y the time of the Renaissance, sports had become entirely
secular, but in the minds of the Czech educator John Amos Comenius and other
humanists, a concern for physical education on what were thought to be classic
models overshadowed the competitive aspects of sports. Indeed, 15th- and 16th-century
elites perferred dances to sports and delighted in geometric patterns of movement.
The ballet developed in France during this period. Horses were trained to graceful
movement rather than bred for speed. French and Italian fencers like the famed
Girard Thibault, whose L'Accademie de l'espee appeared in 1628, thought
of their activity more as an art form than as a combat. Northern Europeans emulated
them. Humanistically inclined Englishmen and Germans admired the cultivated
Florentine game of calcio
("kick"), a form of football that stressed the good looks and elegant attire
of the players.