interview is (…) keeping the story about
life that is not a sum of answers to questions, but a spontaneous narration, undisturbed
by a researchers intervention [Kaźmierska 2004, pp. 74]. It means that an individual
should present the relation concerning his/her life or its particular stages. The narration
is recorded on a magnetic tape. The researcher distinguishes phases of such an interview:
1) the phase of the beginning of the interview, its aim is to create a mood comfortable
for the telling story; 2) the phase of stimulation for telling the story, that is explaining
the interviewee the kind of narration the researcher expects from him/her 3) the phase
of narration 4) the phase of questions – after the definite end of narration 5) the phase of
the end of the interview – “normalization” of the situation [ibidem pp. 75-77]. The fourth
phase pointed by Kaźmierska– the phase of questions, should be, in my opinion broken
into two phases, or sub-phases. It is because there are two kinds of questions that the
interviewee can be asked: questions concerning issues that are unclear for the researchers
and that relate directly to the narration and questions related to the issues that were set by
the researcher before the research. From the viewpoint of the interviewee such a distinction is meaningless, but it is important for the researcher [patrz: Rokuszewska-Pawełek
2002, pp. 56-57].
The biographic research aim to analyze macro-processes (i,.e. mass emigration), biographic processes (considering whole course of life, its chosen stages or aspects), interactive processes [Rokuszewska-Pawełek 2002, pp. 64; patrz: Czyżewski 1996].
The research relating to the elements of biography
and the research on identity on the grounds
of sociology of sport
On the grounds of Polish research in the area of sociology of sport it is difficult to
find such a research that focuses directly on the issue of identity. We find such motifs in
studies in A. Pawlak, i.e. issue of searching of an image of themselves by Olympians, selfassessment of one’s own professionalism, attitude towards different spheres of life [Pawlak
1994a, pp. 23-28]. In a different place, we find a description of mass image of sportsmen,
group identity, key values in perception of sportsmen, a description of external elements for
building identity [Pawlak 1994b, 593-598], and also research concerning the place of sport
in the system of values of Olympians [Pawlak 1982, pp. 45-53].
The study of identity on the grounds of sociology of sport, and/or on the ground of
interdisciplinary research but in relation to the sociology of sport which can be found in
the West. There are researches and analyses that refer to the issue of sport, popular culture,
media as well as a collective identity on the local, national and European level and issue of
immigration [look: Roche 1998, pp. 3; Whannel 1998, pp. 23-36; Cronin, Mayall].
Certainly, we can say that on the grounds of Polish sociology of sport there has been
no research with the use of biographic methods; although, the topic of a sport career, its
condition of life of sportsmen after their career was approached. The topic was studied i.e.
by B. Krawczyk [1983, pp. 103-173], who focused in her research on the social situation
of ex-sportsmen and looking for the relation between sport success and social structure and
culture. However, this research was not conducted using the biographic method. A. Pawlak,
on the other hand, researched a socio-vocational position of Polish Olympians after the end
of their sport career, their private lives, and problems related to the end of career, etc. [Pawlak 1982a, pp. 40-49; 1982b, pp. 29-37; 1984, pp. 38-46; Tyszka quote from: Pawlak 1983]
as well as the overall status of Polish Olympians after the end of their sport career [Pawlak
1983]. What could be used in analyses of biographic research among sportsmen is the keen
insight made by A. Pawlak, that the career of non-sportsmen is shaped in a single-modal
symmetric pattern and while in a case of sportsmen, we have a curve of bi-modal distribution (they can succeed both in sport and non-sport life) [Pawlak 1983, s7]. Extra-sport life
of great sportsmen and their status after the end of their sport career was researched also in
other countries; especially, in Western Europe and countries of the ex-Soviet Union.1 Russian studies led to a pointing of types of people that were shaped by sport milieus, also A.
Pawlak constructs her own typology [Pawlak 1983, pp. 190]. Another important research
was conducted by G. Foldesi [1982a, 19825, 1989, 1995] who investigated top Hungarian sportsmen, their status, social situation, and factors determining outstanding sport successes of youth.
Publications somehow related to the biographic research have been publications
concerning individual sportsmen and Himalaists [Okupnik 2005, pp. 209-219; 2003, pp,
209-220; 2000, pp. 158-166; 2002, pp. 284-294; 2001, pp. 339-346]. The author does not,
however, perform any systematic analyses of their biographies and, just by looking at their
structure, we can talk only about unstructured observations. Relations to biographies of
sportsmen can be found also in the publications by T. Olszański [2004] and M. Rotkiewicz
[2004]. It must be remembered, however, that it is something different to relate to sportsmen’s biography and something different – to conduct biographic research in a strict sense.
Such research has not been conducted on the grounds of Polish sociology of sport. (Z.
Krawczyk is a co-author of a book on diaries by sport teachers; however, I consider his
work a part of the sociology of education rather than sociology of sport). The described
research is either unstructured analyses of autobiographies published by Polish sportsmen,
or questionnaire research, in which an interview was just a supportive technique – and even
then it was not a narrative interview, but a “normal” in-depth interview. The authors refer to
these interviews rarely, focusing rather on analyses of questionnaire data.
That is why, considering the lack of biographic research on the grounds of sociology
of sport and simultaneous renaissance of such research in the world sociology, as well as
in the Polish one, it would be worth to conduct a research on biographies of Polish sports-
men – not only the great sportsmen – in a current of present theoretical and methodological
tendencies in interpretative sociology. Below, the author draws a spectrum of problems
concerning the issue of identity that would be worth concern and research on the grounds
of sociology of sport, and, maybe, also on the grounds of the sociology of physical culture
The identity as a potential subject of research in sociology
of sport with the use of biographic method
Sportsmen, treated as a social category or a vocational group rarely become a subject
of sociological research in Poland. Generally, it must be noticed with regret, that sociology
of sport (or, broadly speaking: sociology of physical culture) remains on a margin of interest of Polish sociologists, especially those from the academic circles. To a great degree, it
is a result of sport sociologists’ focusing on their sub-discipline, closing – if in terms of scientific relations – within a circle of specialists from the area of physical culture. In research
and analyses, on the other hand, a lack of references to theoretical and methodological
achievements of the classics of sociology and modern trends in sociology can be noticed.
Therefore, the author of this article proposes to relate in research on sociology of sport to
commonly used modern methodological and theoretical tendencies.
One of the proposals can be referring to the conclusions drawn from interpretative
sociology and the use of the biographic method in the research conducted in the area of
sport sociology. This method is very often used in research on changes in identity and can
be successfully used in research on identity of sportsmen and ex-sportsmen.
Polish and world literature is flooded with sportsmen’s biographies and autobiographies. It could be easily said that there is a fashion to publish biographies among sportsmen.
It makes research work much easier. A serious problem with such type of sources – from a
viewpoint of biographic research – is the fact that they are usually written by a third person
and go through a serious language edition. This destroys their primary character; very often
they become fragmentary and partial. Nevertheless, they can still be treated as an important
source of information about the lives of sports stars.
Referring to discussed earlier division on “biography as a topic” and “biography as a
mean” it could – in the first case – present typical sequences of events in lives of sportsmen,
beginning at their birth, or a start of their sport activity (depending on whether we would
like to research their whole lives or just sport careers). In the case of using “biography as a
means” it would be necessary to post questions and issues to which the analysis of the biography would have to answer. The research conducted up until today are an important base,
from which research questions and issues could be drawn. Especially, mentioned above
research using questionnaires and in-depth interview could be found very useful.
The author – besides a research on a course of sport career – advocates taking up
the issue of identity of sportsmen and ex-sportsmen – especially in context of sport as an
element of identity and a style of life, but also as a set of factors motivating an individual
to choose sport as a way of life and a consistency of such choice. The biographic method,
especially a biographic interview, allows to present an individual’s identity in a dynamic
way, showing the changes in his/her identity during a course of his/her life. Such changes
consider also sportsmen and ex-sportsmen. What is especially interesting for a sociologist of sport is the range and way the physical activity together with success and failures
in life, not only in private life; but also, especially in that a sport life influences identity
and its changes.
Of course the biographic method is not the only one, that can be used to research one’s
identity; however, it is worth considering; because, it allows for a deep look into individuals’ feelings and shows how psycho-social factors and mechanisms are responsible for a
person’s identity.
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II. sport – Articles
Małgorzata Okupnik
Poznan School of Social Sciences
Sport, narration and identity.
On autobiographical texts by solo sport athletes
Key words: Solo sports – Narration and identity – Narrative structure of the texts by solo sport
The aim of the article is to introduce and present the results of research on autobiographic texts by Polish athletes in solo sports: solo yachtsmen, Himalayan climbers, polar
explorers. The texts of solo sport athletes can be regarded as a separate trend in travel literature. Their separate character is determined by the subject-matter (similar descriptions of
experiences in extreme conditions, solitude, unrestricted space) and similar narrative structure which resembles the rite of passage with three stages: separation, transitional period,
integration. The pole or a mountain peak is a geographical and, above all, anthropological
limit. Striving to cover a distance is presented as a purging mystery. Autobiographical narratives have a universal structure. Writing autobiographies is one of the crucial elements of
narrative construction of identity and a strategy of constructing the „I”. Writing an autobiography, a daybook or a diary, a solo sport athlete also aims at self-cognition.
The adjective „solo” in relation to sport athletes has been present in scientific and
popular science dissertations for a long time. The term has clung to solo yachtsmen, mountain climbers and polar explorers. It has been agreeably stated that solo sport athletes have
significantly contributed to the history of Polish sport. It is worth mentioning that they are
also authors of numerous autobiographical texts describing their unusual achievements.
These texts, accounts of mountaineering trips (cf. [31]) in particular, enjoy great interest
among readers. Spaces explored by mountain climbers, yachtsmen or polar explorers still
remain inaccessible for average tourists, which makes their descriptions so attractive.
Opulent output of solo sport athletes remained beyond the scope of study of both sports
historians and philologists or specialists in cultural studies. However, it was appreciated by
teachers, who took advantage of particularly interesting and cognitively valuable fragments
in school education in the field of Polish language [29].
The hereby draft presents the results of the study on autobiographical texts of Polish
solo sport athletes: yachtsmen, mountain climbers and polar explorers [28]. The analyses
of autobiographies have been conducted from the perspective of culture anthropology and
theory of literature.
The opinion of literature theoreticians on the autobiographies of solo sport athletes
contains a certain paradox. The Dictionary of Literary Terms suggests that [they] „create a
separate trend in the history of travel literature” ([42] p. 363). However, it is not difficult
to notice that the texts differ in their stylistics and genres. They include autobiographies,
daybooks, diaries, narratives and reports. The purpose of my study was to prove that this
literature trend may be regarded as a coherent whole. I have primarily assumed that the author – a solo sports athlete – and the subject-matter – sports achievement in remote, exotic
places, reached alone, without audience, constitute two common elements for all of them.
All texts are of narrative character. This statement includes not only the first-person narration, but also the relation between narration and identity.
Solo sport – terminological inconsistencies
In relation to the tackling of such subject-matter, disregarded in scientific literature so
far, numerous doubts arise, most of which concern terminology. Solo yachting, mountain
climbing and polar expeditions are in various dissertations counted among „solo sports”
[23], „nature sports” [3] or „outdoor sports” [24, 26]; there are also aproaches which question their sporting character or which emphasize that they are more than just sport [1, 18].
Solo sports consist in struggling with nature and overcoming the obstacles it has created
[23, 24]. An indispensable condition of practicing them is social isolation, breakaway from
large communities. Social isolation differs from physical loneliness.
In the case of yachtsmen solitarily travelling around the world or covering a certain
distance, the word „solo” is suitable [27, 46, 47]. The situation is different in the case of
mountain climbers. In the history of Polish Himalayan climbing there was no single person
who explored high mountains alone – there have always been group expeditions. Himalayan climbers very rarely decided to reach peaks on their own [18, 25]. The situation was
similar in the case of reaching the poles by Polish polar explorers. Marek Kamiński went on
his first expedition (of a sporting character) to the North Pole with Wojciech Moskal – he
was not alone. As we can see, solo sports may be practiced in small groups.
While practicing solo sports, isolation from the world is voluntary. The main motive
for undertaking many risky ventures by solo sport athletes is the need for self-realization.
Risk constitutes an essential element of these sports; their substance is seeking and being
subject to strong emotions, self-affirmation [39]. A solo sport athlete has the opportunity to
test himself, to exceed the boundaries of his own physical and psychological capabilities.
Autobiographical texts of solo sport athletes
Solo sport athletes write about these extreme experiences and about self-cognition in
their autobiographies, travel books, diares, reports. They relate them in interviews. The
experience of loneliness and emptiness leads them to the discovery of a new, more spiritual
identity. These texts are more than merely documents of their struggle. Moreover, solo
sport athletes take advantage of literary patterns, their texts are „literarily coded” narratives
[17] that cannot be read in isolation from literary and cultural context.
In contemporary literature studies there is no uniform theory of autobiography. Disputes continue on whether autobiographical texts should be included in literature. In AngloSaxon classification of non-fiction, all autobiographies and diaries are regarded as writings,
not literature [7]. It is hard to disagree with the division, taking into account the autobiographies of Polish solo sport athletes: yachtsmen and yachtswomen (Krzysztof Baranowski, Krystyna Chojnowska-Liskiewicz, Teresa Remiszewska, Leonid Teliga, Andrzej
Urbańczyk), Himalayan climbers (Anna Czerwińska, Jerzy Kukuczka, Wojciech Kurtyka,
Tadeusz Piotrowski, Wanda Rutkiewicz) or a controversial polar explorer and traveller,
Marek Kamiński [28]. Solo sport athletes do not professionally occupy themselves with
literature, their writing originates in the need to write about themselves and their achievements. It happens that some of them are authors of one book. In a sense, it would explain
the lack of noteworthy texts. Exceptions to this are: Leonid Teliga (translator of marine
prose, journalist), Krzysztof Baranowski (valued reporter) and Andrzej Urbańczyk (author
of over 30 books, member of the Polish Writers Association).
Philip Lejeune, one of the most eminent specialists and researchers of autobiographies,
claims that the study of autobiographical narratives should take into account such issues
as content analysis, narrative techniques and style. According to him, autobiographies are
„social means of interpersonal understanding” ([22] p. 18). Their authors give an account of
various unfamiliar experiences. Autobiography analysis should also take communicational
aspects into consideration [22].
Autobiography of a solo sport athlete
as the subject of study
The study of autobiographical narratives may create methodological difficulties. They
are not reduced by opulent literature on autobiographism and autobiography, covering this
cultural phenomenon from various perspectives: literary studies [8, 22], psychology [20,
38] or sociology [12, 48]. Sociologists have significantly added to the analysis of autobiographies. The merits of Florian Znaniecki, who introduced the so-called personal documents method into sociology, are commonly known. He ranked personal documents such
as letters, diaries or written statements on given topics, among scientific sources. Znaniecki
did not formulate any research procedures that would serve the sociological analysis of autobiographies. According to Hanna Palska, sociological studies, such as constructive analysis (i.e. the study of numerous autobiographies on the grounds of a specific sociological
theory), exemplification (consisting in the illustration of certain hypotheses with examples
from autobiographies) or typology (the definition of certain types of personality, patterns
of life in various communities), should be preceded with content analysis [32]. It may be
conducted with the use of certain instruments „borrowed” from the theory of literature.
The researcher should consider several issues. Defining a literary genre is essential, as each
genre has a different narrative structure and assumes a different way of talking about itself
and the world. In each genre, distance of the author-narrator to the presented reality and
social time is different. The situation is different in a diary (with a large distance towards
the external world, a memory is recalled from a perspective of a longer period of time),
an autobiography (which is of confession character, concentrated of the history of an individual’s personality) and a daybook (up-to-date, spontaneous, with no distance to events).
Contrary to other genres, a daybook does not have an introduction or a conclusion, or even
an assumed form. A researcher should also pay attention to the proportions between a narrative and a description. A narrative is characterised by diachrony of the text, whereas a
description – by synchrony.
The abovementioned ways of content analysis may be useful in a sociologist’s work,
as they unveil not only individual but also social reasons for constructing a vision of reality
of that particular kind. Krystyna Chojnowska-Liskiewicz in 1978 published a book entitled
The First One Around the World [6]. It is a chronicle from a cruise (periegesis). She conducts narration in the past tense and avoids more personal statements. Chojnowska treated
her lonely cruise as a patriotic duty, a possibility to experience a great adventure with the
permission of the communist authorities of the People’s Republic of Poland, for whom
her sports achievement, i.e. the first travel around the globe by a woman, were of political
significance. In 1986, a renown Himalayan climber, Anna Czerwińska, witnessed tragedies
that took place on K2 (there were 3 Poles among 13 victims). In 1990 she published a book
entitled The Terror Around K2 [9]. She chose the form of a report, which gave her greater
possibilities of an objective description of events. There was a social need for this type
of publication; a public discussion on ethics among the Himalayan climbers commenced.
Marek Kamiński, the author of the book My Poles [15], was free of that responsibility. In
his writing, Kamiński was not bound by any conventions, his everyday notes were to reflect
the spirit of the moment, lacking profound reflection upon himself and the surrounding
The purpose of all solo sport athletes was to give accounts of the expeditions they took
part in. Despite diversity of genres, all the texts are of narrative character. The notion of a
narration should not be narrowed to its meaning related to literature studies.
Narration and identity
At present the notion of a narration is used in numerous scientific disciplines, by researchers of various orientations who deal with contemporary culture. In the humanities, it
is called the „narrativistic turn” [5]. In contemporary discussions conducted by representatives of various scientific disciplines on narration categories, two ways of its perception
exist. In the first, traditional nad philological one, narration is perceived as a structure of a
given type of texts, „a monologue statement presenting a series of events put in some time
order, related with characters occurring in them and with the environment in which they
take place” ([41] p. 303). Narration can have a form of a narrative or a description. The
aproach emphasizes its linguistic character.
In the second, broader approach, the way narration is perceived depends not on the
text, but on the identity of an individual whose essential part it is to become. Thus, narration is not a structure of a cultural text (fairy tale, literary fiction, myth), but a structure
of human cognition and comprehension. Its function is to arrange our life (together with
the processes and events happening in the world) in holistic structures of sense [37]. It is
worth noting that such understanding of a narration always appears where questions on
human identity are posed. This approach is called a „narrative concept of the identity of an
individual” [37].
According to Paul Ricoeur, „narrative identity” is the need to narrate during the process
of establishing one’s own identity [35]. Writing autobiographies is one of the crucial elements of narrative construction of identity and a strategy of constructing the „I”. Stories of
lives told, among others, by solo sport athletes become more comprehensible when they use
narrative patterns „borrowed” from other texts – history or literary fiction [33, 37].
Sports acts and the rite of passage
Some researchers claim that the narrative structure of the texts by solo sport athletes
is similar to the structure of a fairy tale [43]. The description of a sports event (reaching a
peak, pole, travelling across the ocean) resembles the description of the rite of passage. According to Arnold van Gennep, every ritual of passage consists of three stages: 1. exclusion
(separation), 2. transitional (marginal) period, 3. inclusion (integration) [11]. A solo sport
athlete passes through these stages as well. During the separation stage he is excluded from
everyday life, finds himself in social isolation, for instance while being acclimatizatized
in the mountains or on a cruise. The transitional witnesses the performance of a sports act
– reaching a peak, the pole, travelling across the ocean or around a cape etc. This achievement is always connected with a beginning of some kind, a new life, a change. The pole or a
mountain peak is a geographical and, above all, anthropological limit. Covering a distance
is presented as a purging mystery (cf. [15, 21]).
Then comes the way back from the expedition, return to the society. Anyone who took
part in the rite of passage comes back to his environment as a new person, of a different
status. This also refers to solo sport athletes. Their identities change under new experiences
[2]. Practicing solo sports, especially mountaineering, has the dimension of a borderline
experience [14]. Mountaineers write about their encounters with death: transgression (OBE
– out-of-body experiences), deterioration, one’s own or their co-climbers’ accidents (eg. in
1986 Jerzy Kukuczka lost his friend and a climbing partner, Tadeusz Piotrowski, during the
descent from K-2), finding corpses of lost mountaineers on the way [30].
The pattern of the ritual of passage may be multiplied. It concerns yachtsmen, who, in the
course of a longlasting cruise stopped at various ports and each time they were subject to the
rite of passage. It is visible in the books by Leonid Teliga, The ‘Opty’ Solo Voyage, [44] and
by Krystyna Chojnowska-Liskiewicz, The First One Around the World [6]. Five fundamental
and repeated narration elements can be distinguished in the texts of yachtsmen:
1. cruise (travel) description,
2. mentions of seeing the land on the horizon,
3. reconstruction of the moment of reaching the land,
4. report from the stay at the harbour
5. departure rituals, goodbye gestures [10].
These elements, in the abovementioned order, form a certain narrative sequence. This
is how yachtsmen demonstrate similarity of the successive stages of travel, they reconstruct
a rhythm of a lonely cruise.
Narrations as forms of understanding reality have a universal structure: the main character with specific intentions, eg. breaking the record, encounters obstacles, which, as a
result of various events, are finally overcome (or not) [45]. According to Paul Ricoeur,
„narrative identity” is a resultant of coherence provided by the composition of the plot and
inconsistency caused by various ups and downs [35]. In the case of solo sport athletes, po-
tential obstacles include weather conditions (storms, tempests, avalanches etc.), equipment
failures, or diseases (like in the case of Leonid Teliga), accidents, partners’ or other climbers’ deaths. The descriptions of these events – ups and downs – influence the uniqueness
of their texts.
Phenomenology of space
Sports activity of yachtsmen, mountain climbers or polar explorers originates from
their fascination with space, infinity [4, 28]. Solo sport athletes traverse uninhabited spaces
and isolate themselves from the society as they want to escape from the bustle of civilisation. There they regain peace of mind, they feel safe, free, and are able to lead their life
For them, space is analogical to an extensive, empty, open and unbounded area, a
monotonous landscape, a horizontally (water and ice) or vertically (mountains) shaped surface. A statement that the static description of panoramas and spatial forms constitutes
the dominant element of their texts is far from being true. Geographical descriptions are
usually in the background, and are mostly scattered. Solo sport athletes write of mountain
peaks, oceans and poles as of rivals in a sports fight.
Texts by solo sport athletes include descriptions of real space, historical time and fate
of an individual within a given reality. Readers also get to know their experiences, taking
place in interior space and psychological time [16]. The first way of writing has the value of
a testimony (used by eg. Jerzy Kukuczka, reporting the expeditions on the subsequent eightthousanders [21]), and the second one – of a confession. For some, a sports act becomes a
pretext for sharing various reflections with the reader. For instance, Teresa Remiszewska
[34] and Marek Kamiński [15] write about their aesthetic experiences.
It is commonly believed that persons practicing high-risk sports (particularly mountain climbing and solo yachting), go through profound spiritual experiences more often
than other sportsmen [13, 26]. Unrestricted space releases various kinds of mystical,
metaphysical or religious experiences in an individual. Mountains are often referred to as
a space where God’s presence is particularly close. They are portrayed as a sacred space
– a theosphere [24, 36, 40]. In a similar way some polar explorers perceive the Arctic and
the Antarctic, sometimes the expedition is the time of profound theological reflection for
them [15].
Texts by solo sport athletes may be considered as a separate trend in travel literature not
only because of the authors’ names. A specific structure of these texts, their subject-matter
(similar descriptions of experiences in extreme conditions, solitude, unrestricted space and
overwhelming silence) and narrative character make them a separate literary genre. Writing
an autobiography, daybook or a diary, a solo sport athlete aims at self-cognition. Identity is
never a given thing. It is constructed in the course of narration. Reading autobiographical
texts by solo sportsmen is an interesting and valuable experience, it allows to get to know
the motivation of persons undertaking great risks and unusual challenges. Content analysis
may constitute a preliminary, propaedeutic and explanatory stage in the process of cognition and comprehension of the message communicated by a solo sport athlete.
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II. sport – Articles
Krzysztof W. Jankowski
Michał Lenartowicz
Piotr Rymarczyk
Stanisław Wanat
University of Physical Education in Warsaw, Faculty of Physical Education
Socialisation, Motives and Barriers of PractiSing Sport
by Top National Athletes in Selected Sports
Key words: sociology, top sport, socialisation, motives, barriers.
The aim of the research was to provide up-to-date knowledge concerning ways of
socialization for sport, motives leading top athletes and barriers connected with practicing
sport at the highest level. The research was based on the method of a written interview
with the use of a questionnaire. The interviews were gathered in July and August 2005 during training camps of national teams. The research embraced representatives of 13 sports.
There were 272 of them including 160 men (58.8%) and 112 women (41.2%).
The research proves that the family (pointed out in 19.9% of cases), peer groups and
teachers of physical education (both groups pointed out in 17.6% of cases) are the most
often mentioned as social institutions influencing choices of sports career. The choice of a
practiced discipline is in 22.8% of cases perceived as a realization of earlier dreams, but almost equally often as a result of rational decisions. Among the researched athletes motives
of autotelic character – such as personal satisfaction from sports successes – dominate, at
least in the realm of declarations. Athletes pointed out to lack of success, risk of losing
health and the coach’s unfairness as the main discouraging factors in their sports career.
Postulations of changes, which were proposed by the athletes as those who would contribute to increasing the level of sports results, regarded especially increasing money they are
paid, increasing the number of training camps and competitions and improvement of quality or increasing the quantity of sports equipment and facilities.
To sum up, the family, peer groups and teachers are the most often pointed out as those
who influenced the choice of sports career. The respondents almost equally often point out to
their earlier dreams and to rational calculations as to determinants of their choice. Among the
declared motives of their activity, those of autotelic character prevail and, when asked about
obstacles to sports success, they mention factors both of institutional and individual character.
In the history of social researches on highly qualified sport – which is almost 50
years old – top national athletes seldom constituted an object of sociological interest.
Moreover, we more often find works dedicated to athletes’ lots after the end of the career
[10, 13] or social determinants of sports career among school youth, students of schools
of sports mastery [3] than researches on the very top athletes on the national level or
constituting the direct background of national and Olympic teams. As a matter of fact, the
last papers of that type come from the beginning of the seventies of the previous century
and they were connected with the activity of the then Unit of Sociology of the Academic
Institute of Physical Culture in Warsaw [4, 5, 6, 15]. After a many years’ break we present
the first initial results of a pilot study on top athletes on the national level which were
carried out by the team of the Unit of Sociology of the University of Physical Education
in Warsaw with content-related and organizational support from the Central Institute of
Sport in Warsaw1.
The practical aim of the research was to provide up-to-date knowledge on ways of socialization for sport, motivations which lead top athletes and barriers which are connected
with practicing sport on the highest level.
The research was to give answers to four basic questions:
1. H
ow did the researched athletes become involved in sport?
2. What motives constitute the foundation of their decision to practice sport?
3. What difficulties are met by them during practicing sport?
4. What activities, according to the researched, should be undertaken by competent
sports unions to minimize the existing barriers?
Material and methods
The research concerned representatives of 13 sports (print. 1), but it should be emphasised that in some cases the number of persons who took part in the research was very
different from the line-up of the present teams. It refers, among others, to swimmers or
track-and-field athletes. In that last case – in connection with preparations for world championships – the cycle of trainings had been changed and hence the research embraced only
a small part of that group, since a decisive majority of athletes practicing that sport were
abroad at that time.
Among the athletes included in the research there were 272 persons – 160 men (58.8%)
and 112 women (41.2%). This is a group of a clearly urban character and people who come
from the country constitute less than 13% of it (print. 2).
The average age for the whole researched population was not much more than 22.5
(with the age range from 16 to 36) and the most numerous group, including more than 1/3
of the researched, was constituted by athletes aged from 21 to 23. It is worth mentioning
that the age limit is 28, and older athletes constituted less than 6% of the researched. It is
probably because of the young age of the researched which explains why there was a relatively small group (19.9%) of married people.
In spite of the young age, it is a relatively well- educated group and percentage of particular categories (especially of people with post-secondary and tertiary education) exceed
those in the country. Moreover, it should be emphasized that a numerous group of the re-
Sport discipline practiced by athletes
track and field
Fig. 1. Sport disciplines represented by investigated athletes (%).
Place of living
town 20.000-100.000
city 101.000-500.000
city above 500.000
Fig. 2. Athletes’ place of living at the moment of starting their sport training (%).
searched is constituted by students of secondary and tertiary schools and it may be assumed
that their status is going to change during the nearest years.
For 176 of the researched (64.7%) sport constitutes the main source of income and, as
you can guess, they are athletes on the highest level. 39.3% of the researched have the international master’s class and another 35.7% have a national master’s class. Average training
experience is ten years while the range in the case of that feature is from 2 to 24 years.
The research was based on the method of a written interview with the use of a questionnaire Społeczne uwarunkowania uprawiania sportu /Social Determinants of Practicing
Sport/, which had been prepared by the team.
Interviews were made in July and August 2005 during training camps of national teams
The basic problem of socialisation for sport comes down to answering the question:
does the decision to practice sport in society where regular physical activity is participated
by less than one in ten individuals [8] is a result of youthful dreams and passions, of organized influences of people and social institutions or does it happen by pure chance? It comes
from the results obtained by us that almost half of the athletes (45%) had explicit opinions
on those issues when they entered their clubs and their decision was based on them. Approximately one third of them (31.3%) were led by other peoples’ opinions and 23.2%
attributed that fact to chance. A closer analysis of channels of institutional influence does
not enable to answer unambiguously which of them are the dominating ones. Influences of
particular social circles may be regarded as similarly strong because differences between
them are not higher than several percent and they are statistically insignificant. It should
be only added that influences of the family (19.9%), of peer groups and of teachers of PE
(17.6% in both cases) are of prime importance. In that case the opposite poles are constituted by enthusiasm and rationality. The name of enthusiasts is deserved by those athletes
who, regardless circumstances, have wanted to practice “their” sport from the beginning
and who unwaveringly aspired to that. There are 22.8% of them.
The rational current, where the basic premise underlying decisions were constituted by
limited possibilities of choice (21.7%) or calculations taking into account individual predispositions and possibilities of achieving success (19.9%), is more widespread.
It would be also difficult to say that sports interests are inherited. Admittedly over a
half of the researched pointed out to their families’ connections with sport, but – taking
into account the multiplicity of choices, it should be proclaimed that only 1/5 of them had
a contact with that type of pattern in his/her closest circle.
At it was possible to foresee, the overwhelming majority of the researched – as many
as 88.2% of them – expressed positive opinions on school physical education, but – what is
also worth noticing – a bit more than 7% of them treated physical education classes as not
a very well liked, obligatory school subject and 4% of them were exempted (!) or had no
PE classes. At the same time less than 16% of the researched members of Olympic teams
were graduates of schools of sports mastery – institutions which, according to the assumptions, were to provide talented youth with the best conditions for learning and training. An
approximately numerous group (17.3%) did not want to exploit the possibility of learning
in those types of schools, but 64% of the researched proclaimed that they had no such possibility. It should, however, be emphasized here that at the moment schools of sports mastery
do not take in athletes practicing martial arts (boxing, judo, taekwondo, wrestling), sports
shooting and weight lifting and about one fourth of the researched are representatives of
those sports.
As it is written by Zbigniew Krawczyk [7], sport in its contemporary form derives
its origin from activities of autotelic character, which were often being developed on the
ground of the aristocratic ethos of “conspicuous leisure” [14]. In their case sports rivalry
was motivated not so much by external rewards, but by personal satisfaction derived from
the very participation in the above-mentioned rivalry and from achieving success in it.
Krawczyk emphasises, however, that what primarily was autotelic in the course of time was
undergoing progressive instrumentalisation and that that process was especially visible in
the realm of professional sport. That statement refers both to motives of organizing sports
rivalry and to participation in it. Thus, contemporary athletes are led not only by autotelic
internal motives, but also by those of instrumental, external character – by aspirations for
material gratifications and fame. It is, however, emphasized by psychologists of sport that
external motives alone are not enough and that the athlete’s success is facilitated by domination of internal motives over external motives and not by the opposite situation [1, 2].
When we consider the issue of motives which led athletes and of the influence of those
motives on results achieved by them, we face not only the problem of their instrumental
or autotelic character but also the following question: is the athlete led to a greater degree
by aspirations for future successes or by striving for professional stabilization? The first attitude seems to be more favourable for achieving sports success than the second.
Taking into account differences which may appear in the realm of motives in the two
dimensions which have been described above, we assumed that the six following orientations are possible to be found in the case of the researched athletes:
– The purely autotelic orientation – it consists in treating sports participation as a value in itself.
We assumed that while answering questions concerning motives of sports activity it is testified
by the choice of the answer “possibility to realize one’s own interests and passions”.
– The success-oriented subtype of autotelic orientation – it was supposed to manifest itself
by choosing the answer “personal satisfaction from sports achievements”.
– The instrumental orientation (subtype oriented to social recognition) – its presence was
supposed to manifest itself by choosing the answer “social recognition which is provided
to me by the performed work”.
– The instrumental orientation (subtype oriented to material gratifications) – which was
supposed to manifest itself by choosing an answer “satisfying income”.
– The prospective orientation – which is present when the competitor is motivated by hope
for future successes (while it remains an open question how much s/he aspires for the sake
of personal satisfaction and how much for the sake of external gratifications). It was supposed to be expressed by choosing the answer “hope for future professional success”.
– The conservative orientation – we have to do with it when the competitor is motivated
by aspirations for maintaining the achieved professional status and it manifests itself by
choosing the answer “possibility of doing something I am already an expert in, while in
another place I would have to start everything from the beginning”. It is an attitude which
seems to grow, first of all, of treating sport as a job which is done to earn a living.
Moreover – in order to exclude the possibility of overlooking some significant factors
– respondents answering the question about motives of sports activity could point out to
motives which they named themselves (“other motives – mention them”).
The analysis of questionnaires filled by the athletes enables us to proclaim that the most
significant role among the motives of sports participation which are declared are played by
autotelic motives – by personal satisfaction from sports achievements and by the possibility
to realize one’s own interests and passions. The first of those motives is pointed out as “the
most significant” or “important” by 97.3% of the respondents giving valid answers and the
second by 86% of them.
Almost an equally important role is played by hope for future sports success (pointed
out as “the most significant” or “important” motive by 83.7% of the respondents – print 3).
A relatively smaller role is played by “possibility of doing something I am already an expert
in, while in another place I would have to start everything from the beginning” (the motive
which is pointed out as “the most significant” or “important” by 54.9% of the respondents
and by 26.9% of them as “not very significant” or “insignificant”.
Motives playing a relatively small role include also “satisfying income” (which are
regarded as “the most significant” or “important” by 54.5% of the respondents giving valid
answers and by 15.9% of them as “not very significant” or “insignificant”) as well as social
recognition, which is regarded as “the most significant” or “important” by 40.8% of the
respondents and as “not very significant” or “insignificant” by 17.4% of them.
The situation is slightly different when we take into account only respondents declaring that sport is their main form of earning a living. In that group a satisfying income is
clearly more often declared as the most significant or important motive of sports activity (it
is pointed out as such by 70.4% of the respondents), while taking into account other motives, they are pointed out by athletes who treat sport as the main form of earning a living
with a frequency very similar to that met in the whole sample.
A relatively small group of the respondents (28%) pointed out to motives of their activity which they formulated by themselves. Their answers usually said about treating sport as
a means of getting to know people and the world and of shaping character as well as about
autotelic motives – which, nota bene, had been taken into account while formulating closed
questions (sport as a form of self-realisation).
No significant correlations have been found between the weight attached by the respondents to particular motives of sports activity and the sport they practice, their age at the
moment of beginning training, self-estimation of sports success, sex, age, education, satisfaction from income or estimation of possibilities of future sports successes. It was noticed
only that there is quite a strong – and not very surprising – positive correlation (0.457 with a
level of significance p=0,01) between the role attributed to the motive of social recognition
and the feeling of such a recognition.
Thus, generally speaking, the research gives us a picture of members of national teams
as athletes more oriented with personal satisfaction from sports activity and sports achievements than at external gratifications. That statement refers both to the athletes who treat
sport as the main form of earning a living and to those who do not do so (although in the
case of the latter the role played by financial motives is clearly greater). It is quite an optimistic picture, since treating sports participation as an autotelic value is a guarantee of the
athlete’s personal commitment to the rivalry s/he takes part in – and it is the commitment
relatively independent from favourable or unfavourable configurations of external factors.
Sports achievements of the researched seem to be facilitated also by the fact that they
slightly care more about personal satisfaction from sports success that about the sole possibility of realizing their sports interests.
Main reason of starting practicing sports
PE teacher
sport coach
own decision
other reasons
Fig. 3. Main reasons of starting practicing sports in athletes declarations (%).
Athletes’ motivation – hope for a success
most important
rather important
not very important
not important at all
Fig. 4. Hope for success as a motivation for practicing sports (%).
It should be, however, taken into account that autotelic attitudes enjoy greater social approval than the instrumental ones. The affirmation of autotelic participation is also strongly
rooted in the realm of ideals which are still referred to – at least verbally – by contemporary
sport and especially in the realm of Olympic ideals. Using Ossowski’s terminology, we may
proclaim that autotelic values of sports activity are the values which are socially recognized
in the cultural context where the researched athletes function, but it does not necessarily
mean that they must be values felt by them [9]. Thus, some of the respondents – led by care
about their image – might, while writing about their attitudes, magnify the role played by
internal motives and diminish the role played by external motives.
Optimism may be also aroused by the fact that in the case of almost 90% of the athletes
a significant role is played by the motive of hope for future success, since it seems to point
out to a high level of sports aspirations. Simultaneously, however, over half of the respondents pointed out to “ the possibility of doing something I am already expert in, while in
another place I would have to start everything from the beginning” as “the most significant”
or “important” motive of practicing sport. We are of an opinion that pointing out to that motive – especially when it is chosen as the most significant (12.9% of the valid answers) – is
strongly correlated with a conservative, not very go-getting attitude to practicing sport.
Thus it seems that in some cases the motive of hope for future success is only declared
and not felt (or more declared than felt) and the questioned athletes are more oriented at
maintaining the achieved status that of future successes.
Basing on the results of the research, it should be proclaimed that practicing sport is
commonly approved by families of the researched. The sum of answers “yes” and “rather
yes” constitutes 92.5%, what seems to prove that families are not obstacles to the sports
When asked about significant factors discouraging from a sports career the athletes
pointed out mainly to “lack of success” (35.3%), “risk of losing health” (15.1%) and “unfairness of the coach”, what is illustrated by table 1. Other significant factors which are mentioned as hindering sports career are „gainful employment out of sport” (36%), “learning”
(27.9%) and “social life and entertainment” (21.3%). The athletes expressed an opinion that
the sports success is not hindered by training facilities, which are positively estimated by
59.2% of them; “bad” medical care was complained about by 42.85 of the researched and
45.6% said about “insufficient” medical care, 53.7% about “poor care” by sports officials,
whereas 59.9% of them mentioned “small income”.
The athletes relatively well estimate the level of competences of Polish coaches – only
28% declare smaller or greater reservations about their work. It is quite common to complain about „small popularity” of the practiced sport – such an opinion was expressed by
40.5% of the researched. The question of speaking foreign languages is not perceived by
the athletes as an obstacle.
Asked about the issue of cooperation with the sports union, the athletes gave evasive
answers – 46% maintained that they “have no opinion”, whereas “lack of support” from
sports institutions was felt by 39.7% and 56.3 said about poor marketing by the sports union. Sport, according to the opinions of the researched, is usually accepted by their close
families – 66.9% (that is, two thirds) of the researched pointed out to approval, but 34.9%
pointed out to “difficulties in reconciling sport with family life”. Sport – according to the
researched – is usually participated by talented people. Maybe that is why they proclaim
that lack of talent is not an important obstacle to the sports career. On the other hand, ath-
Table 1. Factors discouraging from practicing sport
Lack of success
Risk of losing health
Unfairness of the coach
Long staying out of home
Small popularity of the practiced sport
Conflicts with fellow athletes
Excessive training
Other reasons
Lack of answer
letes’ significant factors hindering the proper course of the career – 60% of the respondents
are of such an opinion [12].
