Punishment PT is unquestionably one of the most interesting variations on a theme of corporal punishment. It is, quite simply, PT carried out not simply as a healthful form of physical exercise but as punishment to be feared and respected. The punishment consists in the extremely lengthy and strenuous nature of the exercises which are at all times rigorously directed by a PT instructor firmly committed to making those under his charge suffer for their sins and infringements of the rules. Punishment PT is therefore by definition a form of CP (or Corporal, i.e. bodily, Punishment). It is doubly so by virtue of the fact that the person authorised to conduct a session of punishment PT maintains discipline — and spurs his convicted pupils on past their natural endurance — with liberal inflictions of his strap to any part of the body during the exercises.
Punishment PT combines many desirable elements in one comprehensive corrective process that can be expected to be effective even in difficult cases of persistent misbehaviour. Serious students of corporal punishment have no option but to regard it as a powerful, albeit esoteric remedy. For this reason it may be recommended only for obdurate wrongdoing and defiant resistance to reformation, when all lesser corrections — canings of ascending severity included — have proved inadequate to halt a pupil’s descent into error.
Alternatively, Punishment PT has valid applications — largely overlooked by practising CP enthusiasts — on a voluntary one-to-one (or even one-to-three!) basis between the partners in an expanding adult relationship. For there can be no disputing the many highly charged dominant and erotic overtones to this unique form of strictly directed physical training. As with other kinds of CP, the effectiveness of the punishment and its rewards to the administrator and any witnesses increase in steep ratio to the structuring of the punishment ritual and the elaboration of the punishment proper.
Punishment PT should be carried out in traditional formal gym wear: tight white cotton shorts and top, white ankle socks and plain white plimsolls. All PT kit should be carefully inspected for correctness, cleanliness and creases when the miscreants report to the gymnasium, and any lapses from perfect presentation severely dealt with at the outset. Two hours of continuous ferociously active exercise whilst being shouted at and perhaps frequently whacked with a strap is punishing enough, but having to undergo this with a just-caned bottom is excruciating indeed.
It is obviously imperative that the PT master be of iron constitution, his heart and mind safeguarded against the weakness of leniency or capitulation and instead firmly set on the one goal of reforming his pupils’ characters. He must have thoroughly imbibed the logic that it is sometimes necessary to be cruel in order to be kind. Certainly he should be sensitive to the levels of pain and exertion that he is creating in the offenders’ bodies, as well as the embarrassment and humiliation in their minds. He may well feel compassion for them, but this will assert itself in rigorous and exacting strictness, for their long-term benefit, rather than in a failure to prolong the discipline past the point where it begins to take effect and work. He will be prepared for, and thoroughly impervious to, Miss Disobedience’s plaintive protests and requests for clemency as he puts her through her paces with greater and greater exertions being demanded as the session unfolds. He must stress before its commencement that she — and she alone — is responsible for the punishment she must now go through, and of course it is not intended that she should enjoy the experience.
She must be made aware of her good fortune in being allowed to wear regulation gym kit. Under severe regimens of the past, schoolgirls sometimes had to be nude when drilled in this fashion, as we shall demonstrate. Even today it is possible that when two, three or more girls undergo punishment PT together, the master in charge may, at his discretion, order the girl showing the least effort to strip entirely, save for her socks and plimsolls. This may well improve her chances of feeling ashamed of her offences, and also of the lengths to which those responsible for her moral and ethical development are compelled to go in order to bring home to her the seriousness of her misbehaviour. Nudity would, additionally, render her senses more receptive to the physical chastisement meted out by the PT instructor, who must constantly exercise his judgment as to what is right, necessary and reasonable in her case. The presence of a second master, gowned and equipped with a cane, will serve to reinforce her awareness of the seriousness of her punishment, and to guarantee that the proper measure is attained, but not exceeded.
Further information is provided by the following authentic letters, the first two reprinted from Privilege 10 and the third from Privilege 11:
Whilst I am strongly of the opinion that the strap and the rod have their place in schools — and particularly so in Reform Schools — I am also a great believer in the corrective merits of Physical Training.
Prolonged and arduous PT (not just the easy-going stuff that is normally laid on) would I am sure have a most beneficial effect on recalcitrants. It would, I am sure, be even more beneficial if the instructor carried some kind of corrective instrument to stimulate pupils to greater efforts and to punish backsliders…
P.N., London W4
… I came across what purported to be a genuine account of conditions in what was euphemistically called a ‘Finishing School’ in the Harz Mountains region of Germany. I have no reason to doubt the authenticity of this document which was given to me by a friend who shares my interest in such matters. It refers, I think, to matters which occurred in pre-war days, but it does not actually state any time. For all I know, the school in question might still be in existence.
A feature of this establishment was regular, strenuous PT — and also corporal punishment. The whole place was run on very military lines — so typical of the Germans — and also, in many ways, seems to have been very ‘naturist’ which is also another of the traits of that race. It was certainly not an ordinary school and seems primarily to have been designed for erring daughters of stiff-necked military families who wanted to avoid any scandal or simply for parents who preferred their daughters to be brought up under conditions of the strictest discipline. Discipline is deep in the German soul, we know, so it is perhaps not so surprising that such a school should exist in that country — even though its existence was kept a pretty closely guarded secret.
