Czech Sokol Organization
Sokol organization was first founded in 1862 in the Czech lands which later became Czechoslovakia (now Czech Republic and Slovak Republic). SOKOL organization continues today in the United States as a vital, thriving entity. Based on founder Dr. Miroslav Tyrs' credo of "A Sound Mind in a Sound Body", member units of American Sokol offer physical training in gymnastics and other athletics, as well as providing cultural awareness and family oriented activities.
Born (Friedrich Emmanuel Tiersch) September 17, 1832 – Died August 8, 1884 in Ötz, Tyrol, Austria, the immortal founder of the Sokols, was an exceptional philosopher, aesthetic, art critic, teacher and leader of men. He was above all an ardent patriot, in the finest sense of the word. Orphaned when 7, with the help of his uncle he received a good education, graduating with honors from Charles University. Interested in athletics, especially gymnastics, and following the example of ancient Greece, he saw that any nation must be physically fit, morally on a high plane, and intelligent to secure its independence and retain it. Elevated to Doctor of Philosophy at Charles University, and member of the Editorial staff of Rieger's Encyclopedia he formulated his Sokol plan, creating an excellent, entirely new gymnastic terminology. He was the first Physical Director, editor of the Sokol paper, creator of drills and exercises, placing the whole on a firm scientific basis. The next twenty years of his life were devoted to Sokol, creating extreme hardship in his professional work and leaving him penniless. His conception of the meaning of the Sokols he told in one sentence. "Our idea is not for any faction, but for the whole nation, – it is not subject to change like religious or political ideologies, – rather it is eternally true and important, and stands in that respect, elevated above temporary disputes."
Born (Heinrich Fügner) September 12, 1822 in Praha – Died November 15, 1865, in Praha Co-founder of the Sokol organization, first president, of the original Praha Sokol and builder of the first Sokol gymnasium. Well educated for business, widely traveled, and well read he commanded a high place in the commercial, political and social sphere of his time. Too sublime and generous a soul to be fully satisfied with his life, he became Tyrs' natural partner in the Sokol organization. Democratic in his relations, devoted to the Sokol ideal, in a few years he set a precedent of self-sacrifice, intelligent leadership and devotion to the welfare of his people and country that are unequaled in our history. He drew to the young Sokol organization many outstanding men of his time and cemented their relationship so well they carried on after his death. Dr. Scheiner expressed his value the best when he said, "He created a new conception of the Sokol, and that new conception, which was his work, he clothed in those virtues, of which he was a shining example."
History of Sokol San Francisco Unit
Sokol San Francisco was founded in 1904 as part of American Sokol. The founding members of the San Francisco Sokol were: J.J. Justice, Frank Lastufka, Bohumil Kantner, Antonin Matlach, Frank Budinsky, Karel Kotal, Josef Fousek, Josef Widerman, Jan Zak and Vaclav Storek. They met on August 22nd 1904 and formulated the preliminary steps for instituting the Sokol organization in Bay Area.
In January 1910, Czech women organized a new branch of Sokol called “Sokolice” San Francisco Unit, an independent unit of Sokol SF and held classes with gymnastics the German Turner Hall at the Mission Street. One year later, on January 31, 1911 the two units were combined, creating one unified - Gymnastic Association Sokol – San Francisco Inc.