Opinions of athletes treating sport as the basic source of income and of those who do
not treat it in such a way are almost identically distributed when they talk about poor care
from sports institutions and officials. That opinion is approved by respectively 57.7% and
47.9% of them. „Small income” is perceived by the researched as a significant factor limiting possibilities of a sports career.
The researched members of national teams were asked to answer closed questions concerning the evaluation the work of their sports union and conditions of work. They also were
provided with the possibility of expressing themselves freely by answering an open question.
The researched estimated work of their sports unions in the field of planning and organizing training and competitions as well as informing competitors about training plans and
their changes rather positively. In all three of the above mentioned cases the percentage of
competitors expressing a very positive or a positive opinion on work of the union exceeded
jointly 50% and the percentages of very positive estimations were close to 20%. Simultaneously as many as one fifth of the respondents had no precise opinion on those issues. The
number of athletes estimating unions’ work decided negatively in none of the discussed
cases exceeded 9%.
Taking into account the above discussed issues, we may notice a slightly higher number
of negative answers in the case of judo and wrestling. For example, while estimating planning of trainings and competitions, as many as ten out of 36 wrestlers expressed their
decidedly negative opinion and 4 a rather negative opinion (while opinions of 5 were very
positive and those of 10 rather positive). In the similarly numerous group of fencers (35
persons), there were only 3 decidedly negative opinions. In the case of judo, the greatest
number of negative opinions concerned the quality of informing athletes about changes in
training plans (20 decidedly negative and negative opinions in the group of 32).
In the case of the discussed questions, the relatively greatest number of positive answers – taking into account the general number of athletes representing a given sport – appeared in the case of weight lifting. Similarly numerous groups of competitors (about 40%
in the case of each sport) have good opinions about the realization of financial obligations
towards the athletes by the competent sports unions. It is interesting that almost one third of
the researched had no opinion on that issue. The relatively greatest negative answers (taking into account the number of the researched representatives of a given sport) concerning
that question appeared in the case of wrestling (25 rather negative and decidedly negative
answers while 37 wrestlers were researched).
More than one third of the researched athletes negatively or rather negatively evaluated work of competent sports unions in the field of organization of medical and diagnostic
care. Psychological care provided by the unions was estimated even worse. More than
50% of the respondents estimated it negatively (including 33.8% of those who estimated
it decidedly negatively). In the results attention is attracted by very differentiated answers
of athletes practicing the same sport. It can be exemplified by fencing where athletes in 11
cases recognised medical and diagnostic care as good or very good and in 17 cases they
recognized it as rather bad or bad. Seven athletes had no opinion on that issue. The psychological care which is provided to them is very badly estimated by athletes practicing sports
shooting (20 negative evaluations – including 15 very negative – from 22 persons), boxing
(12 negative evaluations – including 8 very negative – from 13 persons), wrestling (27
negative evaluations from 37 athletes).
The athletes were also enabled to express freely their opinion about activities which
should be undertaken in order to improve results in their sports. Answers were very differentiated. They have been categorised creating the following groups of issues:
a) sports facilities and equipment,
b) work of sports officials,
c) sports marketing and sponsoring,
d) medical care,
e) psychological care,
f) organisation of training work,
g) money (for athletes and coaches),
h) participation in competitions and training camps,
i) coaches,
j) permitted aid (food supplements, etc.).
Postulations of changes which would contribute to heightening the level of sports results and which were put forward by the athletes (table 2) referred first of all to higher
amounts of money which was to be given to athletes in the form of grants, prizes or bonuses
for success (68.6% of those who gave an answer to that question), increasing the number
of training camps and competitions (42.3%) and improving the quality or increasing the
quantity of sports facilities and equipment (38.2%). The above mentioned categories are
not, however, homogenous regarding their contents which makes their interpretation more
difficult. For example, in the group of answers described as “taking part in competitions
and training camps” there were such remarks as “training camps”, “going abroad”, “more
frequent participation in competitions” and it includes both taking part in training camps
and competitions in the country as well as going abroad. Regarding the issue of money
which is given to athletes, there appeared, among others, remarks concerning the need of
distributing it in a more even way and lengthening periods in which grants are given for. It
may be supposed that the realization of those postulations would facilitate – according to
the opinion of the researched – athletes’ good long-term preparation for the most important
events (for example, for the Olympic games during a four-year cycle) and it would not involve the necessity of settling results of each (better or worse) sports season.
Table 2. Athletes’ postulations concerning activities which are necessary for improvement of sports results*
Singled out category of answers
money (for athletes and coaches)
participation in competitions and training camps
sports facilities and equipment
medical care
psychological care
sports officials’ work
sports marketing and sponsoring
organization of training
permitted aid (food supplements, etc.)
sports clubs
* % of choices among persons who answered that question
** the number of choices exceeds the number of researched because of a possibility of giving many answers
by one respondent
Another group of problems often raised by the athletes concerned coaches (35.3%). There
postulations of changing coaches and willingness to work with better ones dominated. However, there were also remarks referring to the character of working with athletes – namely, to
treating them seriously, in an individual way and introducing partner relations. Some remarks
suggested strengthening the position of the coach by enabling him to undertake more autonomous activities. Responses to that question confirm to some degree answers to the question
about the union’s work in the field of medical and psychological care.
In both cases about one fourth of the researched declared the necessity of improvement. The necessity of improvement of sports officials’ work was not pointed out very
often (19.0%) and in statements concerning that problem attention was paid mainly to the
issue of atmosphere of cooperation with athletes: “recognising and appreciating athletes”,
“proper relations with officials”. In two cases (from 157 answers to that question) there appeared postulations of changing the authorities of the union and “putting problems inside
the union in order”.
It was established that the ways young people come to sport are similar to existing
stereotypes concerning that question. The family (pointed out by 19.9% of the respondents), peer groups and teachers of physical education (17.6% in the case of each of them)
were the most often mentioned as social institutions influencing that kind of choices to the
greatest degree.
The choice of the practiced sport means, on the one hand, realization of earlier dreams
(22.8% of the respondents have always wanted to practice “their” sport), but also a rational
choice, since a comparably numerous group (21.7%) pointed out to limited possibilities of
choice resulting for example from the place of living and having predispositions to practice
a definite sport and not any other (19.9%).
It is also worth paying attention that less than 16% of the researched belong to the category of graduates of schools of sports mastery. However, ¼ of them practice sports which
are not included in curricula of those schools.
Among the researched athletes the dominating role (at least in the sphere of declarations) is played by motives of autotelic character – by personal satisfaction from sports
achievements and the possibility to realise one’s own interests and passions – as well as by
hope for future sports success. The first of these motives is mentioned as “the most important” or “important” by 97.3% of the respondents giving valid answers, the second by 86%
and the third by 83.7% of them. The fourth place in the hierarchy of motives established
in such a way is occupied by the “possibility of doing something I am already an expert
in, while in another place I would have to start everything from the beginning”. That motive is regarded as „the most important” or „important” by 54.9% of the respondents. The
final positions in the hierarchy of declared motives are occupied by “satisfying incomes”
and social recognition resulting from the performing role of the athlete. The domination of
autotelic motives over the instrumental ones – money and social recognition – proves how
powerful, in spite of the processes of professionalisation and commercialization, the ethos
of disinterested gentleman sport remains, although identification with that ethos may have
partly only a declarative character.
Practicing sport – as it follows from the research – is commonly accepted by families
of the athletes. The athletes pointed out that the most discouraging factors in the sports
career are lack of success, the risk of losing health and the coach’s injustice. Among other
important factors which make the course of the sports career difficult the following were
mentioned: working for money out of sport, learning and “social life and entertainment”.
The athletes expressed an opinion that the state of training facilities does not interfere with
achieving sports success, whereas some obstacle – according to their opinion – is constituted by insufficient medical care. It was quite common to complain about small popularity
of the practiced sport (40.5% of the researched). The athletes’ answers concerning the issue of cooperation with the sports union had “evasive” character – 40.6% maintained that
they “have no opinion”, whereas 39.7% felt “lack of support” from sports institutions and
56.3% pointed out poor marketing by the sports union. A significant factor interfering with
the correct course of the career are contusions and athletes’ health problems (60.6% of the
The researched athletes of Olympic teams functioning of their unions in the fields of
planning and organising trainings and competitions, as well as of informing athletes about
plans of training and their changes positively. In all the above mentioned three cases the
percentages of athletes expressing a very positive or a positive opinion on activities of the
union exceeded jointly 50%. The number of athletes evaluating unions’ activities definitely
negatively in none of the discussed cases exceeded 9%.
More than one third of the researched athletes estimated work of competent sports
unions in the field or organization of medical, diagnostic and psychological care decidedly
negatively or rather negatively. Postulations of changes which would contribute to heightening the level of sports results – and which were put forward by the athletes – concerned,
first of all, higher amounts of money which athletes should get in the form of grants, prizes
or bonuses for success, increasing the number of training camps and competitions (including those abroad) and improving the quality or increasing the quantity of sports facilities and equipment. Regarding the issue of money which athletes receive, there appeared,
among others, remarks concerning the need of distributing it, in a fairer way and lengthening periods grants are given for. The athletes postulated the need of changing coaches and
expressed a willingness to cooperate with better coaches. Improvement of medical and
diagnostic care was demanded too.
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aper prepared within the framework of the research problem „Socialisation, Motivations and Barriers of
Sports and Professional Activity in Top Sport” (Ds.92)
II. sport – Articles
Adam Bieleniewicz
University of Physical Education in Warsaw
Faculty of Physical Education
Personality Determinants of Football Fan Aggression
Key words – psychology – aggression – fans
The phenomenon of football fan aggression is one of the most bothersome social problems at the turn of the 20th and the 21st century. In Poland there is little empirical research
regarding football fans. Most monographs offer intuitive explanations. Exceptional complexity of the phenomenon of football hooliganism makes it difficult to create one coherent
model which would explain the problem and indicate the causes of aggression and violence
among football fans in an explicit way. Unfortunately, most researchers dealing with this
problem refer to fans as a single entity whereas one can differentiate many subgroups in
the fan structure.
So will the affiliation to “an ultra” group (organized supporters of football teams further called a “scarfmen” group), to “a firm” (football hooligans gang) or spectators (control
group), declared by the fans, show any differences among the groups in terms of aggression
which constitutes an analyzed personality variable?
The mean values obtained by “the ultra” group (“scarfmen”) in “the Aggression
Scale” questionnaire survey by Buss and Perry, indicate that the group’s main characteristics involve high physical and verbal aggression, anger and average level of hostility.
As for “the firm” only the results on the scale of physical aggression were high whereas
the mean values obtained on the other three scales i.e. the scales of verbal aggression,
anger and hostility show an average intensity of those features among the members of
“the firm”. By contrast the control group of spectators got average mean values on all
the scales measured by means of the “Aggression Scale” questionnaire by Buss and
A statistical analysis of the results shows significant differences between “the scarfmen” (ultra group), “the firm” and the spectators (control group) in terms of physical aggression and between “the firm”, spectators and “the scarfmen” (the ultra group) in terms
of verbal aggression and anger.
High mean values and characteristic differences among analyzed fan groups indicate
personality predispositions of “the scarfmen” (ultra group) and (to a lesser extent) the members of “the firm” to some involvement into aggressive behavior.
The phenomenon of football fan aggression is one of the most bothersome social problems at the turn of the 20th and the 21st century. In Poland there is little empirical research
regarding football fans. Most monographs offer intuitive explanations. The extensive empirical works by Piotrowski (2000) or Dudała (2004) are worth noticing as they try to
present psychosocial factors which provide an explanation of the origin of the behavior at
Polish sports stadiums with reference to youth subcultures related to sports clubs.
Exceptional complexity of the phenomenon of football hooliganism makes it difficult to create one coherent model which would explain the problem and indicate the causes of aggression
and violence among football fans in an explicit way. Some researchers discern the reasons and
conditions determining this negative phenomenon in the feeling of alienation, biased refereeing,
negative football players’ behavior (Gorący, 1995), police performance (Sekuła-Kwaśniewicz,
1997), media (Murphy, Duning, Williams, cited in Wanat, 1992) and others. Unfortunately most
researchers dealing with the issue refer to football fans as a single entity whereas one can distinguish many subgroups in fan structure, the members of which feel strong bonds with one
another due to e.g. performing some supporting tasks such as cheering and choreography (Tifo)
during a match. However, multiplicity and the range of multiple response, determining fans’
affiliation to certain groups, often affect the lack of their disjointness.
As I tackle the problem of fan aggression I am interested in three fan groups: an ultra
group (organized supporters of football teams further called a “scarfmen” group), “a firm”
(football hooligans gang) and spectators who constitute a control group. The ascription to
a group is determined by multiple response – respondents’ declared affiliation to one of the
three distinguished groups.
The aim of the research is to prove the differences in the level of aggression and to
determine the intensity of its components as a function of respondents’ affiliation to one of
the three groups: the ultra group (“scarfmen”), “the firm” or spectators.
Material and Methods
The research includes 172 “Legia” Warszawa football fans divided into three groups.
The division was determined by respondents’ declared association to a certain group which
constitutes the multiple response. The materials obtained from 152 respondents were analyzed as the other 20 respondents found themselves beyond the three groups defined by the
multiple response.
The selection of respondents was partially random (random sample – the groups of
“the scarfmen” and spectators) and partially nonprobable (nonprobability sampling – “the
firm”). The group of “the scarfmen” (an ultra group) consisted of 64 respondents, “the firm”
consisted of 42 respondents and the control group of spectators consisted of 46 respondents. The age of the respondents in “the firm” ranged from 18 to 29 years old (x-22,4;sd3,0), in “the scarfmen” group (ultras) ranged from 15 to 26 years old (x-18,8; sd -2,5) and
in the control group of spectators from 16 to 29 years old (x-20,5; sd – 3,2).
The Aggression Scale by Buss and Perry, translated and adopted by Lucyna Kirwill,
was used in the research. The Buss and Perry’s questionnaire consists of 4 scales:
• physical aggression scale (inclination to act against others using physical strength, getting
into fights without destroying objects),
• verbal aggression – verbal abuse scale (harming and hurting (insulting) others by expressing negative feelings in form and content; it involves menace, swearing, scathing criticism, yelling),
• hostility scale (inclination to reveal negative feelings and diminish people and events in
order to hurt and punish; manifestation of suspicion expressed by unfounded feeling of
being gossiped behind their backs or of being ridiculed, distrust and consequent wariness
towards other people; lack of faith in people’s selflessness; other symptoms of hostility
involve jealousy and resentment and the feeling of being disadvantaged by fate),
• anger scale (complex emotional reaction which consists of specific components such as
facial expressions, muscle and visceral reactions; like hostility it constitutes a part of aggressive reaction; it manifests itself in anger as a reaction to any emotional agitation, in fickleness of moods (emotional instability), inclination to frustration, irritation and impetuosity).
The research is conducted on raw score. In order to compare differences between the
groups on the Aggression Scale by Buss and Perry the one-way analysis of variance and
post hoc test by Sheffe is applied. The assumed significance level is α =0,05 .
Fig.1. The comparison of mean results obtained from the groups
on the physical aggression scale by Buss and Perry
Legend: Significant differences between obtained values were marked as follows:
the difference between “the firm” and “the scarfmen” group (ultra group): *** (p<0,001), ** (p<0,01), * (p<0,05),
‡ (tendency);
the difference between “the firm” and the spectators: ### (p<0,0001), ## (p<0,01), # (p<0,05), ° (tendency)
the difference between “the scarfmen” group (ultra group) and the spectators: ††† (p<0,001), †† (p<0,01),
† (p<0,05), ∂ (tendency)
Fig.2 The comparison of mean results obtained from the groups
on the verbal aggression scale by Buss and Perry
symbols as in fig.1
Fig.3. The comparison of mean results obtained from the groups
on the anger scale by Buss and Perry
symbols as in fig.1
Fig.4. The comparison of mean results obtained from the groups
on the hostility scale by Buss and Perry
symbols as in fig.1
Statistical analysis of the results obtained in the Aggression Scale questionnaire by
Buss and Perry with the use of one-way analysis of variance shows the occurrence of differences on the level of statistical significance. The further analysis of the results by means
of the (post hoc) test by Sheffe reveals the differences among the groups in the case of three
out of four scales of the questionnaire.
The mean values on the physical aggression scale obtained from “the firm” and “the
scarfmen” (ultras) group differ significantly (p<0,001) from the mean value obtained from
the group of spectators (fig.1).
The analysis of the results on other two scales – verbal aggression and anger – shows
significant differences (p<0,001) between mean values obtained from “the firm” and “the
scarfmen” and from “the scarfmen” and the group of spectators (fig.2,f ig.3).
On the hostility scale no statistically significant differences among groups are noticed
“The scarfmen” group (ultras) got the highest mean values on all the scales of “the
Aggression Scale” questionnaire by Buss and Perry. They are noted for the high level of
the physical aggression (x-29,06; sd – 6,71), verbal aggression (x – 18,3; sd – 2,98), anger
(x – 22,41; sd – 4, 76) and average hostility (x – 20,75; sd – 6,27).
“The firm” is characterized by the high level of physical aggression (x-27,02;
sd-8,09), whereas mean values of the other features indicate the average level of their
The control group of spectators distinguishes itself by the average level of intensity
of all the features gauged with the aid of Buss’s and Perry’s “Aggression Scale Questionnaire”.
The “scarfmen” group (ultras) obtained the highest mean values on all the scales of the
Aggression Scale questionnaire by Buss and Perry. The characteristic traits of the group
include high physical aggression, verbal aggression, anger and average hostility. “The firm”
is marked by high physical aggression though the mean values of other traits reveal the
average level of intensity. The group of spectators (control group) is marked by the average
level of intensity as far as all the traits measured by The Aggression Scale questionnaire by
Buss and Perry are concerned.
The high scores obtained from “the scarfmen” group and “the firm” on the physical aggression scale (fig.1) imply that they are inclined to use physical aggression against others,
get into fights, attack other people, hit back, strike blows, lose control over their aggressive
impulses, start brawls with those who offend them and fight in defense of their rights (Siek,
The high rate of “the scarfmen’s” verbal abuse (fig.2) show their inclinations to harm
and hurt others by expressing negative feelings in form and content. The expression of
negative feelings manifests itself in acts of wrangling over or yelling while the content
of their utterances is based on menace, swearing or scathing criticism (Siek,1993). Mean
values obtained on this scale from the group of spectators and “the firm” (fig.2) indicate the
average inclinations to verbal abuse.
Similarly, the high mean value on the anger scale obtained from “the scarfmen” group
in contrast to average values on the same scale among the other two groups, imply that they
are more inclined to act angrily as a reaction to emotional agitation. The high rate of anger
may also manifest itself in fickleness of moods or even emotional instability, inclination to
frustration, irritation and impetuosity. Anger, as an emotional component, arouses aggression, which in turn relieves the tension caused by stirred up anger (Siek, 1993).
The average mean values obtained from all analyzed groups on the scale of hostility (fig.4) imply the average inclinations of their members to reveal negative feelings and
to diminish people or events, the average level of intensions to harm or hurt others. The
values obtained on this scale prove respondents’ low suspicion of being gossiped behind
their backs or ridiculed. The respondents are not excessively distrustful or cautious towards
other people especially to those who seem more amicable than others, which implies their
certain faith in people’s selflessness. They do not often reveal jealousy, resentment or perceive themselves as being disadvantaged by fate.
The high score obtained from “the scarfmen” group (ultra group) on most of the scales
and significant differences among the analyzed groups, especially between “the scarfmen”
group versus “the firm” and the spectators imply personality inclinations of the members
of “scarfmen” group to act aggressively and violently. Although the results suggest that the
“scarfmen’s” involvement in football riots results from their personality traits, especially
high level of aggression, it should also be borne in mind that situational factors have equally significant impact (according to W. Mischel) on human behavior. This thesis is supported
by numerous research studies conducted both in Poland and abroad.
The researchers of football hooliganism underline the importance of sports and nonsports related factors which may shape football fans’ behavior. Sports related variables
include among others biased refereeing, visitor team’s brutal fouls or even their better performance. As for the off-stadium determinants they involve police behavior (and often just
their presence), the tension before the match built up by the media and also physical factors
in the form of lighting, temperature or noise (Matusewicz, 1990). Other researchers point
to alcohol as the element which affects many forms of group aggression such as incidents
during sports events, street riots, acts of vandalism (Russel, 1993; sir Norman Chester,
1993 cited in: Piotrowski, 2000; Pernanen, 1991, Lipsey, 1997), stressing at the same time
its dual impact on human body: pharmacological one and the other one referring to psychological effects (expectations that alcohol consumption favors the changes in the way people
feel, think and behave) (Bushman, Cooper, 1990).
Furthermore the researchers dealing with physiology of violence seek biological determinants in human aggression. They unanimously stress the role of male testosterone
hormone whose higher level is related to violence, distrust or hostility (Dabbs, 1991;
Brown, Linnoila, 1990) or serotonin neurotransmitter believed to be the inhibitor of behavior, “whose lower activity is related to higher agitation and higher level of aggression”
(Virkkunen, Linnoila, 1996). With reference to the discoveries made by the researchers
dealing with the biology of violence it would be advisable to assess fans’ attitude to anabolic and androgenic medications, which are enjoying increasing popularity among the
• High mean values and significant differences between “the scarfmen” group (ultra group),
“the firm” and the control group in terms of physical aggression and between “the firm”,
the spectators and “the scarfmen” group (the ultra group) in terms of verbal aggression
and anger imply personality inclinations of “the scarfmen” and (to a lesser extent) the
members of “the firm” to get involved in aggressive activities.
• It seems difficult to present one coherent personality profile of a fan-hooligan. In each
of the analyzed groups the profile is different so in this connection, preventive measures
aimed at curbing or stamping out aggression among football fans should be directed to a
single and defined group not the fans taken as a whole.
  1. Brown, G.L., Linnoila, M.I. (1990). CSF Serotonin Metabolite (5-HIAA) Studies in Depression, Impulsivity,
and Violence. J Clin Psychiatry 51(4)(suplement), pp. 31-43.
  2. Bushman, B.J., Cooper, H.M. (1990). Effects of Alcohol on Human Aggression: An Integrative Research
Review. Psychological Bulletin, 107, pp.341-354.
  3. Dabbs, J.M. (1991). Salivary Testosterone and Cortisol Among Late Adolescent Male Offenders. Abnorm
Child Psychol, 19, pp. 469-478.
  4. Dudała, J. (2004). Fani- Chuligani. Warszawa: Wydawnictwo Akademickie „Żak“.
  5. Gorący, A. (1995). ‘Naruszenia porządku towarzyszące imprezom sportowym- aspekty psychologiczne’.
In: A. Szwarc (ed.). Naruszenia porządku towarzyszące imprezom sportowym, Poznań: Wydawnictwo
  6. Kirwil, Lucyna (2002). Polska adaptacja Kwestionariusza Agresji A.H.Buss’a i M.Perry’ego (Buss- Perry
Aggression Questionnaire Scale- 1992). Warszawa. Manuskrypt.
  7. Lipsey, M.W. (1997). ‘Is there a causal relationship between alcohol use and violence? A synthesis of
evidence’.In : Galanter, M. (ed.). Recent Developments in Alcoholism. New York: Plenum Press, 13, p.
  8. Matusewicz, Cz. (1990).Widowisko sportowe. Warszawa: Wydawnictwo AWF.
  9. Oleś, P.K. (2003). Wprowadzenie do psychologii osobowości. Warszawa: Wydawnictwo Naukowe „Scholar”.
10. Pernanen, K. (1991). Alcohol in Human Violence. New York: Guilford Press.
11. P
iotrowski, P. (2000). Szalikowcy. Toruń: Wydawnictwo Adam Marszałek.
12. Sekuła- Kwaśniewicz, H. (1997). Próba wyjaśnienia zjawisk przemocy w środowiskach młodzieżowych.
Problemy społeczne w okresie przemian ustrojowych w Polsce. Materiały konferencyjne. Rzeszów: WSP.
13. Siek, S. (1993). Wybrane metody badania osobowości. Warszawa: Wydawnictwo ATK.
14. Wanat, S. (1992). Socjologia zachowań chuligańskich w sporcie. „Kultura Fizyczna”, 7-8, pp. 18.
15. Virkkunen, M., Linnoila, M. (1996).’Serotonin and glucose metabolism in impulsively violent alcoholic
offenders’. In: Stoff, D.M., Cairns, R.B. (ed). Aggression and Violence. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum,
pp. 87-100.
II. sport – Articles
Jolanta ŻyŚko
University of Physical Education in Warsaw
Faculty of Physical Education
Nature of Comparative Sport Policy Research
Key words: comparative research, methodology, ontology, epistemology
The aim of the study was to analyse the literature about the strategy of comparative sport
policy research and identify the logic of comparison evident in different types of comparative
policy analysis, based on different theoretical basis and on different epistemological positions.
The article is divided into four sections: introduction, overview of the theoretical basis for
comparisons (including different epistemological positions and different approaches to comparisons), characteristics of the nature of different types of comparative analysis of sport policy
(based on four-fold typology proposed by Henry (Henry, Amara et al. 2005) and conclusions
about attractiveness and advantages of comparative study .
Comparison is at the heart of all social science, whether it is comparison over time, across
countries, between policy areas or with other cases” (Houlihan 2003). There is a number of
intriguing questions concerning the relationship between the different political systems, policy processes, and policy outputs and outcomes (Houlihan 1997). Despite the attractiveness
and potential value of the comparative approach there are a number of significant theoretical
and methodological problems that need to be overcome, or at least taken account of, before
a credible strategy for comparison can be developed. Especially comparisons in a field of
policy, in general and in sport and recreation in particular, are challenging and problematic
at both theoretical and methodological level (Houlihan 2003). Different authors highlight
different problems and difficulties in conducting comparative analysis. The most difficult
are cross-national study, when the researchers dealing with inter- or cross- national nature
of the research and reality. According to the literature four groups of these problems can be
distinguished: theoretical, epistemological (e.g. the ambiguity of concepts such as ‘sport’ and
‘policy’), methodological (selection of indicators, developing comparisons on the basis of a
series of independent case studies; weak data generating superficial comparisons), linguistic
(seen especially in cross-national studies) and other problems (Houlihan 1997), (Lichbach
and Zuckermann 1997), (Sinkovics 2005), (Lenartowicz 2003).
Most of the difficulties are related to the problem of comparing concepts existing in
divergent national contexts. It is the reason why the application of established methodologies and practices is not always successful in changing international research settings (McDonald 1985). At the theoretical level too many multi-country studies are simply parallel
reviews of single country policies which, though insightful, fail to take advantage of the
opportunities that comparison offers.
Theoretical basis for comparison
The most important issue for the researcher conducting comparative study is to have
his or her ontological and epistemological positions. Most often those positions are implicit
rather then explicit, but regardless of whether they are acknowledged, they shape the approach to theory and the methods which the scientist utilises. According to Marsh and Furlong (Marsh and Furlong 2002) such positions are like skin, not a sweater, which implies
that they cannot be put on and taken off whenever the researchers sees fit.
Thus ontological positions reflect researchers’ view on the nature of the world (nature
of ‘being’), and epistemological positions their view of what can be known about the world
and how the knowledge can be achieved or accessed. So literally ontology is the theory of
‘being’ and ‘epistemology’ is the theory of knowledge (Marsh and Furlong 2002).
There are different ways of classifying epistemological positions and no agreement as
to the best way. Probably the most common classification distinguishes between scientific
(or positivist) or hermeneutic (or interpretist) (Gratton and Jones 2004).In relation to this
Marsh and Furlong (Marsh and Furlong 2002) distinguished 3 main positions: positivist,
realist and interpretist, all summarized in Table 1:
Table 1: Overview of epistemological positions
Epistemological positions
of the
of study
World exist independently
of our knowledge of it;
World (social phenomena)
has a socially constructed nature
of findings
Direct observation;
Quantitative content analysis;
Objective generalisable
of study
Casual relationships,
testing hypothesis;
Interpretation and understanding
of the relationship between social
Type of data Quantitative data; ‘hard’,
statistical data;
World exist independently
of our knowledge of it,
but not all social phenomena
(deep structures) are directly
Mixed methods
(e.g. triangulation);
Understanding social phenomena Casual relations although
which affect outcomes; rejection claimed not observable;
of casual statements;
Qualitative evidence;
Qualitative and quantitative
Source: Adapted from (Marsh and Furlong 2002)
Distinctions outlined in Table 1 offer an overview of different epistemological positions, which affect the strategy and design of a study.
At the outset, however, it is important to emphasise that the positions have altered over
time, and in some issues distinctions between them, especially between interpretism and
realism, are not clear-cut. The crucial aspect of the above classification is the existence of
a ‘paradigm shift’ and the criticism of these positions springing from the nature of social
Marsh and Furlong (Marsh and Furlong 2002) argue that there are obvious differences between social and natural (physical) phenomena which make the social science
‘impossible’. They highlight three key differences as particularly important. Firstly, social
structures, unlike natural structures, do not exist independently of the activities they shape.
Secondly, related to the previous, social structures unlike natural structures, do not exist
independently of the agents’ views of what they are doing in the activity. People are reflective, they reflect on what they are doing and often alter their actions as a result of that
reflection. This points to the third difference: social structures, unlike natural structures,
change as a results of the action taken by their agents. In most senses the social world varies
across time and space. The critique of the positivist approach to social science gains more
importance in the context of cross-national comparative analysis, entailing the language of
comparisons and discursive approach to social phenomena.
Positivism has changed in response to criticism. Post-positivism is much less likely to
insist that there is only one way of doing social science. However, it still gives priority to
explanation rather than understanding, and asserts the primacy of the direct observation,
which is to say that it is still foundationalist and firmly rooted in the traditional approach
to science.
The interpretist tradition is the obvious counterpoint to positivism. The main criticism
of the interpretist tradition comes, rather unsurprisingly, from the positivist camp, although
some realists would agree with a few elements of the critique. To the positivists, the interpretist tradition offers merely opinions or subjective judgements about the world, thus
failing to provide sufficient basis on which to judge the validity of its knowledge claims.
There are the number of variants within the interpretist tradition. Two recent additions to
the landscape are postmodern, or post-structuralist positions, which have provided a powerful challenge to foundationalism in both philosophy and the social science. All of the new
positions within the interpretist tradition are anti-foundationalist and critical of positivism
(Marsh and Furlong 2002).
Realism is the third epistemological position in the tradition of social science listed
in Table 1. Realism shares an ontological position with positivism, but, in epistemological
terms, modern realism has more in common with relativism.
Classical realism was criticised in two ways, each reflecting a different epistemolgical
position. Positivists deny the existence of unobservable structures, while authors from the
interpretist traditions criticize the foundational claims of realism. According to their views
there are no structures that are independent of social action and no ‘objective’ basis for the
interpretation of deep structures.
Contemporary realism has been significantly influenced by the interpretist critique. In
particular a variety of modern realism, called ‘critical realism’ acknowledges two points.
Firstly, while social phenomena exist independently of their interpretation, the interpretation affects outcomes. In this light, structures do not determine, constraining and facilitat-
ing instead. Social science involves the study of reflective agents who interpret and change
structures. Secondly, human knowledge of the world is fallible, it is theory-laden. People
need more to identify and understand both the external ‘reality’ and the social construction
of that ‘reality’ in order to explain the relationships between social phenomena (Marsh and
Furlong 2002).
Thus, critical realism offers a structure-centered approach to the analysis of policy and
political actions, however one in which ‘structure and agency’ are perceived as recursively
related. Each is both a condition for and a consequence of the other (Lewis 2000).
Consequently, realism has clear methodological implications. It suggests that there is a
real world “out there”, but emphasises that outcomes are shaped by the way in which that
world is socially / discursively constructed.
Different theoretical perspectives related to the different epistemological positions
discussed above exist in comparative research. Lichbach and Zuckerman (Lichbach and
Zuckermann 1997) distinguish three broad approaches to comparison: rationalist, culturalist, and structuralist, each based on a distinctive set of assumptions -not only about the theoretical basis and epistemological positions concerning the nature of society and the political
process, but also about the methodological implications, as summarised in Table 2.
Table 2: Approaches in comparative research
Research approach
Rational actor;
Epistemology Positivism;
Emphasis on instrumental
rationality; impoverished
view of agency;
Common knowledge
and values; intersubiectivity;
methodological holism;
Relations among actors/
institutions/ organizations;
methodological holism;
and interpretation;
Difficulty of assessing
the casual significance
of culture; danger
of tautology and teleology;
and interpretation;
Danger of determinism;
absence of voluntarism;
Source: adapted from (Lichbach and Zuckermann 1997) based on (Houlihan 2003)
Landman (Landman 2000) sums up the differing emphases of these three approaches:
“Rationalists focus on the interests and the actions of individuals, culturalists on the ideas
and norms of human communities, and structuralists on the institutions and relationships
that constrain and facilitate political activity.”
The approaches identified by Lichbach reflect the long-standing tension in social science between those who emphasise the significance of structure and those who assume the
priority of agency.
A preferable approach to the comparative analysis of sport policies should seek epistemological and methodological foundations which recognize the importance of structure,
as well as acknowledge the significance of agency. This condition can be catered for by
‘critical realism’ – the modified structuralist perspective developed by Bhasker (Bhasker
Types of comparisons
Comparative sport policy analyses are traditionally based on two main methods of
comparison, described differently in literature.
The first approach is related to the “large N” research, also known as “quantitative
comparative strategy” (Marsh and Furlong 2002) or statistical analysis (Hague and Harrop
2004). Henry and Amara (Henry, Amara et al. 2005) labelled this approach to the comparative study as “seeking similarities” involving broadly positivistic methods to identify underlying associations between policy contexts and sports policy outcomes. In this approach,
‘objective’ data are subject to analysis to identify forms of statistical association among
social, political, economic, or cultural conditions, or contexts on the one hand and policy
outcomes on the other.
The second traditional approach to comparisons is rooted in the “small N” research,
also referred to as “qualitative comparative strategy” (Marsh and Furlong 2002) or “focused comparison” (Hague and Harrop 2004). Labelled “describing differences” by Henry
and Amara (Henry, Amara et al. 2005). It takes ideographic accounts of policy systems as
the basis for explaining the differences between systems thus providing ground for explaining similarities / differences in policy outcomes.
It views policy as detailed qualitative accounts of individual policy systems and, perhaps,
interactions among these systems, rather than as a set of statistically operationalized concepts.
Changing the nature of the object of comparison analysis: process of globalization and
globalization outcomes, necessarily affects the nature of comparative analysis. The development of international organizations, notably United Nations and the European Union,
forms a new layer of governance to which all states must react. The new relationship works
in both directions: states shape the world at least just as much as the world reshapes states
(Hague and Harrop 2004).
One of the weaknesses of the two types of comparative analysis is that both rely on
nation states as unique and bounded cases for their analysis, failing to take account of the
increasing interlinkages and interactions among nation-states in the shared global context.
Studies of globalization propose to evaluate interstate and transstate phenomena. They seek
to take account of both transnational (global) pressures and international (local) context
(Henry, Amara et al. 2005).
In reference to this Henry and Amara (Henry, Amara et al. 2005) propose two new approaches to comparative analysis:
• “Theorizing the transnational”, understood as transnational rather than cross-national
comparison, is an approach which emphasises the transnational or global context of policy development and seeks to reach beyond the comparison of nation-state systems to
develop theoretically informed analysis of intra-, inter-, and trans-governmental policy
activity. The strength of this approach is that it seeks to accommodate the global and local
structural context and the local nature of agency within this structural context.
• “Defining discourse” seeks to address ways in which policy is differentially discursively constructed in differing national and international contexts. This approach attempts to explain the
ways in which policy discourse defines the policy world and the problems it seeks to address.
The four types of comparative analysis of sport policy proposed by Henry and Amara
(Henry, Amara et al. 2005) are outlined in Table 3.
Table 3: Four types of comparative analysis of sport policy
Type 1: seeking
seeks law-like
(e.g., modernization
theory and
Type 2: describing
emphasis on
historical specificity
of causes, often
theory (e.g., policy
Type 3: theorizing
the transnational
Globalization: intra-,
inter-, and trans-state
Large number
of cases
once concepts are
Accounts for how
and why societies
/knowledge gained
inductlively by
processes of social
construction of
structures and
deductively by
deducing the impacts
of invisible structures
Considers both global
and structural context
and local agency
Identifies statistical,
other forms of
association without
explaining why
these occur by
reference to agents’
Defining and
concepts in widely
different contexts.
Danger of
by reference
to historical
How to balance
explanation between
global and local
factors and between
structure and agency.
Issue validity,
reliability and
the privileging of
one account over
Core problem
Validation of
interpretation and
moving beyond the
Critical realist
Type 4: Defining
Seeks to
clarify how the
of policy issue
is defined by a
discursive process:
discursive analysis.
Focuses on the
social construction
and definition of
policy problems,
the power of
discourse frame the
Complexity: evaluates Relativism:
actors’ perceptions
claims that “real”
of impacts not just
problems do not
impact of the structure exist independently
of their discursive
Source: adopted from Henry and Amara (Henry, Amara et al. 2005)
The article seeks to illustrate the ways in which different ontological and epistemological positions are reflected in different approaches and types of comparative research.
Although illustrated as distinctly separate, the positions discussed are not so clear-cut and
some blurring of boundaries is evident.
While producing different outcomes and different views of reality, differing approaches
and different types of comparisons produce but also create dissimilar difficulties. In spite of
the difficulties entailed by comparative analysis, this kind of study is very attractive and has
numerous advantages. Firstly, it offers those who practise it the opportunity to learn about
the other governments, broadens their understanding and casts fresh light on their home
nation. Secondly, it allows for refining the classifications of political processes. Thirdly, it
produces potential for prediction and control the scholar’s view of reality.
  1. Bhasker, R. (1975). A Realist Theory of Science. Brighton, Harvester-Wheatsheaf.
  2. Gratton, C. and I. Jones (2004). Research Methods for Sport Studies. London, Routledge.
  3. H
ague, R. and M. Harrop (2004). Comparative Government and Politics. An introduction. Houndmills,
  4. Henry, I. P., M. Amara, et al. (2005). “A Typology of Approaches to Comparative Analysis of Sport Policy.”
Journal of Sport Management 19: 480-496.
  5. Houlihan, B. (1997). Sport, Policy and Politics: a Comparative Analysis.
  6. Houlihan, B. (2003). A research strategy for comparing sport policy, Institute of Sport and Leisure Policy,
Loughborough University: 1-18.
  7. Landman, T. (2000). Issues and the Methods in Comparative Politics. London, Routledge.
  8. Lenartowicz, M. (2003). Metodologiczne aspekty międzynarodowych badań społecznych w naukach o kulturze fizycznej (na podstawie badań własnych). Wkład nauk humanistycznych do wiedzy o kulturze fizycznej. Tom I: Historia kultury fizycznej (studia i szkice). T. Rychta and J. Chełmecki. Warszawa, PTNKF.
I: 49-55.
  9. Lewis, P. (2000). „Realism, Causality and the Problem of Social Structure.” Journal for the Theory of Social
Behaviour 30(3): 250-268.
10. Lichbach, M. I. and A. e. Zuckermann (1997). Comparative Politics: rationality, culture and structure. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.
11. M
arsh, D. and P. Furlong (2002). A skin, not a sweater: ontology and epistemology in political science.
Theory and Methods in Political Science. D. Marsh and G. Stoker. Hampshire, Palgrave Macmillan.
12. McDonald, M. H. B. (1985). “Methodological problems associated with qualitative research: some observations and case analysis of international marketing planning.” International Studies of Management &
Organisation, 15(2): 19-40.
13. Sinkovics, R. R., Penz, E., Ghauri, P.N. (2005). “Analysing textual data in international marketing research.” Qualitative Marker Research: An International Journal 8(1): 9-38.
