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The USAFPA is the United States division of the World Pankration Federation. 

USAFPA goals are to:

  • Re-establish the martial arts of Pankration to the modern Olympic Games.

  • The promotion of Pankration sport in the United States. 

  • The protection of the interests of Pankration and keeping authenticity to the traditions of the art.

  • Supervise the awarding of points to coaches, athletes, and referees according to the World Organisation's rules. 

  • Building a team of Pankration practitioners to represent The United States at the World Games!

  • Support the 2.25 million youth and adults participating in Pankration in the United States.


Athletes from across the nation are selected through a series of events to represent the United States at the World Games.


USAFPA is the nation's premier organization that supports pankration/amateur MMA athletes by providing opportunities for these athletes to compete in the highest, most authentic, and traditional level of the sport.


As a non-profit organization, USAFPA also serves as the governing body for pankration in the United States. 


The USAFPA is a non-profit organization funded wholly by fundraising efforts from individual Athletes and parent donations. Each Athlete is ultimately responsible for covering their training and competition costs.  The team will work together to achieve their funding goals, but most of the funding will come from donations. 



History of the Sport

From antiquity to present Pangration (Pagration, Pankration, Pancration) is considered one of the most demanding fighting systems ever. It is often recorded in ancient sources as a martial art. In antiquity, pankration was spectacular, popular, and much more interesting than other sports because the pankratiasts practiced a combination of wrestling and boxing techniques, resulting in switching scenes and often falls. It was also considered a very dangerous sport since it could bring about the death of the athlete. The example of Arracheion, a pankratiast from Peloponnese who died during a match and was declared winner posthumously, is documented in literary sources! The story goes that few minutes before he died he had broken the finger of his opponent, who signalled to the referee by raising his index finger to quit the game out of pain. During the Pangration match all moves were allowed except from two: the athletes were forbidden to bite or to strike blind the opponent. Even those restrictions did not apply, in this way, at the city of Sparta, where Pangration formed part of the military training. In Sparta, there were Pangration games for the women as well. The origins of Pangration are to be found in ancient Greek mythological traditions, according which Heracles and Theseus, are the inventors of the sport, since they first used its techniques to confront the Nemea Lion and Minotaur respectively. Pangration was included in the Olympic Games in 648 B.C. and it constituted integral part of all major and local athletic contests in the Classical and Roman periods, from Italy to Anatolia and from Black Sea to Egypt. Pangration became the most popular sport of antiquity because of the large demands it required from the athletes, the diversity it provided as a spectacle and the excitement it created at the audience. These characteristics are evident in its ancient name, Pangration, which literally means “to dominate totally.” It seems that no athletic event was considered important enough in antiquity if it did not include Pangration. According to Aristotle, Leucarus of Acarnania finalized the sport’s rules. Matches were conducted in accordance with the same general rules that governed all sports. The athletes competed in age classes and in couples. They were selected to compete with each other by lot. When the number of competitors was odd, one of them had a bye, and he advanced to the following round without having to compete. Consequently, he had to compete fewer times to reach the final round. The athletes could fight standing or on the ground. Some techniques are known to us from ancient pottery depictions, sculpture and literature. Strikes delivered mainly with legs, while kicking was considered a great advantage. Basic instruction in pangration techniques was conducted by the Paedotribae, who was in charge of boys’ physical education. High-level athletes were also trained by special trainers called Gymnastae, some of whom were successful Pangration athletes before. According to Greek traditions Pangration contests were initially conducted outside established athletic contests, in the frame of funeral games in honour of mythical figures. Several sources refer to matches following a challenge. Matches were always held during festival performances, especially at Olympia (the Olympic Games), at Delphi (the Pythian Games), Isthmia (the Isthmian games) and Nemea (the Nemean games). Pangration matches and training bouts were mainly practiced at gymnasia, palaestras, stoas, stadia, konistras, theatres and, in Roman times, amphitheatres. Usually, Pangratiasts competed nude, just like other athletes did. Nevertheless, Pankratiasts