• PYRI Sword Fitness

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Dom Gallo

Creator of Pyri

PYRI is the mind-vision of Dom T. Gallo, whose Italian name belies his upbringing in the ancient warrior arts of Japan. As the infant son of a native Japanese mother and Italian-American U.S. Marine, Dom was baptized in the traditional Japanese way of the warrior (Samurai), which included all forms of martial combat (sword, archery, hand-to-hand combat, and more). And although Dom returns to Japan periodically in continuance of his martial training in these traditions, he began to feel compelled to understand and embrace the warrior traditions of the other half of his ethnic heritage, the sword and weapons arts of ancient Europe.

After many years of research into the war arts of European antiquity, it was finally during a trip to Greece, and during the study of ancient Greco-Roman sword methods and techniques, that he first encountered stories of what was once called in ancient Greek, Pyricchios, or the war dance. These dances were pre-arranged sets of combat movements that ancient Greek warriors (both men and women alike) would practice in full battle armor, with weapons in hand, to the backdrop of war drums and music as a preparation for actual battle. They could be performed with individuals paired against one another or even against multiple opponents to simulate actual combat. Dom was not only intrigued and fascinated, but also inspired:

"I could see that within these very ancient movements and strategies lay the foundation from which even Eastern sword/weapons arts could have possibly been derived/distilled. These movements were simultaneously both graceful and powerful, as well as ingenious from an overall fighting perspective, and they were as intricate and complex as any Eastern fighting art I had ever seen or in which I engaged. But what also became immediately apparent and a revelation was my newfound appreciation for our ancient forefathers' level of fitness!

As I began to move and wield both wooden and metal replicas of ancient Greek and Roman swords, I found that the swords not only acted as points of focus for increasing accuracy and hand/eye coordination, but the weight of the swords also provided resistance similar to moving your body while holding a dumb or kettle bell. The sword added weight to the limb extended away from the point of force, causing the muscles of the hand, wrist, and arm to work harder and the central nervous system to fully engage all the other muscles of the upper body, the core/abdominals, and the hips, buttocks, and legs for the most complete and intense cross-fit anaerobic/aerobic workout I had ever experienced.

I also found that because you were moving the body in so many different ways and quickly changing from one plane to another, first from sagittal to frontal and then transverse, this further increased the difficulty and intensity of the workout and enhanced functional flexibility, balance, and most of all endurance (VO2Max)!! You could not have carried these swords, spears, and heavy metal shields for miles, then fought with them to the death under the hot Aegean and Mediterranean sun and actually survived without having been in almost super-human shape. I could now appreciate why the statues of ancient Greeks and Romans look the way they do!!"

Inspired by this revelation, Dom has created a comprehensive fitness program that truly captures the spirit of Pyricchios for the modern age and includes specific sword-based, cross-fit exercises and drills as well as complete sword dance forms or sets. These dances resurrect the ancient movements of Greco-Roman swordsmanship set to music of various rhythms and intensities.

"I began to take the movements and consolidate them into separate sets or dances with names, and I also developed supplemental drills and exercises that could be done with the sword. But I wanted to ensure that these movements could be performed both slowly to soft music as well as kicked up to more energetic and pulsating music so that one could vary the focus and intensity of the workout and therefore take interval training to a whole new level. What resulted is the fitness program I call Pyri."

In addition to the sword sets/dances, each class features both low impact, flowing movements and high impact, intense, metabolic-stoking cardio training along with a variety of offensive and defensive sword drills. The result is a total-body workout that combines the thrill of combat, the grace of dance, the moving meditation of Yoga or Tai Chi, and the strength and conditioning power of cross-fit training.

So come, join us, and take a step into the ancient past for the most amazing and complete workout of any time period!!!