Natural or instinctive activity
Activity is a law of nature.
In nature, every living being achieves its complete physical development by the simple use of his means of locomotion, defense and work.
So much so that human did not need "physical education" as long as he had to support himself and ensure his safety through his own activity. He achieved his integral physical development by living in the open air and practicing only the natural and utilitarian physical activities for which his body is specially adapted.
Reasoned and methodical education
Today, progress and the technical means have brought considerable changes. They spare strength to produce, to move, to shelter, to defend oneself or to feed oneself. Modern lifestyles and social obligations reduce the time spent on physical activity.
As a result, human physical development is limited, with negative side effects on his health and well-being.
Each one should compensate for these deficiencies in order to achieve complete physical development. So one has to voluntarily:
1) devote sufficient time for physical action;
2° Use movements that are natural to our species: walking, running, jumping, climbing, etc... in the open air;
3) Produce, without harming his body, a level of activities close to a whole day of living in the open air, in the nature
(Georges HEBERT, tome 1)
Hence, the doctrine of Méthode Naturelle
Use the movements that are those of our species to acquire integral physical development by a reasoned return to the natural conditions of life.
(Georges HEBERT , tome 1)
THE CONNECTION OF BODY AND MIND
Physical education cannot be reduced solely to the development of the body.
Otherwise we take the risk of forming muscular or selfish people who will only use their physical qualities for personal (having an attractive body), mercantile (money, media spinoffs), or harmful (medals, glory, fame) purposes.
Above the search for physical qualities, an integral education must also combine all the qualities of action that make the value of character and finally an ethical dimension.
In order to develop energy, courage, will, cold blood, firmness and other qualities of action, it is essential to be confronted with real difficulties during the training sessions. Hebertist train themselves outside, in nature, on real obstables.
Jumping over real obstacles, difficult climbs, balances in height, struggles of all kinds, etc... will allow developing these qualities of action.
Strength and energy can serve both positive and harmful purposes. So, an ethical behaviour should drive the use of acquired force.
Hebertist seek altruism, kindness, respect for others, mutual assistance, loyalty, etc...
DEFINITION OF PHYSICAL EDUCATION
Georges Hébert used to define physical education by the Méthode Naturelle as the following:
"Systematic, progressive and continuous action, from childhood to adulthood, with the following objectives:
- ensure integral development;
- increase organic resistance;
- increase skills in all kinds of natural and utilitarian exercises: walking, running, quadrupedy, jumping, climbing, balancing, throwing, lifting, defending, swimming
- develop energy and all other qualities of action;
- finally, submit the whole to a dominant moral idea: altruism"
In the purely physical field, strength lies in qualities such as organic resistance, muscularity, speed, skill, etc., and in being able in the different families of exercises.
In the field of action, strength lies in possessing energy, will, courage, etc... Brilliant physical qualities can be reduced to nothing if they are not supported by these qualities of action.
"The true strength lies not only in the muscles, the breath, the skill,... but before all in the energy that uses it, the will that directs it or the feeling that guides it. "
(Georges HEBERT - Tome 1)
Note concerning the terms "virile" and "moral":
Georges Hébert believed that the physical and the moral are inseparable.
He therefore incorporated into physical culture :
- the culture of energy , courage, will, composure etc. which he designated by the terms of "virile culture". Today we prefer the expression "culture of action" because the meaning now attached to the term "virile" can be confusing.
- the culture of altruistic feelings (benevolence, respect for others, loyalty, etc.) which he designated by the expression of "moral culture" to which we prefer today that of "ethical culture".
How to apply the principles listed above?
It is impossible, with the modern lifestyle, to achieve physical improvement, relying on one’s only instinct to practice natural activities. Our living conditions save us in part the efforts to meet our needs and adapt to nature’s constraints.
The Méthode Naturelle is the adaptation to our present way of life of the means used by the living beings in the natural state to acquire their integral physical development.
Using a "method" avoids unsuccessful tests, useless or dangerous experiments. It immediately indicates the best procedures to follow.
While doctrinal principles are intangible, the method of work can be perfected by experience.