differed from other athletes in that they had particular behaviours, diet, hair and body care. When they were competing, they anointed themselves with oil and sand, as did other athletes. In imperial times, the Aleiptes (the teachers of the athletes) put wax on the bodies of the Pangratiasts (and wrestlers) in the Aleipterion, a separate part of the gymnasium or the Palaestra. Victory in Pangration could result from the opponent resigning during the match or admitting defeat. Victory after death and victory in all three extreme sports (Boxing, Wrestling, and Pangration) is also documented. Ancient sources refer in many cases to the public response, which the judges had to take seriously. There were often quarrels that sometimes led to injuries and even death. In some competitions, prizes were not of high material value, but rather of symbolic value, but in other competitions the glory and honour of victory was accompanied by a high monetary or material reward. The prizes in many cases could be very financially valuable. There are signs, moreover, that prizes for winning the Pangration in some competitions were much more valuable than prizes for winning other events. The most common prizes for victors included insertion in a list of victors, champion status, trophies, grants of citizenship, a homecoming procession, the demolishing of city walls for them to pass (since the city did not need fortifications when they had such athletic victors), statues, and monuments, including funerary monuments. The monuments could also be sculptures, reliefs or vases (of metal, stone or clay). The most common monuments were statues or busts of the athlete. Other monuments were altars, columns, or lists of victors that constituted a monumental group. The inscription of winners was placed on a common stele, a herm, or a statue base. The name of the athlete was often written on the crown (either inscribed or raised). In certain victory catalogues, Pangration is referred to as “Sacred Game”, a characterization extremely rare for other sports of antiquity. A simple crown was the most common prize in the “Sacred Games” (which did not award cash prizes). The crown was made of wild olive at Olympia, laurel at Delphi, pine at Isthmia, and wild celery at Nemea. The sources preserve the names of many famous athletes and, in many cases, victories and anecdotes from their lives, such as for Sostratos of Sicyon, who used a special technique in which he bent back the fingers of his opponents, Polydamas from Thessaly, who became a legend because of his alleged fight with a lion in Thrace, Theogenes from Thasos, who was believed to have obtained 1400 victories in Pankration and boxing competitions and many others. Pankration was widely spread outside the Eastern Mediterranean basin as early as the Hellenistic Period and reached Asia via Alexander the Great's military campaigns. It is believed to be the ancestor of many martial or athletic arts (such as, taekwondo, karate etc.), developed in this geographical area. It contributed to the interchange of ideas and techniques and inspired many parts of the world in all eras. Pangkation revived globally after the 2nd World War. Today Pangration is developed by the World Pangration Athlema Federation (W.P.A.F.), established in 2002, and hundreds of other international, national and local organizations which provide training and encourage the perpetuation of this ancient sport. The Greek Pangration Athlema Federation (G.P.A.F.) was officially established in 1996. Its main objective is to promote, circulate, and organize pangration in its traditional and modern forms. The main features of modern Pangration preserve its ancient character. To begin with, the official language used during the contest (terminology) is ancient Greek, while the instruction program is based on techniques and methods used during antiquity. Furthermore, the distinction of Pangration in two main categories, the upper Pangration and the lower Pangration, is also an establishment inherited from the past. The sport presents a unique spectacle comprising hundreds of grabs and counteracts. One important feature of modern Pangration sport is that the regulations and rules are constituted in a way that the protection of the athletes is obtained in the most sufficient degree. The preservation of many ancient elements in the conduction of modern Pangration has a significant social and cultural function and meaning because it keeps the connection with the past and the roots of the sport alive. In that way, the people who are practicing the sport today recognize it as part of their cultural heritage. The methods and techniques of Pangration have survived throughout the centuries, from generation to generation. Today it is a popular sport providing a sense of identity and continuity to all people involved. ​

About theWorld Games


will be held is the Sala Sporturilor, Constantin Jude” (Sala Olimpia) located in Timişoara.

  • 67 Countries

  • 13,869 athletes 

  • 20,000 people in attendance

  • Streamed worldwide 

  • 268 referees

  • 201 coaches,

  • 67 Delegates 

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