Yu.M. Nikolaev, professor, Dr.Hab. P.F.
Lesgaft National research university of physical culture, sport and health, St.-Petersburg

Key words: status of modern theory of physical culture, fundamentals, reconsideration of physical education.

Introduction. The complex and crucial issues of formation of the theory of physical culture, fundamentally important in development and modernization of sports education, have been discussed by the scientific community for almost five decades. These issues will undoubtedly be considered in the future, since any theory is a continuously developing knowledge.

Our decision on taking the responsibility for summing up the results of formation of the modern theory of physical culture is stipulated by over 40 years of researches and teaching in this area (these issues have been practically the subject of Ph.D. and doctoral theses, the course of annual publications in the journal “Teoriya i praktika fizicheskoy kultury” from 1997 up to 2012 inclusive several study guides and manuals). Since lots of material on the quoted issue has been already published, the given paper will be mainly ascertaining with a focus on allocation of the key (conceptual) issues.

Fundamentals. The modern theory of physical culture as a scientific and educational subject can be characterized by a number of guidelines.

· It acts as an acute need for modern physical education as a part of general education.

An active and creative specialist can be trained in case of available new quality of knowledge offered to him in the educational system, its update and advancement at the modern stage of social development is associated with further understanding of its culture generating, humanistic and methodological functions aimed at development of high professionalism in students. The core of this professionalism is first of all the formation of the spiritual-value-standard sphere of the personality consciousness (i.e. its spirituality) and creative nature. No wonder that the dominant components in the content of education are the ones responsible for research, organization of information, evaluation and selection, prognostication, methodology, integration and other functions (I.A. Kolesnikova, 1993), facilitating further development of human mental activity (thinking), indicating to the increasing need for development of future experts’ methodological culture.

The trends of development of general education are also specific for physical education. Formation of the high level of culturological, theoretical and methodological thinking, its humanistic orientation are the indispensable and crucial attributes of professional mastery of a graduate of the university of physical culture. All these qualities and abilities in future specialists can be trained in case of available innovative approaches to updating of the content of standard theoretical courses, specifically of the present theory (and methods) of physical culture, work of a new course on the quoted subject grounded on the different kind of theoretical mental activity, affecting the moral climate of opinion too. The modern theory of physical culture, generating the completely new culture conformable theoretical consciousness and thinking in future scientists and teachers regarding the sphere of physical culture and sport is to be such a new subject in the educational system in physical culture. Nowadays it is a long-felt need of the modern professional and amateur physical education and the foundation of its integral reconsideration in compliance with the tendencies of development of general education.

· It is of theoretical-abstract, independent, integrative (but not cumulative) character.

This theory as an integral subject is grounded on the common scientific level of the methodology and is formed in view of the philosophic-culturological methodological level (i.e. practically between these two levels), is of mainly cultural-pedagogical character (as indicated by many famous experts – V.M. Vydrin, L.P. Matveev, N.I. Ponomarev, N.A. Ponomarev et al.). These are the facts of the theory of culture that are determinative in the systematization and integration of the fragmented humanitarian knowledge in various subjects on man and society (V.N. Orlov, 1993; V.G. Pulyaev, 1993 et al.), as of the ones relating the sphere of physical culture. Available intrinsic diverse conceptual-methodological base, framework of categories and concepts and specific content testify to independence of the modern theory of physical culture.

Understanding of physical culture as a spiritual and physical phenomenon is to lay the basis of the modern theory of physical culture, meant to form (reproduce) an integral person capable of further creative self-realization which is an acute cultural phenomenon (M.A. Nedashkovskaya, 1990). Actually in its extended form modern theory of physical culture is an independent and really an integrative subject (the integrative character is provided by the “physically-cultural” / sports / activity focused on formation of human physical culture in its corporal and spiritual unity. Consequently, it requires a total conceptual and structural reorganization of the whole information available in these textbooks (but not denying it), many of which will find its place in newly created theoretical frameworks in the educational environment of physical culture.

· It has its own conceptual-methodological basis. Formation of this basis results from creative interpretation and integration into more capacious theoretical and methodological constructions in the sphere of physical culture of a lot of differentiated conceptual-methodological and evidentially informative material (lacking in the 60s – beginning of the 70s XX century), having been collected by numerous researchers for the last 30-35 years, and associated with its interdisciplinary study, when apart from traditional (medicobiological and educational) aspects of knowledge, physical culture was studied within the psychological, sociological, cultural, philosophic and other aspects of knowledge, and often within the system approach.