II. sport – Articles
Kimmo Suomi & Vesa Rajaniemi
University of Jyväskylä, Finland
Faculty of Sport and Health Sciences
Sport Place Planning as a Part of Land-Use Planning
in Finland
The aim of the presented research is to find the opinion of planning experts about the ways
of improving possibilities of practising sport and physical activities by means of using optimal
methods of planning. The research was made with the use of a questionnaire which was sent to
all of the city-planning officials and planners (architects and civil engineers) of town and cities
with more than 15 000 inhabitants – 350 persons altogether, over a hundred answers have been
received so far. Questions concerned the respondents’ opinion about participative planning, the
method of carrying out small sport-place planning locally with local actors and bringing a ready
plan to the Land-Use and Building Act bureaucracy, the method of making a special sport master plan and using that as an aid to general land-use planning and the method of making a collective master plans for recreation areas by two or more municipalities.
The answers showed that the respondents’ attitude to participative planning was generally positive. The method of making small sport place planning localised got very different
degrees of acceptance. On the other hand, some kind of the sport master plan was recognized as a good and practical instrument in almost all answers. The collective master plan
for recreation areas made for two or more municipalities was perceived as a practical means
to plan wide surroundings of towns/cities.
Results of the research show that the discussed methods of planning are perceived by
respondents as useful and efficient, but requiring modifications.
The background of this study is manifold. The European Council has influenced sports
planning; not only on the European level, but also on the national and local level.
One of the greatest projects which has influenced all European count­ries and their sport
culture is the ”sport for all” project. In 1968 a group of experts sought to lay foundations for
fu­ture action in the field of sport for all. Sport for all was expected to exert influence going
far beyond the purely physical field. It was believed in fact that sport can make an essential
contribution to what was called “the deve­lopment and expression of personality” or “the preservation of the human element” in the industrialised society and the mechanised civilisation.
In the early sixties the Council of Europe introduced a number of initiatives enabling
governments of member countries to formula­te sports policy within a context of educational and cultural policy. The idea of sport for all was adopted in 1966 by the Council of
Europe – as a matter of fact by one of the subcommittees, the Council for Cultural Cooperation. In may 1992 the 7th Conference of European Ministers Responsible for Sport adopted
a revision of the European Sport for All Char­ter in which the following definition is to be
found: “Sport means all forms of physical activity with casual or organised participation,
aimed at expressing or improving physical fitness and mental well-being, forming social
relationships or obtaining results in competition on all levels”. The idea of sport for all –
which is quite different from the traditional concept of sport – perhaps means first of all
various forms of physical activity, from spontaneous, unorganised games to a minimum of
physical exercise regularly performed.
The sport for all policy influenced also Finnish sport policy. In the mid 1970´s all the
important political parties and sport organi­sations started to plan legislation for sport life.
As a result the Sport Act became effective on 1st January1980. Then there were three levels
of the sport organizational system in the country: the state level, the provincial and the
municipality level.
The Sport Act provides:
1) Municipal administration of sport activities
In practice all municipalities must have their own sport bo­ards.
2) State funding for municipalities
3) Assistance to cover a part of the costs of establishing sport facilities
4) State support for national sport organisations
According to the Sport Act it is a duty of municipalities to organize opportunities for
various kinds of health-improving sport activities for the citizens and various kinds of citizen groups. Land-use planning is made according to official plans of the Land-Use and
Building Act (the detailed plan, the master plan and the regional plan). One of the most
important tasks or goals in the Act is sustainable development through planning and sport
and recreation facilities of future inhabitants constitute an important part of that. It is an
important problem to develop means to carry out the goals of the Sport Act in by the means
of and in accordance with the principles of the Land-Use and Building Act. It concerns not
only real sport activity places, but also those which are not real sport places, but which are
remarkably important for daily physical activities (green belts and non-motor roads, etc.).
Urban planning can be described as a ”battlefield” where diverse kind of actors try to
effect the outcome according to their personal interests. An important advantage for the
sport-oriented actor is constituted by the fact that the goals of such an activity are regarded
as positive by the general opinion. Thinking of the method in planning, all kinds of communicability increase the sport-oriented actor’s possibilities to influence the result of the
plan. From this viewpoint it is important that the Land-Use and Building Act makes it possible or even requires different kind of actors to be listened. The big problem is how that
communicativeness can be carried out in practice.
Many researches prove that people are mostly interested in their everyday environment. This means that participative methods, where single persons (inhabitants) belong to
the active group preparing the plan, must concern close surroundings of their homes. In the
land-use planning hierarchy this means the detailed plan. In wider surroundings (the master
plan and the regional plan) this method meets problems, because of lack of interest as well
as lack of ability to understand and piece together a wider entirety. That is why master
planning and regional planning demand more a process, where democratically elected representatives act in people’s favour.
In the last-named processes sport-oriented actors are advocates of sport facilities, but
also of their own interests, and that fact brings out a new problem: how is it possible to
consider the needs of all people equally? The environment of sport-planning can also be
considered as a “battlefield” of diverse kind of actors with their opinions. It can be a solution of this problem that sport-oriented organizations first plan and make decisions comprehensively concerning their own realm, and these results would be connected to master
planning and regional planning processes.
There exist lots of difficulties in using communicative planning methods. How is it
possible to eliminate strong actors´ tendency to speak with a voice of the whole society in
planning processes? How to make people interested is planning? There is much evidence
that it is easy to organize groups against something, but not as easy to make them act for
some aim. While new housing estates are planned the new inhabitants are still unknown,
and because of that they cannot affect solution of the plan. Some problem can be also
constituted by the municipality’s simple lack of resources (money, staff, etc.) to organize
time-consuming processes.
The solution of the last problem may be the fact that in small local affairs actors can
first initiate sport place planning with dwellers. The official detailed plan process could be
carried out afterwards, when it is clear what people would like to have in their environment.
In master planning and regional planning processes some help can be a special sport- and
outdoor recreation master plan – made by the municipal sport authority and other relevant
actors – which can act as a consultative paper to the official planning. A sport- and outdoor
recreation master plan can also be a good help when trying to avoid plan decisions which
concern objects that have nothing to do with sport, but when carried out can have a remarkable influence on sport and recreation facilities.
The aim of the presented research was to find the opinion of planning experts concerning ways of improving possibilities of practising sport and physical activities by means
of using optimal methods of planning (and especially of participative planning) as well
as avoiding problems for sport facilities which can be caused by planning (of new roads,
dwelling places, etc.) which is in no way handling sport activity places or areas.
Material and methods
The research was made with the use of a questionnaire which was sent to all of the
city-planning officials and planners (architects and civil engineers) of town and cities with
more than 15,000 inhabitants – 350 persons altogether. Up till now the answers have been
obtained from more than 100 of the above mentioned and it seems that there is no need
of increasing that number because the saturation point has been well gained in the case of
almost each question.
The inquiry consisted of eight half-structured questions; everyone had the same questions to answer with his/her own words. The first question was about the name of the town/
city to find out the kind of the background the person comes from. The next three questions
were to map the attitude to participative methods of planning in general. Then there were
three questions concerning the attitude to three different planning-methods: (1) the method
of carrying out small sport-place planning locally with local actors and bringing a ready
plan to the Land-Use and Building Act –bureaucracy, (2) the method of making a special
sport master plan and using that as an aid to general land-use planning, (3) the method of
making a collective master plans for recreation areas in surroundings of given towns/cities
by two or more municipalities. The last question was open to all kind of information.
The attitude to participative planning in general was rather positive. Negative thoughts
appeared because of increased work and bureaucracy.
The method of planning a small localised sport complex got very different degrees of
acceptance. Some of the planners considered that as a good method, but there were also
those who doubted it. Some asked how and where to get funds to realize the plan if lots of
described areas were planned at the same time. Some planners were also suspicious about
all planning, which is not in their own hands. Some just felt antipathy to an incremental
process without being in touch with wider surroundings and the need of a master plan.
A special sport master plan should, according to many opinions, be carried out unofficially, not accepted and signed according to the rules of the Land-Use and Building Act.
Planners liked that most as a good directive paper, which helps all kinds of normal cityplanning. They resisted all theme-planning and said that those confuse the whole system.
The opposite opinion was expressed by many planners who said that they already have a
special official recreation or “green belt” master plan in use and did not resist a sport master
plan which would include all places dealing with sport. As a conclusion in almost all answers some kind of the sport master plan was seen as a good and practical instrument. The
differences of the answers were just linked to the strength of the legislation and relation to
the general master plan.
The collective master plan for recreation areas made for two or more municipalities
was perceived as a practical means to plan wide surroundings of towns/cities. Some planners asked why not to solve the same problems with an official regional plan. Some paid
attention also to the fact that needs may change after making the solution and asked how the
process may be carried out without huge bureaucracy if the discussed plan is, according to
the Land-Use and Building Act, signed by the Minister of Environment.
Results of the inquiry indicated that there is no need to change the suggested methods
of planning, but the methods of planning still need to be modified.
The sport master plan is a convenient instrument for sport authorities and sport-oriented actors to work out their aims. The prepared plan is an important paper for other actors
in municipalities to find out mentioned aims. For sport authorities and other actors the
question concerning the legitimacy or juridical weight of the plan is not the main question.
The most important thing is simply its existence in some form so that the needs of sport
activities are possible to be pieced together comprehensively.
While we are talking about a broad cross-municipalities recreation area master plan,
a suitable solution may be to make plans sufficiently flexible so that the appearing of new
requirements would not automatically cause a need to change the original plan.
  1. Bourdieu P.(1998) Järjen käytännöllisyys (orig.Raisons pratigues) WSOY-kirjayksikkö Juva
  2. Davidoff P. (1996) Advocacy and Pluralism in Planning, (in:) S.Campbell and S.Fainstein (eds.) Planning
Theory Blackwell Publishers. Malden Mass.
  3. Faludi A. (1973) Planning Theory, Urban and Regional Planning, Vol. 7, Pergamon Press, Glasgow.
  4. Friedman J.(1973) Retracing America. A Theory of Transactive Planning, Anchor Press, New York.
  5. Healey P. (1996) Planning Through Debate: The Communicative Turn in Planning Theory, (in:) S. Campbell
and S. Feinstein (eds.) Readings in Planning Theory Blackwell Publishers Malden Mass.
  6. Liikuntalaki (Sport-Act of Finland)
  7. Maankäyttö- ja rakennuslaki (Land-Use and Building Act of Finland)
  8. Mäntysalo R. (2000) Land-Use Planning as Inter-Organizational Learning. Oulu University Press. Oulu
  9. Ojala T. (1981) Liikuntasuunnittelun käsitejärjestelmä, teoksessa P. Lagus (toim.) ”Liikuntasuunnittelu Liikuntatieteellisen seuran julkaisu”, 77.
10. Suomi K. (1998) Liikunnan yhteissuunnittelumetodi. ”Studies in sport, physical education and health”, 58.
11. S
uomi K. (2000) Liikuntapaikkapalvelut ja kansalaisten tasa-arvo, ”Jyväskylän yliopiston Liikunnan kehittämiskeskuksen julkaisu”, 1.
12. Virtanen P.V.(1995) Maankäytön perusteista, Otatieto Oy, Hakapaino Oy, Helsinki
II. sport – Articles
Xue Shaoduo
Northwest A&F University
Physical Education Department
Situation and Development
of Sports Managers in China
Viewed from the American Sports Managers
Key words: Agent industry Chinese Sports Managers Agency Situation and Development American Managers
Based on the analysis of American sports managers, the article provides an overall
view of sports managers in China. Some points for the development of sports managers in
China, the fostering of good quality managers and the ways to support the sports industry
and explore sports markets are suggested.
1. Introduction
Sports industry has become a comprehensive industry including media, advertisements, lottery money, insurance, sponsorship, architecture, publication and selling of
souvenirs which currently without exception, ranks among one of the largest, most profitable, active and advanced industries in the world. Compared with other industries in
sports, sports management industry developed rather late, but its function in sports industry cannot be underestimated. The rapid rise and development of specialized sports
industry is the immediate result of development of sports managers’. Meanwhile, the
specialized service and excellent market exploring capacity offered by sports managers and agencies, in particular, enhance the exploitation of invisible assets. It is a major
contributor to the publication of sports books, the manufacture of video products and
the development of sports advertisements and sports equipments. The paper applies the
method of analysis on documents and materials, analyses the situation of sports managers
in America and China in order to provide some creative suggestions for the development
of Chinese sports managers.
2. Development and Achievements
of American Sports Managers
In terms of production value, sports managers industry takes up a small proportion in
American sports industry. However, its influence on American sports industry development
cannot be ignored. In 1925, Palare a drama salesman became the first agent in history, but
in the 1970s, American sports managers industry started to thrive. Previously only a few
sportsmen had their own managers, but up to that time, one in four athletes had their own
Of the three biggest sports managers companies, the International Management Group
is the largest, most influential, most profitable, and renowned in China since it takes charge
of China’s A-class Football League Matches and China’s A-class National Basketball
League Matches. The company has managed more than one thousand famous players, including almost all sports stars such as Dennis Bergkamp, Ernie Stewart, Andre Agassi,
etc. Now the company has become a multinational group, dealing with diverse businesses
all over the world. In the previous two years, it launched and managed all kinds of sports
culture and art activities such as The Toyota Cup World Golf Championship, UAE Billiards
Championship and so on. It also serves as managers for the famous Nobel Prize Fund and
Wimbledon Tennis Open Committee. The company’s television business spreads globally,
its Global Broadcast Company provides agent service for granting the broadcast right of the
Olympic Games, the World Cup and some other major games in the world. The branches
of the company are everywhere in the world. In 1989, a total of nineteen branches with 500
staff earned several billion dollars that year. Now there are 78 branches in 38 countries with
more than 2,000 workers and earns more than 10 billion dollars annually. Machael Meike,
the general director of the company, is praised as one of the 1000 most important figures
who influenced the world history greatly in the 20th century for his great contribution to
modem sports and commerce.
For early development and a perfect legislation system, American sports managers
have made remarkable achievements.
3. Development of China’s Sports Managers
Though not late in development compared with sports industry, sports management is
far from satisfactory to meet the demands of a developing sports industry. A spark appeared
in 1999 in China’s sports industry when some sports managers adaptable to competition
and expanded market started to play an important role.
3.1 Reflection and Disadvantages of China Sports Managers
As economy thrives in China, the international sports matches are held more frequently. More commercial sports matches are held to delight the eyes of the audience. However,
simultaneously, there are some fakers with inferior quality frustrating the audiences. Some
clubs invited to have matches in China deceived the fans by sending second-class and teenage players to take part in the matches. The fans paid large amounts for tickets, but watched
low quality matches. Some hosts’ lack of experience in the organization and management
of sports game may be attributed to poor market exploration, but some agencies intentionally substitute the inferior for the superior, cut down the cost of matches in order to take the
greatest profit possible.
3.2 Development of China Sports Managers Business
To push the healthy development of sports industry in China, in the first half of 1999,
Beijing Physical Education University, together with other departments, opened , first-class
managers seminar in sports industry providing lectures about market exploration and strategies in the sports industry, management experiences of foreign clubs, consumer psychoanalysis and behavior analysis, hoping to unite far-sighted individuals to find the solutions to
gain greater profit and create more opportunities to communicate. Supposed to be beneficial
to the sports industry, the hosts prepared confidently for its success, only to find the low
attendance with fewer participants than teachers to give the lessons.
But the tendency of rapid sports industry development cannot be hindered with the
exciting changes in people’s thoughts. Only a few months later, the notion of sports managers became familiar to more people. Initially there were some sports managers inside the
Chinese Football Association, and then followed by other local regulations about managers. According to the related requirements, all organizations which do businesses involving
the exchange of players and organization of games and advertising must have 4(2 as parttime job) professional personnel with sports managers’ certification. Only with the above
required premises, some related record in the trade and commerce offices, permission and
supervision of the physical education offices can one start a business. Some surveys indicate that there are nearly 100 specialized agencies and some part-time agencies in Beijing.
Due to the irregular operations in the sports managers business, there are few practical and
effective regulations to follow. Considering these problems, late in October 1999, The Chinese National Physical Education Administration Bureau commissioned Beijing Physical
Education Committee and The Beijing Trade Bureau to hold the first sports managers training class. In sharp contrast with the class held by Beijing Physical Education University a
few months earlier, the number of the registrations was unexpectedly high great. Altogether
164 people attended the class, including 66 companies, 6 law offices. China Futebao Football Development Company dispatched 10 people, China Changcheng International Sports
Media Company, Heaven and Earth and Human Company and Beijing Gaode Sports Culture Center also dispatched 4 or 5 people to attend. The students in the class learned sport
management techniques NBA basketball managers operation, football agents, sportsmen
managers, games managers, games sponsorship and consumer right protection laws, contract laws and anti-unfair competition laws etc. for a week. They also attended the trade and
commerce laws test and an exam for professional sports managers. Those people became
the first sports managers in Beijing with a Sports Managers Certification.
4. Birth and Development of Chinese Sports managers
Early in the 1990s, China’s sports mechanism and operation had been reformed in the
direction of socialization and industrialization. The reform in games administration mechanism with a breakthrough in football threw table tennis, basketball and badminton into mar-
ket, hence stimulated the start of professional sports. With its development, the collocation
of sports resources is gradually transferred from the hands of government to the enterprises
and present great practical demands for sports managers, which initiated the birth of sports
managers. However, the early sports manager’s services were offered mostly by companies
of advertisements, public relations, investment and culture in China, who organized some
influential sports agent activities. But it is a handful-of foreign companies who serve as
the managers of the most famous players in China. Evidently, Chinese companies have
been left behind those foreign companies to occupy the best market in China. There is a
gap between China’s sports managers and other countries’ sports managers, in particular
American sports managers. Since the late development of the sports managers in China, until 1997 the first professional sports managers company-Hope International Sports Agency
Ltd. was founded. Currently, there are a few small sports agencies with singular business
and limited influence and reputations. In order to cultivate the sports agency market and
push the healthy and steady development of sport managers, China Sports Bureau, together with China National Trade Administration, dratted “The Management Regulations for
Sports Managers” in 1999 and chose Beijing, Shanghai, Jiangsu Province and Guangdong
Province as experimental bases to conduct legislation, training and qualification assessment
for sports managers. A group of people who passed the exams in law, market exploitation
and sports obtained the qualification certificates. With the publication of “Management
Regulations for Sports Managers” and the start of sports managers training and qualification assessment across China, a period of rapid development of sports managers and agencies in China is expected.
5. Conclusion and Recommendations
(1) Cultivate sports market, expand sports agencies market, accelerate sports managers
(2) Strengthen the training of other personnel in sports agencies, improving the quality of
sports managers, making them the main force in sports industry
(3) Strengthen legislation regarding sports agencies, leam the good experiences from foreign countries, perfect the Monitor and supervise sports agencies and managers, provide legal protection for sports agencies and managers
1. Huang Wenhui. Study on American Sports Managers [J]. Physical Education Science. 1999,19(2)
2. Bao Mingxiao. Sports Industry-New Sphere for Economy Increase [M], Beijing People’s Publishing House,
3. Lin Jingyao. Managers[M]. Beijing: Beijing Industry Publishing House, 1995.
4. Collection of Laws on Sports of People’s Republic of China. Beijing: Xinhua Press, 1997.
Introduction to the author:
Xue Shaoduo(1963-), female, bom in Xi’an City, Shaanxi Province, associate professor of Northwest A & F
II. sport – Articles
Andrzej Smoleń
University of Physical Education in Warsaw
Faculty of Physical Education
Zbigniew Pawlak
Warsaw School of Economics
Key words: management, sports real properties, State Treasury real properties, local government
real properties, commercial real properties, real property management, licenses property manager,
competence profile of sports real property manager, tools supporting activities of sports property
manager, sports property management plans.
This paper discusses basis determinants and principles of sports real property management. In particular the paper raises the following issues: definition and types of sports real
properties, principles of sports real property management on the grounds of effective legislation, sports real property as an asset under management, legal status, responsibilities, obligations and rights of Property Managers, the required competence profile for the Sports Property
Managers and basic principles for drawing up management plans for sports real properties,
business plans and IT systems as tools supporting activities of Sports Property Managers.
This paper is the outcome of a review of specialist literature in the area of real property
management, of the analysis of rule of law as well as of the analysis of specific case studies on
sports facilities management including the analysis of sports real property management plans.
In the light of effective legislation sports real properties owned by the State Treasury or
local governments should be managed by licensed Property Managers.
The sports real properties owned by private persons (natural or legal) may be managed by Property Managers not licensed by the State. This applies in particular to the real
properties of sports clubs with joint stock company statuses or to the activities of the Polish
Sports Association running business activities including also professional league with the
joint stock company status.
The professional Sports Property Manager should have a wide knowledge in the following fields: management, economic sciences (economic rudiments of real estate market),
social sciences, construction (construction rudiments), geodesy, spatial layout, urban and
regional planning, finance and taxes, law of real property, civil and legal relations, property
appraisal and physical culture knowledge including in particular sport management theory
including in particular management of sports facilities and finance management in sport,
physical culture economics, sports law, sport sociology, marketing of sports and leisure
Drawing up sports real property management plans is a difficult and complex task due to,
inter alia, unique nature of real properties categorised as special purpose real properties.
The professionalism of Sports Property Managers and candidates willing to perform
this profession may be enhanced through an educational programme on e-learning platform
launched by the Ministry of Sports.
Due to its comprehensive approach, this paper may turn out to be very useful for the persons getting ready to obtain property manager license and intending to work in the sports area.
Since the mid 1990s a dynamic development of sports investment projects has been
observed. It was the aftermath of systemic changes in Poland and a result of enactment of
new legislation on financing sports investment projects including the amendment to the Act
on Games of Chance and Mutual Stakes adopted by the parliament under which additional
financing to the bets made under games of chance of Sports Totalizator, are earmarked for
“upgrading, repairs and part financing of sports investment projects and development of
sports in the population of children, adolescents and the disabled” [17, s.8].
The systemic solutions in investment sports policy were made more specific by virtue
of the Ordinance of the Minister of Finance of 25th April 1997 on Detailed Principles of
Part Financing of Sports Investment Projects With the Funds Coming From Surcharges On
Stakes in State Lotteries, Mode of Filing Applications, Transfer of Funds and Accounting for
Them that led to a dynamic development of sports infrastructure. From funds coming from
surcharges on state lotteries, run by Sports Totalizator Sp. z o.o., the following facilities were
built, expanded and upgraded: sports halls and pavilions, indoor swimming pools, skating
rinks, sports fields and stadiums, ski jumps and other sports facilities. It should be added that
funds coming from surcharges on state lotteries, run by Sports Totalizator “allowed to build
and upgrade not only facilities with special significance for sports. In hundreds of municipalities new gymnasiums were built, in many schools swimming pools, tennis courts, sports
grounds for handball, volleyball, basketball and skating rinks were built” [5, p. 6].
Despite sports investment project proliferation in Poland, the situation in this area
compared to European countries is not good. According to the European standards a sport
ground should serve 15 thousand inhabitants, 1 indoor swimming pool and a large sports
hall for 50 thousand people, and 1 skating rink for 300 thousand people. “Statistics show
that one sports hall in Poland serves approximately 100 thousand people, whereas in Sweden 24 thousand, in Italy approximately 28 thousand, and in Switzerland 13 thousand”[1,
p. 2]. At the current rate of investment in Poland, the above ratios are attainable in approximately twenty years from now.
Building of modern sports facilities in Poland meeting 21st century requirements is a vital
and at the same time a complex issue. From an economic perspective having sports facilities
built is in fact only part of an issue. In the era of public finance crisis the efficient administration of sports facilities (real property) is equally important in the manner maximising operational revenues and minimising costs of their use. It requires the knowledge of modern real
property management concepts including a number of market and legal conditions.
The restitution of constitutional guarantee of private ownership was the beginning of
measures aimed at clear regulation on legal grounds of ownership titles to sports real property (lands, facilities). Such regulation is a prerequisite to running reasonable real property management. Major significance in this area has proper definition of the basis of real
property management terms. Along with the development of sports real property market
a demand grows for services of various agents, experts, developers, investment advisers
including in particular property managers.
This paper presents fundamental legislation on sports real property management, responsibilities and required competencies of the sports property manager as well as basic
principles for drawing up sports real property management plans.
Material and methods
This paper is the outcome of a review of specialist literature in the area of real property
management, of the analysis of rule of law as well as of the analysis of specific case studies on
sports facilities management including the analysis of sports real property management plans.
Definition and types of sports properties
The legal definition of real property goes back to the period of Roman civilisation. The
Roman law defined real property as self-contained physical assets that cannot be transferred
from place to place. The real property included land and everything that was permanently
attached to the land [18, p.132].
The definition of real property effective in the Polish law can be found in the Civil
Code. Pursuant to the Civil Code the real property is defined as a certain area of land “that is
subject of ownership (lands) as well as buildings permanently attached to the land or parts
of the buildings if under specific provisions they represent a subject of ownership separate
from land.”[9, Art.46, par.1]
The real property may be classified by various criteria including but not limited to
specific characteristics of real property and their purpose.
The real property can be divided into the following categories based on specific characteristics:
• landed property – being a designated piece of land,
• developed properties – being a piece of land on which pursuant to investment process
structures permanently attached to land were erected,
• building properties – in which the land owner is not the owner of buildings, since they
were erected by other persons.
Based on the purpose the real properties may be categorised as follows:
1) housing properties – comprising large complexes of housing estates, being used directly
by the owners and designated for lease,
2) commercial properties (commercial, office, service) – characterised primarily by the
convenient location of facilities for the customers,
3) land estates – land areas used for crops or nurseries or temporarily idle and also used for
recreational purposes,
4) industrial – that is with manufacturing purpose comprising specialist facilities with attributes determined by manufacturing process requirements, specific to a certain profile
of manufacturing activity.
5) special purpose including:
a) r eal properties such as public buildings,
b) c lub buildings,
c) s tructures and special lands [22].
Each real property may be private or public. The private real properties in turn may be functional or market real properties. Public real properties include primarily real properties falling
into public goods category that is generally available and meeting needs free of charge.
The sports real properties are those from amongst the aforementioned real property categories that are earmarked for sports purposes. A special place is occupied by special purpose real
properties e.g. swimming pools at sports and leisure centres with budgetary units or establishments and commercial real properties providing services (fitness clubs, gymnasiums etc.). The
sports real properties include sports and leisure facilities such as stadiums, sports grounds for
large games, sports grounds for small games, sports halls, gymnasiums, rowing equipment,
shooting ranges, sports courses and tracks, indoor sports swimming pools, outdoor sports swimming pools, winter sports facilities (skating rinks artificially frozen, ski-jumps) etc.
Sports facilities have material dimension and are a result of investment process [15
Chapter 2].
Principles of sports real properties management in Poland
from the perspective of effective regulatory framework
The basic prescriptive act laying down the rules of sports real properties management is the
Real Property Management Act of 21 August 1997 that came into force on 1 January 19981.
The Real Properties Management Act, taking into consideration basic EU standards,
introduced modern management methods and techniques for State Treasury and local government real properties. In the sports area the Act applies in particular to the sports real
properties managed by the Central Sports Centre (COS) and sports and leisure centres (at
provincial, county and municipal levels), most frequently owned by the local government
The Act with its accompanying secondary legislation cover a very wide range of problems including but not limited to real property management, ownership and technical infrastructure issues, professional activity principles in the area of real property management
etc. [9, p. 213].
The real properties owned by the State Treasury and the local governments include
public real properties that belong to national property. Therefore the law maker attached
special weight in the legislation to the reasonable utilisation of real properties.
Real Property Management Act lays down the framework for three new free professions in the real estate market: property appraisers, real estate agents and property managers. It was the law maker’s intention to secure reliable and professional real estate market
services, through securing high quality of services rendered by the representatives of aforementioned professions. The conduct of aforementioned professions without qualifications
required by law is subject to a fine.
The Act defines the real property management as decision taking and taking measures aimed
at keeping real properties on behalf of and for the benefit of the owner. The property manager
may not take personal benefits from multiplication of real property revenues. The law maker
laying down legal grounds for three new professions: property appraisers, real estate agents and
property managers defined also job descriptions, scope of powers and responsibilities.
The principles of sports real property management (private and owned by the State
Treasury or local government) stem, directly or indirectly, also from other prescriptive acts
including but not limited to:
• Decree of the Council of Ministers on the Application of Some Provisions of the Real
Property Management Act Concerned With Professional Activities of 18 August 1998
(Journal of Laws of 1998, No 115, item 745),
• Act of 7 July 1994 – Construction Law (uniform text: Journal of Laws of 2003, No 207,
item 2016, as amended),
• Accounting Act of 29 September 1994 (Journal of Laws of 1994, No 121, item 591, as
• Public Finance Act of 26 November 1998 (Journal of Laws of 1998, No 155, item 1014,
as amended).
• Act of 5 January 1991 – Budget Law (uniform text in Journal of Laws of 1993, No 72,
item 344, as amended).
• Government Procurement Act of 10 June 1994 (Journal of Laws, No 76, item 344, as
• Act of 18 January 1996 About Physical Culture (Journal of Laws, No 25, item 113 as
• Act of 15 September 2000 – Commercial Companies’ Code (Journal of Laws, No 94, item
• Act of 23 April 1964 – the Civil Code (Journal of Laws No 16, item 93 as amended).
• Business Activity Freedom Act of 2 July 2004 (Journal of Laws of 2004, No 173, item 1808)
• Act of 29 July 2005 on Championship Sports (Journal of Laws No 155, item 1298)
• Statutes of Sports Facilities adopted by virtue of resolutions of legislative bodies of local
• Organisational By-Laws of sports facilities adopted by virtue of resolutions of executive
bodies of local governments [23].
Additionally the sports property managers operate also on the grounds of other laws
e.g.: environmental law, physical development law, stamp duty law etc.
Sports real property as an asset under management
Sports real property is each sports facility that is used to pursue sports objectives.
These include an indoor swimming pool, tennis courts, martial arts pavilion, gymnasium,
ski-jump, sports hall, bowling alley, a football pitch with amenities etc.
Major sports facility categories according to the Polish Classification of Construction
Facilities along with their characteristics are specified in Table 1.
Table 1. Specification of major sports facilities classes under the Polish Sports Facilities Classification
system including their characteristics
Tourist hotels and accommodation facilities
Hotel buildings: hotels, motels, inns, boarding houses and such like offering
accommodation, with or without catering facilities, standalone restaurants and bars
Tourist accommodation facilities including youth hostels, mountain hostels, cabins,
holiday houses etc.
Communications facilities, stations and terminals including but not limited to
cableway and chair lift station buildings.
Public cultural facilities, educational buildings, hospitals and health care
facilities and physical culture facilities
Public cultural facilities, e.g. circuses, ballrooms, multi-purpose halls designed
mainly for entertainment purposes
Buildings of hospitals and health care facilities including but not limited to
buildings designed for hydrotherapy, rehabilitation, provision of services for the
Physical culture facilities including facilities for indoor events (sports grounds
for basketball, tennis courts, indoor swimming pools, gymnasia, ice rinks etc.)
equipped with posts, patios etc. for spectators and with shower rooms, lockers etc.
for contestants, grandstands for watching sports in the fresh air
Sports and leisure facilities
Sports grounds and facilities – developed sports grounds designed for practicing
outdoor sports e.g. football, baseball, rugby, aquatic sports, light athletics, car/bike/
horse racing
Other sports and leisure facilities: funfairs or leisure parks and other outdoor
facilities e.g.: ski runs and trails, drag lifts, chair lifts and cable car railways – fixed
permanently, but also ski-jumps, toboggan and bobsleigh tracks, golf links, sports
airfields, horse riding facilities, marina and equipment at beaches and aquatic sports
base, public gardens and parks, squares, botanical and zoological gardens
Source: own analysis based on the Decree of the Council of Ministers of 30 December 1999 on the Polish Classification of Construction Facilities (Journal of Laws No 112, item 1316), as amended
In order to attain the management targets set for such real properties the competent
property manager has to:
• take actions aimed at ongoing (operational) real property management,
• make assessments of its legal, technical status and such like,
• develop strategic studies with the special focus on competitive landscape,
• make plans considering various scenarios,
• monitor the implementation of set objectives,
• motivate the real property service staff [4].
Pursuant to the Real Property Management Act of 21st August 1997, the real property
management is a professional activity involving making decisions and taking actions to
keep the real property from not deteriorating, according to its purpose, as well as to make
reasonable investments into the real property. Real property management similarly to organisation management may be survival oriented (to maintain status quo) and development
oriented. In the former case it is a static approach, and in the latter case a dynamic approach.
The static approach aims at maintaining the existing real property substance at the lowest
possible costs, and the major task is the current administration and arrangement of repair
and maintenance work.
The dynamic approach is more comprehensive. In addition of preserving the substance,
the property manager is responsible for increasing the capital and functional values of a
certain real property in longer term, as a result of a number of activities taken including but
not limited to implementation of modernisation measures and facilities for customers. The
dynamic approach unlike the static approach requires wider spectrum of knowledge from
the property manager [4].
The above approach is the best illustrated by the large ski-jump in Zakopane, in the
Polish Tatra Mountains. The ski-jump was redeveloped and upgraded several times. Without that it would not have been possible to organise highest rank World Cup events on this
An extreme example of improper sports real property management is the 10th Anniversary Stadium in Warsaw. In this case a colossal sports facility lost its original nature
and purpose long time ago and the stadium management was oriented at the performance
of other functions (commercial).
Key to the sports real property management is the analysis of conditions and setting of
strategic objectives. The analysis of conditions means a preliminary analysis process necessary to select the right strategy for the real property, as well as detailed planning phases,
implementation of selected strategy at various management levels and subsequent monitoring of the policy pursued on a certain real property.
During the analysis of conditions for a certain real property the following processes
take place: information collection, comparison of the formal status of real property with
the actual status, examination of legal status, development of real property profile, environment study [21, p. 13].
Having data on real property and its environment in hand, the property manager may
select the long-term strategy with the aim of as effective as possible utilisation of real
property resources. In the event of commercial sports real properties a strategy targeted at
capital value and income will play a special role. With reference to the sports real properties
having budgetary unit and establishment status more important will be the strategy oriented
at functional and portfolio tasks (service diversification). This is evident, among others, by
the case of Białołęka-based Sports Facility in Warsaw and by the case of the Sports Hall in
Mława [7].
The Property Manager combines all components of the process of effective utilisation
of a real property or a complex of real properties (e.g. sports and leisure centres). His responsibilities include: setting of strategic objectives for a certain real property, leading the
process of strategy implementation, organisation, incentivising and monitoring of reporting
staff at the institution managing the sports real property.
The sports real property management requires reasonable actions to take the best possible advantage of real property economic and functional values. A detailed role in this
process is played by the property manager. He sets strategic objectives for real property
management, looking at real property from the perspective of service provider pursuing
his objectives, whereas key to attain this objective is satisfaction of the customer using the
real property. The above objective is met through the strategy development and strategy
implementation [9].
No professional background for effective sports real property management is a reason
why some sports real property owners (e.g. sports clubs, schools, associations) lease out
their sports real properties to private operators for a certain period of time. The Lessee,
pursuing short-term profit-oriented activities, does not attach enough weight to long-term
real property management strategy. Meanwhile modern and functional infrastructure is one
of the key success factors for small sports businesses operating in the market [6].
Legal status, responsibilities, rights and duties
of sports property managers
The management of sports real properties of the State Treasury and local government is a professional activity performed by the property managers under the principles
laid down in the Real Property Management Act of 21 August 1997. In the understanding of the Act the property manager is a natural person holding a professional license.
Upon the entering into a central register of property managers such person acquires the
right to perform the profession and is assigned the professional title “property manager”.
The managers of central and local government budgetary units and establishments (provincial, municipal or urban sports and leisure centres) are property administrators and
managers of sports and leisure municipal facilities. “They have appropriate powers to
perform management activities on behalf of the owner (municipality represented by the
management board) and for the benefit of the owner” [16, p.3]. Also the owners of professional sports clubs with joint stock company status and private sports businesses with
various legal statuses perform real property management activities. Such activities may
be performed in person or through property managers. It should be noted, however, that
in light of currently binding legislation the real properties of the Polish associations and
sports clubs with joint stock company status may be managed by the property managers
without real property manager licenses.
Therefore the sports property managers can be divided into two categories i.e. licensed
and non-licensed managers.
The real property management by a person called property manager involves taking
decisions and actions aimed at securing proper financial management of a real property
and securing the safety of operational use and proper operation of real property including
day-to-day administration of real property as well as taking action in order to maintain the
real property in non-deteriorated status according to its purpose and to invest reasonably
into the real property.
The Property Manager performs his professional activities in person or through the
agency of other persons performing auxiliary activities and acting under his direct supervision and the Property Manager is held liable for their activities on professional grounds set
forth in the Act.
The Property Manager performs his duties under the real property management
contract concluded with the real property owner. The contract has to be in writing otherwise being null and void. The Contract defines the real property manager responsible
on professional grounds for its performance and the number of his professional license
is specified. The Contract also comprises a representation about the civil liability insurance policy for damage caused during the performance of real property management
The real property management contract sets forth the way of determining or the level of
property manager compensation. In addition to compensation received the property manager is not allowed to enjoy any other benefits from real property management.
The Property Manager is obliged to perform activities pursuant to the principles laid
down in the legislation and in line with professional standards exercising particular care
specific to the professional nature of activities performed and rules of professional ethics. The Property Manager is also obliged to protect the interests of persons for whom he
performs real property management activities. Additionally when performing professional
activities the Property Manager is obliged to upgrade his professional qualifications.
The government administration bodies laid down essential requirements for the persons holding real properties (property owners or managers). They should in particular:
secure appropriate technical condition of the real property, keep overall technical documentation, comply with environmental protection requirements, keep the real property and
its surroundings tidy, mark the real property, comply with tax obligations and fire safety
legislation [12].
The responsibilities of a sports real property manager include primarily:
• to administer leasing process and lease renewal,
• to have the real property insured and to monitor insurance terms and conditions (payment
of premiums, expiry dates etc.),
• to analyse and approve applications on real property financing,
• to enter into contracts with municipal utility providers (electricity, hot and cold water,
central heating) and to enter into sewage discharge contracts etc.,
• to take actions aimed at maintenance and protection of real property and to prevent losses,
destruction or damage including planning and running of maintenance activities for the
real property,
• to define and analyse alternative scenarios for using the real property,
• to draw up annual budgets, to review and approve the financial statements submitted to
the real property owner including the required adjustment notes,
• to define, analyse and implement capital expenditure plans including also general overhauls, current repairs and maintenance actions,
• to control the performance of reporting staff, with the aim to check how various real property operational activities are performed3.
The Property Manager is subject to mandatory insurance against civil liability for damage caused while performing management activities. If the Property Manager performs
management activities through the agency of third parties, acting under his supervision,
then he is also liable to civil liability insurance against damage caused by the activities of
such third parties.3
One of the major rights of the Property Manager is the right to compensation for provided services. The law maker gave freedom to contracting parties in determining the level
of compensation and form of payment. It is the right solution, since each real property
management contract pertains to different real property. The forms of compensation of the
Property Manager may and should be varied.
Most typical forms of compensation include:
• fixed, monthly compensation, paid with reference to non-complex facilities, where the
major task of the Property Manager is to keep them in non-deteriorated condition and
make sure that their use is compliant with the purpose,
• fixed, monthly compensation including a success fee, payable from time to time (determined precisely in the contract, e.g. once a year), provided that the targets of the Property
Manager have been defined. If these targets have successfully been met then the success
fee is paid to the Property Manager.
The mandate to manage real property is usually extended for a longer period of time.
The Property Manager should act professionally and ensure that actions taken by him will
not lead to the loss of confidence in him by the real property owner. If the confidence has
been lost, then it may imply the end of the relationship [3].
Competence profile of the sports real property manager
Regardless of the size of the facility or business managed each Property Manager
should define precisely not only its current status but should also set operational directions
and targets he wants to achieve. Thus the Property Manager must have wide knowledge
about operational environment and about all aspects of real property under management.
