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Pyri is a form of exercise using techniques that were borrowed from ancient Greece. It combines dance moves with exercises using metal or wooden swords. The moves are often thought to be similar to other martial arts moves as well as those found in yoga, Pilates, and Tai Chi. Generally, participants are taught the basic moves and then they can expand upon those moves to create their own routines. Eventually, they progress in their studies of pyri so that they can follow choreographed routines against other participants.
Dom Gallo is considered the creator of pyri. He learned about the ancient war dance, pyricchios, and decided to convert it to a form of exercise. Pyricchios was a dance-like routine in ancient Greece that used combat moves as the dance steps. Participants were typically dressed in full war armor, including hand-held swords. Often, drums would beat to get the participants in the proper warrior-like mindset. Pyri uses pyricchios as the basis for a modern-day full-body workout.
People who practice pyri use all parts of their bodies. Often the weight of the sword allows people to increase their upper body strength. When the dance moves are used, participants use their stomach muscles, leg muscles, hip muscles, and even buttocks muscles. They receive an aerobic workout that is beneficial for weight loss and an anaerobic workout that is beneficial for building muscle tone.
When people begin to study pyri, they are taught several basic moves. They are allowed to use those moves according to the directives of their instructor. Once they show that they are capable of performing those moves well, they are allowed to create their own routines. They can set their moves in any order, as a type of self-expression. Typically, the moves are done according to the beat of the music, slower at some points and faster at others.
Eventually, a pyri student will move on from a solo routine to a routine that is choreographed by the instructor. At that point, one practitioner is usually set opposite another of equal skill. In some cases, the two people will be allowed to work together to choreograph a routine. After a student is able to work with another person with ease, he or she may be able to study to be an instructor of pyri. Only after taking and passing a written test and a skill test can a person be granted permission to teach this form of exercise to others.
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