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Captain Jespersen’s Morning Gymnastics

The name Captain Jespersen (or J.P. Jespersen) may not mean much to English speakers, but for Danes he plays a big part in their physical culture history, continuing the work of another Danish physical culture great: J. P. Muller, author of the famous “My System”.

Captain Jespersen’s goal was to promote physical body culture, which he did, in part, with a radio program of daily “Morning Gymnastics” which ran for 25 years from the late 1920s to the early 1950s. While the term ‘morning gymnastics’ is routinely used, it may be more accurate to refer to the exercises as calisthenics.

I produced this original translation of the morning gymnastics handbook primarily because I find Jespersen’s work interesting, and, in its own way, inspiring.

Translating anything always brings with it some problems, especially when it is older language, and specialist language, as in this case regarding exercising. That said, I have made only slight changes to the text, such as where the original text did not seem to make a lot of sense, and I’ve made the overall text gender-neutral just really to improve the reading experience.

The exercises included later in the book are as useful and pertinent as they were 90 years ago, and the general advice equally so. There is an element of religious doctrine to this text, but not to the detriment of the overall message.

Prepare to be inspired!

Richie Neville | Director
Internal Force Fitness


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