The conscious pursuing of the set direction – it the Property Manager’s strategy, whereas
the measures taken to build strategy – are strategic plans.
Strategic planning is setting long-term goals that are pursued later on. Thus, it is a
model that allows to move from the point of departure i.e. current status to the assumed
status that is a status in the future to be achieved [4].
The objective of the Property Manager is to maximise (increase) owner’s revenues
and to increase (or to maintain at the same level) the value of real property. To achieve
this objective the Property Manager has to select a certain strategy (how to handle the real
property). For instance through investment to raise standard, redevelop, expand, change the
purpose or to leave the real property unchanged. Such measures initially require a certain
level of capital expenditures, but frequently they represent a source of additional income
later on.
Fast development of real property management in European countries and in the USA
caused popularisation of the Property Manager profession and to the emergence of narrow field specialisations including but not limited to sports real properties. The Property
Manager is an intermediary between the real property owner and the user. The active real
property management involves administration, operation and investment activities.
A natural person applying for a Property Manager license has to file an application for
such license with competent authority. The professional license is granted to the applicant
who meets the following criteria:
• has full legal capacity,
• has no criminal record of crimes against property, documents, economic crimes; for counterfeiting money, securities, official stamps or seals, for fiscal crimes and for other crimes
or offences having significance because of profession performed,
• has university education,
• has completed post-graduate studies in the field of real property management (this does not
apply to the person who graduated from university majoring in real property management),
• has completed apprenticeship in the field of real property management (lasting at least 6
months and including, at least, 200 hours of work),
• has successfully completed qualification procedure including successfully passed examination giving entitlement to receive professional license for real property management4.
The Act of 7 July 2005 Amending the Real Property Management Act comprises a
clause under which also a person with secondary educational background may apply for
a property manager license provided that such person has completed a specialist course
whose curriculum had been agreed on with the competent minister and has filed an application by 31 December 2006 to be covered by qualification procedure.
The person who has already been granted a license is entered into the central register
of property managers [11].
The contemporary property manager faces in fact such high demands that it is not
feasible for him to perform all property management activities in person. Therefore the
amended Act permits the Property Manager to have auxiliary activities performed by third
parties (without a license) provided that such third parties are under his permanent and
direct supervision and that he is fully liable for them on professional grounds as stipulated
in the Act.
The professional Property Manager performs frequently a role of advisor to the property owner on the correct utilization of real property and on maximization of revenues from
the real property [4].
The Property Manager managing professionally the sports real property should take
advantage of the general knowledge indispensable for each property manager and of the
industry specific knowledge on physical culture.
The general knowledge may be taken from such fields as: management, economic sciences (economic rudiments of real estate market), social sciences, construction (construction rudiments), geodesy, spatial layout, urban and regional planning, finance and taxes,
law of real property, civil and legal relations, property appraisal [19, p.19].
The physical culture knowledge can be found by the would-be sports property manager in: sport management theory including in particular management of sports facilities
and finance management in sport, physical culture economics, sports law, sport sociology,
marketing of sports and leisure services.
Principles of drawing
up sports property management plans
The sports property management plans represent a point of reference for property
managers. During professional apprenticeship the would-be property manager should
draw up, at least, three property management plans. To draw up sports property management plan is not easy. It is confirmed by R. Jopek, a licensed property manager, the Director of Ursynów-based Sports and Leisure Centre. “During a few month long preparations
for the examination the most difficult for me was to draw up the property management
plan that had to be filed with the State Qualifying Committee. Though in the specialist publication market and in the secondary trading of training materials from numerous courses a lot of template property management plans were available e.g. housing
community management plans, co-operative property management plans, office building
management plans or shopping centre management plans, however, it was hard to come
across a template management plan for special purpose properties such as sports and
leisure facilities”[16, p.4].
The property management plan is drawn up pursuant to the generally accepted template. The development of the plan consists of a few phases that represent a logical sequence, which secures the reliability of the document to be drawn up [21].
The sports property management plan is developed with the aim of describing the legal
status, technical condition and functional status of the property, discussing potential on-site
activities, evaluating the property manager and way of property management [19].
A major role in the management plan is played by the analysis of the revenues and costs
of the properties to date. They represent a basis for building an operational budget model for
property management. One of the strategies in the property management plan should include
the set operational directions in order to boost revenues and minimise costs. The analysis of
reasonable use of available financial funds and raising new funds are also essential.
The property management plan performs the following functions:
• informational – equips the property owner with full and complete knowledge about the
legal status, technical condition and financial status as well as the market position of the
• forecasting – based on the trends to date and market studies shows operational scenarios
for the property in the future,
• advisory – analyses various scenarios of using the property as well as profits and cots
under individual scenarios, with a recommended best scenario,
• strategic – for the property manager the plan is a kind of a guide that represents a foundation for taking actions on the property site. It also allows to apply emergency scenarios if
the execution of the base scenario has been threatened [8].
The management plan may play a role of an internal or external tool. If it is treated as
an internal tool then the property management plan organises the activities of the property
manager within a set timeframe. If it is treated as an external tool then the management plan
is developed with the aim of raising investment funds or for investors.
The property management plan development process has two phases, viz. analytical
and implementation.
The analytical phase comprises the following activities: collection of documents and
information, selection of collected inputs, processing of legal, technical and economic data,
examination of various operational scenarios, analysis of threats and crisis management
scenarios, recommendation of the option for implementation, selection of one option for
The implementation phase comprises the following activities: development of work
schedule for selected option, development of marketing plan, development of investment
and modernisation work schedule, development of annual operational budget for the property manager with a breakdown into months, with monthly planed and budget execution
sheet, execution of specific operational plans.
The first phase comes to an end when the basic management plan has been developed.
It is an overall document that sums up the activities performed at individual stages.
During the second phase each of the stages should end up with the deliverables including a
document comprising procedures, standards and rules of conduct for separate fields of activities
making up the management activities. These are the so called detailed operational plans [19].
Table 2 shows the typical structure of sports property management plan.
Table 2. Typical structure of sports property management plan
Title page (name and address of real property; a photograph taken from the front side of real property,
personal data of the management plan authors and date of preparation)
1. Introduction
2. Background information about real property
2.1. Legal status of real property, ownership status (object, subject and encumbrances),
general location – purpose in the physical development plan
2.2. Detailed location
2.3. Description and technical condition of buildings and structures
2.4. Real property characteristics (technical and functional data)
2.5. Technical documentation content (its components, place of keeping etc.)
2.5. Way of making economic use of real property and operation
2.6. Evaluation of investment, repair and upgrading requirements
2.7. Current real property management technique
2.8. Summing up and conclusions
3. Study on the sports and leisure real estate market
3.1. Definition of market size
3.2. Customers – needs, preferences and likings
3.3. Benchmarking study (comparison against best real properties and property managers)
3.4. Key success factors for the best comparable property managers
3.5. Projected development of competitive real properties
3.6. Summary and conclusions
4. Current financial analysis
4.1. Costs and revenues – by items and by totals
4.2. Revenue boosting and cost reduction opportunities
4.3. Potential funding sources
4.4. Estimation of property value
4.5. All other data having impact on property financial position
4.5. Summary and conclusions
5. Strategic analysis (SWOT or TOWS/SWOT analysis)
5.1. Strengths and weaknesses of real property
5.2. Evaluation of threats and development opportunities for the real property
6. Identification and evaluation of real property management scenarios (facility operational scenarios)
6.1.Evaluation of impact of implementation of individual scenarios
6.2.Selection of the optimum option
7. Implementation Plan of selected option with consideration of contingent threats
8. Summing up of the Management Plan and final conclusions
Appendices (documents, maps, agreements etc.)
Source: own analysis based on A. Sobczak, Real Property Management Plans, Poltext, Warsaw 2000
The framework structure of sports property management plan presented in Table 1 does
not differ in fact from the structure of other property management plans. Individual components (items) of the structure should be completed with specific information.
In the first part, viz. introduction – one has to present drivers of the decision taken to
develop the plan, to determine the objective of plan development and identify expectations
of the owner.
In the second part comprising basic information about the real property one has to
describe: legal status and owner’s data, area, shape and topography of land, location of
buildings and structures, description of technical and functional condition of the building
and structures, site development status, condition, content and place of keeping technical
documentation, restrictions on land use, technical condition and functionality of the generally accessible lands, unique added value services provided on site of the real property,
necessary investments, repairs and upgrading projects, detailed methodology of real property management.
The third part of the management plant comprises market analysis. It shall contain:
description and operational study of competitive real properties, analysis of the market position of real property to date, benchmark analysis of competitive real properties.
This part should contain a benchmarking analysis and comparison of the described real
property against other properties, especially against the best ones in a certain market
Current financial analysis (Part 4) should contain: description of the real estate as a
financial unit, with the specification of revenues and costs, way of cost coverage in the
period under study, financial indebtedness of the real property (mortgages, loans, outstanding debt balance, payment dates and amounts etc.), potential funding sources, estimation of
real property value, way of calculating capitalisation rate and discount rate, all other data
bearing impact on real property financial position.
The strategic analysis such as SWOT or TOWS/SWOT5 analysis (Part 5) should
allow to develop real property development scenarios. It is recommendable that individual development scenarios be compared to the conservative scenario under which
the real property remains unchanged or necessary repairs and maintenance actions are
performed. Evaluating individual development scenarios it is possible to answer the
question whether improvement activities will be a better solution than keeping the real
property unchanged.
The evaluation of development scenarios (Part 6) includes but is not limited to: development of the operational budget forecast for a minimum of three years for each scenario,
development of loan servicing tables, if such scenarios were adopted, quantification of cash
flows, evaluation of development scenarios ended up with benchmark analysis of obtained
results in a table and final recommendation of one of the scenarios.
The implementation plan of the recommended scenario (Part 7) usually describes: risks
to implementation plan, possible ways to mitigate the risk, recommended actions for the
property manager, investment and upgrading work schedule.
The summing up of the plan (Part 8) should include but not be limited to: specification of necessary investment, upgrading and repair projects, estimated capital expenditures,
market analysis findings, financial analysis findings, studied scenarios, recommendations.
Business plans and IT systems as tools supporting work
of sports property managers
The business plan applies to economic undertakings. Forecasting elements bring it
closer to the real property management plan. Similarly to the real property management
plan it supports preparation and execution of investment plans. In practice the business plan
is drawn up to show as complete as possible a picture of the company, its position in the
business environment, its economic objectives as well as means and measures that could be
used to achieve its economic objectives over a set timeframe [4].
The primary objective of drawing up the business plan is a need to identify the funding sources or to find part financing of the planned undertaking. Funding may come from
other business entities, for which business plan is a document that allows to get a detailed
picture of the company and contemplated undertaking and to take a contingent decision
about co-operation or lending. Such entities include potential partners, institutional investors and lending banks. The business plan is a vital document required when filing a bank
loan application. In fact the operations of each entity should start with a business plan, since
it allows to evaluate growth opportunities, competitive landscape, revenues, costs, project
risks and to raise funds for project execution.
The business plan refers to the current operations of the company, two-three years of
Company history and mid-term perspective (3 to 5 years). In practice given the ever changing business environment including legislation, the business plan is drawn up for three
years. The extensiveness and detail of the business plan depends on the project size and
level of capital expenditures that will have to be spent to execute the project. Large projects
with significant value require a very detailed business plan.
The principles and methodology for business plan development including financial
plan and business case in the sports area were described based on the specific business
start-up projects, viz. “Hercules” Gymnasium, Biological Regeneration Parlour, Paintball
Training Grounds, Yacht Charter in the following publications: Business Plan. Applications
and Examples [14, pp. 253 – 277] and Assessment of Financial Viability and Risk of Commercial Sports Investment Projects [15].
The efficient Property Manager reacts swiftly to the needs of the real property users,
controls the overall range of current issues and exercises constant supervision over the real
property. The area of day-to-day activities of the Property Manager is very wide, and the
more complicated the real property – because of the type or scale of management – the
higher need of application of modern techniques and improvement of the management
process. Indispensable tools in the day-to-day activities of the Property Manager and his
team comprise modern office equipment including networked PCs equipped with the suitable software matching the specific needs of a certain real property. Certainly the software
will be real property specific (Central Sports Centres with field branches, Sports and Leisure Centres, swimming pools, sports pavilions etc.), but will also depend on the size of real
property under management (way of cost accounting and record keeping).
The enhanced capabilities of software suites translate certainly into prices. Thus a decision about the selection and purchase of software should be well balanced and match the
needs of the Property Manager and account for uniqueness of the real property. However,
the purchase of software suite is an investment that pays back in the form of time savings
and smaller involvement of humans in many management phases, which means that it leads
to tangible cost reduction.
Each implemented IT system for real property management should improve current
operations, perform archiving functions and allow to analyse data from various perspectives. Quite important is also compatibility with other computer programmes and easy
expansion by adding additional functionalities. The IT system should grow in line with
Property Manager needs [4].
The sports real property management is a crucial social issue. Sports Property Managers may be educated, trained and develop their skills in a conventional manner at various
training courses and sessions and using e-learning method.
E-learning is used more and more widely as rounding out of traditional education
also in the business community [2, 13]. In the information era e-learning training courses
are especially an effective tool of training workforce and thus of enhancing the operational efficiency of businesses and institutions. E-learning is one of the fastest growing
areas of IT sector and education. This is due to the advantages related to the form of
teaching itself, but also due to economic reasons. E-learning turns out to be cheaper than
conventional teaching techniques and savings generated by its application grow with the
number of e-learners.
E-learning enters large and medium-size companies, universities and secondary
schools, public institutions and government public education centres. In Poland a number
of large companies have already implemented or are implementing e-learning systems.
These include Polish Telecom TP S.A., Polkomtel mobile operator, PTC mobile operator,
banks including the National Bank of Poland, insurance companies and others.
A demand could be made that an educational curriculum should also be created for
Sports Property Managers and candidates for this position within the e-learning system.
The successful implementation of e-learning system for Property Managers requires
the fulfilment of the following requirements:
• appropriate IT infrastructure and software, allowing to carry out training courses or the
overall e-learning platform with an appropriate Internet link with right throughput,
• securing trained instructors who will manage the training courses and will assist the trainees, on a needed basis.
Summing up and Conclusions
In market economy and state budget deficit environment the real property management
system including sports real properties owned by the State Treasury or local governments
(Central Sports Centre, sports and leisure centres) has to be rationalised.
In the light of effective legislation sports real properties owned by the State Treasury or
local governments should be managed by licensed Property Managers.
The sports real properties owned by private persons (natural or legal) may be managed by Property Managers not licensed by the State. This applies in particular to the real
properties of sports clubs with joint stock company statuses or to the activities of the Polish
Sports Association running business activities including also professional league with the
joint stock company status.
The professional Sports Property Manager should have a wide knowledge in the following fields: management, economic sciences (economic rudiments of real estate market),
social sciences, construction (construction rudiments), geodesy, spatial layout, urban and
regional planning, finance and taxes, law of real property, civil and legal relations, property
appraisal and physical culture knowledge including in particular sport management theory
including in particular management of sports facilities and finance management in sport,
physical culture economics, sports law, sport sociology, marketing of sports and leisure
Drawing up sports real property management plans is a difficult and complex task
due to, inter alia, unique nature of real properties categorised as special purpose real
The professionalism of Sports Property Managers and candidates willing to perform
this profession may be enhanced through an educational programme on e-learning platform
launched by the Ministry of Sports.
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J ournal of Laws of 1997, No 115, item 741; uniform text: Journal of Laws of 2004, No 261, item2603 as
Small percentage of sports and leisure centres has been privatised in Poland. An example of privatised sports
and leisure facility is OSiR Sp. z o.o in Skierniewice.
Real Property Management Act of 21 August 1997, Journal of Laws No 115, item 741
Real Property Management Act of 21 August 1997, as above.
Such exemplary analyses in the sports area was described in detail in the papers of J. Żyśko and A. Smoleń
[20, 24].
II. sport – Articles
Antoni Szymański
University of Physical Education in Warsaw
Faculty of Physical Education
The prophylactic and therapeutic properties of probiotics.
The role in nutrition of athletes
Key words: Probiotics, prebiotics, prevention, treatment, nutrition of athletes.
The purpose of the paper is to give actual information about probiotics and prebiotics.
The important aspects of physiological impact of probiotics on the host’s organism have
been presented. The biological activity of probiotics and their medical application were
scientifically tested. The capacity of probiotics to stimulate the host’s immune system was
emphasized. The human consumption of probiotics and prebiotics appear to be safe. Probiotics have the special health properties that make them useful and recommended in the
diets of athletes.
Introduction and Definitions
Probiotic means live bacteria cultures present in food products, which may beneficially
affect the host’s organism upon ingestion. A probiotic is negation of the term antibiotic and
comes from the Greek “pro bios” (for life). The group of probiotics includes Lactobacilli
and Bifidobacterium, which are in broad use in products subject to acid fermentation, which
include kefir, yoghurt, soured milk and cultured dairy products, sauerkraut, pickled gherkins, as well as some smoked cold meats. Thanks to the presence of those bacteria acidified
products are resistant to decay, naturally within certain limits. It is generally known that
through lactic fermentation lactic acid is produced from saccharides – a well known food
The first person to draw attention to the beneficial role of lactic acid-bacteria (LAB)
a 100 years ago was Ilia Miecznikow – a Russian microbiologist and winner of the Nobel
prize in 1908 for discovering the phenomenon of phagocytosis. He used to study the good
health of Bulgarian peasants and people living in Transcaucasia, who would consume everyday soured milk, yoghurt and cheese.
In his pioneer work he wrote that as lactic fermentation inhibits putrefaction (food product spoilage), it could be also used for the same purpose in the gastrointestinal tract [29].
For a period of almost a hundred years this fact did not seem to arouse any interest of
scientists, and only in the past years attention was drawn to the fundamental pro health role
of probiotics in connection with side effects of antibiotic therapies.
The definition of a probiotic proposed in 2001 by Schrezenmeir and de Vres (39) is as
follows: “A preparation of or a product containing viable, defined microorganisms in sufficient numbers, which alter the microflora (by implantation or colonization) in a compartment of the host and by that exert beneficial health effects in this host”.
Those probiotic bacteria occur in the large intestine in a bigger quantity. According to
estimations approximately 50% stool mass are bacteria, including probiotic bacteria. Smaller
quantities of probiotics are in the small intestine and in the stomach, as well as in the vaginal
mucosa, where they determine the microbiological purity of that organ. Probiotic bacteria are
also present in insignificant quantities in epithelium of the nose, eyes and on the skin.
A necessary condition for growth and proliferation of probiotic bacteria is their medium, i.e. nutrient substance called prebiotic.
Prebiotics are soluble fractions of vegetal fibres undigested by human enzymes in the
form of gluco, fructo and oligosaccharide. Vegetal fibres are present in vegetables, fruit,
low processes grains are valuable components of the human diet and at the same time a
nutrient substance for bacteria, i.e. prebiotic. A combination of probiotics and probiotics is
called synbiotics [20].
Prophylactic and therapeutic properties of probiotics
Probiosis, i.e. a positive pro health influence of consuming probiotic food or isolated
freeze-dried probiotic cells is subject of intense nutritional and medical studies worldwide.
Probiotics are a fundamental part – and the best documented one – of functional food, i.e. a
pro health one. Such food products include bio yoghurt, acidophilus milk, as well as other
dairy products that contain probiotics. A product that has an extensive scientific documentation of pro health properties is Actimel [1, 37, 47].
Probiotic preparations and products should comprise strictly characterised microorganism strains with a documented clinical value. At present the pharmaceutical market
offers various probiotic preparations [table 1]. Selection of appropriate preparation should
be based on the following criteria [49]:
– types of used microorganisms;
– guaranteed standardised quantity of bacteria in a single dose,
– stability of microorganisms at room temperature;
– sensitivity of probiotics to gastric juice and bile;
– effectiveness of colonisation of intestine mucosa;
– dosage;
– price.
Numerous experimental and clinical studies have confirmed the following directions of
physiological action of probiotics on an organism:
– producing vitamins from group B, such as thiamine, riboflavin, pyridoxine, folic acid,
vitamin K and small quantities of vitamin B12. According to estimations the share of those
vitamins in diurnal supply is within the range of 10–15% of the daily norm [7, 17] ;
Table 1. Probiotics registered in Poland [see 49].
Name of probiotic
Used probiotic microorganisms
Lactobacillus acidophilus
Lakcid forte
Lactobacillus acidophilus
Lactobacillus acidophilus
Lactobacillus bifidus
Lactobacillus acidophilus
Lactobacillus rhamnosus
Saccharomyces bouldardii
Lactobacillus acidophilus
Lactobacillus delbrucckii susp. bulgaricus
Bifidobacterium bifidum
– producing cell protection factors such as polyamine (putrescin, spermine, spermidine),
arginine and short-chain fatty acids [38].
– acidification of the surroundings by organic acids (acetic acid, propionic acid, butyric
acid) inhibits the development of potentially pathogenic intestinal flora [4, 10, 15];
– inhibiting the action of enzyme that stimulate carcinogenesis (β – glucoronidase, azoreductase, nitroreductase, β – glucosidase [13, 42];
– anticarcinogenic effects, including stimulation of apoptose [10, 38] ;
– reducing the level of bile acids and cholesterol [20, 28, 38] ;
– producing antibiotic substances (such as nisidine, pediocine and others) [2, 4, 23];
– ability of lactose digestion [9, 26, 40, 49];
– immunomodulation of the host and antiallergic effects especially in food allergy [6, 16,
22, 35, 36];
– considerable hastening the time of transit of alimentary content through the intestines
(prevent and treat constipation) [49];
– treating and prevention of infection related and post antibiotic treatment diarrhoea [3, 11,
30, 43];
– inhibiting the development of osteoporosis (better intestinal calcium absorption) [12, 18];
– treatment in inflammation of the intestine [3, 14, 15, 26, 30, 38, 46, 48].
It was proven that probiotic bacteria in the intestine affect beneficially the composition and metabolic activity of human microflora [15, 25]. The majority of probiotic
bacteria go through the stomach and small intestine and reach the colon. The presence
of probiotics reduces the number of such harmful bacteria, as Clostridium and Enterococcus. This is affected by the acid environment connected with lactic fermentation and
biosynthesis of short-chain fatty acids. In such an environment the growth of potentially
pathogenic microorganisms is inhibited. This also helps reduce the activity of enzymes
that catalyse transformations of procarcinogenic compounds to carcinogenic ones [10,
13, 42].
Consumption of probiotics affects beneficially the intestinal epithelium and improves
its resistance to infections [15, 24, 45]. Secretion of mucus was increased and hence the
intestinal barrier was sealed. In addition the number of Paneth cells increased, which help
increase the concentration of endogenic antibacterial peptides (defensins) that inhibit proliferation of pathogens [2].
The use of antibiotics leads to unfavourable changes in the intestinal biocenosis. This
leads as a consequence to antibiotic dysbacterioses, intestinal inflammatory changes also
mycoses. Introducing probiotics to antibiotic therapy is natural and beneficial for the health.
It was shown that probiotic bacteria may help regain the natural, correctly functioning intestinal microflora system [15]. They inhibit the growth of many pathogenic microorganisms,
moderate the course and shorten the duration of some diarrhoeas, mainly those induced by
viruses, prevent diarrhoea following antibiotic treatment or moderate their course. In addition they inhibit intensification of postradiation diarrhoeas. Probiotics eliminate or reduce
symptoms of lactose intolerance, as well as regulate intestinal motoric disorders in people
at an advanced age. Evidence was found an antagonistic impact of probiotics on Helicobacter pylori – a microorganism considered as the main etiological factor for the chronic
gastric stomach disease and chronic duodenal ulcer disease [49]
Dairy products are unquestionably a popular and valuable source of probiotics. Primary hypolactasia, i.e. lactase deficiency concerns approximately 30% of Polish population,
aged 5 onwards. In approximately 15% of cases it leads to lactose intolerance [22]. Lactose intolerance may cause disorders in calcium absorption, osteopenia and osteoporosis.
Therapeutic action in preventing osteoporosis may be achieved by administering probiotics
combined with prebiotics [12, 18].
Preliminary results of clinical studies have shown that administration of probiotics and
prebiotics may affect beneficially the carbohydrate metabolism and lipid balance, as well
as blood coagulability parameters [22, 28].
It is generally acknowledged that probiotics manifest valuable immunomodulating
properties. Probiotic bacteria support the system of helper lymphocytes (Th1) and in such
a way are antiallergenic [21]. Those lymphocytes secrete specific cytokines, which helps
eliminate pathogens. When probiotic bacteria colonise the intestinal tract they occupy
niches that could become a place for potentially pathogenic bacteria. Consequently they
become competitive in nature. They stimulate maturation and differentiation of intestinal
epithelium cells, which affects beneficially functioning of the intestinal mucosa.
On many occasions we tend to describe the intestine as an ‘intelligent’ organ. This
is due to the fact that on the one hand the intestine is a place where digestion takes place
and nutrient components are absorbed, and also a place of absorption of toxic substances,
xenobiotics, drugs and others. On the other hand, the intestine is a powerful immunological
organ [34]. Lymphoid tissue associated with the intestine contains ca. 80% immunological system cells and more lymphocytes than all the secondary lymphatic organs together.
Permeability of the intestine for nutritive components does not lead to an inflammatory
reaction. This phenomenon is called “immunological tolerance”.
One should bear in mind that the three main defence lines: beneficial intestinal flora,
intestinal epithelium and the intestinal immunological system form an important barrier for
pathogens and other environment related noxious agents [22].
Optimum functioning of those three defence lines is of key importance in keeping
health in good condition. The intestinal barrier relates to the highest extent to the external
Nowadays a serious risk is insufficient “training” of the immune system, which is a
consequence of our children, even right from infancy, living in overly clean and sometimes
even sterile conditions. Because of such conditions a child has limited possibilities of building a correct composition of intestinal tract microflora. Probiotic bacteria, such as Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, has then a low share in colonisation of the intestinal tract, which
may also be a cause for allergy symptoms [8, 21].
Probiotics as live organisms may be potentially responsible for the following side effects [27]:
– system infections
– harmful metabolic activity
– immunomodulatory side effects
– transfer of genes.
Up to now the above mentioned side effects have not been confirmed, with the exception of a few cases of candidiasis following administering yeast as probiotics.
Evidence cited in available literature emphasises that strains of probiotic bacteria are
fully safe [5, 30].
Potential role of probiotics in nutrition of athletes
The review of prophylactic and treatment properties of probiotics indicates that their
role in maintaining good health condition keeps growing, as well as the treatment role
in many diseases and in cases of deviation from appropriate health condition. Probiotics,
which are pro health and safe, certainly may and should be universally recommended in
nutrition for athletes. Up to now probiotic nutrition was not sufficiently taken into consideration in diets of athletes. There are no studies available in literature in this scope.
Specific physiological premises exist that justify the validity and advisability of probiotic consumption by athletes.
First of all, an intensified physical effort reduces the functional efficiency of the immune
system both as regards cellular immunity, and humoral one [19, 31, 32, 33]. In a period of
heavy exercise load also observed were such unfavourable changes as lymphopenia, neutrophilia with inhibition of neutrophil activity, reduction of proliferation activity of T lymphocytes and reducing the level of immunoglobulin IgA in saliva [31, 33]. As is known, postexercise increase in the level of cortisol and catecholamine in blood may inhibit the activity
of NK cells and T lymphocytes and may furthermore change the number of active subpopulations of lymphocytes and granulocytes. Reduction of the glutamine level in blood – which is
an energy sources for lymphocytes and macrophages – may also decrease their activity.
Evidence was found that incidence frequency of upper respiratory tract infections tends
to decrease through moderate intensity physical exercise, and increased in a period of intense physical efforts [32]. Systematic physical exercise may improve immunity to stress
situations, which in turn reduces the adverse impact on the immunological system of the
pituitary-adrenal axis hormones and catecholamines. Exercise stress also affects adversely
the balance of intestinal flora by lowering the number of probiotics [41]. It was found that
administering probiotics in sport would to a large extent help regulate the immunity of the
organism and restitute the intestinal flora balance.
Secondly, biosynthesis of some vitamins from the B group, i.e. thiamine, folic acid, pyridoxine, riboflavin, vitamin K and trace quantities of vitamin B12 may affect favourably the
processes of erythropoiesis and hemopoesis, and consequently improve parameters of the
erythrocytic system, which in turn affects the aerobic capacity of the organism. The above
mentioned processes are also beneficially affected by probiotic synthesis of polyamines and
arginine as protection and proliferation factors of the cell. Own preliminary studies have
confirmed such action of probiotics on aerobic capacity of humans.
Thirdly, intensified physical exercises lower stomach and intestinal peristalsis, as
well as stomach secretion (sympathicomimetic effect), while probiotics also tend to regulate functions in this respect [40]. Probiotic dairy products, such as bioyoghurt, acidophilus milk, fresh nonpasteurised cheese indicate also higher bioavilability of proteins
and mineral components as compared to similar dairy products, which have been pasteurised [20].
Of course appropriate supply of natural prebiotics in diets of athletes, i.e. oligosaccharides contained in vegetables and fruit (high residue diet) is a prerequisite for longevity
and metabolic activity of probiotics. Furthermore, consuming vegetables and fruit 4 to 5
times a day along with probiotic dairy products is an element of crucial importance in the
recommended Mediterranean diet [44] and is beneficial to health.
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Zbigniew Krawczyk
AlmaMer Economic University
Dysfunctions of Tourism
Looking for dysfunctions of social phenomena and processes appeared in sociology as
a result of one-sided theoretical and ideological interpretations characteristic for structural
functionalism, since its classic representatives – Bronisław Malinowski, Alfred RadckliffeBrown and Talcott Parsons – perceived only those facts which contributed to strengthening
or reconstructing social system; thus, they played from their viewpoint only the stabilizing
role. It follows from those assumptions, as it is proved by Robert K. Merton, „first, that
standardized social activities or cultural items are functional for the entire social or cultural
system; second, that all such social or cultural items fulfil sociological functions; and third,
that these items are consequently indispensable” (Merton 1957, p. 25).
Thus among the basic categories of sociological analysis the quoted author included
not only the notion of „functions”, understood as „observed consequences which make for,
the adaptation or adjustment of the system”, but also the notion of „dysfunctions”, which
are defined by him as „those observed consequences which lessen the adaptation or adjustment” (Merton 1957, p.51).
According to Jerzy J. Wiatr’s opinion, thanks to such an attitude Merton, while remaining
on the functionalist ground, liberated this intellectual trend from conservative and apologetic
burdens simultaneously opening the way to a relative evaluation of each element of the social life, which can be both positive and negative (Wiatr 1982, s. XXVIII). Moreover, Merton
has distinguished manifest functions, which he understood as objective consequences of social
processes being consciously intended and recognized by their participants, from latent functions
– not intended and not realized. As it seems, the same classifying principle may be related to the
notion of dysfunction. Thanks to that, the phenomenon we are interested in could be analysed
both from the viewpoint of sociology and social psychology. Those negative results of changes
perceived in various segments of life of modern societies, such as ecology, economy, politics,
social structure, culture and personality, are daily bread of contemporary sociology and usually
are called “social problems”, and social sciences are to participate actively in solving them.
In the newest subject-related literature those phenomena are called with the notion
of socio-cultural trauma being a consequence of a rapid social transformation, which is
observed in the contemporary world. According to Piotr Sztompka, traumatogenetic character is the most often taken on by changes of special qualities. “First, rapid, fast, sudden
changes taking place in a very short time. Second, broad changes embracing simultaneously various fields of social life. Third, deep, radical changes affecting values, rules
or beliefs which are central for a given group” (Sztompka 2002, p. 456-7). As it is rightly
noticed by the quoted author, the most acute and nagging trauma is caused by contemporary
changes taking place in culture, which is the universe of values, norms, rules, symbols and
senses by its nature and, by rooting us in deep tradition, it safeguards the subjective identity
of the social group, which is deadly endangered by rapid changes.
Dysfunctional qualities we have noticed so far, which are characteristic for rapid
changes taking place in all segments of activity of the contemporary globalising world,
concern fully the domain of tourism, which have undergone rapid development through the
last half a century assuming newer and newer forms and embracing constantly widening
social groups being recruited mainly from the upper and the middle class. As it seems, they
may be reduced to the following types of dysfunctions: the ecological ones, the economic
ones, the social ones, the cultural ones and the personality-related ones.
In the following parts of the study we undertake an attempt to describe, analyse and
evaluate just those kinds of dysfunctions of tourism and – what follows – definite types of
“tourist trauma”
Ecological dysfunctions
Numerous authors taking up this issue refer to rich theoretical and applicative literature
concerning ecological problems and the issues of public health – and, first of all, the issue
of protecting health. It is usually literature disposed very critically towards current and farreaching consequences of development of post-industrial societies. It is usually assumed
there that the original sin of this phase of socio-economical development results from the
directive to conquer nature, which is characteristic for modernity. It leads, among other
things, to destructive results of processes of industrialisation, urbanisation and technologisation of all spheres of social life. It refers especially to the pollution of the environment,
extinction of numerous animal species, overexploitation of raw materials, exhausting natural water resources, results of global warming, genetic changes, new mutations of bacteria
and viruses, so-called civilisation-related diseases dangerous for human health, etc. While
writing on these problems, the experts in the issue point out to the need of activities of
international governmental and non-governmental organizations leading to the acknowledgement of “limits of growth”, postulations of “balanced development”, ethical ecology,
etc (Alejziak, Marciniec 2003; Holden 2003).
As it is noticed by the excellent expert in these problems perceived from the aspect of
negative consequences of quickly developing tourism and recreation, this set of problems
includes especially “pollutions of air, water and soil, damages concerning vegetation, dangers
to fauna, appropriations of land and water, physiographical changes of the area, fragmentation
of forests causing degradation of ecosystems and changes in the landscape” (Pieńkos 2004,
p. 65). Tourism intensifies these phenomena, mainly due to concentration of infrastructure
and tourist movement taking place only in some areas, first of all because of climatic and
economic reasons, developing various forms of movement activity, which is not necessarily
environment-friendly, appropriating areas characterised by a small level of demographic absorption, building sports and recreational facilities demanding vast areas (like, for example,
golf courses, ski lifts). New forms of tourist activity are connected, moreover, with the issue
of the need of utilising waste, building sewage treatment plants, limiting the emission of
harmful substances (like, for example, car exhaust fumes) into the atmosphere, etc.
As it is remarked by Tadeusz Łobożewicz and Grzegorz Bińczyk, the attractiveness of
natural environment for the development of tourism is directly proportional to the level of
its uniqueness from the aesthetical, the health-related or the recreational viewpoint, since
it turns out that tourist and recreational values of a given area grow rapidly in the moment
when it is regarded as a protected area and especially when it achieves the status of a national park (Łobożewicz, Bieńczyk 2001, p. 76). “In all climatic zones” – as it is written
by Zygmunt Wnuk on this issue – “tourism is the greatest danger for those small scraps
of lands and seas where specialised and fragile ecosystems exist – the ecosystems which
gather a large part of biodiversity of terrestrial flora and fauna and which seem inhabitants of urbanised and industrialised countries to be exotic oases of wild beauty of nature”
(Wnuk 2004, p. 2005).
A detailed description of dangers for environment resulting from the development of
mass tourism and recreation can be found in Table 1.
Table 1. Kinds of dangers to the natural environment resulting from human tourist and recreational activity
(Pieńkos 2003).
Kind of danger for
Dangers caused by tourist and
environment resulting
recreational activity
from development of
tourism and recreation
Air pollution
Means of transport – car, coach,
train, plane, crampons
Water pollution
Soil pollution and
Damages to vegetation
Dangers for fauna
Appropriation of land
and water
Physiographical changes Erosion, landslides caused by
of the area
movement of individuals
Fragmentation of forests Treading out paths
Changes in the
Garbage, waste, exhaust fumes,
leakage of grease, oil, fuel from
motorboats and ships
Treading soil down, littering,
exhaust fumes, leakage of fuel
and oil from means of transport,
Treading out, mechanical damages,
breaking, excessive undergrowth
plants picking, synanthropisation,
lighting bonfires – fires
Dangers for fauna in the soil and
above the ground – scaring it
off, destroying nests, occupying
mainstays of wild animals
Spatial expansion of sports,
recreational and tourist activity
Dangers caused by sports, tourist
and recreational infrastructure
Heating technologies, specialist
infrastructure (e.g. skiing
infrastructure: snow guns, ski lifts
Untreated sewage from tourist centres
During groundwork, excavations
and making embankments, as well
as pollution caused by mechanical
equipment functioning
Cutting off vegetation to prepare place
for infrastructure and introducing alien
(ornamental) species
Infrastructural facilities may constitute
obstacles for migrations of wild
Appropriation for the needs of location
of facilities of sports, recreational and
tourist infrastructure
Embankments, excavations
Roads, trails, paths, ski lifts, cableways
Synanthropisation – causes changes in ecosystems and the decrease of
quantity of wild animals
Individuals’ excessive and
Introduction of new and alien
continuous presence in the open air anthropogenic elements constituting
infrastructure into the landscape
Some researchers assume that tourism constitutes the main factor of environmental
degradation, especially in mountain and seaside resorts, in the lands where there are numerous rivers and lakes as well as in the areas which are abundant in trees, vegetation and numerous species of animals. On the other hand, as it is announced by Wiesław Alejziak, the
share of tourism in the degradation of environment amounts only to 5-7%, while the share
of industry in this work of destroying nature constitutes 40%, the share of building industry
constitutes 20% and the share of agriculture – `15%. Nevertheless, taking into account the
rapid development of tourist infrastructure, multiplication of various forms of transport and
the number of participants of tourist activity, which is still increasing, it can be assumed
that ecologically dysfunctional influence of tourism will be more and more noticeable.
Hence we should expect that tourist aspirations of groups of growing civilisation level will
go hand in hand with the progress of ecological consciousness and health-oriented activities. Some researchers perceive them in the development of various forms of alternative
tourism. According to one of them, the future of tourism is well expressed by the following
schema (Burton 1998):
Natural tourism
Mass tourism
Adventure tourism
Economic dysfunctions
Thanks to progressing processes of globalisation of the world economy its gradual unification is taking place nowadays – mainly as a result of the dominating role of the private sector,
which constitutes the basic source of economic development. These processes take place in
three basic domains of the economy, namely in those of production, financial flows and institutional harmonization. Nowadays the economy has become global in the spatial dimension – that
is, it embraced the majority of countries of the globe. It leads to gradual diminishment of economical differences between the centre and civilization peripheries. Now it is indubitable that
international cooperation in the field of co-production, commerce and capital turnover brings all
interested sides huge profits. „While judging it from the present perspective” – as it is written
on it by an excellent expert in the issue, Włodzimierz Siwiński – “there is no doubt that systems promoting openness of country economies and freedom of international transactions bring
much better results than closing and limiting international flows, even if the latter is done in the
name of the most sublime aims and motives” (Siwiński 2001, p. 113).
Thus, contrary to some opinions, globalisation does not lead to increasing disproportions
in economic development, but quite the opposite: “globalization creates for those countries
the only chance to diminish and – in further perspective – maybe to liquidate completely the
developmental gap. The choice to seize this opportunity or not depends on the very countries
which are talked about – or, to say it more precisely, on the quality of their institutional applications and the quality of their economic policy” (Siwiński 2001, p. 117).
As it should be thought, this cognitive, axiological – and, at the same time, pragmatic
– perspective should be the point of reference and evaluation of those economic aspects of
contemporary tourism which are perceived as economically dysfunctional, since we aspire
here after such an attempt to explain the phenomena we are interested in which is made in
the universal dimension and – on the other hand – from the perspective of long duration.
According to numerous and usually similar announcements, economic dysfunctions of
tourism may be reduced to the following:
1. Inhibition of alternative projects of productive and service-related initiatives. The problem is that monopolist tourist economy developed in a given region or place somehow
„eats out” other possibilities of appearance and realisation of economic initiatives. It is
especially dangerous in times when the tourist business is in crisis.
