2) FIRST ATTEMPTS
1903 : The first ideas
Hébert already has some ideas about men’s physical training. He wants a training that would be:
He is a close friend of DEMENY and COUBERTIN (the modern Olympic game initiator). He clearly stands against the official training method of the french army. This method was called the Joinville school or the Swedish method (analytical muscular movements, carried out statically)
He submits a plan to reform the teaching of "gymnastics" to the navy authorities. It is a success. The french Navy assigns him to the training of the french marine commandos in Lorient city.
The adventure begins...
1904 : Lorient
He takes the direction of the commando (navy seals) training center and begins to apply his ideas.
He replaces the rigid and muscular teaching given to 1200 men by a more utilitarian teaching and establishes scale of performances (the future "Code of Force") to measure the results, which will prove to be extremely convincing.
He is isolated. The rest of the army is sticking to the pure muscular training of the official method of the Joinville school.
An utilitarian method....
...versus muscular movements
1907 : First book
(Georges HEBERT: L'éducation physique raisonnée, 1907, Librairie Vuibert)
Hébert publishes his first book: "the reasoned physical education". It is prefaced by Demeny and one can see an influence of Demeny (in particular, the 10 future families of exercises are still only 8!, as in Demeny's books ).
In this book, Hébert keeps on using some pure muscular movements of the Swedish method. He wrote years later that it was a error but that he could not reform suddenly an institution such as the army... and that he had to make concessions (reference: Strohl, Revue de l'éducation physique).
Out of the navy seals, the army keeps the Swedish method whichremains its official method.