It is the system approach that stipulates for considering physical culture not only “bottom-up”, from its corporal-motor component, from practice (from its parts to the whole), but first in view of the philosophic-cultural level of the methodology (which was one of the key requirements of the All-Union conference on the issues of theory of physical culture in Moscow, May, 1986), i.e. “top-down”, from “the whole to its parts”, from culture to physical culture. But especially active development of the issues of the theory of culture started in our country from mid 60s-70s ХХ. Somewhere in there a major increase of theoretical-cultural and methodological studies of physical culture took place.

The conducted before analysis of the correlation of these two conceptual directions promoted further conceptually full understanding of physical culture as an object of scientific cognition. It was shown that:

– same all-round demands as to other authoritative types of culture should be placed to physical culture;

– physical culture is to be considered as a “spiritually-physical” phenomenon (or on the contrary: “physically-spiritual”), preconditioning a different by its essence methodological approach to understanding of the matters of organization of the modern theory of physical culture.

· It is based on the keen understanding of the essence of physical culture.

Nowadays real shifts in organization of the modern theory of physical culture can occur only in case of the total shift of the paradigms of theoretical knowledge of the essence of physical culture, associated with development in its sphere of human physical abilities, formation of its motor skills and abilities (prevailing in the present theory and methods of physical culture), to another essence with formation of integral personality in its core in the unity of his somatopsychic (corporal) and sociocultural (spiritual) components, where the latter is key, his human creative nature. But it is the spiritual (sociocultural) that is lacking in construction of the theoretical framework in the sphere of physical culture at present, negatively affecting its theoretical perception and practical realization.

· It forms a new culture conformable thinking within scientists and teachers. The modern theory of physical culture (based on further understanding of the essence of physical culture, the new individual conceptual-methodological basis) should acquire the features of the new human dimension, realized in a totally different (apart from the present theory and methods of physical culture), culture conformable framework of categories and concepts and its substantially updated gist. Using this way the theory forms the culturally conformable thinking within future scientists and teachers (and via them the one of all consumers and founders of the values of physical culture), totally changes their theoretical consciousness and “thinking system” on physical culture, that is still generally primitive and practical among the majority of the country population.

The modern theory of physical culture creates an absolutely different - culturally conformable mind-set regarding the essence of this phenomenon within both future scientists and teachers and the ones mastering its real values. It really helps to understand the content of physical education as a translation of culture, intended for creation of an integral personality in the unity of his spiritual and physical strength, but not just development in him of a set of motor skills and abilities, development of physical qualities (abilities), dominant nowadays in its theory and practice, but keeps exhausting its one-sided potentials.

· It is a methodological basis for modernization of the whole theoretical educational environment of physical culture. The mentioned at the end of 70s ХХ necessity of the forthcoming theory of physical culture (theory and methods of physical culture) instead of the theory of physical education (as proved by the titles of curricula and most of manuals) was not certain and methodologically grounded [6]. But, as distinct from the present theory (and methods) of physical culture, the modern theory of physical culture does not substitute the theory of physical education but is being formed аlong with it as an independent theory with its own conceptual base, as the next stage of historical development of the science on the theory of physical education (TPE). Theory of physical (sports) education as the most developed one is to remain in the educational environment of physical culture (that is gaining a more system character due to the arising new requirements) as an independent theory along with other rapidly developing and constantly separating theories of its forms - components (that in view of cultural conformity are to be interpreted as physical sportization, physical recreation, physical rehabilitation, physical adaptation etc.), specific for them kinds of physical activity (physical-educational, physical-sports, physical-recreational, physical-rehabilitation, physical-adaptive etc.) and its effect – kinds of physical culture (educational, sports, recreational, rehabilitation, adaptive etc.).

At the same time much is to be done in the system understanding and development of the whole theoretical educational environment of physical culture, particularly conceptual-methodological attitudes of the modern theory of physical culture.

· It revolutionizes the whole physical and sports practice. We are convinced that underdevelopment of people’s methodological thinking is the main reason of their little involvement in learning of the values of physical culture and frequent failures of Russian athletes at performances in big sports competitions.

Nowadays one of the crucial issues is formation in the Russian residents of the vital need for physical and sport cultures with their multifaceted functional-value-activity-effective content. It can be achieved only if state structures design a new national system of physical and sports education of the growing generations and adult population. Suggestion to people of the new mind-set on physical culture as a spiritually-physical phenomenon is to be the key mechanism in it, really (not in word only) acting as an integral part of the general culture of every person (naturally, along with its other parts) and stipulating for his self-realization in society (and far not only the part of his healthy way of life and health strengthening). Reformation of any system (including physical culture) should be started from the rational theoretical suggestion on it (altering mainly human consciousness), but not from its forcible introduction into life. Without this key (“imposing”) component all federal efforts on the increase of financing of physical culture and sport, organization of its material and technical basis, allocation of the “percentage” number of the involved ones (that are to be taken into account most of all) can be ineffective. Raising of people’s general culture and their real material prosperity is very important too.