2. Tourist infrastructure overtly consumes donations coming from public funds, which could be
destined for other aims, often of priority character, such as building schools, hospitals, etc.
3. In receptive resorts we usually have to do with a higher inflation index and with higher
prices of various products and services than in other regions of the country. It comes
from the fact that incomes of the local population are usually lower than tourists’ incomes. Moreover, tourists treat their expenditures differently, since they are connected
with a specific lifestyle during vacation, leave; thus, generally speaking in free time
associated with entertainment and play-related activities – with the time of the holiday
when considerably more money is spent for pleasures than in the “usual” time, whereas
for permanent inhabitants of a given tourist resort it is the work time, the “usual” time,
which is not associated with the need of increased expenses.
4. In tourist resorts quick, disproportionate in its relation to the whole country, increase of
prices of land (it often makes them many times higher) as well as the increase of prices
of building services is also usually observed. Moreover, it happens that rich foreigners
buy out the land, which facilitates corruption. As a consequence, the ethnic structure of a
given resort changes and the local population liquidates agriculture-related occupations
which have been traditionally found there.
5. Unemployment becomes increased too, since „alien” tourist entrepreneurs very often
import workers dealing with tourist business from their native country, while natives
are offered jobs, which are less attractive, both taking into account their character and
the salary. In resorts where the tourist offer has seasonal character temporal workers
dominate and they often constitute „foreign bodies” and do not integrate with the local
population in the domains of language, culture and habits. Hence increased horizontal
mobility of the local population contributing to the phenomenon of social disintegration
or even of anomy.
6. Tourist monoculture of a given country or a given region contributes also to excessive
dependence on emitting countries, which often unexpectedly diminish the number of
incoming tourist in years of lower prosperity. It sometimes causes a surprising reduction
of incomes from tourism or even temporary financial crises.
7. This negative economical situation is made even more difficult by the fact that the maintenance of a high-standard tourist offer demands continuous modernisation of tourist
facilities and equipment, which are often imported from countries of a high level of
technological development, which considerably raises the costs of pertinent products and
services (Alejziak 2000, p. 55-56).
Social dysfunctions
Social dysfunctions, which are increasing as tourism is developing, can be divided into
1) the macro-scale ones, arising from social anomy accompanying modern and postmodern
societies and which are unleashed or strengthened by tourism, 2) met in communities where
tourist reception is increased, especially at the junction local population – tourists and 3)
met in groups of tourists, which, isolated from their original social environment and not
subjected to the environment-related social control, are disposed to manifesting their exceptionally big inventiveness in the field of creating entertainment-related and play-related
social roles, which often have negative character in the moral or custom-related respect.
In the first case, we are talking about instrumental making use of tourism by totalitarian
systems in the process of educating children and youth, about local military conflicts, which
sometimes almost completely stop both domestic and international tourist activity and,
finally, about terrorist acts, which recently have started to be more and more often directly
aimed at groups of tourists. As it is pointed out by numerous historians, in the ideology and
curricula of fascist or communist education, but also in real activities of youth organisations
and associations of adults in Germany, in Italy or in the Soviet Union and other socialist
countries the principle of neutrality of free time as well as of tourist and recreational activity of citizens was usually ignored. Quite the opposite – according to the ideology and
tactics of those organisations’ activities, both tourism and all forms of movement activity
were subordinated to two fundamental aims: to be fit for work and defence and to build the
power of the state (Wroczyński 1985, Alejziak 2000, p. 65-67 and Kulczycki 1982).
Even greater “tourist trauma” is caused by local wars, e.g. in the Middle East or Chechnya, or cataclysms caused by natural disasters (floods, landslides, hurricanes, earthquakes,
fires, etc). In those cases normal tourist activity is impeded by the following circumstances:
devastation of tourist infrastructure, disorganisation of everyday life, putting at risk the life
and health of tourists, their coming down with various diseases, etc.
The next powerful obstacle impeding normal tourist prosperity, especially in its international dimension, is terrorism. Firstly, it causes an attitude of fear of travelling by all
means of transport and on every territory of the world, since really you never know where
and whom terrorists can attack. The next consequence of the threat of terrorism is the need
of increased control, especially in airfields, at border crossings, etc., which causes stopping
the free flow of tourists and increases the costs of travelling. Authors dealing with this issue, basing on empirical data, point out that terrorist attacks in definite places usually cause
the reduction of tourist arrivals. However after some time the very objects where terrorist
acts took place become objects of tourists’ interest. We see such a situation for example in
the case of some objects in Iraq, of the WTC in New York or of an atomic power station in
Chernobyl (Gönmez 1998; Gönmez, Graufe 1998; Różycki, Fudalej 2004).
Looking at negative social consequences of the development of tourism in the area of
conflicts between natives and tourists, we will pay our attention to two circumstances. The
first of them regards weakened social bonds, especially in groups of tourists, but social
disintegration of the local population, what makes it difficult to be socially controlled by
public opinion and institutions of education and socialisation – like, for example, family,
school system and churches – to function. It cannot be replaced by bonds which appear
between tourists and natives, since they are mostly superficial and usually solely instrumental. Moreover, they regard only those groups of local population which deal with tourist
business in a proprietary sense or with servicing it. Specialists point out to the fact that rich
tourists, which are engaged in “conspicuous leisure” and inhabit luxurious tourist ghettoes,
cause so-called “demonstration effect” meaning demonstrating wealth and luxury in the
vicinity of poverty and hunger (Mazurkiewicz 2003, p. 46-59, Isański 2004, p. 172-175).
From among social plagues caused mainly by mass tourists, but afflicting secondarily
local population, those especially bothersome, since conflict-related and stressogenic, are:
drug addiction, alcoholism, vagrancy and prostitution, which brings numerous sexually transmitted diseases. From among other social ailments we should mention such as: smuggling
artworks, customs crimes, currency-related crimes, illegal traffic in harmful commodities,
forging documents, hotel thefts, etc. They are not so much deviations from moral, legal and
customs-related rules resulting from the very nature of tourism, but rather phenomena accompanying contemporary urbanized societies dealing with the proper, socially beneficial
way of using free time and with negative consequences of licentious hedonistic consumerism.
Tourism only strengthens those patterns of behaviour and localises them in tourist resorts – in
those specific oases of hedonistic consumption and permanent play. Some of those patterns
and behaviours have also – as it seems – their immanent sources in tourism itself.
To finish this sub-chapter, the phenomenon of so-called sexual tourism is worth being
illuminated in details. It has considerably increased its popularity during the last few years
and it refers to all its basic forms, namely to heterosexual tourism, homosexual tourism and
paedophilic tourism (Oppermann 1999).
As it is noticed by experts on the subject, individuals engaged in the kind of tourism we
are interested in are usually guided by ambiguous motives situated between the two opposite
poles: the need of romantic adventure and the need of purely sexual experience. Expressing
their opinions on this issue in a more detailed way, the researchers in this field notice that
in the light of empirical polls made by them in the Caribbean, female tourists using sexual
services of young islanders are guided rather by the desire to experience a romantic adventure
while men are mainly oriented at fulfilling sexual needs (Herold, Garcia, Demoya 2001).
Another regularity, which is met by us in the phenomenon of sexual tourism, is the fact
that both men and women look for sexual adventures in poorer and more traditional regions
than their countries of origin. It is connected, firstly, with the financial aspect of the affair
(in poor societies men pay less and women sometimes do not pay at all for sexual services)
and, moreover, it is easier there to impress others with one’s own socio-financial status.
While generally speaking about Poles practising sexual tourism, it should be said that
they want “fast, instant and cheap sex”. They are anonymous, “far from the family, the
wife, inquisitive neighbours, friends from the workplace. In countries such as Russia or the
Czech Republic it is also important that religious principles which are in force in their native country become abolished abroad. Moral norms cease to be obligatory too, since there
is no social environment which is natural for the Pole and which could control his behaviour. There are no principles and norms so there is no feeling of guilt caused by breaking
them. While going to those countries, Poles hope also that they will experience something
more than purely physical sexual contact. It is quite common to believe that girls from
eastern countries like sex and do it rather for pleasure than because of pure calculation (…).
They are also excited by the fact that in many countries of the former Soviet Union paid
sex is offered to foreigners not only by professional prostitutes, but also by schoolgirls,
university students or office workers improving this way their material status” (Ślósarz
2004, p. 155).
Cultural dysfunctions
While speaking on cultural dysfunctions of tourism, it should be remembered that they
concern almost exclusively various manifestations of mass tourism; that is, such tourism
which is present in the form of a tourist product offered to the mass society. Similarly like
other forms of mass culture, tourism of this type is the child of commercialisation, technologisation and of a general increase in the population’s level of life, as well as of an increase
in the significance of free time from the viewpoint of shaping dominating lifestyles. It is
connected with the appearance and quantitative domination of the middle class, which is
characterised by standardisation – that is, with the reduction of cultural tastes and needs to
the lowest common denominator. Moreover, it is possible to say that intellectual and artistic
preferences are generally made lower.
It does not mean of course that everyday cultural consumption does not include elements of higher culture, which is more refined and authentic. The problem is that they are
prepared and given in such a way that they can be assimilated also by less developed circles
of recipients. “Homogenisation of mass culture causes” – as it is written on this issue by
Antonina Kłoskowska – “that nowadays at least a part of achievements of higher culture
becomes potentially accessible for such a wide range of recipients in every society that it
has not been called to participate in the community of sublime cultural experiences since
the time of the ancient Athenian republic” (Kłoskowska 1964, p. 350).
That last ascertainment can be fully referred to so-called cultural tourism, which enables tourists to contact face to face with world masterpieces of mankind. The problem,
however, is such that “sightseeing tourism” changes under the influence of all-embracing
commercialism into mass consumption tourism (Rymarczyk 2006). As it is said by Jakub
Isański, the object of celebration of „consumers’ religion” can be both a sacral building and
a shopping centre. An authentic fascination with artworks or symbols of a religious cult
transforms into the mania of „scoring up” natural or anthropogenic attractions promoted
by marketing. Tourism becomes “closer to shopping than travelling and a higher intensity
of stimuli is provided not by the environment with its inhabitants and culture, which are
exotic for tourists, but by the reality which is “familiar” for the newcomers, which has been
constructed to fulfil their needs and where consumers feel like in their element (…). Thus
everywhere you can rent a car from the best company in the world, eat a meal in an international restaurant chain, arrive by a plane of a well-known airline and sleep in the hotel of
the same name and standard” (Isański 2004, p. 169 -172).
As a consequence of such tourists’ behaviours, natives’ behaviours change too. Instead
of authentic local artworks, they offer, for example, kitsch products of mass “artistic production”. Instead of stimulating and developing authentic creativity, tourists – consumers
lead to its degradation or complete annihilation. This way false versions of folklore or regional customs appear, which „simulate” original products of cultural creativity.
The expansion of this world of “artificial reality” created by the market is increased
by the fact that cultural contact between tourists and natives is limited as a result of mutual
illegibility of cultural codes. It refers to differences in the realms of language, symbols,
semiotic codes, nonverbal communication, etc. As a consequence, tourists remain in a peculiar “ghetto” of their own objects, values and fellow travellers.
Those hardly authentic or completely artificial experiences and forms of assimilating
“alien” culture are characteristic for us also after coming back from the journey, when,
thanks to souvenirs, photos, videotapes and other modern forms of reproducing tourist
experiences, we “experience it once again” by watching them and showing them to our
family and friends.
That all constitutes diversification of our constantly increasing free time and, what follows from it, of increasing time of play, which – as it is well known – exerts an overwhelming influence on shaping our personality and lifestyle. Against expectations that tourism
should broaden our cognitive horizons and acculturation-related experiences, we remain in
the unified global world of schematic, stereotypical and conventional imitations.
Personality-related dysfunctions
While speaking on culture studies tourism, analysts of the issue usually emphasise its
creative influence on shaping personalities of participants of travels. According to their
opinion, it takes place through processes of socialisation and, at the same time, of acculturation and enculturation. Thus, generally speaking, it is about becoming acquainted with
definite values and patterns of an “alien” culture, their assimilation and internalisation. That
influence is, nota bene, mutual and takes place in the form of the dialogue of cultures understood as a meeting and an exchange of senses and symbols of various forms of culture.
“Today tourism is reaching higher” – as it is written on this topic by Ewa Lewandowska-Tarasiuk – „than climbing a higher level of the old, Western, arrogant Ego, which wants
to see, cognize and posses everything. In the same way like marketing of profits has passed
to be replaced by marketing of experiences, today tourism in the richness of its variety is
becoming a form of cultural experience. Just that experience gives birth to a peculiar type
of the aesthetic experience engaging tourists’ intellect, sensibility and imagination, the experience being born from contacts from the most varied cultural qualities” (Lewandowska
-Tarasiuk 2005, p. 117).
However the above-mentioned criticism, which is still addressed mainly to mass tourism, does not stop. Except for the arguments we have already quoted, there is also an
argument that commercialised consumerist tourism creates and consolidates shallow, multiplied, stereotypical and homogenous personalities, since it usually constitutes a simple reflection of the structure of culture. In an extremely clear way it is enlightened by the author
Leisure Culture, Edgar Morin. As it is written on this issue by Dariusz Ostrowski, „in the
contemporary society of mass culture tourism becomes a great travel – show through the
world of landscapes, relics of the past, museums, and the contemporary tourist is mostly
interested only in the world shown by the guide and escapes from the real, everyday life.
He is interested in it only then when it is classified as “picturesque” – that is, it is “worth
picturing”. The tourist equipped with a camera is more devoted to taking photos and filming
than to seeing. This process has, according to Morin’s opinion, two levels, “to see in order
to remember” and to take photos in order to “see the picture of one’s own memories then”
(…). A tourist sitting in a comfortable seat on the coach looks through the windows as if at
the TV or the cinema screen (…). While going, he “devours kilometres” and gets personally
in touch with the visited country by some basic words and greetings exchanged with natives
(…). Buying some symbolical things called souvenirs enables the tourist to “take the magic
possession” of the visited country in a “magical way”” (Ostrowski 2005, p. 241 – 242).
That is a sketchy portrait of the today tourist – commercialised and well-cared-for from
the marketing viewpoint. He constitutes, as it is well known, a dominating model of the
traveller, both in the qualitative and, first of all, in the quantitative sense, since it is thanks
to him that tourism prospers better and better as a business and an important branch of
contemporary economy in developed countries.
Somehow at the opposite pole than the negative, dysfunctional type of tourist there is
the extreme tourist, who originates from historically significant escapist tourism, characteristic e.g. for traditional Tatra mountaineering and – to interpret it in a broader way – for alpinism. That is a type of an extreme individualist – loner, who usually outdistances oneself
from experiences of the real life of urbanised societies dominated by the system of values
and aspirations characteristic for a bourgeois philistine.
According to Kurt Weiss’s opinion, the extreme tourist is, on the one hand, deeply
frightened because of a danger which lies in wait for him and, on the other hand, deeply
overjoyed because of overcoming an obstacle which is often deadly dangerous (Weiss
2003). As it is proclaimed by Andrzej Pawłucki, the extreme tourist in his essence a tragic
person, since he belongs neither to the external axiotic world, nor to oneself, He is a being in himself and simultaneously for himself. It is an individualistic and egoistic figure to
the perfect degree. He destroys the spiritual sphere of his own personality, which has been
accumulated during the lifetime and simultaneously brings to destruction the instrumentalised world of nature (Pawłucki 2004, p. 318 – 321).
While presenting in a sketchy way five types of negative consequences of contemporary tourism – the ecological one, the economical one, the social one, the cultural one and
the personality-related one – we have used Merton’s category of dysfunction originating
from a broader notion of social anomy created by Durkheim. At the same time we tried to
utilise the notion of socio-cultural trauma, which has been recently proposed by Piotr Sztompka as an instrument of the analysis of dysfunctional aspects of tourism.
As it seems, all these categories are very useful to deal with problems we are interested in. However the last category – the category of trauma – has rather a limited field
of application here. As we think, it can be used only for analysing and interpreting those
negative consequences of tourism which have their source not in tourism itself, but in the
realm of phenomena of natural as well as socio-political, economical and cultural character
which are external in their relation to it. We mean namely rapid and deep changes which
are fundamental from the qualitative viewpoint and which take place in all dimensions of
the contemporary global reality.
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University of Physical Education in Warsaw
Faculty of Physical Education
Key words: geographical region, tourism region, tourism landscape, tourism space, and tourism
space evolution theory.
The purpose of this paper is to present the theory of tourism region from the point of
view of the process of its formation. The theory has not emerged as an independent intellectual product. Instead, it has been derived from a wider theoretical field which was the theory
of geographical region. Thus, to understand how the theory of tourism region developed,
the theory of geographical region should be first presented. The latter is discussed in the
first part of the paper, while the former, in its second part.
There are two stages to be distinguished in the process of the tourism region theory
formation. The first stage assumed the form of a uniform approach. According to it, the
complex picture of the area differentiation of the tourism phenomena on the earth’s surface
was generalized by combining small elementary places presenting a similar tourism content
into larger areas (tourism regions) homogeneous in terms of the total combination of this
content in each place. As the content, both the elements of the physical environment were
considered and cultural elements have been taken into account being presented by material
forms of cultural heritage. As a result, a tourism region obtained had a uniform character
from the point of view of the criteria applied to define it.
It has been argued, however, that an area need not necessarily present unity in terms
of the similarity of the tourism phenomena to possess a cohesive structure. It is the case
when different tourism phenomena within the region were complementary to one another
in a functional sense. Functional ties exist among them which took the form of both movements made by tourists and of streams of services of various kinds following the tourists.
There is a specific spatial pattern to these interactions. It is subordinated to one or several
nodes that present tourism centers. These, together with the territory connected with them
through the interaction system, constitute what is termed functional tourism region and the
approach within which it is devised is referred to as a functional approach. The most impor-
tant achievement of the functional approach is to consider the tourism region as a dynamic
entity. Its dynamism is understood as the process of the evolution of particular functional
spaces into which the structure of the functional tourism region can be divided.
The language of every academic discipline comprises usually one or a few key concepts, which not only support its tradition and scientific unity but also contribute to its
image formation. In the case of geography, such a concept is that of a region. Owing in
large measure to this, geography is identified as a distinct and independent research field
but what is more important, the region is one of a few concepts geographers are credited
among many natural and social sciences for introducing it to the body of overall scientific
The region was the first scientific concept used in geography. Its idea paralleled a long
process of the discipline development. In the beginning, geography presented one homogeneous research field which over the course of time disintegrated into specialized, branches
that in turn split into their next parts. As the first, human geography, physical geography and
regional geography emerged, presenting three main academic disciplines and then within
each of them more systematic branches appeared. Within the field of human geography, for
example, together with other research fields, tourism geography emerged. The first theoretical idea, which was successfully applied both within the three main disciplines and within
their newly rising branches was the idea of geographical region.
A wide application of the idea of the geographical region was the main reason for the
development of its theory. This, in turn, emerged gradually as a consequence of the process
of the generalization of the results and facts which were gathered within the fields of specialized studies. Soon, as the theory of geographical region crystallized, systematic geographies started to borrow its main assumptions from it to build their own theories. This was
also the way in which the theory of tourism region came into being. To understand, however, the process of its formation, the theory of geographical region is discussed in the first
part of the paper, and then, in its second part, the theory of tourism region is described.
As it was mentioned above, the theory of the geographical region developed gradually.
There were two main stages to be distinguished in the process of this development: the
stage of classification or regionalization and that of the theory formation.
Classification is fundamental to the advance of any science and generally is used
in an early stage of a discipline development. In human geography, as the result of the
procedure of classification, the earth’s surface was divided into spatial classes which
were referred to as regions, and this was the main reason to name the procedure as that
of regionalization.
Regionalization started to be used when geographers tried to introduce an order into
their subject that was the complex mosaic of phenomena of which the earth’s surface was
composed. These were phenomena related to both a natural environment composed of flora,
fauna and geological features as well as man-made environment which consisted of all material objects within which human activity took place. Both environments had the form of
spatial layers closely intertwined with each other and presented in fact one common whole
termed as a geographical environment [6].
Analyzing the complex reality presented by the geographical environment geographers
usually described plenty of facts. The more complicated and differentiated the environment
was, the larger was the amount of gathered data. Soon it became necessary to generalize about
what was collected in order to grasp regularities in the spatial differentiation of observed phenomena. It was difficult however to do this by merely comparing phenomena from place to
place. To facilitate the generalization, it was necessary to introduce an order into the complex
mosaic presented by the geographical environment. The method to find this order consisted
in connecting the places with similar content into larger areas, each one being homogeneous
because of the similarity of the phenomena contained within it. Such approach reduced a
large number of initial places into a smaller number of larger internally homogeneous areas
and caused a complex picture of spatial differentiation to become more simplified. These
areas were called regions. The process of division of a territory (a fragment of geographical
environment under investigation) into regions, or what amounts to the same, the process of
identification of regions within the territory, was termed regionalization [5], [15].
To delimit a region, relatively small elementary places were taken into account within
which it was possible to record either individual facts or sets of facts which were connected
with the phenomenon or phenomena characteristic of the places. The facts, and more precisely, their properties, were the criterion to point out the places that should be combined
into a region. The properties, which were chosen as the criterion, depended on a specific
research goal. In the procedure of delimitation, however, not so much the properties, but
rather features were used, which represented properties and to which values (quantitative
or qualitative) could be assigned. Thus a region was defined as a part of the earth’s surface
(the geographical environment) composed of smaller elementary places within which the
features representing a phenomenon or phenomena assumed a similar combination of values by virtue of which the whole set of places presented a relative homogeneity with reference to these features and at the same time was different from other areas where the same
features assumed different values. Simply speaking, the region was a part of the earth’s
surface, which was distinguished in some defined way from surrounding areas [5], [15].
A region delimited on the ground of the similarity of the values assumed by a set of
in-advance-defined features was termed a uniform or a formal region. There were two types
of such region: a single-feature region and multi-feature one. The difference came from the
number of features used as a criterion in the delimitation procedure. Both types of uniform
region have the same nature. They are in fact mental constructs existing only in the consciousness of researchers and can be treated as something like a conceptual network put on
a complex reality in order to grasp its genuine structure [15], [16].
The concept of the uniform region proved useful when static phenomena were described presenting a permanent localization in space and relatively small variability in time.
But there were much larger and continuously growing class of phenomena investigated by
geographers, which appeared not to be stable in a spatial and a temporal sense. These were
dynamic social and economic processes, which occurred, primarily in a social layer of the
geographical environment. Their range was territorially limited which found its expression
in separate spatial structures or classes into which social space divided and which reflected
the territorial organization of social and economic life within the geographical environment. Every spatial structure was composed of the set of adjacent elementary places tied
together by functional bonds into one organizational whole within which the supply and
demand sides of social or economic processes were balanced. These spatial structures were
regions, but of a different nature as compared with uniform ones. It was obvious, in this situation, that the concept of the uniform region was not suitable to deal with the above spatial
structures and the need arouse for a different concept which could be used to describe them.
This was the concept of a functional or nodal region. It was understood as a spatial whole
composed of a central node (place) surrounded by an area divided into elementary places,
which were connected with the node by functional relations. The node was interpreted as
a spatial agglomeration of different supply functions as, for example, different services.
Demand for them was presented mainly within places around the node, and to satisfy it, the
relations were produced of various kinds, for instance in the form of a variety of journey
streams to buy different services in the central place (node). The intensity of the streams of
contacts weakened with the distance from central node, and where they diminished were
the boundaries of the region [5], [15], [16].
The procedure of the delimitation of functional regions did not differ much in its essence from that applied in the case of uniform regions. Similarly, geographers used the features characterizing spatial phenomena as the criterion of delimitation. These were, however, different in their nature as compared with those applied in the procedure of a uniform
regionalization. Elementary places surrounding a central node were characterized in terms
of their connections with it, and all the places where such connections existed, regardless
of their intensity, were included to a region. The regionalization may be thus defined as
the grouping of territorially distributed objects into spatial classes (regions) on the basis of
some similarity in either properties or in relations between the objects.
The procedure of regionalization based on a subjectively defined set of properties gave
rise to the situation where the regions obtained had a symbolic character. Features were
selected from the point of view of a specific scientific goal. Changing the goal caused criteria to be changed and this resulted in changed sizes and shapes of the regions obtained.
Regionalization is the procedure of delimiting regions in the form of spatial sets or classes,
the method of classification in a spatial aspect, and a region is a spatially generalized set or
class but not a real object [2].
After the concept of the functional region was introduced into human geography the
problem arouse of how to reconcile the two different approaches to describe and explain
spatial differentiation of the earth’s surface. The only way to do this was to define an integrative theoretical framework supporting both concepts with clear arguments for the research situations in which they can be used. This common theoretical background appeared
as a response to the hot dispute on the diversity of regions identified by geographers and
the problem of their character and mutual relations. In order to cope with the problem the
theory of geographical region was introduced.
The body of the theory was derived from the concept of a geographical space. This was a
mental projection or a simplified representation of a real geographical environment. The geographical space was composed of (1) a set of empirical objects, that is the objects that can be
subjected to empirical investigations, selected from among real objects in agreement with a specific, preconceived goal, (2) the time interval within which they exist and (3) the set of variables
characterizing the objects, describing their territorial location and spatial separation as well as
mutual relationships among them. In other words, the geographical space was a spatial set presenting the simplified reflection or representation of a real, geographical environment1.
According to the theory of geographical region there was virtually an endless number
of geographical spaces related to or representing the geographical environment. Their simplest forms were elementary or homogeneous geographical spaces composed of empirical
objects of the same kind, for example, of humans, houses, locations where services were
supplied, transport infrastructure, factories, landforms, vegetation, soils, crops, and so on.
On the basis of the concept of elementary geographical space the concept of general geographical space was derived. This was defined as the space consisted of all possible overlapping and closely intertwined elementary geographical spaces.
Within the general geographical space, various geographical subspaces could be distinguished. A geographical subspace was defined as a combination of the elementary geographical spaces entering into the composition of the general geographical space.
Geographical region can be defined as a distinctive fragment of the general geographical space and interpreted in terms of the latter as [3]:
• a fragment of a larger spatial set presented by the (general) geographical space,
• a space itself, having the form of a spatial set composed of smaller spatial units (elementary places) within which the relations of both spatial and non-spatial nature
among the objects were explicitly defined,
• the relations typical of the region as well as its distinct properties were not characteristic of the rest of the objects of the geographical space; in terms of this relations and
properties, the region presented a spatial set with a specific extent of closure,
• a s not entirely closed, in terms of their inner relations and distinct properties, regions
may interpenetrate or overlap, at least to some degree, but at the same time any region
included no fragments of the geographical space.
According to the above definition, a region may be understood as a cross-section either
through all elementary spaces of which the general geographical space was composed or
through the elementary spaces of which a geographical subspace was constituted.
The theory of geographical region turned out to be a proper theoretical framework to
integrate the assumptions and major issues of both the concept of the uniform region and
that of the functional region and enabled to describe the complex appearance of the earth’s
surface, which was of the main interest of human geographers.
Using the concept of the uniform region, the process of the description started with
the specification of elementary places, then the phenomena presenting their content were
characterized in terms of their properties, which were in turn used as the criterion to select
and then combine similar places to obtain uniform regions. With regard to the concept of
functional region the procedure of regionalization started similarly from the specification of
elementary places, which might be often the same as in the case of the previous approach.
The next step was, however, different. Elementary places were analyzed from the point
of view of functional ties among them which took the form of streams of movements (of
people, commodities and services) or spatial interactions. There was a specific spatial pattern to this interaction. They were not distributed evenly over the territory of the region, but
were subordinated to one or several central points. The network of interaction within a region had a characteristic order which consisted in centric spatial relations on certain nodes.
These, together with the territory connected with them through interaction constituted a
functional region. Thus a region might have at the same time both a uniform character when
one set of attributes was taken into account, for example its vegetation, types of agriculture
and cultural heritage, and a functional character when another set of attributes was taken
into account, for example, the types of the economic and social activities performed in
elementary places.
The theory of a tourism region emerged after the geography of tourism started to exist
as a research field within human geography. Its emergence was a gradual process as tourism
geographers expanded the range of their interest and gathered an empirical material. In order to give a proper presentation of how the theory appeared and expanded it is reasonable
to begin with the presentation of the concepts that were first introduced and show how they
were transformed into the theory of the tourism region.
The geography of tourism appeared as the reaction to the all-embracing process of
mass tourism development, which started in the middle of the previous century. The process found its reflection within the geographical environment where the spatial structures
appeared related to the new phenomenon. Attractive places presenting high natural and
cultural tourism qualities filled with hotels, restaurants, swimming pools, pubs, entertainment facilities and other elements of a tourism infrastructure. These new man-made elements not only overlapped the hitherto existing ones but also exerted a strong impact on the
natural environment making the appearance of the earth’s surface more and more complex.
The major purpose of tourism geography was then to describe and explain how tourism
phenomena were distributed within the geographical environment and how this distribution
reflected the complex and differentiated nature of this environment
In order to describe and explain the complicated mosaic of tourism phenomena against a
background of the geographical environment, tourism geographers applied the method which
did not differ much in its essence as compared with that used earlier by other human geographers investigating different patterns of human life and activity in their natural and social
surroundings. This was the same method of regionalization which enabled to introduce an
order into the complex mosaics of phenomena on the earth’s surface. The process of the evolution of the method of regionalization as applied to tourism phenomena was in fact similar to
that in other branches of human geography. As the first, a uniform approach was developed.
According to it, the complex picture of areal differentiation of the tourism phenomena was
generalized by combining small elementary places presenting a similar tourism content into
larger areas (tourism regions) homogeneous in terms of the total combination of this content
in each place. As the content such elements of the physical environment were first considered
as landforms, vegetation, climate, water system although cultural elements were also taken
into account being presented by material forms of cultural heritage.
Such approach was applied at the beginning of the process of the tourism geography
formation. The peculiarity of the tourism regionalization then pursued was that (1) not all
the elements of both physical and cultural character were treated as the criteria of delimitation but only those presenting tourism values and (2) that the tourism values of physical
nature presented the decisive criterion in the procedure of regionalization. This found its
expression in the way a tourism region was defined. First definitions emphasized the role
of tourism values. According to one of the first “tourism region is an area of high tourism
values which attract the trips made by tourists” [11]. Another definition pointed out the significance of physical components: “tourism regions are larger areas presenting an identical
type of natural environment” [7].
The above mentioned approach, where the tourism values of natural (physical) character were mostly applied as the criterion in the procedure of regionalization was over the
course of time completed by another approach. It was based on the concept of a tourism
landscape and therefore the regions then delimited were referred to as landscape regions.
The concept of a tourism landscape was derived directly from the concept of a cultural landscape and indirectly from that of a natural landscape. The term landscape can be
defined as “a portion of land or territory which the eye can comprehend in a single view,
including all the objects so seen, especially in its pictorial aspect “ [12]. A natural landscape
was such a portion or fragment of the earth’s surface where the objects within the range of
vision presented primarily physical, virgin nature. Geographers imposed, however, an additional requirement on the definition according to which the objects constituting the landscape should present a spatial unity of a particular character with respect to their external
appearance and this unity had its borders where the landscape ceased to exist changing its
character into the landscape of another, different character.
As time passed, the natural landscape was as a rule filled by people and gradually
changed into a cultural landscape under the influence of the complex interactions between
a human group – with its own practices, preferences, values and aspirations – and the environment of the natural landscape. The cultural landscape was defined as “an area made up
of a distinct association of forms, both physical and cultural” [13]. This was interpreted as
a visible unity related to a fragment of the earth’s surface homogeneous in respect of cultural characteristics within which material objects of cultural heritage were linked into one
whole with natural forms of physical environment and dependent one on another. Cultural
landscape was eventually the result of human activity, at the same time however, the form
and character of cultural objects were in large measure the reflection of the conditions of
the natural environment.
Of the concept of the cultural landscape that of a tourism landscape was derived. There
were two basic interpretations of the tourism landscape: an objective interpretation and
a subjective one. According to the former, the tourism landscape was a fragment of the
earth’s surface distinguished from surrounding areas with regard to the tourism values characteristic of the specific combinations of different forms of animate and inanimate nature as
well as visible objects of human material culture.
In a subjective sense, the tourism landscape was the reflection of the landscape that
existed objectively within the consciousness of an individual observer. It was thus a mental
picture where to the specific values characteristic of the objective landscape an aesthetic,
emotional and cognitive meaning (values) were prescribed by tourists. The significance of
this meaning (the extent of values) decided about the degree of the attractiveness of the
tourism landscape.
The concept of the tourism landscape was soon applied to the procedure of regionalization. The procedure resembled the uniform approach mentioned earlier where small
elementary places similar with regard to their tourism content were combined into larger
homogeneous regions. This content was then defined very broadly with a particular emphasis put on the physical elements of the natural environment. In the landscape approach on
the other hand, not so much physical as cultural aspects were taken primarily into account.
A visible landscape played the same role as an elementary place and a tourism region was
defined as the area of the occurrence of the tourism landscape of identical or similar appearance (character).
Uniform tourism regions such as above lacked, however, one important component without which the tourism values could hardly be consumed (in the sense of visual consumption).
This element was the tourism infrastructure, that is a transport infrastructure enabling tourists
to come to the region and to move around, accommodation facilities like hotels, motels, B &
Bs, catering facilities, recreation, sport, entertainment facilities as well as different services
all these making the stay pleasant, comfortable and useful. The infrastructure not only made
it easier to access the region enabling tourists to be in contact and consume the region’s tourism values but at the same time it constituted the important component of the regional structure. This structure was thus composed of two types of elements and relations among them:
(1) elementary places (landscapes) uniform with respect to their tourism content, and more
precisely, to the tourism values localized there, and the relations of spatial proximity among
places (landscapes) securing the spatial coherence of the whole set, and (2) the subset of
places where the tourism infrastructure was concentrated to satisfy the tourists’ accommodation needs and wants as well as the system of spatial interactions among them and other places
in the form of the streams of trips made by tourists during their staying in the region and the
streams of services of various kinds following the tourists.
Thus tourism region possessed a dual nature. It had a uniform character presented by
places (landscapes) similar in their external appearance, and at the same time it had a nodal
nature resulting from the spatial organization of both the tourism infrastructure and tourists’ behaviour. The uniform and nodal aspects presented the two sides of the same regional
homogeneity. On the one hand tourism region was homogeneous within the limits defined
by the criteria of delimitation being applied, and on the other hand, it was homogeneous
with respect to its inner spatial organization. This dual nature found its expression in defining a tourism region. “As a tourism region one can consider an area performing a tourism
function on the ground of both the homogeneity of its natural environment and the internal
set of spatial interactions of service nature” [14].
At the time, when the concept of tourism region was formulated within the geography
of tourism, there already existed the theory of geographical region (where a region was
interpreted as a cross-section through elementary spaces of either the geographical space
or its subspace) widely accepted and applied in the science of geography. This was soon
adopted for the needs of tourism geography to give the concept of the tourism region more
sound theoretical background. The first step to adopt the theory was to define the concept of
tourism space, which played the same, analogical role as the concept of geographical space,
did in the theory of geographical region.
The tourism space was defined as a fragment (subspace) of the (general) geographical space. “The tourism space is a functionally distinct subspace within the geographical
space, the latter being understood in a wide sense (sensu largo), that is as the space which is
composed of natural elements of the earth’s surface (a natural environment) and man-made
material objects within which human activity of economic character (an economic environment) and of social character (a social environment) take place. […] The space defined
like this […] is identified on the basis of functional premises only. This means that every
geographical subspace within which the tourism activity is being developed can be treated
(acknowledged) as a tourism space” [8], [9].
As before, when the geographical region was described using the concept of geographical space, the tourism region was analogically defined in terms of the concept of the
tourism space. It was defined as a spatial subset within a larger set, which was the tourism
space. As such, tourism region was a space itself composed of smaller spatial units (tourism
landscapes) among which spatial relations (links) were explicitly defined in the form of the
streams of traveling tourists and the streams of products and services to satisfy their needs
and wants. The tourism properties of both landscapes and spatial relations were typical only
to the region and at the same time were not characteristic of the rest of the objects of the
tourism space. In terms of these relations and properties, the region has presented a spatial
set with a specific extent of closure. As not entirely closed in terms of their inner relations
and distinct properties tourism regions might interpenetrate or overlap at least to some
degree, but at the same time, some fragments of the geographical space were not included
by any region.
According to what is explained above, the tourism region could in fact be interpreted
as a cross-section through all the elementary geographical spaces within which the tourism activity developed. This means nothing more that the tourism regions existed where
the streams of tourism movements found their ends [10]. Since the tourism regions could
be distinguished on the basis of such a concrete phenomenon as tourists journeys a fundamental question raised, whether the tourism regions were, as it was mostly assumed merely
subjective, mental constructs or rather these existed as concrete, real world objects?
The latter point of view was shared certainly by those who pursued the functional
approach. According to them, the homogeneity of geographical space should not be the
main characteristic of tourism region. More important (significant), were two remaining
characteristics i.e. (1) the spatial contiguity of a region and (2) its functional cohesion based
on internal links in the form of tourists movements. The latter, however, played a decisive
role to identify tourism regions, and therefore, a tourism region was defined as a part of the
general geographical space where tourism movement was concentrated [10].
Tourism region formulated in such a functional vein lacked, however, some aspects so
characteristic for the uniform approach. There was, first of all, neither physical (natural) nor
cultural content taken into account or tourism land use considered. Their existence was replaced by the assumption that tourists knew where to move and moved to the places, which
attracted them by the values characteristic of their tourism content and infrastructure. Thus,
to define a tourist region the most important was to know or to assess the size (scale) of
tourism movement, its structure, intensity, range and seasonality. As the result, this made it
possible to define the size of the region, its spatial and functional cohesiveness as well as its
hierarchical rank within the broader regional structure. Perhaps the most peculiar characteristic of the tourism region defined in such a way was its seasonality that is the phenomenon
which consisted in a cyclical emerging and disappearing the tourism function and as the
consequence the region itself [9].
Presumably the most important achievement of the functional approach was to consider
the tourism region as a dynamic entity. This became possible when a theory was formulated
describing the process of changes to which every tourism destination was subjected [1].
The basic idea of the theory, referred to as the destination lifecycle theory, was borrowed
from the concept of a product lifecycle, which was then widely used in economy. The concept assumed that products on their markets went through various stages of development
ending in the stage of decline. There were four such stages: the stage when the product
was introduced to a market, the stage of the growth marked by the process of increasing
the number of customers buying the product, the stage of maturity when the market was
saturated and there were no additional customers purchasing the product and the stage of
decline when the number of purchasers of the product diminished. Since the tourism destination could also be considered as a product that was developed and marketed, it should
also proceeded through stages similar to those above mentioned ending its market life by
the decline in the arrivals of tourists.
There were five stages distinguished in the destination lifecycle theory. These were
the stages of exploration, involvement, development, consolidation and stagnation. In the
stage of exploration, a destination was visited by merely a few tourists. There were simple
and poor facilities to fulfil the tourists’ needs and wants and the environment was clear and
unspoiled. Local communities were not familiar with tourism and their social and economic
structures were undisturbed by the influence of guests from outside. In the stage of involvement, the number of tourists coming to the destination increased and the local community
started to engage in tourism. Facilities and tourism infrastructure were built and more and
more local people were employed in the tourism industry. In the development stage, the
tourism attractions in the destination were developed which stimulated a larger number of
tourists to arrive. In the consolidation stage the volume of tourists was still growing, but at
a declining rate, and tourism became the important branch of local economy. At the stage
of stagnation, the highest number of tourists arrived. The destination started to be overcrowded, no longer fashionable and there appeared problems with environment, culture and
every day life of local people [1].
The destination lifecycle theory was applied mainly to rather small and homogeneous areas like individual tourism resorts for example. At the same time, larger areas such as tourism
regions were not susceptible to use the theory. The reason was the more complicated nature of
their structure considerably diversified in the type and degree of tourism development. A typical tourism region was thus composed of different places which presented distinct character
as to the level to which the tourism activity was developed or in other words, as to the stage of
their lifecycle. In order to overcome this complexity, all the places presenting the same degree
of the tourism function development or the same stage of their lifecycle, were combined into
one whole which was referred to as a tourism space. The concept of the tourism space was
dynamic in its character and turned out to be a useful instrument to describe the process of the
evolution or development of the tourism region in time.
