Sokol USA
Farrell, Pennsylvania
                                   What is Sokol?
Sokol is a worldwide movement dedicated to the physical and moral development of the total individual.  It is an expression of democratic behaviors through self-discipline, designed to assist individuals to approach goals toward which all people of good will are striving.  In its fundamentals it is really a sum and summary of five complementary endeavors: physical training; moral training; national and civic pride; democratic training; and the improvement of social conditions in society. 

A systematic program of gymnastic training was deemed by Dr. Miroslav Tyrs to be the vehicle to best accomplish the task of preparing a nation for the responsibilities of participation in a democratic society.  But, it is important to understand that "gymnastic system" is used here in the broad sense of the term.  It is more than the contemporary sport that we know as gymnastics.  The Sokol system of gymnastics is designed to benefit every participant, regardless of age or ability.  It includes all activities that originate from gymnastic activities which sequentially develop from simple to complex forms.

The Sokol system, by using gymnastics as its basis, places great emphasis on individual performance.  What may not be obvious is that the individual's contribution to the whole is paramount to the success of the individual. This explains the great importance placed upon group calisthenics in the Sokol system.  It is through the medium of low impact exercises, that the basis of the continued development of the individual, and in turn, that person's contribution to the whole is begun.

"One of the signs of a disintegrating society is its wallowing in the shallow, the superficial.  Another is a definite selfishness on the part of the individual where the "I" assumes a place far beyond its true significance-- Not individually, or independently, or even as separate groups should we seek to analyze and formulate our tasks and our problems; but rather as a whole, whose many members work harmoniously, cooperating in their efforts to benefit the individual enrolled under our banner and our beloved country."  (Dr. Miroslav Tyrs - "Sokol Task, Aim and Goal", written in 1871.)

Group calisthenics provides the medium in which each person, regardless of age or ability, can perform and contribute to the success of the "whole".  It is also in this medium that the quest for perfection is instilled in the participant.  It is only after these two concepts have been learned that the individual is prepared to move on to more difficult training.  Through gymnastics, individuals can improve their physical condition and then combine strength, grace and beauty.


These intrinsic elements of gymnastic training, that of combining strength with grace and beauty, provide the foundation for the moral training that is assumed to accompany them.  Moral values can only survive in an atmosphere where grace and beauty predominate.  These elements, performed in a democratic environment, become the basis for civic pride and social responsibility expected in all Sokols.