Background: Despite dire predictions of its demise, physical education continues to survive across most countries of the world. Moreover, the form of its survival is remarkably similar across cultures. Why has physical education survived as a cultural practice and why is its form so similar given the marked differences that exist between many cultures? Purpose: This paper pursues this question through a consideration of physical education as a ‘meme’. A meme, a term first coined by evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins in his book The selfish gene, is the cultural equivalent of a gene and is claimed to be the unit of cultural transmission. Memes are selected in a process not unlike biological selection. Some memes thrive and others die off or become unused. If we consider physical education to be a meme, then what is it about physical education that has been so successful in reproducing itself? Although far from uncontroversial, the study of memes, called memetics, might have the potential to be rather more than merely polemic or playful for understanding the future survival of physical education. Research design: In particular this paper provides a memetic analysis of Kirk's claim that there has only been one major shift in the idea of the idea of physical education since its inception as a school subject; namely from physical education as gymnastics to physical education as sport techniques. Conclusions: This paper concludes by suggesting that the next shift in idea of the idea of physical education might be oriented around obesity prevention rather than sport.