The document is in the form of a journal, secretly kept by a girl who had been sent to the school and it must either have been smuggled out or she brought it out when she left. Her age was 19… pretty old for a schoolgirl one must admit. However she was by no means the oldest there, since there were a number of girls in their early twenties. The lowest age of acceptance at this school was 16. The reason that she had been despatched to this ‘Finishing School’ was that she had run away with her young man (of whom her family disapproved) and only just in time had been stopped from marrying him using false papers. Her family were anxious both to hush things up and to teach her a severe lesson. From a military colleague, her father heard of the Harz Mountains School, inspected it personally, and at once decided that it was the very place for any daughter of his who had thought fit to act as she did. Gerda, for that was the girl’s name, was sent there for a minimum period of one year, with a possible extension for another year held over her as a threat.
The journal gives considerable details of her early experiences at the school — which in reality was more like a prison than anything else. These were exceedingly painful and humiliating for a girl of her sensitive nature… and she was, for the first time in her life, introduced to corporal punishment. Corporal punishment beyond anything but a mild spanking from her governess, that is. She was, in fact, caned immediately on arrival and punishments for the slightest misdemeanour followed regularly. Quite naturally — as all the pupils did at one time or another — she considered escaping but not only would that have been exceedingly difficult but the punishment was a public birching and an extension of sentence. Thus Gerda gave up that idea — as most of the other girls had done.
It is clear from the journal that what Gerda hated most of all were the rigorous Physical Training sessions which were held daily, sometimes in the morning, sometimes in the afternoon. She writes: ‘PT is perhaps the worst thing of all here… and that, I think, is because the person in charge of the class is a young ex-army man who is a specialist in such matters. It is terribly embarrassing to have to perform the exercises before him, wearing only the thin tight-fitting black leotards that are provided. These are rendered terribly transparent and take on the feel and look of a kind of second skin after we all emerge from the freezing shower which we are all forced to take before exercises begin.
The exercises themselves are the normal ones… arms raising and stretching, knees bending, toe-touching, press-ups and so on but we are made to do this for far longer than is normally the case and often with the additional burden of heavy dumbbells. Oh God, how one’s arms, legs and back ache! One’s muscles simply seem to burn with fatigue… but one has to go on. Unless of course one wishes to feel the strap Heinrich always carries and frequently wields. It is a two-foot long one, two inches wide and although by no means the most painful instrument in the school it stings and burns quite adequately enough. Also he always dangles the threat of being reported to the Principal over us… and that could mean a caning or worse from her.
‘Come along young ladies, no flagging,’ he calls. ‘It’s only when you think you can’t go on a moment longer that you really begin to get real benefit from exercises.’ Then there would be that awful ‘thwacking’ sound, followed by a cry of pain, as one of my fellow-sufferers felt the leather on her flesh.
It was terrible to have him standing right before one, his eyes seeming to bore right through one as he watched the bounce of one’s breasts. It was equally terrible to know that he was standing behind one as one bent and stretched before him. For then the expectation of that strap falling across one was all the greater and one just cannot help flinching and quivering even if one doesn’t get it. Heinrich is a real sadist, and vile in other ways too. I hate him. And oh how I hate this awful place I have been sent to! Surely I do not deserve it, even if I was wicked and defied my parents. Surely what I did was not all that wrong, was it? I have now been here two months but it seems more like two years sometimes My heart fills with the bleakest despair and the most terrible fears when I remember that I still have at least ten months more to stay here. How much more suffering will I have to endure during that time?’…
Mme. Leclair, Rheims, France
… I can tell you from my own experience that it (punishment PT) is a real punishment. I am 62 years old and about 1930 I was sent to a ‘pensionate pour jeunes filles’ in Belgium. We got an extremely strict education and I can tell you a lot about CP. But now about PT. If a group of girls had been naughty or disobedient, punishment PT was the result. I stayed there several years so I did punishment PT many times.
I remember one time that I found it not fair because on that occasion I had done nothing wrong, just my friend Annelies. Now I must tell you that the PT dress was gym-shorts and a tiny shirt, nothing else, just bare legs and feet and arms. First we had to line up standing at attention without any movement. The gym teacher who was always extremely strict controlled everybody on the punishment list who was there. Then the exercises: press ups, knee bends, touching toes — every exercise endlessly. The teacher had a bamboo cane and she used it! ‘Legs higher!’ and thwack on your bare thighs. ‘Arms up!’ and the cane was landing on your arms. Bending — thwack on the top of your legs and buttocks. Again and again.
That time Annelies and I were very cross and found it unjust. We refused! We had to sit down on the floor while the other girls got their punishment PT. When it was finished and the girls were gone our teacher said: ‘And now you both take off your shorts and shirts — come on, hurry up!’ Thwack. So we stood completely nude! And so we had to exercise and the cane landed on our bare bottoms thighs and calves all the time. We were soon so tired and sweating and weeping but the session went on for a very long time regardless. I thought you would be interested to know that PT can be a very heavy punishment.