The process of the evolution of a tourism space resembles that of the evolution of a tourism destination. This is composed of five stages each one having its own name. There are the
stage of exploration, penetration, assimilation, colonization and urbanization. Within each
stage, a different tourism space is formed and termed by the name of the stage. There are thus
a tourism exploration space, a tourism penetration space, a tourism assimilation space, a tourism colonization space and a tourism urbanization space distinguished [8], [9].
The space of exploration is formed on the basis of a potential tourism space which is
the one possessing all suitable natural and cultural conditions to attract tourists but being
untouched by them yet. The exploration space starts to exist when first tourists visit the
potential tourism space. These are either individual or small groups of adventurers, explorers or nature observers. Sometimes these are painters or writers looking for new, unknown
places to find inspiration. All they discover the first places within the space stimulating the
later tourism movement. This tourism is relatively small at the beginning, and the existing facilities, mainly in the form of what local people offered, are sufficient for tourists to
fulfill their needs during their stay there. As a result, no permanent investment is made in
a tourism infrastructure and rather small ecological impact exerted by tourists left natural
environment untouched and unspoiled. Local people, unfamiliar before with tourism took
on, in the face of its little environmental and social impact, rather positive attitude to tourists as well as their presence and behaviour.
When the space of exploration appeared to be an attractive tourism destination, the
number of tourists coming there started to develop. The process begins of transforming
the space of exploration into that of penetration. Arrivals have mainly the form of either
sightseeing tours to learn tourism values of both natural and cultural nature or short holidays. The time spent on staying is however not long and some tourists do not even stay
overnight. Most trips take no more than two or three days during the weekend. The first
facilities appear to satisfy tourists’ needs and wants. This is mainly a very modest tourism
infrastructure but its influence, together with that made by the rising number of tourists, on
the natural environment as well as the social situation of local people turns sometimes out
to be rather uncomfortable although not harmful yet.
By reason of its still attractive natural and cultural environment as well as not yet overload capacity the number of tourists visiting the space of penetration is growing. The most
characteristic of this process is extending the time of stay and changing the purpose of visit.
Trips are made for much longer than weekend and take, as a rule, a week or more. Their
purpose is not only to rest in unspoiled, picturesque rural (country) surroundings but first of
all to assimilate with local people. Tourists get in touch with them, take advantage from the
services they offer, try to understand and assimilate their customs and culture, adapt to the
way people live in their setting. The space of penetration changes into the space of assimilation. The most visible sign of this transformation is the adaptation of local homesteads
to the form appropriate to entertain tourists. The homesteads are extended; gain a better,
more aesthetic external appearance. The prevailing form of tourism is agro tourism. This
is environmentally safe activity and as a result, the capacity of natural environment is not
exceeded and the relations with the local community not disturbed.
With the passing of time, the space of assimilation is visited by a growing number of
tourists. What attract them is still a clean and not overloaded environment and friendly people. The number of tourists coming is however much larger than previously and this has its
consequence in expanding a tourism infrastructure. This is the main reason of transforming
the space of assimilation into that of colonization. The transformation has the form of the
process of permanent occupation and development of land and changing its use by tourism
facilities. In Poland the space of colonization has established in two ways. On the one hand
it have been large objects such as hotels, holiday homes and holiday centers established
with a full base service, covering usually large areas that have assumed mainly recreational
character, while on the other hand, it have been second homes localized in periurban surroundings where good conditions for recreational activity existed. The space of colonization has as a rule become a strange structure within the current landscape not only by reason
of its spatial scale but also of the rate of its growing and irreparable changes made in the
local natural and socio-cultural environment.
The last stage in the process of the tourism space evolution, takes the form of the space
of urbanization. This starts to exist when the tourists visiting the space of colonization decide to leave their urban settings and settle in the places of their current vacations. Thus, the
process of the tourism urbanization takes place when city dwellers leave their homes and
settle in the country usually close to large urban areas. In practice, this process ceases the
tourism activity within these areas.
The concept of the tourism space evolution facilitates describing the dynamics of the
tourism region. As explained above, the different tourism spaces of which the tourism region is composed present different stages of their evolution. Each space develops in its own
way according to the evolution mechanism which pushes it to the next stages. At the same
time, a territorial range of each space is changed. In order to describe the dynamics of the
tourism region, both the stage of evolution presented by each space as well as its territorial
range are to be recorded in subsequent points of time.
  1. Butler, R., W. (1980) The concept of a tourism area cycle of evolution: implications for the management of
resources, Canadian Geographer 24, 5-12.
  2. Chojnicki, Z. (1996) Region w ujęciu geograficzno-systemowym [w:] Czyż, T. (red.) Podstawy regionalizacji geograficznej, Poznań, s. 7-43.
  3. Dziewoński, K. (1967) Teoria regionu ekonomicznego, Przegląd Geograficzny 39, 1, s. 33-50.
  4. Freeman, T., W. (1961) A hundred years of geography, London, Gerald Duckword.
  5. Grigg, D. (1964) Regions, classes and regionalization [in:] Chorley, R. (ed.) Models in geography, Methuen,
  6. Hartshorne, R. (1959) Perspective on the nature of geography, Chicago, Rand McNally.
  7. Lijewski, T., Mikułowski, B., Wyrzykowski, J. (1985) Geografia turystyki Polski, PWE, Warszawa.
  8. Liszewski, S. (1995) Przestrzeń turystyczna, Turyzm 5, 2, s. 87-103.
  9. Liszewski, S. (1999) Przestrzeń turystyczna miasta, Turyzm 9, 1, s. 51-70.
10. Liszewski, S. (2003) Region turystyczny, Turyzm 13, 1, s. 43-55.
11. M
ileska, M., J. (1963) Regiony turystyczne Polski. Stan obecny i potencjalne warunki rozwoju, Prace Geograficzne Instytut Geografii PAN 43.
12. Mikesell, M. (1968) Landscape [in:] D. L. Sills (ed.) International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences, vol.
8 New York, Crowell, Collier and Macmillan, 575-580.
13. Sauer, C., O. (1925) The morphology of landscape, University of California publications in geography 2,
14. Warszyńska, J., Jackowski, A. (1978) Podstawy geografii turyzmu, PWE, Warszawa.
15. Whittlesey, D. (1954) The regional concept and the regional method, [in:] American geography: inventory
and prospects, University of Syracuse Press, Syracuse, New York, 26-37.
16. Wróbel, A. Pojęcie regionu a metoda regionalna, Przegląd Geograficzny 39, 1, s. 33-50.
azurkiewicz, L. (2006) Empiryczny charakter teorii geografii turystycznej Roczniki Naukowe AWF (artykuł
w druku).
Stanisław Kowalczyk*
Catholic University of Lublin
The Anthropological – Axiological Sense
of Religious Pilgrimages
Key words: pilgrimage, homo viator, values, sanctuaries.
Pilgrimages as religious tourism have an ontological basis in the nature of the human
person defined by G. Marcel as homo viator. Migrations and journeys are a permanent
element of human history. The phenomenon of pilgrimages is well-known in all religions,
including Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Today we are witnessing a revival of religious
pilgrimages, also foot pilgrimages in Poland. Pilgrimage, being a physical way to religious
sanctuaries, is at the same time a symbolical wandering of man beyond the limits of time
and space towards the eternal Sacrum. Pilgrimage is also an expression of quests for absolute values: truth, goodness, beauty, and holiness. The religious pilgrimage is a psychicalspiritual way to God as the personal-transcendental Sacrum whose epiphany may become
holy places, images, sanctuaries, and the fellowship of believers.
Sport and tourism are two most important domains of human motor activity. Over the
ages they have been accompanying the works of humankind, and today they have taken
on an unusually mass character. People living most often in big urban agglomerations feel
sport and tourism to be their physical and psychical need. They are harnessed in labour
rhythm and technical devices, give in to the stress of a rapid pace of their work, hence they
need to relax and rest. Tourism has many kinds of varieties, one of them being religious
tourism in the form of pilgrimages.
Man – homo viator
There are many names describing the nature of the person. The French existentialist
Gabriel Marcel (1889-1973) defined the human being as homo viator, bearing in mind the
fact that the ontic condition of a pilgrim (Lat. peregrinus from the words: per ager – across
the field) is part of his or her nature.1 The human person has an active, dynamic, and creative nature. He feels a physical and psychical need to change places of his sojourn, as he
likes travelling. The legendary hero of ancient Greek literature, Odysseus, travelling for
long years to his destination, has become a symbol of the human journeys. They are subject
matter of literature, the historical and geographical sciences, fixed in the works of architecture and art, gloried in songs, or they have even become a philosophical category. One
can even speak about a philosophical topos of journey.2 Tourism, broadly understood, is a
manifestation of contemporary civilisation and has become a lifestyle of an ever-increasing
number of people; its ontological foundation is contained in human nature. The person is
homo viator, has the condition of a nomad, traveller, adventure seeker, and pilgrim. One
often speaks about the way of human life. This concept of a way is an archetypal symbol of
human attitude, their mentality and spirituality.
To define the person as a rambler or traveller is not a semantic abuse, for humanity
has always been on the move. Let it suffice to mention migrations of individuals and small
ethnic groups. Several dozen thousand years ago the first groups left Africa and colonised
the majority of continents. Mass migrations took place in ancient times and the Middle
Ages. They were particularly intensive in the period from the 4th to the 7th centuries, when
the Huns, Visigoths, Ostrogoths, Vandals, Franks, and Longobards moved from Asia to
Europe and Africa. The Slavonic tribes also participated in the migration processes, with
their expansion mainly in the 6th and 7th centuries.
Human migrations had a varied character and different causes: in the beginning there
was a quest for settlement and more comfortable conditions, then in the Middle Ages people travelled for trade, educational-scientific, political, church and other reasons. Chiefs
travelled when they organised war explorations and conquests, politicians, merchants, diplomats, missionaries, scholars, and the people of the Church. Philosophers were no exception here, something that can be confirmed by such ancient philosophers as Thales of Miletus, Democritus, Plato, and Aristotle. In the Middle Ages the most prominent theologians
and philosophers travelled through the countries of West Europe. We find among them
Albert the Great, Thomas Aquinas, and Bonaventure. St. Francis of Assisi also took part in
missionary journeys. Together with crusaders he arrived in Egypt where he met the sultan,
and then he visited the Holy Land.3 Journeys played an important role in the life of Augustine who was born in Africa, but he owes his education and conversion to Europe (while
listening to St. Ambrose’s sermons). Many saints were going on pilgrimages and missionary travels. The founder of the Jesuit Order St. Ignatius Loyola went on a pilgrimage to
Palestine, St. Xavier was a missionary of India, and the Polish Franciscan, Fr Maximillian
Kolbe, was a founder of Japan Niepokalanów.
Today tourism is so common that it has become a profitable business. The process of
globalisation is conducive to travels of an increasing number of people to all countries and
Going on pilgrimages – a phenomenon of human history
Zygmunt Bauman, at the moment sympathising with the ideology of postmodernism,
calls the contemporary man a “nomad” – tourist.4 This statement is not limited only to the
fact of travelling. Rather, it suggests an ontological thesis that the person does not have a
fixed universal nature, but constantly changes his or her structure and attributes. As a sociologist, this scholar has distinguished several personal patterns dominating today. They
are as follows: tourist, rambler, and wanderer.5 Now the pilgrims belong to none of these
categories, for they are inspired by religious faith that has sacral-eschatological goals. The
pilgrims differ from common tourists because in their wandering and in the sanctuaries they
visit they seek traces of Transcendence.
Pilgrimages are most ancient phenomena of the history of humankind, a characteristic trait of all religions. Pilgrimage differs from religious tourism equally essentially as
personal faith differs from theoretical religious studies.6 The pilgrimage to the Holy Land
is a profound religious experience for the Christian, whereas religious tourism, e.g. to the
sanctuaries of Hinduism in India is dictated by curiosity. The pilgrimage is a wandering
of the believers to places sanctified by a divine revelation, activity of the founder of religion, miraculous phenomena etc. in order to pray there and experience God who is close.
All great religions have their own holy places to which their believers go on pilgrimages.
Pilgrimages and processions were well known in ancient Mesopotamia. In Egypt, at the
time of pharaohs, pilgrims visited holy towns: Hieropolis, Buzyrys, Memphis, and Thebes.
There were sanctuaries there dedicated to deities and tomb temples. In the Hetite Empire in
the Near East the royal couple each year made a pilgrimage to the then religious sanctuaries. Inhabitants of ancient Greece went on pilgrimages to Delphi, Delos, and Eleusia, all of
them places of religious cult. Pilgrimages had long been known in India with Benarus, Puri,
and Mathura – the holy towns of Hinduism. Buddhists worshipped such places as Sanchi,
Budhgaya, Sarnath, and mount Abu. The traditions of Buddhist pilgrimages are also wellknown in Sri Lanca, Tibet (the town of Lahsa – in the past there was a residence of Dalai
Lama), China and Japan. In the latter two countries Shintoism competes with Buddhism.
South and Central Americas were also territories of pilgrimages from the 3rd millennium
BC on, where masses of people would wander to sanctuaries situated in the Andes, among
others, in Mexico. The believers of Japanese Shintoism went on pilgrimage to mount Fujiyama, of Confucianism to the tomb of Confucius. In India Hinduists went to the river
Ganges whose water is worshipped as holy and purifying. The pilgrimage to Mecca is a
religious duty of Islamists who worship there the place of Mahomet’s birth and pray around
the temple of Kaaba. Islam obliges Muslims, as far as possible, to go on a pilgrimage to
Mecca at least once in their lifetime. This obligation belongs to the so-called basic five pillars of this religion. Mecca in Islam plays a similar role like Jerusalem in Judaism. In recent
years from 2 to 3 million pilgrims arrive to this city for great Muslim holidays.7
Going on pilgrimages, as an essential element of religious life, is noted in the Old and
the New Testament. According to the Bible, going on pilgrimages is not only a religious
experience, but also the basic attribute of human life, that is, seeking a contact with Transcendence in everyday human existence. Life is wandering through the earth toward God.
Now Abraham’s wandering was an archetype of pilgrimages in religious Judeo-Christian
culture. He left his homeland Chaldean Ur and made for the Promised Land Canaan, which
his descendants were supposed to take into possession (Gen 12).8 The Book of Exodus from
the Old Testament describes in detail the pilgrimages of the whole people of Israel. After
they had left Egypt they wandered for forty years across the Sinai Peninsula in the quest
for the Promised Land. The believers of Judaism several times a year, during big holidays,
went to pray in the Jerusalem temple. Christ complied with this custom as well. As a boy,
together with Joseph and Mary, He would go on a pilgrimage there. Then, as an adult, He
many times prayed in the temple.9
Recognising in Jesus Christ God-Man, Christianity interprets the idea of pilgrimages
in the eschatological sense as a way of the people of God through the earth to God (2 Cor
5:6 ff; Hebr 13:14). It is not the Jerusalem temple, but Jesus Himself that became the centre of Christian pilgrimages because He called Himself the way, the truth, and the life (J
14:6). Going on pilgrimages in the Christian interpretation has become a metaphor of following Christ and the way to Him. The custom of physical pilgrimages has yet remained.
Since the beginning Christians have been going on pilgrimages to the places sanctified
by the presence of Jesus in the Holy Land, especially Bethlehem and Jerusalem. In the
Middle Ages people most often went on pilgrimages to Palestine, Rome and the tomb
of St. James the Apostle in Santiago de Compostella in Spain. These were usually pilgrimages on foot, a fact that demanded of their participants to be fit and courageous (on
their way they met many obstacles and dangers). The crusades initiated in the 11th and
13th centuries, whose aim was to regain the Holy Land from the hands of Muslims, were
also inspired by the desire to facilitate pilgrimages for Christians. The period of the Enlightenment, through its rationalism, made the custom of pilgrimages to holy places die
down, but in the contemporary times – despite secularisation – one can observe a revival
of religious pilgrimages.
The custom of going on pilgrimages is permanently linked with Polish Catholicism. At
the moment there are circa 500 sanctuaries here, including over 400 Marian sanctuaries.10
Karol Wojtyła – John Paul II contributed to the popularisation of the custom of going on
pilgrimages when he, as a young man, went on a pilgrimage with his father to Kalwaria
Zebrzydowska and Jasna Góra. When he was a Pope he went on pilgrimages to the biggest sanctuaries of the world: Lourdes in France, Fatima in Portugal, Mariazell in Austria,
Guadeloupe in Mexico, and Częstochowa in Poland. Now within one year about 6-7 million Poles take part in pilgrimages at home and abroad. Most often they visit the following
places: the Holy Land, Rome, Lourdes and Fatima abroad; in Poland they travel to Jasna
Góra, Kalwaria Zebrzydowska and Licheń. It is worth stressing that numerous foot pilgrimages come to Częstochowa for Marian holidays. These pilgrimages are often dominated by
young people.11
Pilgrimage – a symbolical wandering beyond time and space
Christianity has assimilated the custom of pilgrimages in its tradition. The physical
wandering to religious sanctuaries, however, is interpreted as a symbol of human difficult
spiritual way through time and space to eternity and God. The idea of pilgrimage is ontologically encoded in people’s nature who despite their contingency and transitoriness yearn
for an everlasting God, who despite their sinfulness yearn the absolute Sacrum. The experience of the external human dilemma between time and eternity is well described by two
Christian thinkers: Augustine and Pascal. In his Confessions St. Augustine characterised
the condition of man who lives in time but is engaged in eternity.12 Human life passes in
time, has its past, presence, and future. Though people are subject to passing and live in the
constant perspective of death, they yearn for eternity and desire it. They strive to go beyond
time, rule over it, and reach eternity. And yet, despite that, they remain within the limits
of time. The human person, situated in time, feels with his or her heart the presence of the
everlasting God. The symbolical expression of this internal human antinomy between time
and eternity is pilgrimage, for it is carried out in concrete time and place, but is inspired by
the quest after God. His nature is the ever present BEING. Speaking about human nature,
Augustine pointed at its internal split between the moral desire of good and the fascination
and giving in to evil. The religious pilgrimage is the time when a pilgrim strives to overcome the internal antinomy between good and evil on behalf of good.
Characterising human nature, Blaise Pascal (1623-1662) also stressed its inherent opposition between the frailty of existence and the yearning for immorality. People are hung
between nothingness and contingency and God’s infinity. The human person in his or her
nature combines the two levels of being: material and spiritual, therefore “the man is neither an angel nor an animal.”13 The combination of the body and spirit many a time sets
desires, inclinations and values in opposition. People experience the “misery” of transitoriness and moral weakness, but at the same time they possess the immaterial and immortal spirit, therefore they yearn for God. “Man surpasses man.”14 Pascalian anthropology
perfectly harmonises with the anthropological-axiological sense of religious pilgrimages.
People living in definite parameters of time, history, and place participate in them. They
belong to ethnical-social groups, are subject to moral weakness, but through faith, eschatological hope and concrete works of love they discover the presence of the absolute Sacrum,
which is beyond the horizon of the earthly life and earth. Pilgrimage is an experience of the
spiritual presence of God. His epiphany may be an event, a temple, an image, a place, or a
fellowship of believers.
Pilgrimage – the quest for absolute values
The Danish existentialist, Søren Kierkegaard (1818-1855), like St. Augustine and Pascal, perceives in human nature the wealth and opposition of attributes. “Man – he wrote – is
a synthesis of the finite and infinity, the presence and eternity, freedom and necessity.”15
The antinomian character of human nature calls for an effort to undertake internal work
on oneself, the skill to go beyond the present time and its limitations. Kierkegaard distinguished three stages of human life: aesthetic, ethical, and religious.16 The first stage is a
temptation to concentrate on the material-hedonistic values, the second one makes the man
see the need for moral values, and the third one allows him to become friends with God.
The aesthetic attitude is characteristic of people who in their lives seek mainly comfort,
pleasure, and sensual experiences. Such an attitude ultimately leads to disappointment because a sense human life calls for permanent values. The ethical values appear in the lives
of those people who accept responsibility for their conduct and that is why they approve
of ethical norms and duties. The difficulty to carry out moral ideals may lead to mental
breakdowns or makes visible the need to contact God. The religious stage is the most ultimate accomplishment of people, but it calls for their strong and consequent faith by virtue
of which they transcend the limitations of the material world as grasped through sense and
intellectual knowledge.
The distinction between the three stages or else human attitudes, as proposed by Kierkegaard, may be used when analysing religious pilgrimages understood as the quest for
permanent and absolute values. Although the main goals of pilgrimages are religious-sacral
values, nevertheless they contribute to the general axiological enrichment of man. Each pilgrimage, particularly the foot pilgrimage, helps to strengthen human fitness. Contemporary
medicine prescribes prevention in order to stay healthy, especially movement, wandering,
and contact with nature. Many religious sanctuaries, e.g. Kalwaria Zebrzydowska, Lourdes
or Mariazell, are localised in beautiful scenery among forests and mountains. Therefore
they have a very positive impact on human physical and mental health.
Tourism for recreation has, among other things, the values of sightseeing. It allows
learning about interesting places and countries, new cultures, customs, ethnic groups, architectonic monuments, works of art etc. Pilgrimages also broaden the pilgrims’ knowledge,
although mainly they deepen their religious-theological awareness. Owing to conferences
conducted on the way, sermons and lectures, the participants better learn the tenets of faith
and moral principle. Another value of religious pilgrimages is to make believers sensitive to
beauty: the beauty of nature (mountains, forests, rivers, and lakes) and the beauty of works
of art (images, sculptures, and architecture). The sanctuaries are usually extremely precious
monuments with respect to their artistic values.17
Anthropological-axiological values of pilgrimages are health, truth, and beauty, but
also above all moral good and holiness.18 During pilgrimages ethnical or social differences
disappear, social stratification die down, its participants become close to one another and
often address one another “sister,” “brother.” The process of social integration comes about
through common prayer, religious practices, and mutual help in existential problems, and
small communities. In everyday life there dominates the mental climate of the profane,
whereas during pilgrimages believers have a more intensive experience of the need for
Sacrum. Lay values, behaviours and patterns are overcome by values, symbols and religious-sacral ideals. Inasmuch as each kind of tourism, carried out with prudence, fulfils the
function of autopsychotherapy, then pilgrimage may lead to a spiritual transformation of
its participants and their religious-moral revival. Pilgrimage is not religious tourism, for its
main purpose should be to strive after holiness and spiritual union with God.
Pilgrimage – the way to God
G. Marcel defined the condition of the believer by the name of “the condition of a pilgrim,” and characterised the sense of pilgrimages in the following words: “He [the pilgrim]
will remember that it is necessary to pave for oneself an uncertain way through erastic
stones of the fallen universe, the one that evades itself in many respects, towards the world
that is stronger in being, towards the world of which only changing and uncertain reflections may be seen from the earth.”19 Pilgrimage is wandering whose motivations are not
economical, political, or scientific, but religious and sacral. “The pilgrim is a wanderer who
seeks somebody ‘Absolutely Another.’ He seeks reality that goes beyond the limits of ‘this
world.’ The motivation of his conduct is based on the hierophantic horizon, or the vision of
Sacrum, on the expectation of what is invisible, what exerts an impact on his conduct and
can change his situation.”20 Each pilgrimage is a way in the literal and metaphorical-spiritual sense. Firstly, it is a way in the physical-spatial sense, therefore it is accompanied by
discomfort, hardships, fatigue, privations, and unexpected difficulties. They are particularly
severe during a foot pilgrimage when one has to walk with sore feet and changing weather
conditions for hundreds of kilometres. Each pilgrimage, however, even if one travels by
modern means of transport, calls for physical and mental stamina, endurance, and determination in striving after destination.
Pilgrimage is also a way in the mental-spiritual sense. The sense of Christian pilgrimage in its essence consists in the vocation, which Christ addresses to each person who
wishes to be His disciple. The Apostles Simon Peter and his brother Andrew heard the
words: “Follow me” (Mk 1:17). These words define the sense and goal of Christian pilgrimages. Inspired by their faith, Christians wish to overcome their own moral weaknesses, free
themselves of sin and follow Christ in whom they can see the ultimate good. Spiritual going
on pilgrimages is more difficult than the physical hardship that is attendant on the way, for
it calls for going beyond the limits of the profane and reaching the personal sacrum of God.
Strictly speaking, going on pilgrimages for Christians should mean following Jesus without
any preconditions, trusting Him in further life.
Pilgrimage is a way of the human spirit to God, but in the physical sense it is wandering
to a definite place, to a concrete sanctuary. Christians most often go on pilgrimages to the
Holy Land, visit there places that are commemorated by the events from the life of Jesus.
They are the following: Bethlehem, Nazareth, Kafarnaum, the Mount of the Blessings, and
Jerusalem. As early as in the 4th century temples were built in Palestine and frequented by
pilgrims. Another destination for Christian pilgrimages is Rome. There are basilicas there
dedicated to the memory of the Apostles Peter and Paul, catacombs – the places where first
Christians are buried – and numerous temples connected with the cult of saints.21 In the
Middle Ages people went on pilgrimages to the tomb of St. James of Santiago de Compostella. The route of this pilgrimage ran through many countries of Europe. Today the Marian
sanctuaries are particularly often visited. We have to list among them Lourdes and Fatima
in West Europe, and in East Europe Czêstochowa and Ostra Brama in Vilnius.
The destination of a Christian pilgrimage is a sanctuary connected with the person of
Christ, Mother of God, or the saints. The sanctuary is a kind of epiphany for pilgrims, a
revelation of the absolute Sacrum, an experience of internal unity with it. Carrying their
cross along the streets of ancient Jerusalem on Good Friday, Christians spiritually experience the presence of Him who was hanging on the cross. Analogously strong feelings accompany the visitation of the tombs of the Apostles or a prayer before the miraculous icon
of the Mother of God at Jasna Góra. Pilgrimage is a physical visitation of a concrete place
and sanctuary, whereas in the spiritual sense it is a way to God. A Christian pilgrimage is
usually closed with a participation in the Eucharist, i.e. coming together around Christ in
the spirit of faith, eschatological hope, and brotherly love. Analysing the anthropologicalaxiological sense of religious pilgrimages, it is worth quoting the confession of an anonymous Russian author-pilgrim: “The grace of God has made me a man, a Christian; looking
at my deeds, I am a great sinner, and at my vocation I am a pilgrim without a roof above
my head, of the lowest stature, wandering from place to place. My whole property is a sack
with a piece of dry bread hanging on my shoulder, and the holy Bible on my breast. Only
as little as that.”22 These words of confession remind us of the truth that we all are pilgrims
in this life, we walk along various roads of the earth, but the destination of this wandering
is hidden beyond the horizon of time and space. Pilgrims are phenomena well-known in
almost all religions, mainly those connected with the so-called folk piety. They are signs
of the internal human need to seek contacts with absolute-sacral values. For many people
pilgrimage becomes the time when they discover anew the sense and proper direction of
their life, treated as a way to Transcendence.
* Full Prof. Dr. Habil. Stanisław Kowalczyk – head of the Chair of Social Philosophy at the Institute of Sociol1
ogy of John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin.
. Marcel, Homo viator. An Introduction to Metaphysics, trans. into Polish by P. Lubicz, PAX, Warszawa 1981,
p. 7, 158-159.
. Zawisło, Filozoficzny topos podróży [The Philosophical Topos of Journey], in: Z. Dziubiński (ed.), Sport
jako kulturowa rzeczywistość [Sport as a Cultural Reality], Salezjańska Organizacja Sportowa , Warszawa
2005, p. 111-125.
G. Chantraine, Geografia chrześcijańskiego pielgrzymowania [Geography of Christian Pilgrimages], “Communio” 17 (1997) no 4, p. 51-67.
Z. Bauman, Ponowoczesność, czyli demonstrowanie nieśmiertelności [Postmodernism, or the Demonstration
of Immorality], in: S. Czerniak, A. Szahaj (ed.), Postmodernizm a filozofia. Wybór tekstów [Postmodernism
versus Philosophy. A Selection of Texts], Warszawa 1996, p. 143-166.
Z. Bauman, Ponowoczesne wzory osobowe [Postmodern Personal Patterns], in Dwa szkice o moralności
ponowoczesnej [Two Scetches on Postmodern Morality], Instytut Kultury, Warszawa 1994, p. 7-39.
J. Kosiewicz, Filozoficzne aspekty kultury fizycznej i sportu [Philosophical Aspects of Physical Culture and
Sport], BK Publishers, Warszawa 2004, p. 407-416. Speaking about religious tourism, the author has distinguished its two forms: a) religious tourism of a lay character, b) religious tourism of a religious character,
J. Jamier, Wielka pielgrzymka muzułmanów i jej życiowe znaczenie [The Great Muslim Pilgrimage and its
Significance] “Communio” 17 (1997) no 4, p. 77-87.
G. Ravasi, Abraham i Boży lud pielgrzymi [Abraham and the Divine People of Pilgrims] “Communio” 17
(1997) no 4, p. 13-21.
H. Langkammer, Pielgrzym Jezus i jego pierwsi naśladowcy [Jesus the Pilgrim and His First Followers],
ibidem, p. 22-32.
Cf. A. Jackowski, Wybrane problemy turystyki pielgrzymkowej [Some Problems of Pilgrimage Tourism],
“Learned Fascicles of Jagellonian University. Geographical Works,” Kraków 1987, no 70; the same, Pielgrzymki w Polsce a pielgrzymki na świecie [Pilgrimages in Poland and Pilgrimages in the World], “Problemy
Turystyki” 1990, no 1-2.
A. Dyr., Piesza pielgrzymka Warszawska [The Foot Warsaw Pilgrimage] “Communio” 17 (1997) no 4, p.
108-123. The custom of going on pilgrimages to Jasna Góra is six hundred years old, and the pilgrimage from
Warsaw started for the first time in 1711.
St. Augustine, Wyznania [Confessions] 11, 13; 11, 15, 18-19.
B. Pascal, Myśli [Thoughts] trans. into Polish by T. Żeleński, PAX, Warszawa 1952 no 358, p. 126.
Myśli, no 434, p. 149. Cf. op. cit., p. 124.
S. Kierkegaard, Bojaźń i drżenie. Choroba na śmierć [Fear and Trembling. Sickness unto Death] trans. into
Polish by J. Iwaszkiewicz, PWN, Warszawa 1969, p. 146.
S. Kierkegaard, Albo – albo [Either-or], vol. II, trans. into Polish by J. Iwaszkiewicz, PWN, Warszawa 1976.
Skarby Jasnej Góry [The Treasures of Jasna Góra], Warszawa [no date], ed. 2.
Cf. Z. Krawczyk, Aksjologiczne uwarunkowania turystyki [Axiological Conditions of Tourism] in: Z.
Dziubiński, Aksjologia sportu [Axiology of Sport], Salezjańska Organizacja Sportowa, Warszawa 2002, p.
G. Marcel, Homo viator, p. 158.
J. Ries, Panorama pielgrzymek. Aspekty religijne i kulturowe [The Panorama of Pilgrimages. Religious and
Cultural Aspects] “Communio” 17 (1977) no 4, p. 5 (3-11).
B. Hamarneh, Początki pielgrzymowania do Rzymu “Ad limina Apostolorum,” “Communio” 17 (1997) no
4, p. 41-56.
Anonym, Opowieści pielgrzyma [Pilgrim Stories], Poznań 1988, p. 23.
Anna Katarzyna Pawlikowska-Piechotka
University of Physical Education in Warsaw
Faculty of Physical Education
Mazovian Castles as Cultural Tourism Attraction
Key words: castles, cultural heritage, sustainable tourism
The main purpose of the study was to analyse present tourist functions of selected
medieval castles, all located in the small cities of the Mazovaia Region in Poland.The presented research was carried out in the Mazovia Region Poland, covering all castles located
in the towns with less than 50 000 permanent inhabitants. This research data was obtained
on the bases of a questionnaire, arranged to focus on the following problems: a) main
functions of architectural monuments, its legal and technical state, conservatory programs
formal requirements; b) accessibility: tourist movement scale (per year), accessibility for
handicapped people; c) management activity to create a cultural/educational events, cooperation with local authorities and non-government institutions; d) proposals from the
part of the local community representatives, government institutions and non-government
organizations for future improvements
Possible grouping of castles: a) good technical state, high tourist attraction, multiply
function; b) poor technical state, active in management, considerable high tourist attraction;
c) poor technical state, lack of cultural activities, inconsiderable number of visitors.
Covered by our research, the castles are varying in many ways: technical state, quality
of management, function. Therefore these historical monuments play very different roles in
the described “tourist space” and have a different meaning for the local community (as its
local cultural centre and symbol of regional identity).
In Poland there are now about 60 000 historic monuments (formally registered by the
Ministry of Culture), having different “tourist values” [5]. Comparing to the other architectural monuments, some 500 historic castles remained in Poland, which being both attractive as examples of ancient building skills as well as monumental and romantically located
architecture, act today as real magnets to overseas and domestic tourist alike. Verisimilarly, some examples of medieval castles remained to our times, which act today mainly
as a small attraction for numerous tourists. They can also be a chance for various cultural
and educational initiatives, focused on the needs and expectationsof the local community
members. Probably in many small towns in Poland these architectural monuments might
be considered not only as solid foundations for heritage tourism development but also as
possible location for local cultural/education centres, intended as an important symbol of
regional identity (in the meaning of its history and tradition). [7]
However, it might appear that as the number of tourists continues to grow, the management of historic castles becomes more crucial. It means, that this problem, which might
appear and should be satisfactorily solved, is a question of catering for the needs of the
visitors without destroying the character of the unique historic environment. It seems now
that the key problem for planners trying to introduce some suggestions of the town revitalization program, is to achieve a rational balance between commercial development, tourism
requirements and historic preservation. This planning question seems to be very important
once we share the belief, that historic inheritance is a gift and a chance for tourist development, but also requires serious treatment and responsibility. The past observation in numerous cases suggested that building historic environment is vital to the quality of life and once
lost – might never be replaced again. [14]
Material and methods
As was emphasised above, the essential problem for architects and urban planners is to
find a well-balanced compromise between the castle’s multifunctional use (museum, cultural
centre) and some specific requirements of different groups of its visitors (tourists and local
community members), without destroying the specific character of the unique, historic environment. That issue becomes crucial, as a rational proposal of castle’s revitalization (with
a balance kept between commercial development, tourism requirements, local community
expectations and historic preservation needs), treated as one of the elements of spatial planning intended to create a sustainable urban conservation program, might have an important
influence on the present and future environment quality of a small town. [7,14].
It is difficult to define now how many castles came into being in Poland; at present their
number is estimated to be on about 500 structures, (out of total 60 000 registered and recognised by government architectural monuments), coming from different historical epochs
[3]. Without regard to their technical state – the Polish castles, by their beauty, fascinating history, very often high architectural values, make the development of the sustainable
forms of tourism: sightseeing tourism as well as cultural tourism, certainly possible. The
permanent growth of popularity of these forms of tourism is the consequence of changes
in mentality of modern society. Growing popularity of active forms of tourism, often replacing old and unfashionable passive form of rest, is today visible. Clearly, these days for
many tourists such a form of passing time as sightseeing tours, direct contact with historic
environment, also the studies of general history, history of art, architecture and civilization,
are becoming more important [6,9].
Significantly, when taking into account sustainable tourist development, the question is
how these historic monuments are prepared for such an intensive exploration, whether the
tourist function is convergent with principles of protection of cultural environment, what
the attitude of local community is towards tourist development – these questions were the
bottom line of our research. Our field study in the Mazovia Region was conducted by the
Institute of Tourism and Recreation, Warsaw Sports Academy.
First and foremost in the first stage of our research studies (2002-2004), field investigations in selected castles were completed, all with the help of about one hundred students
from the Institute of Tourism and Recreation from the Warsaw Sports Academy. Hence,
due to the students’ shared research work (in form of course study – as graded workshop
participation), questionnaire investigations were conducted in the selected castles of the
Mazovia Region. This study covered only these castles of the Mazovia Region, which already had a tourist function. As it was stressed before, the intended purpose of our research
was to consider both present tourist function and future possible improvements of the castle
management. Our first results are in the form of some preliminary conclusions built on the
base of the following questions analyze:
a) C
astle main functions, its legal and technical state; conservatory programs formal requirements
b) Castle’s accessibility; tourist movement scale (per year); accessibility for disabled people
c) Management activity to create a cultural/educative event; cooperation with local authorities and non-government institutions
In the next stage (2004-2006), more detailed research, also in the form of a questionnaire, was completed in Czersk (small town of less than 1 000 inhabitants, situated near
Warsaw). We have polled over a hundred local community members and our questions
were mainly focused on their comments on the subjects of the present function of the castle
in Czersk and expectations of its future program. And consequently we got therefore an
answer for the next question:
d) Expectations of castle future functions and cultural/educative activities there (as a proposal from the part of the local community representatives, government institutions and
non-government organizations).
Accordingly to the present records of the Ministry of Culture, within the present borders of the Mazovia Region, there are as many as nineteen historic castles. All are registered as National Monuments and are under a strict protection program from the part of
the Mazovia Region Conservator of Historic Monuments in Warsaw. To list from northern
direction clockwise, there are castles located in: Szreńsk, Płock, Ciechanów, Sochaczew,
Pułtusk, Warsaw (3 castles), Czersk, Łowicz, Opinogóra, Oporów, Piotrków Trybunalski,
Inowlódz, Rawa Mazowiecka, Liw, Drzewica and Ilża.
a) Castles legal and technical state and main functions
It can be noticed that some of the historic monuments are kept in sufficiently good
technical state (the Bishops’ Castle in Pułtusk, the Castle in Oporów and the Castle in
Opinogóra), but several survived until today only as some parts of earlier historic structure
(the Castle in Rawa Mazowiecka, the Castle in Czersk, the Castle in Ciechanow, the Castle
in Płock, the Castle in Liw). The castle’s present legal ownership state differs: from state
administration (the Castle in Opinogóra, castles in Warsaw) to local councils, foundations,
associations (the Castle in Pułtusk, the Castle in Czersk) and even some private persons
(the Castle in Łowicz). Apart from the Castle in Łowicz inaccessible for tourists, all Mazovian castles are adapted to tourist function, used today as museums (Czersk), art galleries
(Ciechanów), as so called status of “preserved ruins” (then often with special “route for
tourist” as is arranged in Drzewica); some castles are also serving as conference centres
(Pułtusk), or as hostels with catering offers (Oporów). [Tab. 1]
Tab. 1 Main Tourist Services (Selected Castles of Mazovia Region – Poland)
mainly reconstructed
partly reconstructed
exhibitions, shop, gastronomy,
exhibition, shop, tournaments
partly reconstructed
exhibition, feasts,
exhibition, gastronomy, shop,
concerts, workshops
exhibition, hotel, concerts
Reconstructed (1980)
Reconstructed (1954)
(Royal Castle)
Reconstructed (1988)
Reconstructed (1988)
Centre of
Contemporary Art
hotel, gastronomy,
exhibition, library, concerts
exhibition, library, shop, cinema,
exhibition, gastronomy, library,
concerts, workshops
Source: Institute of Tourist and Recreation WWF AWF in Warsaw (2002/2005)
By and large, an entrance fee in many Mazovian castles is charged (Opinogóra, Czersk, Ciechanów, Liw), but there are some castles, where entrance is free of charge and not
limited (Piotrków Trybunalski, Inowłódz) or partly free (Płock, Rawa Mazowiecka). What
should be stressed is the fact, that basically the entrance tickets are not expensive (about
one/two EUR per person only). To put it another way, it seems that the price level charged
in most of the Mazovian castles should not be essential to the limitation of tourist presence and potential attractiveness of these structures. Furthermore, as we were informed in
many castles, any reduction of entrance fee should be very carefully considered, as profits
achieved by the castle’s management, by all means not large per year, for many museums
make some significant position in their budget. And still despite these incomes, as well as
grant-in-aids received from the Ministry of Culture and from local authorities – none of the
castle managers was able to admit that they possess the sufficient financial means to maintain the historic monument in an appropriate way.
b) Castle accessibility; tourist movement (numbers per year); facilities for handicapped
On balance, a yearly tourist movement (estimated on the basis data predicted from the
number of tickets sold) is the largest in Opinogóra (25 000) and Czersk (24 000); then are
Liw (16 000), Ciechanow (14 000) and Oporów (12 000). [Tab. 2]
Tab. 2 Number of Tourist (Selected Castles of Mazovia Region – Poland)
(in 2003)
V and IX
WARSAW (Ostrorogski)
WARSAW (Ujazdowski)
WARSAW (Royal Castle)
Source: Institute of Tourist and Recreation WWF AWF in Warsaw (2002/2005)
In these castles in where the entrance is free (Drzewica) or only partly charged (Rawa
Mazovian), it is very difficult to estimate, even approximately, the scale of tourist movement per year.
