The Zen Way To Define Calisthenics (The Definition Of A Warrior)

So how do you define calisthenics?

Before we get there.

Do you recognize this?


“So what are you doing?”

Me: “I practice calisthenics”


Me: “Calisthenics, it’s a form of body weight training”


Me: “No Calisthenics”

“Ooh, Calicanetics”

….awkward silence…

Me: “Yes, that’s it!”


You might think…why ask? 

If you don’t recognize this you are probably looking for a definition of calisthenics.

If you do recognize this, you can start your training right here!

If you are still reading.

I have to admit something.

I used to be the ‘Caliwhat?’ person too.


But I’m wandering off.

Let’s have a look at the definition of calisthenics first.

According to the dictionary:

cal·is·then·ics is a physical exercise that is done without any special equipment.

A systematic and rhythmic bodily exercise that is performed without any apparatus.


The word finds its origin in ancient Greek language.

Based upon the Greek kalos ‘beautiful and sthenos ‘strength’.

So the accurate definition of calisthenics is ‘beautiful strength’.

Which to be honest, I have to agree with (and you will too if you keep training long enough).


Define Calisthenics  Definition


But if you want the full definition, there is more to calisthenics than just some words.

People who practice calisthenics, know that calisthenics is much more than just its definition of beautiful strength.

It is a warrior’s way.

It’s a Zen, a lifestyle.


Calisthenics was used by the Spartans, Greeks, ninja’s and is still practiced by Shaolin Monks in Tibet (They have a non human level of calisthenics, their definition of calisthenics would be ‘superhuman strength’).

But really…

What is calisthenics besides it’s definition.

We all know the Sparta Scene.

Well there is something you can learn from the scene and the movie.



When your muscles ache and you wake up feeling yesterday’s training.

And they ask you for ‘submission’.

When your buddies at the gym laugh at you for training in the rain and snow.

After a week of coughing.

When you tell your friends that you have been training for 5 days this week.

And they say: “THIS IS MADNASSS!!!”


All you say is…


Define Calisthenics


So what can you learn from Leonidas.

Well…Leonidas understood the essence of calisthenics.

Not only physically (which for all Spartans was part of growing up), but also mentally.


If you paid close attention to the movie.

You have come to realize that Bar Brothers and Leonidas are quite the same.

We both battle, just on different fronts.

Leonidas had to battle the Xerxes army.

We have to battle our own Xerxes army (muscle pain, fat, people who don’t believe in us).


And in both cases and in both wars it is about never giving up.

Having your pride and being the true definition of a warrior.

Showing the will to keep fighting even when your chances seem slim.

And pushing through with all you have.


Calisthenics Define


And that’s why there is something you should know…

Although Leonidas lost his battle..and his life.

His will to win and never give up is something that resides in everyone (also in you).


So the next time people ask you: “What are you doing?”.

Or your friends laugh at you.

Or you feel like giving up.

Remember what it truly means to be a Bar Brother, remember Leonidas.


Rich Andoh



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