Who was actually Hercules’ Coach?

The 1997 Disney “Hercules” is a pretty awesome movie, action, storytelling, hero’s journey, trials, tribulations it’s got it all. In the movie Hercules’ trainer is Phil played by the LEGENDARY Dani DeVito who aids in building his young protege’s muscle and mind. But in the actual mythology, who was Hercules’s coach and teacher? 

Enter Chiron, a 10 foot tall centaur and son of the titan Cronus. Who was known for his wisdom and knowledge of medicine. He was also the mentor to other notable heroes;

  • Ajax – great hero and warrior 
  • Theseus – king of Athens, slew a Minotaur  
  • Jason – leader of the Argonauts, went on a lot of quests
  • Perseus (Percy) – another son of Zeus, slew Medusa
  • Achilles – the G.O.A.T. of greek mythology  

Chiron was the eldest and wisest of the centaurs, who were mostly known for their savagery and violence. In the Mountains of Pelion Hercules learned archery, medicine, prophecy, hunting and poisons. Chiron was known as “the child rearer” who brought heroes to be and orphans alike under his guidance. He was noted for his kindness, wisdom and love.

Alternative teaching methods 

The centaur had some interesting teaching methods for getting the best out of his pupils. Chiron taught  Achilles, the best swordsman in Greek mythology, how to fight. He did this by making the young hero fight wild lions and his sparring partner Ajax, was one of the strongest men in the world. Other methods included jumping dykes and climbing mountains with sword and shield. For conditioning he would chase his students at full gallop over fields once he caught them he would congratulate them and place them upon his back to ride home. Before you ask, no I’m not giving you a piggyback ride after your cardio.  

Selfless to the end

During their training Chiron was accidentally struck by Hercules with a poison arrow, while defending himself from a raiding party of centaurs. Due to the intense pain of the poison Chiron decided to give up his immortality so Prometheus (the god who stole fire for man) could be released from his chains (that’s a whole nother story).   

Why was this truly selfless? Chiron was a master of prophecy, he probably knew that teaching Hercules archery and poisons would lead to his death, but he did it anyway. Because the hero would need that knowledge to defeat the Hydra and the Stymphalian Flock, massive man-eating birds whose wings could level whole houses. Chiron also knew that Prometheus needed to continue his work. To honor his friend Zeus, king of the gods lifted Chiron up to the stars creating the constellation Sagittarius. 

Chiron is one of my favorite stories in Greek mythology, because of his selfless actions and guardianship. He was willing to live and die for his students who often called him father. I don’t think it is realistic to live up to Chiron’s story, but if more teachers, coaches and parents tried, the world would be a better place for it. 

Thank you for reading!

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Ian Smith

Owner, Lead Trainer Mountain Speed Strength & Fitness

Evergreen, CO


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