However we assume that the sphere of physical education obviously lacks theoretical work with the human “spirit”, development of his theoretical-methodological thinking regarding the new interpretation of physical culture and its great socializing effect. So much stronger efforts are required for further understanding by people of the quoted cultural phenomenon, first from the philosophic, culturological and methodological points of view. The modern theory of physical culture (undoubtedly, in cooperation with mass media) is to take this function of methodology and understanding, formation of the culturally conformable thinking, altering the state of consciousness of both single person and people of the whole country regarding the sphere of physical culture.

· It eliminates the old mind-set.

We had made a thorough, detailed analysis of the content of each of the papers stipulated above based on the culturally conformable data of the modern theory of physical culture, the detailed results of which must be subjected in another paper. However, in this paper we just list some general faults in these papers (to make it shorter and harmonious), since they are stipulated by the single key reason.

Consequently, the listed papers have some defects caused by the dominant old mind-set. Let us focus only on two most important and closely correlated defects [8]:

– all authors’ discussions but probably only one paper [5] are based on depreciation, narrow-mindedness regarding the essence of physical culture – reducing it generally to “bodily”, “somatic-motor” content, fixing only its outer side and not considering its main “internal” (personally-spiritual), genuine human content, the only thing that makes it a really competent type of the human and social general culture;

– speaking on unacceptability of the expansive interpretation of the concept “physical culture" due to combining it with spirituality, some authors [1, 3] fail to realize that this “expansion” consists not in the set of the total of its components (they try to list unfairly and often unreservedly), but in its conceptual-qualitative characteristics, with the compulsory spiritual (sociocultural) component (as a generic feature of culture, specific for all of its kinds) for physical culture. And it is crucial in many respects in formation of the corporal-motor component which is never denied.

All this makes the indicated papers ill-reasoned and first contradicting not only with the main process of development of the modern scientific knowledge on culture and physical culture and their theories (as of the guidelines of the modern theory of physical culture), but also with the present common trends of development of education (where the sports is not an exclusion) – intensification in it of the culture generating, humanistic and methodological functions.

In the modern period many educational establishments in the sphere of higher physical education by right have changed to the status of universities. Therefore, they are to correspond to their new high status. As fairly marked, their key mission is to form a perspective model of development of physical culture, sport, directed to the future, based on fundamentalization and humanitarization of education. This is the knowledge that is given by the modern theory of physical culture. This very knowledge should be mastered by future young researchers and teachers in the university, generating the new, culturally conformable theoretical consciousness and thinking regarding the sphere of physical culture. Thus the conceptual materials of the quoted theory are to take a respectable place in these educational institutions as soon as possible, since they fully correlate with the key trends of development of education of the beginning of the XXI century, with P.F. Lesgaft’s views and ideas, subjected in the theory of physical education they have worked.


1. Abasov, Z.A. Methodological analysis of the conceptual system of theory of physical culture / Z.A. Abasov, V.V Kondrat’ev // Teoriya i praktika fizicheskoy kultury. – 2010. – № 4. – P. 25–28. (In Russian)

2. Bordovskaya, N.V. Pedagogical systemology: study guide / N.V. Bordovskaya. – Мoscow: DROFA, 2009. – 404 P. (In Russian)

3. Korenberg, V.B. On some guidelines in our sphere / V.B. Korenberg // Teoriya i praktika fizicheskoy kultury. – 2008. – № 2. – P.10–13. (In Russian)

4. Nikolaeva, N.I. University of physical culture – what is it like? / N.I. Nikolaeva // Teoriya i praktika fizicheskoy kultury. – 2004. – № 9. – P. 44-46. (In Russian)

5. Sobyanin, F.I. On the essence of physical culture (or on one subjected discussion) / F.I. Sobyanin // Teoriya i praktika fizicheskoy kultury. – 2010. – № 4. – P. 20–24. (In Russian)

6. Stepin, V.S. Theoretical knowledge / V.S. Stepin. – Мoscow: Progress-traditsiya, 2004. – 744 P. (In Russian)

7. Sundetova, U.Sh. Higher education and perspective of development of the sphere of physical culture, sport, tourism / U.Sh. Sundetova, A.R. Baimurzin // Teoriya i praktika fizicheskoy kultury. – 2004. – № 9. – P. 47–49. (In Russian)

8. Shpagin, Yu.A. Falsity of the term of “physical culture” /Yu.A. Shpagin // Teoriya i praktika fizicheskoy kultury. – 2002. – № 6. – P. 61–62. (In Russian)                                              

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