What is very unfortunate – most of the visited castles are not prepared for receiving
disabled people. One could say that the castles which are generally in a very poor technical state, partly in ruins are in a rather difficult position. As some of the Mazovia Region
castles have only part of their constructional elements (the outlines of walls, remaining of
defensive towers) it is not easy to provide safe access for disabled people there (Czersk,
Ciechanow, Liw, Rawa Mazovian). And yet it seems that we can hardly find a good excuse for Pułtusk, Opinogóra or Oporów, it is a shame that their managers do not bother to
provide some necessary facilities for the handicapped. The drift of architectural barriers
(the adaptation of the toilets, horizontal and vertical transport) is a problem of a special
value [6]. Our research revealed that special preparation for receiving disabled people (architecturally, exhibitions, information and trained guides) are prepared exclusively in the
structures of a very good state of preservation, of varied functions and of numerous tourist
movements. [Tab.2]
c) Management activity to create both cultural and educative events; cooperation and initiatives of local authorities and government institutions
The majority of investigated Mazovia castles have, as a rule, the function of museum
or art gallery. On average, it is the function it seems, welcomed both from the point of view
of historic relics protection needs, and the possible development of sustainable tourism.
That is first of all the sightseeing tourism (regarded as the educational activity) and cultural tourism (concerts, theatre performances, competitions, festivals). Hence, the museums
which are located in Opinogóra, Oporów, Ciechanów, Płock and in Liw, all are this way
simultaneously fulfilling several tasks, such as : historic monuments conservatory activity,
educational programs as well as scientific studies programs.
Hitherto only two of Mazovia castles have been transformed into functioning hotels.
One of them is the famous Bishops’ Castle in Pultusk, which recently has joined an exclusive
group “Leisure and Heritage”. It is to be underlined that it was the first Polish historic building, which was adapted for such a function. Bishops’ Castle in Pułtusk, which was built in
the early 15th century., is located in the picturesque Valley of the River Narwia, and has been
transformed into a conference and hotel centre at the end of 70s. At present, in the carefully
restored castle (so called “House of Polonia”), owned by the “Wspólnota Polska” Association, it contains a conference section, as well as hotel and catering section (hotel can hold
about one hundred guests). In the Western Wing of the castle art exhibitions are located.
The outstanding beauty of the surrounding outside the castle with it’s well-kept gardens deserve the notice. Another hotel transferred into castle, historic monument located in Oporów,
founded in the medieval ages (early 15th c), is the second example of successful adaptation to
hotel function. Not only is there a “standard” museum of renaissance interiors, but also some
of the guest rooms are arranged for hotel guests (so called “renaissance apartment”, consisting
of three bedrooms, a lounge, a kitchen and a bathroom). As well as Bishop’s Castle in Pułtusk
Oporów Castle is picturesquely located, build on the island and surrounded by the 19c vast
landscape park founded in the 19th c. Today Oporów Castle is not only a museum and a hotel,
but also a well-known centre of scientific meetings, seminars and conferences. As we learnt
from the manager, it also serves as a place for family reunions, which are organized there
as often as official banquets, concerts, theatre performances, both public and private events.
Furthermore, the historic Renaissance Knight’s Hall serves the ceremonies of civil marriages.
In spring and summer season, on the historic castle’s courtyard some popular outdoor events
are organized (concerts, regional fairs, knight’s fights).
On the basis of our researches, it is possible to conclude, that most of the castles of the
Mazovia Region are prepared for tourist function in a creative way, becoming a strong magnet and an important attraction for tourists, as real “show-places”. Especially the perfectly
restored castles in Pułtusk, Oporów and Opinogóra are the examples of objects which can
attract both tourists and local community members by permanent and temporary exhibitions, by means of concerts with participation of world famous virtuosos, theatre performances, workshops and courses of lectures.
It seems by all means very important, that most of the Mazovia castles are carefully
prepared for tourist function and play an important role as high cultural value of the region,
successfully fulfilling simultaneously many different functions (museum, gallery, hotel,
conference centre). However, still some further improvements regarding tourist infrastructure, could be introduced in many Mazovian castles. Especially the unique on a European
scale, Museum of Romanticism in Opinogóra (north of Warsaw) might be the example of
potential chance of considerable tourist attractiveness still not properly developed. The
Museum in Opinogóra is visited by 25 000 tourists per year. Regarding the beautiful surrounding (rural areas, forests) the theoretical tourist could find a considerably good possibility to visit a place for at least a couple of days. It is only because of the lack of tourist
base (hotel, boarding-houses, camping or the agro – tourist offer) – that the tourists do not
want to stay there for longer. In the same way, the attractive economic chance for developing tourist function (agro-tourism) in the region is being lost. The answer to the question,
how one can better manage the museum in the castle of Opinogóra, regarding the tourist
function, is very difficult. Although visitors may expect a far better and more sophisticated
tourist services (today there is only one car park and one restaurant in the vicinity of the
Museum of Romanticism), but according to the plans of the Conservatory of Historical
Monuments – neither the castle nor the historic landscape park, can be adapted to tourist
functions different than the museum. Of course it is a law, which must be strictly observed,
but we believe it is still worth considering, beyond the historical environment, the possibility of locating some limited-sized hotel facilities and also to consider organizing B&Ss in
the surrounding villages (as pro-ecological agro-farm offer). [11]
Unfortunately, due to the bad state of preservation, without enough area of roofed
space, not having the possibility to organize permanent or temporary exhibitions, museums
or art galleries, the stylish historic interiors, or the hotel base with catering services provided, several castles in the Mazovia Region (as these in Czersk, Ciechanow, Liw, Rawa
Mazovian) can attract tourists’ attention only as romantic ruins and the place of sentimental
walks. However, some of the managers administrating the above-mentioned Mazovian castles, despite the poor technical potentials and complicated tourist function opportunities, try
to attract their guests with the help of different cultural events. It is performed first of all by
organizing outdoor activities, mainly during spring and summer time.
In our opinion, in recent years the interesting result of such efforts both from the part
of the castle administrators, local authorities and non-government institutions – are visible
in the programs undertaken in thecastles in Liw, Czersk and Ciechanow. A good example
of local tourist attraction, which has been created, is the castle in Liw, where since the year
2003 the historical feast “The Common Roots of Europe” has been organized each spring.
This event, of partly recreational and partly educational character, is prepared in cooperation with Archaeological Museum in Warsaw, Warsaw University and Lublin University.
The feast is enriched by an exhibition of archaeological discoveries from neighbourhoods
of Liw castle, workshops on site manufacturing (pottery, the braziers), also some demonstrations of the Roman legionary drill, Polish knights traditional fights, costumes. The
profits from tickets (one should stress that disabled people have free entrance) as well
as the earnings from catering points – are spent on castle restoration needs. Also the interesting tourist development policy was introduced by the management of the castle in
Ciechanow. On its spacious historical courtyard (which has dimensions of 50 m x 50 m),
some cultural events and show performances such as opera, theatre, concerts of classical
music are organized during spring and summer season. The famous Łodz Opera Theatre
Company performed recently. Another good example of rich cultural program and “creative management” efforts is to be found in the castle in Czersk (near Warsaw). Due to the
comparatively poor technical state and specific troubles with the preservation of medieval
ruins (at present the castle has only three towers and a part of defensive walls), there is only
a small museum and an art gallery in one of the castle’s towers. Despite serious technical
troubles, in the historic castle courtyard, each year different kinds of outdoor events in
spring and summer time are organized (the most famous are: feast “The Queen’s Gardens”
and “The Knight’s Tournaments”). Furthermore, concerts of historical music, meetings and
schoolchildren workshops for(“European Days of Heritage”) take place. Many of these
events are organized by the Polish Archaeological Association together with Archaeological Museum in Warsaw. Considering the small distance from Warsaw (about 30 km) and
also the fact that all these programs are promoted by local press, radio and TV – it does not
come as a surprise that the cultural program in Czersk attracts numerous tourists, not only
local community members.
However, we can be sure, that still in at least several buildings in the Mazovia Region,
a chance to create a multifunctional tourist and cultural centre does not seem need to be
carefully considered. Of course in each case the causes are different. For example the castle
in Łowicz, which remains in private hands, is not available to tourists at all, but by comparison the Bishop’s Castle in Drzewica, despite being private, is “open” (and free of charge)
for numerous tourists visiting the site.
The development of cultural tourism, as other forms of tourism, may bring many economic advantages to the local community. However, in the case of small towns, it might be
called as well a “blessing” as a “curse” – for the receptive area and a certain threat for the
vulnerable environment (cultural, natural and social). One of the methods of recognizing if
the development of tourism has a sustainable character is to learn more about the present
attitude of the local community toward the further development of tourism.
The town of Czersk is a small city of less than one thousand inhabitants, located near
Warsaw. It can be an example of the rising development of tourism and a mixture of emotional feelings of the local society in regard to the numerous tourist arriving in their town.
To find out what is an opinion about tourists whose main aim to visit Czersk and its 14th c.
Medieval castle located there, we polled as many as 50 habitants in September 2004 and
100 members of local community in May 2006. Our questionnaire concentrated on the
problem of:
d) Expectations of castle future functions and cultural/educative activities there (as a proposal from the part of the local community representatives, government institutions and
non-government organizations).
With respect to this problem one should pay attention to a number of thefollowing,
more detailed questions: local community attitude towards development of tourism in their
town; noticeable consequences of tourism development which are regarded as positive for
local community members and visible results which are considered as disadvantages and
examples of changes which should be introduced to improve future tourist infrastructure.
On the basis of the above field studies it is possible to conclude as follows:
1. As many as 88% of polled people were permanent Czersk’s habitants, only 12% lived in
its surroundings (but all of them in Piaseczno County); age group of 25-45 years: 46%;
age group of 46-65 years: 54%; the majority of inquired were women: 74%; polled group
with higher education: 44%, secondary education: 48%, basic or professional: 8%;
2. For our question whether cultural events in Czersk are inconvenient for local community
members, the answers were as follows: very inconvenient: 0%, slightly inconvenient:
26%; not found inconvenient: 74%.
3. Encouraged to express their own opinions, in which way cultural events organized in
Czersk’s are burdensome for local community members, as many as 90% of those questioned answered that the main reason is the sudden crowd of tourists, pick-pocketing
and some petty robberies were named by 86%; heaps of litter left until the next day
were mentioned by 64% and traffic congestion problems listed by as many as 40% of
4. Majority of inquired members of local community (92%) were sure that the further tourist development in Czersk would bring them certain welcomed economic advantages
(mainly due to the services offered in catering, also farm food and handcrafts sales)
5. For the question of what kind of improvement should be introduced in the future, as
many as 76% habitants answered that a more strict public security programme is im-
portant, 56% pointed the importance of prohibition announced for the periods of mass
events accompanied by thousands of tourist expected in Czersk.
6. Asked what kind of tourist/cultural events might be mostly expected in Czersk, as many
as 78% people indicated musical concerts 72% – traditional rural feasts and fairs and
48% art exhibitions – as the mostly demanded cultural activities.
The above listed first results of our field studies, are certainly the convincing proof that
for the local community members the future development of tourist function in Czersk is
very important economically and therefore truly welcomed (although, what must be underlined, under certain conditions listed in the questionnaires).
It can be seen from our field study research (2002-2006) that castles in the Mazovia
Region are varying in many ways: having different tourist function and a range of tourist
services as well as different historic and architectural values, also various elements of Conservatory Programs. With attention towards this differentiation, it seems possible to divide
castles into three groups:
1. Probably to the first group one could include all the castles which are preserved in a
considerably good technical state, historic buildings which are located in important tourist centres, having already settled prestige, being well-known and popular as sight-seeing
places; with rich cultural-educative programs (museums, exhibitions, concerts). On the
whole these castles have both the high rank as tourist attraction and effectively contribute
to the cultural life of the local community members (Pułtusk, Oporów).
2. Castles included into the second group are the buildings which technical state or
location does not permit the development of so many functions, but due to the initiative
of manageress and local authorities, there are (mainly in spring and summer season on
the historical courtyards) various open-air events organized: concerts, theatrical and opera performances, knights tournaments and feasts, also the arrangements of the “light and
sound” type (Ciechanów, Czersk, Liw). These programs are attracting both local community and tourists, who rest in the neighbourhood ; we may say that these castles act as important centres of cultural life for these two groups.
3. We have to include into the third group only a few Mazovian castles, which are both
in poor technical state and located on the areas of small tourist movement. Most of them
are mismanaged, having “inactive’ managers, whose efforts are limited to keep the object
open for sightseers or being located in the towns with incompetent local authorities, who
do not try to overcome the stereotype programs and do not bother to create a valuable tourist attraction in the architectural monument.
Obviously, weakness and inefficiency of castle management does not help to create a
significant cultural centre. For that reason, on the example of presented castles of Mazovia
Region, it is possible to affirm, that apart from castle attractiveness and its location, the
main factors which are creating the significant tourist value, are the vivid and varied forms
of cultural-educational activity (museum, exhibition, concert, lecture, feast). Anyhow, it
seems that extremely important (but often neglected by castle administration) are: the need
of differentiation the opening hours (especially extended hours in summer months are expected), more efficient system of information and promotion of historical buildings and
activities there organized (brochures, catalogues, leaflets, information boards near roads,
some information on the internet).
By all means, however, we are certain that in the nearest future in many castles in the
Mazovia Region there will be a chance a chance to create interesting and important cultural
centres, which could significantly influence the cultural life of local society and improve
the “tourist space” by adding there some important cultural and educational values. As far
as we are concerned, in many castles (Dzrzewica, Rawa Mazowiecka, Inowłódz) there are
still chances of implementing some education programs, on the subject of tradition and
history of a given region (with pointing out the local identity). We also believe that such
liveliness of the cultural life (thanks to initiative of local authority as well as the administrator the historic castle), the proposal of attractive outdoor events in summer period – would
be simultaneously a chance to promote the region, a chance to develop some sustainable,
pro-ecological forms of tourism (sightseeing tourism and cultural tourism) [1].
One should also remember, that the suitably completed, integrated programs of activation of historical environment (with considering problems of cultural heritage preservation,
social needs of community and economy questions), are coherent with important tasks of
protection of cultural heritage. As the functionally used historic monument (restored again
to the life, as Prof. Jan Zachwatowicz wrote) – has always the larger chance not only to
serve present community, but also to survive for future generations. [14].
We deeply believe that the proposal for solving the small city revitalization needs
should be implemented through the sustainable and integrated process of spatial planning.
We hope that our research, which is still in the course of studies and its final results, might
contribute to the integrated (holistic) spatial planning policy. [13]. We assume that such
an integrated planning policy might fulfil both the local community requirements and the
environment protection together with the needs of historic architecture conservation needs.
In future, in the further stages of our research, we are going to cover other buildings adapted
to tourist function with field studies such as: palaces, manors, and historical buildings of
military and industrial past.
We hope that the final conclusions of our study will enable us to outline the recommendations of possible directions of tourist policy in small towns of the Mazovia Region and
also to formulate certain suggestions of sustainable use of historic environment for tourist and education function – with achieving a balance between commercial development,
tourism-education requirements and historic monuments preservation needs.
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eisure and Heritage in Poland, Leisure and Heritage: Warsaw, 2001.
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Polski”), PWE: Warszawa, 2002.
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Council of Europe: Strassbourg, 1991.
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he EU Compendium of Spatial Planning Systems and Policies, Council of Europe: Brussels,1997.
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Dorota Kamień
University of Physical Education in Warsaw, Faculty of Physical Education
Piotr Wróblewski
Methodological Advisor of the capital city of Warsaw in the field of physical education
Walking for Health.
Recreational Tourist Activities Based on Nordic Walking
– a New Form of Movement Activity;
an Analysis of a Survey Concerning Warsaw Inhabitants’
Movement Activity and Interest in NW
Nordic Walking belongs to the youngest forms of movement activity, which quicker and
quicker gains popularity in Europe and in the world. Many researches confirms a beneficial
influence of “walking with sticks” on human health – especially among persons of middle and
advanced age. Nordic Walking gains a big circle of followers in Poland too, what is proved
among other things by the survey carried out on a group of adults participating in pilot activities
“Walking for Health” taking place in Warsaw in 2005 (from October to December). The above
mentioned researched, based on a previously constructed questionnaire and the previously formulated aim and research questions, enabled to distinguish and determine inter alia the sex
and age of participants (the most numerous age categories, the marital status which dominated
among the researched, their level of education and professional status. Past and current physical
activity of persons practicing Nordic Walking and motives they were driven by while beginning
the cycle of activities were broadly described too. Questions concerning obstacles negatively influencing practicing sport as well as forms of encouragement for undertaking movement activity
turned out to be important for the researches. At the end participants made a subjective judgment
of intensity of activities, atmosphere during exercises and expectations connected with future
activities connected with the programme “Walking for Health”.
Among many existing sports and forms of movement activity walking occupies a special place. Numerous comparative researches show that it is the most popular form of Europeans’ physical and health-oriented activity (3). J. Charzewski’s survey conducted on
the population of Poles gives also similar results and it shows that as people grow old their
walking activity grows too, but women practice that form of spending free time more often
than men (1). During the last few years it was possible to observe an interest in walking as a
form of activity characterized by a moderate or a sub-maximal effort, which is the most beneficial for circulatory and respiratory fitness (which is regarded as the most important health
component, the so-called H-RF). Walking, if applied every day, constitutes an efficient way
of preventing movement limitations. Moreover it should be mentioned that aerobic efforts
and circulatory and respiratory fitness exert a positive influence on the heart and vascular
system [Leon 1991, Powell et al. 1987]. Walking activities constitute an extremely valuable
form of movement because of their simplicity; they are accessible, non-expensive, pleasant, available for the majority of the population and they guarantee a direct contact with the
surrounding environment. While quoting results of scientific researches it should be also
emphasized that physical activity stimulates the process of strengthening bones and these
are rather walking and running – and not swimming – which are recommended here, since
density increases not only in those bones which are loaded. However, independently from
walking or running, exercises loading arms (weight training) are recommendable too.
In many countries walking “for health” has been recommended for many years. Programmes which promote walking, and which have been worked out in a modern way, use
results of the newest scientific researches, which treat walking-walking not as an intermediate stage preparing for example for keep-fit running, but as an autonomous form of movement recreation (8). Finnish walking with sticks called Nordic Walking is more and more
popularly practiced – also in Poland. That form of walking provides better keeping one’s
balance – especially while moving across a bumpy and slippery surface. Moreover, walking with the use of sticks tones up additional muscle groups and the arthral-ligamentous
apparatus of the limbs together with the shoulder girdle, and thanks to that the effort becomes more effective and its intensity may be regulated by the very participant of activity
and according to his/her will, although Finns recommend a lively pace of walking training
(120-150 contractures per minute) lasting at least for 30 minutes and at least 3 times a
Nordic Walking is one of the newest forms of movement activity gaining more and
more adherents all over the world. Its enthusiasts are of an opinion that it is enough to take
part in some lessons with a good instructor to learn the correct technique of walking (print
1) and to experience a positive influence of outdoor movement.
Nordic Walking is a universal form of recreation for all, regardless age and physical
condition. It may be practiced in the mountains as well as on a beach, in city parks, on a soft
natural surface and on hard asphalt pavements. The intensity of exercises may be graded by
the very participant to adjust them to his/her fitness and current physical and mental state.
Sticks for Nordic Walking resembles sticks for cross-country skiing, but they have a
rubber foot enabling walking across a hard surface as well as convenient handles and bindings adjusted for the hand. The correct work of arms, supporting the body with a prop and
pushing the sticks against the surface constitutes a safeguard against stumbling and falling
and – as it is proved by our personal experience – it considerably reduces the load of knee
joints, tarsal joints and the spine and intensifies work of the upper limbs.
A possibility of regulating the intensity of effort during a walking with Nordic Walking
sticks is especially important for recreation, health-oriented and sports training. Researches
of Timothy S. Church, Conrad P. Earnest and Gina M. Morss (2) (table 1) were aimed at
defining differences taking place in the human organism during easy, natural walking and
during a walking with sticks of the same intensity.
Table 1. Differences of intensity of effort during easy walking and Nordic Walking
Regular walking
Nordic Walking
Difference %
Oxygen consumption (ml·kg/min)
Caloric expedinture (kcal/min)
Effort-related heart rate (bpm)
Percent of maximum heart rate
Rating of perceived exertion
Respiratory exchange ratio
Note. M = mean; SD = standard deviation.
A walk or a walking of a brisk pace has been prescribed persons with some illnesses –
or even after a heart attack – for a long time. However, the work of arms and the shoulder
girdle seemed to be slight, similarly as its intensity, what made the realization of the aims of
the training difficult. Numerous opinions connect Nordic Walking with rehabilitation and
the application of walking with sticks with restoring patients to the full fitness after injuries
and various types of illnesses. That what is popularly called in Poland “walking with sticks”
is especially prescribed adults and even persons of advanced age.
In other researches, which have been carried out in Poland by M. Wilk, P. Kocura,
A. Różańska, I. Przywarska, P. Dylewicz, T. Owczarski, E. Deskur-Śmielecka and S.
Borowicz-Bieńkowska (7), the participants were persons after a heart attack. After a stay
in hospital and medical treatment they were sent to undergo rehabilitation. One of forms of
rehabilitation was Nordic Walking (training comprehensively improving fitness and endurance). The other form was a standard training programme which had been realized so far.
After some time it came out that in both training groups an improvement of effort tolerance
was achieved, but the percentage of improvement in the Nordic Walking group (30%) was
higher than in the standard group (14%). We should also pay attention to a 6-minute walking test where similar differences were observed: a higher percentage of improvement in
the Nordic Walking group (22%) than in the standard group (17%). The above mentioned
researches and many other examples point out to great possibilities connected with a new
form of movement called Nordic Walking, which is developing and gaining an increasing
number of sympathizers.
All merits of that new form of movement activity aroused interest of the Department of
sport and Recreation of the Bemowo District of the Capital City of Warsaw and led to organizing a pilot programme called WALKING FOR HEALTH. Activities took place from
October to December 2005 on green areas of Military Technical Academy. The time was
adjusted both to climatic conditions of central Poland (it was usually during nice autumn
days) as well as to breaks connected with Polish traditions (Christmas Holidays). In the
future some continuation of activities is planned in spring (Walking – June), but excluding summer which is usually dedicated to holidays and rest with families. The registration
was carried out with electronic means by placing an advertisement on a website of the
Bemowo District Council. Practical exercises were Taking place for three months every
Saturday from 10 to 12. Participants were divided into three exercising groups taking into
account the intensity of planned exercises and current fitness of exercising persons (as it
was declared by the very participants). Their age was differentiated, although a big group
was constituted by persons below 30 and from 41 to 50 whose general health and physical
condition enabled undertaking active exercises of aerobic character. Among participants
of pilot activities men constituted only 20%. Persons of the lowest fitness were assigned
to the group of beginners, which, besides easy walking, performed many stretching and
tranquilising exercises. The second group – that on the intermediate level – practiced in
a more intense way: it was brisk walking of changeable pace interwoven with stretching
and strengthening exercises. The third group – called the extreme one – apart from intense walking practiced many strengthening and stretching exercises using additionally the
changeable lie of the land (like e.g. slight rise-climbs and descents). During activities all
groups improved the correct technique of walking and the connected walking coordination.
Outdoor exercises were preceded by common warm-up conducted by instructors. Then the
division into proper group and their walking out took place. Each group, constituted of 15
– 20 persons, was exercising and walking led by its fixed instructor (who knew abilities of
the supervised).
The basic precondition of participation in Nordic Walking exercises was good health,
which was defined at the beginning in a declaration signed by every participant.
Unfortunately, the number of those waiting was far more greater than the number of
places and it was why only the first 60 persons were invited to take part in the pilot activities
(the chronological order of applications was taken into account).
The participants were extremely systematic and demanding. During all meetings they
expressed their satisfaction and they manifested good humour, what may prove attractiveness of that new sport.
Both results of the survey and health examinations of persons practicing Nordic Walking
organized by the Bemowo district and carried out during the cycle of activities (they included
among others measurements of thickness of the fatty tissue, of ventilation of lungs, of the
body mass, of quantity of cholesterol) pointed out to a slight improvement of physical fitness
(condition), some improvement of mobility in joints of the shoulder girdle and to an improvement of mental health and of subjective feeling of physical and mental state. However, the duration of physical activities was too short to support researches with efficiency tests and that is
why we restricted ourselves to the survey and to subjective feelings of exercising persons.
The survey among the participants was carried out in December, after two months of
systematic activities. It included 34 persons randomly chosen from among about 60 permanent participants of the programme. Those persons after finishing the last practical movement activities filled up questionnaires, which were analysed thoroughly.
The Aim of the Research and Research Questions
The aim of the presented research was to acquaint inhabitants of a big agglomeration
interested in practicing recreation with a new form of movement coming from Scandinavia.
Basing on the above defined aim, the following research questions were asked:
What is the general characteristics of the group of inhabitants of the Warsaw Bemowo
District interested in recreational activities and participating in them?
What was the hitherto movement activity of the researched and what forms of activity
were practiced by them?
Why Nordic Walking constitutes for the local community an attractive form of movement activity?
What are feelings of participants of activities referring to their physical and mental
state and health-related merits of the presented form of recreation?
What are expectations of the exercising persons connected with future participation I
n Nordic Walking activities?
Methods of Research
The instrument applied in the conducted research was a questionnaire entitled “My
Nordic Walking” worked out especially for those activities. It consisted of two parts where
open and closed questions were placed. The first part concerned participation in activities
and individual physical activity of each participant, whereas the second part (the so-called
certificate) included first of all questions concerning personal data: age, sex, education,
family status, etc.
Additionally, to meet research requirements, there were made interviews concerning
interest of Warsaw (Bemowo) inhabitants in Nordic Walking activities as well as their expectations and plans connected with that sport.
Results of the Research
Information gathered in questionnaires enabled the researched group of participants of
the described activities in a more precise way. The overwhelming majority of participants
(76.5% – table 2) are women, who are interested in new forms of movement activity beneficially influencing health and the figure.
Table 2. Sex of participants
Sex of participants of Nordic Walking
Lack of answer
Number of persons
The age of the questioned is differentiated, although a high percentage is constituted by
persons under 30 or between 41 and 50 (table 3). There were also persons over 60. It seems,
however, that in a close future Nordic Walking will be practiced by many “walkers” between
51 and 60 and over 60, what is pointed out by results of several researches which have been
carried out as well as by determinants and health-related values of Nordic Walking.
Table 3. Age of participants
Number of persons
Up to 30
61 and more
Among the questioned there were many unmarried (32.3% – table 4) or divorced
(14.7%) persons, who – if compared with persons with families – usually have a greater
amount of free time dedicated for practicing sport, what may be facilitated by willingness,
enthusiasm and free will. Half of the researched persons have children (table 5), but only
one has a small child (1 – 6 years old), who requires more care and engagement than more
sufficient learning or working children.
Table 4. Marital status of the researched
Marital status of the researched
Number of persons
Bachelor or maiden
Table 5. Having children by the researched
Having children
Number of persons
Table 6. Age of children of the researched
Age of children
Number of persons
The most numerously represented group among the researched are persons of university education (73.5% – table 7). The majority of participants was constituted by working
people (67.6%), who probably have a small amount of free time, but who want to use it in
an active, healthy and sports way.
Table 7. Education of the participants
Education of the participants
Number of persons
Incomplete tertiary
Table 8. Professional status of the participants
Professional status of the
Number of persons
In the past 16 persons (from among 34 questioned) systematically practiced some
form of movement activity (table 9), such as among others swimming, athletics, basketball, dance, horse riding, aerobic and cycling (table 10). However, for some of them it is
a very distant past and now they feel some shortage of movement activity, which became
one of motives influencing beginning and continuation of Nordic Walking movement
Table 9. Practicing sport in the past
Systematic practicing sport in the past
Number of persons
Currently systematic (what does not always mean often) movement activity is declared
by 24 persons, who the most often cycle, walk, swim, run (jogging) and take part in activities in gyms and fitness clubs (like, for example, aerobics) (table 12). It should be remarked
that that the researched practice many forms of activity of aerobic character or those where
it is easy to regulate the level of intensity by himself/herself.
Table 10. Forms of movement practiced in the past
Sports or forms of movement practiced in the past
Number of persons
Athletics (running)
Body building
Table 11. Current movement activity of the researched
Current movement activity
Number of persons
Table 12. Form of movement currently practiced by the researched
Currently practiced form of movement
Jogging-run/walk, running
Aerobic, fitness, etc.
Bodybuilding activities
Another form of activity (declared by the researched)
Skipping rope
Number of answers
Number of answers
6 persons practice their favourite sport every day, 16 exercise 2-3 times a week and 6
once a week (table 13).
Table 13. Time dedicated to movement activity by the researched
Time dedicated to movement activity
I practice every day
I practice 2-3 times a week
I practice once a week
I practice less frequently than once a week
Number of persons
Sometimes some obstacles disheartening many persons from systematic exercises (table 14). The researched quite often mentioned lack of proper financial means, lack of free
time, health problems, laziness and lack of strong will.
Table 14. Obstacles to systematic practicing sport by the researched
Obstacles to systematic practicing sport
Lack of proper financial means
Lack of free time
Health problems
Lack of answer (the respondent practices every day)
Changeability of weather conditions and situations
Lack of motivation
Lack of possibility of practicing the Chosen sport in the vicinity
Too high number of activities and likings
Lack of strong will
Excess of duties
Lack of power
Number of answers
Up to the time of the research the researched filled their free time in various and in
various groups (table 15). Sport was the most often practiced individually (23 persons) and
with the family (12 persons).
Table 15. Hitherto forms of practicing movement activity by the researched
Hitherto forms of practicing movement activity
With the family
In an organised group
With friends
The participants were encouraged for participation in Nordic Walking activities by,
among others, curiosity connected with a new form of movement, will of improving condition, ability to perform exercises outdoors and ability to spend free time in an active way in
a group of friends (table 16).
Table 16. Forms of encouragement for participation in activities
Participation in activities -forms of encouragement
Number of answers
Curiosity connected with a new form of movement
Willingness to participate in group activities
Hitherto lack of movement and health problems
Willingness to improve one’s own physical condition
Possibility of exercising outdoors and admiring nature
Other forms of encouragement
Number of answers
Possibility of participating in activities for free
Encouragement from a friend
Willingness to exercise with the wife – accompanying her
The overwhelming majority of the researched persons (34) is satisfied with their participation in activities and with the atmosphere there (table 17). The declare that they will
participate in them in the future (in spring) too.
Table 17. Atmosphere during activities
Atmosphere during activities
Number of persons
Encouraging for activities
Discouraging from activities
The intensity of walking (according to the researched) was proper, adjusted to the
age and physical abilities of the exercising persons. Only one person had a problem with
maintaining the imposed pace (table 18). As many as 23 persons would like to increase the
intensity of walking activities and 31 persons hope for increasing the number of Nordic
Walking meetings up to even 2–3 a week (table 18).
Table 18. Estimation of intensity of activities by the researched
Feeling of discomfort during activities
Problems with maintaining the pace of exercises
Increase of intensity during exercises
Increase of number of Nordic Walking activities (2-3 times a week)
Number of persons
Number of persons
Number of persons
Number of persons
Reasons of discomfort
Too slow pace of exercises, lack of breaks during intense walking,
too big group of exercising persons
In spite of the fact that meetings took place only once a week, as early as after two
months of systematic exercises 32 persons had felt improvement of condition and mood
during exercises (table 19). It came out that that slight weekly dose of movement in a
friendly company was of a great benefit of not only physical, but also psychological character.
Table 19. Feeling of improvement of condition
Feeling of improvement of condition
Number of persons
Discussion and Conclusion
The presented innovative form of movement activity gains a greater and greater number
of adherents and sympathizers. A quite simple technique of movement, a possibility of continuous regulation of intensity of exercises and a relatively cheap and very durable sports
equipment constitute main merits of Nordic Walking. Interest in the discussed form of
movement activity is already great, what is pointed out by a great number of persons willing to participate in the activities (those exercising and waiting on the so-called “reserve”
list). However, that interest is various in different milieus and dependent on many factor
which are dependent on or independent from a given person.
Participants of the Nordic Walking activities are usually persons of university education,
professionally active, without children or with relatively older and grown-up children. On that
basis it may be supposed that one of main reasons of giving up movement activity in free time is
the responsibility of taking care of minor children. It may be a hint for organizers of recreational
events, who should provide care or an additional offer for children of adult participants.
Obstacles to systematic practicing movement activity which were the most often mentioned by the researched were: a small amount or lack of free time, lack of sports centres,
swimming pools, pitches or other areas for practicing sports in the vicinity of the place of
living, lack of financial means, health problems, etc. Attention is attracted also by such
reasons as: laziness, lack of strong will and perseverance in striving after the aim.
Because of lack of an ability to make tests checking the current level of physical fitness
(efficiency and muscular power at the beginning and at the end of the activities, questions
concerning subjective feelings of exercising persons were used to determine the level (increase or decrease) of physical condition. The majority of the researched stated that under
the influence of systematic exercises their condition had improved. However, it seems that
it was their subjective perception of their own physical and mental state which had improved to the greatest degree and it would have required a longer time to achieve a clear
improvement of physical fitness by continuing walking activities.
A great interest in Nordic Walking activities proves that those new and hitherto unknown forms of movement have been acknowledged and accepted not only by Warsaw
inhabitants (what is also indicated by hitherto observations of authors of publications and
Nordic Walking Instructors who are active on the area of Poland) and creates a possibility
of including them into the group of many already existing and practiced recreational sports.
The participants of the finished cycle of pilot activities hoped that in the following year –
2006 – Nordic Walking would be restarted by the Bemowo District Council and that maybe
even a weekly number of meetings would be increased (from, 1 to 2). What is, however,
the most important there is an interest of a numerous group of persons and their systematic
physical activity constituting an excellent positive example for others.
Nordic Walking enjoys a great popularity in many countries of Europe and North America
(what is proved by researches carried out by Nordic Walking Association). That sport is the most
often practiced there by persons over 30, who do not need very intense and overloading forms of
movement anymore, and who choose moderate and – what is important – systematic activity.
Probably Nordic Walking will settle in for a longer time in Poland too. The hitherto researches (but not only they) point out that the active part of society is interested in this new
form of movement. Participation in practical activities supervised by qualified instructors
gives exercising person the possibility of getting acquainted with Nordic Walking not only
from the practical, but also from the theoretical side. Knowledge about health benefits resulting from practicing that sport additionally encourages and motivates interested persons to
exercise systematically. Nordic Walking is recommended not only healthy persons (especially
adults and elders), but it is also sometimes prescribed by physicians as a form of rehabilitation
after various illnesses. That is why it is regarded as a universal form of movement which may
be practiced in any conditions, in any season and on any day and by almost everyone.
  1. Charzewski, J.: Aktywność sportowa Polaków /Sports Activity of Poles/. AWF Warszawa 1997.
  2. Church, T.S., Earnest C.P., Morss, G.M.: Field Testing of Physiological Responses Associated with Nordic
Walking, Research Quarterly for Exercises and Sport 2002, Vol. 73, no. 3, pp. 296-300.
  3. Lappaleinen, R.: Walking is Europe’s Most Popular Form of Physical Activity, Walking News, 1998.
  4. Łobożewicz, T.: Od marszu do chodu sportowego /From Walking to Sports Walking/. Sport Wyczynowy
1993, no. 7-8.
  5. Oja, P.: Walking Around the World, The Walking News 1998.
  6. Osiński, W.: Antropometryka /Anthropometrics/. AWF Poznań 2003.
  7. Wilk, M., Kocur, P., Różańska, A., Przywarska, I., Dylewicz, P., Oczarski, T., Deskur-Śmielecka, E.,
Borowicz-Bieńkowska, S.: Ocena niektórych fizjologicznych aspektów Nordic Walking jako uzupełniającego
elementu ćwiczeń fizycznych w drugim etapie rehabilitacji po zawale serca /Estimation of Some Physiological Aspects of Nordic Walking as an Additional Element of Physical Exercises in the Second Stage of Rehabilitation after Heart Attack/, Rehabilitacja 2005, Vol. 9, no. 2, p. 33.
  8. Wolańska, T.: Marsze dla zdrowia /Walking for Health/. Kultura Fizyczna 1999, no. 3-4.
  9. Żukowski, R.: Ruch w terenie jako wyraz stylu życia promującego zdrowie /Outdoor Movement as an Element of a Health-promoting Lifestyle/. Wychowanie Fizyczne i Zdrowotne 1995, no. 2.
Ida Wiszomirska
University of Physical Education in Warsaw
Faculty of Rehabilitation
Selected Aspects of Functional Fitness
of Children with Duchenne Dystrophy
Key words: myopathies, Duchenne dystrophy (DMD), area of reach of the upper limbs, Brooke’s
test, Vignos’ test
The paper refers to a research on children with Duchenne dystrophy. It is a genetically
determined disease. Its main symptom is muscle atrophy. The sick are almost solely boys.
The aim of the research was to obtain an objective picture of functional fitness and to confirm principles of physiotherapeutic treatment of patients with DMD.
Altogether 95 persons were examined regarding their functional fitness; that is, ranges
of movements of joints and the presence of spinal deformations, the mobility of the chest and
the area of reach of the upper limbs. The research was made in the years 2000-2002 in various
centres across the country as well as in the Complex of Integrative Schools in Warsaw. The
paper uses results of functional examinations of 65 boys. Research on the area of reach of the
upper limbs included 25 boys, the examined persons were divided into two groups: boys with
the maintained locomotion function and boys on wheelchairs. In the research on the area of
reach of the upper limbs necessary additional divisions of the researched were made.
In the results of the research the progress of the disease is visible – spine placing
disorders, abnormalities in the build and mobility of the chest, limitation of the range of
movements in joints and the diminishment of the area of reach of the upper limbs. The external compensation which was applied – and which consisted in supporting limbs in order
to improve the function of fitness of the upper limbs – led to increasing estimated areas of
work especially within the reach of effective work. Thanks to that the patients were able to
perform activities, which had been lost earlier.
The discussed research justified application of proper rehabilitation, which can provide
the sick with proper care improving their life comfort.
Duchenne dystrophy is one of neuromuscular diseases characterised by a damage of
the muscular structure and by progressing dystrophic changes taking place in it. It is one of
the most popular diseases among muscular dystrophies – that is, among progressing primarily muscular diseases (myopathies), which are genetically determined.
The development of motor abilities of boys with DMD is slower than in the case of
healthy population. It refers especially to the ability to walk, to go up a step and to get up
from a lying position. Although children suffer from that disease from the moment of birth,
its first symptoms are noticed only about the third or the fourth year of their lives or even
later (1).
The earliest symptoms include delayed walking and running, tiptoeing, awkwardness and hypertrophy of definite muscles – usually of the gastrocnemius muscle, the
infraspinous muscle and the deltoid muscle. In microscope examination of samples of
those muscles, a hypertrophy of the connective tissue and accumulation of adipose cells
are found (2).
Other pathological symptoms are: waddling, falling down, a characteristic way of
assuming an upright position (the so-called Gower’s’ symptom), difficulties with going
up the stairs. The limitation of the range of movements in joints takes place too. A flexion
contracture in the ankle joint and the hip joint, as well as the contracture of pronator muscles of forearm are especially visible. Together with the loss of the locomotion function
flexion contractures in the knee joint and the elbow joint develop. As a result of longer
and longer staying in a sitting position, contractures not only become established but they
also grow (2).
Sudden deterioration of fitness takes place between the age of 6 and 7. As a result of
a quick progress of the disease the child, when he is 9 or 10 years old, loses the ability to
walk without an additional support, and when he is 12–13 years old he stops to walk at all,
even if long stabilizers are applied (3).
Hasman-Petrusewicz’s researches (1) prove that an average age of losing the locomotion function by children with DMD in Poland is 9–14.
The most visible impairment is noticed in muscles maintaining an upright body position – that is, in gluteus muscles, in quadriceps muscles of the thigh, in muscles of
the back, muscles of the stomach and muscles bending the neck (4). As a result of the
progress of the disease pathology of the posture and walking develops and it limits the
patient’s functional efficiency (5). A constant symptom of DMD is also cardiomyopathy
of variable intensity (1, 6). None compliance between the activity of the heart and of
skeletal muscles is found (7).
Generally two stages of the course of the disease are distinguished – that is, the stage
of a child with the maintained locomotion function and the stage of a child moving on a
wheelchair. Coming from the first stage to the second is dependent on the progress of the
disease in particular cases.
DMD is an incurable disease, which leads in consequence to serious complications.
That is why the aim of the research was to obtain an objective picture of functional fitness
and to confirm principles of physiotherapeutic treatment of those patients.
Material and Methods
The research was conducted in the years 2000-2002 in various centres across the country
and in the Complex of Integrative Schools in Warsaw. Altogether 95 persons were examined
regarding their functional fitness; that is, ranges of movements of joints and the presence of
spinal deformations, mobility of the chest and the area of reach of the upper limbs. Numbers
of patients in particular researches are different because of the time of including those samples and limited access to the ill. Results of functional examination of 53 boys were used in
the paper. Researches on the area of reach of the upper limbs included 25 boys.
The researched persons were divided into two groups: boys with the maintained locomotion
function (n=26) and boys moving on wheelchairs (n=27). In the research on the area of reach of
the upper limbs a necessary division of the researched into additional groups were made.
Spine examinations were done in the standing position in the case of children with the
maintained locomotion function and in the sitting position in the case of children moving
on wheelchairs. In clinical examinations the state of spinal deformations was estimated
according to the following schema: the 3rd degree scoliosis, the 2nd degree scoliosis, the 1st
degree scoliosis or lack of scoliosis. The attention was paid also to the presence of one-arch
scoliosis and two-arch scoliosis as well as a costal prominence. The degree of scoliosis was
estimated on the basis of the ultimate curvature of the spine from the projection of the line
of an external occipital protuberance.
The examination of ranges of movement in limb joints was done according to the
method of the so-called neutral zero (8) with the use of a goniometer. All measurements
were done by the same person. Ranges of movements in all limb joints were examined. In
the paper there are presented ranges of movements in those joints where limitations were
found – that is, contractures were diagnosed. In the lower limb the presence of contractures
was measured with angle degrees, whereas in the upper limb movement limitations were
estimated by using percentage data, since contractures of polyarticular muscles were taken
into account.
The estimation of the functional state of patients with DMD facilitates understanding
the natural course of the disease. Thus, the estimation of walking was done according to
Vignos’ scale (9) and the estimation of fitness of the upper limbs was made on the basis of
Brooke’s functional test.
Many researches (5, 10, 11) have dealt with classification scales, but the majority of
them used primary functional tests, which are applied also in that paper.
Methods of examining the area of work were worked out on the basis of Prusinowska’s
publication with proper modifications for children with DMD. A new computer method
of calculating results was introduced and an experiment of supporting the upper limbs in
order to improve functions was performed. To meet research requirements an own post was
constructed consisting of a drawing table of regulated height and of a chair safeguarding
good stabilization during measurements.
The area of work was estimated in the crosswise plane. Three ranges of the reach were
taken into account in the research: the active one, the active with a support and the passive
one. The first measurement was the passive reach. Then a therapist guided the patient’s hand
with a marker across the drawing table. Then the patient was told to perform that movement
by himself. The third measurement was made when the movement was performed with a
support by the use of suspenders. The upper limb during all measurements was maximally
extended in the elbow joint. In connection with limitations of ranges of movements in
joints of the researched persons’ upper limbs (the difference between the estimated whole
length of the upper limb and the sum of its particular elements), the range of the passive
reach was estimated and then it was compared with the active reach and the active reach
with a support. The zone of effective work (the area of the right upper limb and the area
of the left upper limb overlapped) was also estimated according to the methods proposed
by Nowak (13). Children suffering Duchenne dystrophy, in connection with impairment of
upper limbs muscles, have to work with both limbs in order to improve functions (e.g. in
order to lift a cup of tea). The zone of the area of work which is the most needed in order
to perform activities is just that zone where the reach of the right limb and of the left limb
overlap each other; that is, crossing with limbs the central axis of the body, what is necessary during self-service activities.
In order to determine conditions of functional improvement of the upper limbs, an attempt to apply a support by a system of suspenders was made in the group 3 (that is a group of
persons with considerable dysfunctions and reported disturbances of the upper limbs fitness.
Some additional measurements to compare examinations of the area of work with other
samples were taken too. To estimate the power of muscles the Clinical Method of Estimation of
Muscular Power with a broadened scale according to the Medical Research Council (15) was
used. It assigned numerical values from 0 to 5 taking into account also fractional degrees.
After an examination of the reach of the upper limbs, the following method of estimating the surface area marked by the patient with his upper limb was applied:
• A photo of the marked area was made with an Internet camera.
• An obtained picture of a bitmap was entered into the Geo-set program, which is a geodetic
program serving to estimate the surface area.
• Before beginning analyses proper a calibration was done in order to estimate the scale of
reduction on the screen of the real picture of the measured area.
• In the Geo-set program the marked areas were outlined and particular surface areas were
• There was drawn a percentage comparison of surfaces which the patient had marked actively or with a support with the passive reach.
• The surface area which was marked by a researched person actively or with a support
(which in a simplified way is described as Aa) was given in a form of a proportion of the
area of the passive reach (marked as Ap).
The index which was introduced by the author of the presented paper was called „the
index of the area of work” and marked as Iaw:
index of the area of work (Iaw) = (Aa/Ap x100)
Estimation of deformations of spine in the case of children with Duchenne dystrophy
concerned its progressing deformation in the form of scoliosis. Scoliosis is found not in all
children with DMD and that is why the presence and size of that curvature is the subject
of that research. Progress of scoliosis causes deterioration in respiratory parameters. It is a
very important issue in the field of taking care of the ill with DMD. Table 1 presents results
concerning the presence and size of spine curvature.
Table 1. Characteristics of the researched children regarding the presence
and size of scoliosis in the case of boys with Duchenne dystrophy
DMD group 1
DMD group 2
scoliosis of the 1st degree
scoliosis of the 2nd degree
scoliosis of the 3rd degree
In the presented research about 58% of children with the maintained locomotion function were found to have scoliosis of the 1st degree (curvatures of the 2nd and 3rd degree were
not found there). In the case of the rest of children from that group spinal deformations in
the form of scoliosis were not observed.
In the second group – that is, in the group of children moving on wheelchairs, a curvature
was not found only in 11% of cases, whereas in the majority of cases (about 52%) there are 2nd
and 3rd degree curvatures. Print 1 and Print 2 present results of my own research concerning
measurements of the range of passive movements in joints of limbs. On the basis of the obtained
results, diagnostics of joint contractures was done. In the group of children with the maintained
locomotion function there are visible limitations of movements in ankle and hip joints. In the
ankle joint the foot is placed in a plantar flexion and the range of limitation of extending it to the
medium positions is 25o in the right limb and 11o in the left limb on average. In hip joints the
flexion contracture amounts to about 9o on average and in both joints it is similar.
group 1
group 2
Print.1. The size of flexion contractures in hip, knee, ankle and elbow joints
in the case of children with DMD in the group 1 (children with the maintained locomotion function)
and in group 2 (children moving on wheelchairs) given in angle degrees (arithmetic mean)
Hr- the right hip joint, Hl – the left hip joint, Kr – the right knee joint, Kl – the left knee joint, Ar – the right ankle
joint, Al – the left ankle joint, Er– the right elbow joint, El – the left elbow joint.
That contracture overlaps also with a limitation of adduction in those joints, since there
appears the contracture of the straight muscle of thigh and of the tensor muscle of fascia
lata, which do a movement of flexion and abduction in the hip joint. It often happens that
in the case of particular patients that contracture is asymmetrical without predominance to
the proper side and that is why in average results there are no visible differences between
the results of the right side and of the left side. In the rest of the estimated joints there are
no visible limitations of movements in joints.
The rest of limitations of the upper limbs movements. In group 2 the researched have
greater limitations of the range of movements in joints. Sizes of flexion contractures in
joints of the lower limbs are 40–46o on average. In the elbow joint the diminishment of
extension achieves the value of about 20o.
On Print 2 there were presented percentages of movement losses. Contractures of flexor muscles of fingers and pronator muscles of forearm are the most often disorders in the
period when the child maintains the locomotion function and they are present in the case of
over 60% of the patients. Those abnormalities concerning the mobility of joints appear as
the earliest, the other limitations are very seldom observed in that period.
After the loss of locomotion, disorders of the length of muscles appear in the case of the
prevailing majority of persons. The contractures of flexor muscles of hand and pronator muscles of forearm concern almost all patients. Limitations of other movements – such as extending the elbow joint, raising in the complex of shoulder joints and pronation of arm – are found
in the case of about 60-70% of the researched boys moving on wheelchairs (group 2).
group 1
40 60
group 2
20 30
Print. 2. The presence of muscle contractures and limitations of movements in joints
of the upper limbs in the case of children with DMD – group 1
(children with the maintained locomotion function) and group 2 (children moving on wheelchairs).
The size of each group was assumed to constitute 100%.
1 – superficial and deep flexor muscles of fingers, 2 – pronator muscles of forearm, 3 – flexor muscles of the
elbow joint, 4 – movement of limb – raising by abduction, 5 – movement of limb – raising by flexion, 6 – pronator muscles of arm
In the case of persons moving on wheelchairs the contracture of muscles pronating the
arm is observed during clinical examination when the humeral joint is in the medium position. In the position of shoulder to 90o such a limitation is not found. With the use of the
palpable examination it is possible to feel the presence of the contracture of the clavicular
part of the arm muscle and of the long hand of the arm biceps.
As a consequence of a bad-sitting position in the wheelchair, limitations of raising by
abduction take place too and the whole upper limb becomes bent.
In the initial phase of disorders those limitations are compensated with increased turning movements of the shoulder blade. During raising the upper limb a greater, abnormal
shift of the lower angle of the shoulder blade in the armpit and putting the shoulder girdle
are felt. The shoulder blade, as a result of impairment of stabilizing muscles, is able to perform passively a greater turn. The carried out test controlling shifts of the lower angle of the
shoulder blade while the patients were performing active movements in the humeral joint
pointed out to impairment of muscles stabilizing the shoulder blade. In normal conditions
the lower angle of the shoulder blade shifts in the initial phase of movements in the humeral
joint, whereas in the case of the ill movement of the shoulder blade is not felt. The shoulder
blade – as a result of impairment of muscles which were stabilizing it – makes passively a
greater, non-physiological turn and that is why in the initial phase of diminishment of raising movements limitations of those ranges are not detected in the upper limb.
group 1
group 2
Print. 3. Vignos’ functional scale (9) estimating locomotion
1 – Walks by himself and goes up the stairs without help. 2 – Walks by himself and goes up the stairs with the aid
of the banister. 3 – Walks by himself and slowly goes up the stairs with the help of a banister (8 steps – more than
25 seconds). 4 – Walks by himself, but does not go up the stairs. 5 – Walks by himself, does not go up the stairs,
does not get up from the chair by himself. 6 – Walks only with assistance or in outhouses. 7 – Walks in outhouses
only with assistance in order to maintain balance. 8 – Stands in outhouses, but does not walk, even with assistance. 9 – Moves on a wheelchair, muscles bending the forearm perform a movement against gravity. 10 – Sits on
a wheelchair or stays only in bed, muscles bending the forearm do not make movements against gravity.
group 1
group 2
3 4
Print. 4. Brooke’s functional scale estimating fitness of the upper limbs. After Fowler et al. (16),
the 3rd and the 4th degree joined.
1 – The examined makes a raising movement by full abduction (he joins palms of his hands over his head.
2 – He performs the above mentioned raising movement bending limbs in elbow joints or using additional muscles of girdle and torso. 3 – He cant raise his limbs over his head, but he can raise a glass to his mouth. 4 – He
cannot raise a glass to his mouth, but he can raise his hands to his mouth. 5 – He cannot raise his hands to his
mouth, but he can use his hands to keep an object. 6 – He cannot raise hands to his mouth and he performs no
activities with his upper limbs.
Results according to Vignos’ functional scale are presented on Print 3. In the first group
of boys with the maintained locomotion function there are no medium phases of the scale
from 4 to 8. Almost all persons from the first group achieved fitness from the 1st to the 3rd
degree of the discussed scale. Those are stages of the maintained fitness for moving by
oneself and going up the stairs using the banister. Medium phases between going up and
down the stairs and moving on a wheelchair were observed in a small number. There are
few patients who after having lost the ability to go up and down the stairs (the 3rd degree)
maintain the ability to walk by themselves or to move in outhouses. There are only 4%
of the researched in the 6th degree (that is, walking with the help of outhouses) and the
8th degree (standing in outhouses without an ability to walk). Persons in the second group
achieve the 9th and the 10th degree of the discussed scale; that is, moving on a wheelchair
and performing a bend of the elbow joint in 80% of cases or lack of activities performed
with the upper limb in 20% of cases.
Print 4 presents detailed results of Brooke’s functional test estimating fitness of the
upper limbs. Fowler et al. (16) connected the 3rd and the 4th degree, because the patients in
those phases have similar power of limb muscles. In the presented paper such a connection
was applied too.
Among the boys with the maintained locomotion function the majority of the researched did that test obtaining the first degree of the discussed scale. The rest of the persons performed the movement of raising the upper limbs by abduction bending them at the
elbow joints. It is noteworthy that parents do not notice the loss of fitness of the upper limbs
of the children with the maintained locomotion function, whereas 20% of those children
were categorized as the 2nd degree. The loss of upper limbs functions begins as early as in
the period of ill persons’ moving by themselves. In the group of persons without the locomotion ability cases of the correct performance of the test were not found; the majority of
patients performed that test to the degree corresponding to the function of keeping an object
with a hand, but without a possibility of raising hands to the mouth. Disorders in that group
are very big and only 8% can perform the movement of raising limbs with bending elbow
joints. The same number of the researched has no possibility of performing any functions
with their upper limbs.
The results of the estimation of the area of work pointed out to differentiated losses
in marking ranges of the upper limbs and that is why additional divisions of the examined
were carried out. In order to do that, a comparison (Table 1) between results concerning the
power of horizontal adductor muscles in the humeral joint and results concerning the area
of work of the upper limbs was drawn. The data presented in Table 2 serve to distinguish
4 groups of the examined persons. The first group is constituted by the researched with the
power of horizontal adductor muscles in the humeral joint from a correct one, but arising
doubts (4.75) to such which is able to overcome a minimal resistance in the full range of
movement (3.5). In the case of group 2, the power of those muscles was estimated as 3 or a
bit less than 3 points of the discussed scale. Thus, the ill performed the full range of movement or more than a half of the full range of movement in conditions of overcoming gravity.
The group 3 demonstrated power within the range 1.75 – 2; that is, the examined were able
to perform the whole range – or the slightly diminished range – of movement if they were
supported, whereas in group 4 when attempts to move were made only a contraction of
muscles was felt or there was not even a contraction.
Table 2. Division of patients into groups during a research on dependence of the area of work
of the upper limbs on the power of horizontal adductor muscles in the humeral joint
Power of horizontal adductor
muscles in the humeral joint
(according to CMEPM)
Area of work of upper limbs
Group 1
Group 2
Group 3
D (%)
Group 4
D (%)
2,5- 2,75
5 – 4,75
The division of patients during the research on the area of work of the upper limbs
Group 1 – without significant disorders (age 6,0, ± 1,2) n = 6
Group 2 – with little dysfunctions, but the patients did not report disorders of fitness of
the upper limbs (age 7,9, ± 0,73) n = 7
Group 3 – with considerable dysfunctions and reported disorders of fitness of the upper
limbs (age 14,4, ± 3,61) n = 7
Group 4 – without an ability to mark active reach (age 19,1, ±1,2) n = 5
D –dominating limb, ND – non-dominating limb.
CMEPM – Clinical Method of Estimating Power of Muscles (14) with a broadened
scale according to the Medical Research Council (15), which assigns numerical value from
0 to 5 taking into account fractional degrees.
While researching the area of reach of the upper limbs (tab. 3), we observe a gradual
loss of fitness of the upper limbs taking place hand in hand with progresses of the disease.
The group 1 is constituted by the researched without noticeable disorders concerning the
function of marking the area of work of the upper limbs. At first the diminishment of the
reach appears in the zone of the area of effective work without any disorders concerning fitness of the upper limbs in self-service activities, which would be noticeable by the patients
(Group 2). The patients compensated for losses of fitness by leaning their hands on the
top of the table. The next stage means increasing limitations of that area and diminishing
reaches of the right and the left limb.
Table 3. Results of estimation of the area of work of upper limbs
(the area expressed as percentages of the passive range)
Examined groups
Group 1
Group 2
Group 3
Group 4
The area of work of the dominating limb
The area of work of the non-dominating limb
The area of effective work
Functional estimation of an upper limb
The division of patients into groups as in Table 2
In that phase of the disease patients notice losses of fitness of limbs limiting their everyday life activities, which they perform. These are patients from the group 3. The progress
of the disease leads to the complete loss of that function of the upper limbs which is marking the area of work.
In the case of boys from the group 2, it was enough to support their limbs by leaning them on the top of a table – or to additionally provide their limbs with more slippery
ground. In the group 3 limbs were experimentally supported by a system of suspenders
(Print 2). The results of that test are satisfying, since an improvement of all estimated
ranges was obtained. The range of the effective work improved the most – as much as by
22%. Improvement is visible also in the cases of the dominating limb (10%) and the opposite limb (12%). The patients’ attitude to the experiment was positive. According to their
opinion, performing activities with suspenders enabled them to increase the range of movement and hence to broaden functional capabilities.
dominating limb
non-dominating limb
effective area
Print 5. Result of the estimation of the area of work without and with a support
of the upper limbs in the group 3 (the area expressed as percentages of the passive range)
In Duchenne dystrophy a serious pathology connected with the progress of the disease is
spine curvature. During my own research the presence of scoliosis was noticed – especially
in the group of children moving on wheelchairs, where that skeletal deformation attains a
considerable scale. In the case of the majority (58%) of children with the maintained locomotion function, the first degree of that defect is observed and in the rest of the examined (42%)
such changes are not found. In the group of walking children the appearance of a pathological
spine curvature is influenced, among other things, by lack of symmetry of contracture in the
ankle joint. Such a contracture in the case of the examined patients amounts to 25o in the right
joint and to 11o in the left joint. In the case of those patients a slight asymmetry of movement
limitation is found also in hip joints. Controlling if the pelvis is placed symmetrically – that
is, taking care of an even standing and sitting position, is an important issue of prophylaxis of
spine curvatures. However, scoliosis is often an unavoidable spine curvature of children with
Duchenne dystrophy. According to Forst (17), quickly progressing spine deformations and
diminishment of respiratory fitness qualify a patient for surgical stabilization of the spine.
Many authors (1, 19) firmly opt for surgical stabilization of the spine in the case of children with DMD. Those authors attempt to persuade us that surgical stiffening of the spine
is a successful means of fighting respiratory insufficiency. Thanks to that an improvement
of working conditions of the main inhaling muscle – that is, of the diaphragm – is attained.
Such an intervention is also significant from the viewpoint of improving patients’ living
comfort. In those cases, the surgery is performed in order to restore a comfortable sitting
position (17). In the presented material only one boy was after the spine stiffening surgery.
Surgeries are not practiced in Poland as commonly as in other countries of Western Europe.
We may only hope that in a near future the situation in Poland will improve and patients
will have a possibility of such a treatment.
Mobility disorders in joints are another functional abnormality of children with DMD.
Those limitations are connected with unbalanced muscular power of particular groups.
Lack of that balance is present, first of all, in the ankle joint (5). There appears an alleged
or real hypertrophy of the triceps of the ankle, what leads in consequence to the limitation of extending that joint (1,18). The second joint where a disorder of balance between
antagonistic groups of muscles takes place is the hip joint. The enfeeblement of extensor
muscles of that joint leads to a flexion contracture. In the case of the presented material the
limitation of the range of movements in the lower limbs of persons with the maintained
locomotion function is visible in the above-mentioned joints. Further limitations of movements in joints appear after the loss of the locomotion function. Then lack of the full passive
extension in the knee joint is observed. Especially large limitations appear in those joints
in the case of which a sitting position additionally makes those limitations deeper by the
child’s long dependence on a wheelchair.
Siegel (20) and Vignos (21) are of an opinion that in the period when the child with
DMD loses his locomotion capability lightning deepening of contractures takes place and
they may make it more difficult to use remaining functions and taking care of the patient.
My own observations prove that the best method of fighting contractures is to combine
orthopaedic treatment with physiotherapeutic treatment. In the early phase of the disease,
when the child is 4 – 6 years old, the surgery consisting in three-level relaxing contractures
in joints of the lower limbs (that is, in cutting the following muscles: the straight muscle of
thigh, the sartorius muscle, the tensor muscle of fascia lata, the semi membranous muscle,
the semitendinous muscle of thigh and the biceps of thigh, in removing the iliotibial band
and making the Achilles tendon longer) brings the best results.
Forst et al. (22), who were performing those surgeries, proved that thanks to them the
operated children’s time of locomotion became longer by 1.25 years.
Rehabilitation after such a surgery is more oriented on improvement or maintenance of
patient’s functions with a smaller stress on stretching contractures. Physiotherapy becomes
more pleasant and attractive for the child and, first of all, it is easier to prevent deformations. It should be, however, emphasized that the surgery will not bring long-lasting effects
if physiotherapy is not continued. It is a misconception that after such a surgery the child
with DMD will not have contractures. Further therapeutic treatment is necessary to prevent
deformations, since the disease still progresses.
In the upper limb limitations of movement take place too, but surgeries are not made in
that limb. As a result of impairment of power of muscles of the superior extremity girdle, as
well as a result of the fact that the patient on a wheelchair is staying in the sitting position,
the upper limbs in the humeral joint are habitually placed for inner rotation. The ill person
performs activities with the upper limbs in front of himself and he usually compensates
for small muscular power by working with both hands. That is why in the case of persons
moving on wheelchairs the contracture of muscles pronating the humeral joint takes place.
In the case of children with DMD during sitting on a wheelchair the superior extremity
girdle is put forward and raised and shoulder blades additionally come off the chest (lack
of active stabilization of the shoulder blade). Then the humeral joint is in a bent position,
external rotation and adduction. Lack of stabilization of the shoulder blade is visible when
the child is moved from one seat onto another. When a caretaker at a height of armpits
grabs the child it causes raising the shoulder girdle and slipping by the patient out of that
grip (flabby muscles, lack of muscular stabilization). While moving the child, the caretaker
should put her/his limbs under the child’s armpits and s/he should close her/his grip on the
child’s forearms.
Limitations of movements in joints were estimated also by McDonald et al. (23). They
found out that contractures rarely appear before the age of 9, whereas when the child grows
older they appear more and more often and they attain a considerable scale. In the case of
persons after 13 they always appear and in that period it is more strongly connected with
moving on a wheelchair than with lack of balance between powers of antagonistic groups
of muscles.
My own research points out that limitation of movement in the group of children with
maintained locomotion comes into being as a result of imbalance of groups of muscles,
what is confirmed by Radwańska’s researches (5). Detection of those limitations is possible if compensation in other joints is excluded – e.g. stabilization of the pelvis when the
contracture of the hip joint is examined (in order not to compensate lack of extension by
increasing lordosis of the lumbar segment) or differentiation of one-joint and many-joint
contractures by placing joints they act on properly. Exerting prophylactic influences on
limitations of movements in the early stage of their presence constitutes the most important
link of deformation prevention. Thanks to knowledge about the course of the disease and
mechanisms leading to the appearance of limitations of movements, contracture prevention
may be beginning early. It is far easier to prevent limitations from coming into being than
remove them when they have achieved considerable sizes. An additional factor deepening limitations of movements is a sitting position on a wheelchair the researched stay in
for over a dozen hours a day almost without a break. A proper position of the pelvis is a
precondition of a good sitting position, which should provide the ill with comfort and with
such position of joints, which delay the appearance of deformations. The choice of a proper
wheelchair adjusted to the patient’s needs is a very important issue.
Strobl (24) pays attention to the sitting position. He is of an opinion that a good sitting
position may improve patients’ quality of life. A bad position causes functional problems
and pain, and, in order to avoid those complications, technical equipment should be adjusted to the patient’s functional state and it should be used properly.
It is also significant to maintain the upright position – the active one or the passive one
– with the use of erecting devices as long as it is possible, as well as an early beginning and
systematically carried out anti-contracture physiotherapy.
To estimate patients’ functional capabilities Brooke’s and Vignos’ functional scales
have been applied in this paper. Lue et al. (25) applied those scales while estimating muscular power of patients with DMD during the natural course of the disease. They found out
that there is a positive correlation between the age and the decrease of muscular power,
which diminishes by 3.9% a year. They observed also a negative correlation between power
and functional scales.
Fowler et al. (16) studied the decrease of functional fitness during 14 neuromuscular
diseases including DMD. Those authors estimated the correlation between the decrease
of muscular power and functional degrees of Brooke’s scale and Vignos’ scale. Those researches prove that the applied tests express patients’ functional capabilities well.
That opinion is confirmed by Zupan’s research (11). That author emphasizes however
that there happen differences between patients with the same form of the disease and that
is why each patient should be examined thoroughly and made fit in an individualized way.
He is of an opinion that Vignos’ test is useful for estimating patients’ functional fitness (9)
and that that test is the most proper in the case of children with DMD. Many authors – like
Radwańska (8) and Zupan (11) – Works out various functional tests estimating patients’
functional state. However, the primary tests, which have been applied in this work, are
broadly used for comparative reasons.
In results obtained from the research with the use of Vignos’ test it is notable that there
are no medium results. The majority of children with the maintained locomotion function
got from 1 to 3 degrees on the scale. Boys moving on wheelchairs got 9 or 10. It led to a
conclusion that it is the result of a not very good care and rehabilitation of those persons.
After losing a capability of going upstairs by themselves and remaining in the vertical
position those children sit in wheelchairs and stay there for over a dozen hours a day. A
quick decrease of joint mobility takes place then and the child cannot assume even the
passive standing position with the use of an erecting device. The importance of the physiotherapeutic treatment just in that period should be stressed and the standing position in
outhouses or an erecting device should start to be assumed when the locomotion function
is still maintained.
Galasko et al. (26) applied in the case of patients with DMD two hours of supporting the
erect position daily. It positively influenced respiratory parameters and caused that scoliosis
was slowed down in relation to patients who did not undergo supporting the erect position.
An inevitable consequence of the disease is a necessity to move on a wheelchair. The
passive erect position reminds the patient of the correct stereotype of standing, it mirrors
the proper posture and slows down the appearance of joint deformations. Children achieve
then medium phases of Vignos’ scale and the loss of locomotion capabilities does not speed
up the patient’s physical and mental degeneration so fast.
Fitness of the upper limbs provides the patient with the minimum of self-sufficiency
and autonomy. Brooke’s test proved that in the first group of boys with the maintained
locomotion function fitness of the upper limbs in the test attempt to raise by abduction is
good in the case of 80%. Children do not meet problems while performing that function.
According to the opinion of the parents, children are fully able to perform self-service activities. However, my own research proved that harbingers of secondary limitations may be
found even in the first group. The applied test of mobility of the superior extremity girdle
in relation to the stabilized arm detected disorders of mobility in the first group. In the second group of boys moving on wheelchairs problems concerning fitness of the upper limbs
are considerable. The majority of persons cannot raise hands to the mouth; they can only
hold something in a hand. The issue of fitness of the upper limbs is very significant, since
in the case of the child who has lost capabilities of moving from place to place by himself
performing basic self-service activities is very important. Learning to perform simple selfservice activities in the first group and maintaining them is a matter of great importance for
the patients. The ill moving on wheelchairs perform activities with both hands, but still performance of many activities requires a big effort. In that period the patient should be taught
trick movements and equipment and devices, which facilitate performance of activities,
should be applied. Application of external compensation improves functioning of patient’s
upper limbs. Fitness of the upper limbs in the period when the child is condemned to move
on the wheelchair – often of an electric kind – provides the child with the minimum of selfsufficiency by enabling him to steer the wheelchair.
In the international literature there are no researches on the area of work of the upper
limbs of children with DMD. In Poland such researches were carried out by Prusinowska
(12); these are researches in a disease entity (that is, rheumatologic arthritis) or, in the case
of Nowak (13), researches on healthy persons.
The research was made on children with DMD in order to find a possibility of improving fitness of the upper limbs. The idea of the test was to construct a device supporting the
upper limbs in order to improve working at the computer and facilitate performing various
manual activities. That conception was born from the need presented by the patients who
were losing the capability of computer writing or working with the upper limbs.
In order to check if the research estimates the function of the upper limbs well, the
results were compared with Brooke’s scale. Similar dynamics of changes in both groups
was observed.
The research on the reach of the upper limbs of children with DMD found that there is a
problem with marking the area of effective work; that is, a limitation of crossing the central
axis of the body by the upper limbs. Fitness tests, which are commonly applied in the case
of DMD, are not sensitive to that kind of limitation and that function is necessary while
working with the upper limbs. Thus, it seems sensible to construct a device supporting the
upper limbs with the axis of rotation hanged over the head in order to improve functions of
the upper limbs and especially the area of effective work. Supporting the upper limbs gives
the patients a possibility of performing activities, which were lost by them earlier. It makes
them feel and function better. From the viewpoint of practical aims – as well as in order to
exercise weak muscles of the humeral joint – it is an important issue to administer resistance
gradually by moving away the point the suspenders are suspended from. Moving suspension of the suspender out of humeral joints constitutes resistance for weakening muscles,
which can be applied in the case of small muscle atrophies. On the other hand, moving that
suspension closer to the head provides muscles with greater support and creates a possibility of performing the area of effective work in cases of considerable impairments.
• In the case of patients with the maintained locomotion function (group 1) an asymmetric
flexion contracture of ankle joints is the most visible.
• Limitations of movements of patients from the group 2 are considerable and they are
present in almost all estimated joints.
• Increased active resistance of the shoulder blade masks the initial stage of limitation of
movements in the complex of shoulder joints.
• In researches estimating locomotion of children with DMD, medium stages of Vignos’
scale – that is, those between walking upstairs (phase 3) and moving on a wheelchair
(phase 9) – were rarely observed.
• The test of raising the upper limbs by abduction showed that 20% of children with the
maintained locomotion function had visible declines in fitness of those limbs.
• Brooke’s functional test showed that the greatest deficit of fitness appears in the case of
persons who had lost the locomotion function.
• In the research on the area of reach of the upper limbs we observe a gradual loss of fitness
of the upper limbs taking place hand in hand with progresses of the disease.
• The greatest declines in the reach are noticed in the so-called area of effective work.
• The applied experiment consisting in supporting limbs of persons from the group 3 (the
researched with considerable dysfunctions and reported disorders concerning fitness of
the upper limbs) proved an increase of estimated areas of work of the upper limbs – especially in the so-called area of effective work.
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Orthopade 31(1), 58-64.
Henning Eichberg
University of Southern Denmark in Odense
The “Celtic Family” – Football, Non-Recognition
and Self-Recognition in Scotland
Joseph M. Bradley 2006 (ed): Celtic Minded 2. Essazs on Celtic Football, Culture and Identity.
Argyll: Argyll.
288 pp., ISBN 1 902831 93 4, 15 Euro.
Rumours say that there exists something like Catholic football and Protestant football
in post-religious Europe – Celtic and Rangers in Scotland. Are these only rumours, and why
are there such rumours? We can enter the questions by this book giving an inner view of
Celtic Football Club.
The story of the famous club from Glasgow can be read as a narrative, which leads
from football to social relations around ethnicity, class, discrimination, charity and recognition. This is how the local and worldwide fans of the Glasgow-based professional club
will read it – and also the academic community of sports research. However, the story can
also be read the other way round, leading from identity conflict to sport. This is how the
editor Joe Bradley, lecturer at the Department of Sports, University of Stirling, in his large
introduction and academic-style main article approaches.
Scotland is known – or deserves to be known – for a rather unique profile in interethnic relations: Compared with other countries of Europe, Scottish society has shown least
Anti-Semitism. As the only European country, Scotland has neither had organised attacks
against Jews nor any state persecution of Jews.1 Also recent racism directed against Asian
and African immigration minorities has yet remained relatively limited – though it is alarming as such – and was continuously hampered by the Scottish myth of being “a tolerant
people deep to the roots”. One is tempted to explain this inter-ethnic feature by the fact
that another hostility has shadowed large parts of Scottish history and the current situation:
But there is a further problem, which is worth closer examination: the so-called sectarian conflict. Certain forms of Scottish Protestantism directed from time to time sharp
religious-political aggression against the Irish Catholic minority. This violent antipapism
with its racist undertones was described in the first volume of Celtic Minded.2 Sectarianism
exhibited a remarkable inner split of Scottish identity. A Scottish newspaper explained:
“Scotland has never hated Jews – it was too busy hating Catholics.”3
A non-recognized minority in the shadow of sectarianism
There lives a large minority of Irish people in Scotland today, immigrated mainly after
the Great Famine in mid-nineteenth century’s Ireland. In a population of five millions,
Scots of Irish family are numbered by 150.000 first and second generation migrants. But the
Irish multi-generational minority as a whole is much larger. People of Irish heritage – either
Catholic or Protestant – are estimated by one million or 20% of the population. While many
individuals have assimilated to Scottish mainstream identity, the Irish minority makes up
the vast majority of the 800.000 Catholics in Scotland, which is 15-16% of the population.
And they form a large part of the 800.000 people of other-than-Scottish origin, among
whom 100.000 – or 2% of the population – are Pakistani, Indian, Bangladeshi, Chinese,
Caribbean, African and other ‘non-whites’.
The Irish immigrants settled mostly as working-class people in and around Glasgow.
They performed remarkable contributions to Scottish life, especially to the development
of Scottish Labour and the political left wing, to social services, to culture – and to Scottish sports. From the Edinburgh Irish community emerged James Connolly who became a
leader of the Easter Rising in Dublin 1916 and remains until today the most outstanding
thinker of revolutionary socialism in Ireland.
But the Iro-Scottish minority has a problem. It is neglected in the media. When the
Scottish Executive – the devolved government established in 1999 – launched a good-will
campaign “One Scotland Many Cultures”, some of its documents referred only to nonwhite ethnics or spoke of Pakistanis as being the largest minority in Scotland. This meant
implicitly not to recognise the existence of the large ‘white’ Irish minority. Anti-racism
tended to stare itself blind on ‘black-white’ problems.
Also in milieus of academic research, as Bradley shows, there has been a striking
neglect of this remarkable ethnic group. The presence and non-recognition of the Irish in
Scotland poses an intellectual problem, challenging the conventional theories of racism,
discrimination, and majority-minority relations. What is the relation between sectarianism,
i.e. a hate-relation with religious background, and racism?
The sectarian conflict is not just a question of ‘religion’ – it has deeper roots in Scottish history and in current, ‘post-religious’ society. After Scotland had turned towards Reformation, some more fundamentalist denominations of Reformed Presbyterianism (Convenanters, Cameronians etc.) expressed social unrest and opposition against the British
domination. British colonialism, however, used these militant Protestants for its politics
of divide-et-impera against the inner-Scottish opposition of the Jacobites and Highlanders,
but also against the Irish on the neighbour island. During the seventieth century, the Irish
province of Ulster was what we today would call ‘ethnically cleansed’ from their Catholic
population and settled by Anglo-Scottish Protestant colonists. And during the nineteenth
century, Scots were used as soldiers by British colonialism all over the world, in South Africa, Sudan, India… – against people who were far from being in conflict with the Scottish.
This history of colonisation had not only outward consequences – in the Anglo-Scottish plantation of Ulster where the Irish troubles continue. It had also inward consequences,
inside Scottish identity.4 The Scottish people lacked democratic representation under the
Union and could feel un-free – and yet, they identified with their fight for the Empire. Imperial military monuments as well as historical museums in nowadays Scotland document
an inner split – between Tartan-romantic Highlandism on one side and proud memory of
British Imperialism on the other. Inner psychic identity troubles of this type would in the
case of other nations have paved the ground for violent Anti-Semitism. This was not the
case in Scotland.
The particular Scottish way was anti-Catholic sectarianism. In Glasgow in the 1790s,
there lived no more than 39 Catholics in the city, but there existed 43 anti-Catholic societies. Later followed the large Irish Catholic immigration – and Protestant reactions. A peak
was reached during the 1920/30s when the official Church of Scotland together with the
United Free Church launched a campaign against the Catholics and demanded the deportation of this “inferior race” to Ireland. Anti-Catholic parties achieved remarkable electoral
success at local level, although not only Labour and the Scottish Nationalists, but also the
conservative Unionists and the Scottish press distanced themselves from the extremists.
In nowadays society, the power of churches has decreased, and their anti-Catholic religious fervour lost influence on the Scottish people. However, there has remained a paradox:
”Scotland has ceased to be a Protestant country without ceasing to be anti-Catholic”, as
Patrick Reilly (professor in Glasgow and also a contributor to this book) has pointed it.
From religion to sports
Religion has left society – sectarianism remained. This is where sport enters the picture. Football furnished a new arena for sectarian conflict. Since the late nineteenth century,
football in Scotland has been dominated by two professional clubs, Rangers and Celtic,
both based in Glasgow – the so-called Old Firm.5 Celtic was founded in 1887 by Brother
Walfrid, an Irish munch who aimed at combining professional football with charity for the
local Irish community. The club was under the patronage of the Archbishop of Glasgow and
supported by Michael Davitt, the great Irish nationalist (‘Fenian’) and leader of the socialoppositional Irish Land League. In reaction, the Glasgow Rangers, founded in 1873, took a
firmly Protestant and Unionist stand.
The tension between the two clubs had also a background of social class. The Celtic
fans represented typically working class milieus while the Rangers recruited in the betteroff pro-English bourgeoisie.
The conflict inside the Old Firm has lasted until today. While the Celtic fans sing
‘Green’ rebel songs from the Fenian (and IRA) tradition and use the Irish Shamrock as well
as the Irish tricolore as symbols, the Rangers fans use songs of anti-Fenian, anti-Catholic
character and other symbols from the ‘Orange’ tradition of Ulster Loyalism. It is remarkable that none of these football subcultures stands especially near to the Scottish nationalist
There was not just symmetry in the Celtic/Rangers relation. While Celtic always was
open for players of other religious or ethnic background, Rangers were exclusive in selecting Protestants as players and opened only since 1989 for Catholic players. And whilst
the Rangers fans were known by their aggressive songs like “Billy Boys” (“we’re up to
our knees in Fenian blood”), the Celtic fans are regarded as mostly peaceful and got the
fairness price of UEFA and FIFA. Nevertheless there happened riots between the two fan
groups, and both sides finally recognised this as sectarian problem in their own camp. Both
clubs joined in fight against “bigotry”.
Recent observers have underlined that the sectarian relation inside t