Monthly Archives: June 2013

Train Like an Ancient Hindu Warrior:

 

Train Like an Ancient Hindu Warrior:

The Steel Mace Workout

Guest Post

The Great Gama: undefeated wrestler, owner of a heroic mustache, and mace trainer.

Holding an Indian Mace

Holding an Indian Mace

Looking for a new workout? How about one that was used by Hindu warriors over 2,000 years ago and still used by Pehlwani wrestlers today?

The gada, or heavy mace, was the weapon of choice of Hindu soldiers as well as the Hindu deity Hanuman, an anthropomorphic monkey who can lift mountains with a single hand. According to the book Encyclopedia of Indian Physical Culture, warriors during the Puranic age would engage in mace training early in the morning along with wrestling, archery, and swordsmanship. Besides dueling one another with gadas, warriors would swing heavier versions — usually made with a bamboo stick with a heavy stone at one end — behind their backs in order to strengthen their backs, chests, shoulders, forearms, and fingers. Because of their rigorous physical and tactical training, Hindu warriors were some of the fiercest of the ancient world.

Today, the gada is used primarily by Pehlwani wrestlers in northern India and southern Pakistan. The most famous gada afficionado was the Great Gama (pictured above), the only undefeated Pehlwani wrestler in history. By the looks of it, his mustache also trained with a gada. That thing is a beast!

While the Indian Club enjoyed popular use among Western exercise enthusiasts as early as the 19th century, gada training for some reason didn’t catch on until very recently. Mixed martial artists in the West have taken up heavy mace training as a way to strengthen the muscles involved with throwing opponents to the mat. Functional fitness and natural movement practitioners have also taken to mace training because it provides such an amazing full-body workout.

If you’re ready to harness your inner Hindu warrior, read on. Below, Mr. Know Your Lifts showcases six different exercises that you can perform with a heavy mace.

Mace Grip Basics

 

Mace Grips

 

To make an exercise harder, grip both hands near the end of the handle. To make exercises easier, move at least one hand closer to the weighted end.

360

360

 

The 360 has been used by Hindu warriors and Pehlwani wrestlers for ages. It works the shoulders, chest, back, and forearms. Begin by holding the mace directly in front of you with your hands gripped closely together at the end of the handle. If your left hand is above your right hand, you’re going to push the mace ball over your right shoulder. The mace ball should swing behind your back. When it reaches your left shoulder, pull the mace over your left shoulder so that the mace is once again directly in front of you. Repeat several times. Switch up your hands so that your right hand is above your left, and push the mace ball over your left shoulder. Repeat swinging the mace in this direction several times.

To see this exercise in action, check out this video of Diesel Crew’s Jedd Johnson performing the 360.

Barbarian Squat

BarbarianSquat

 

The Barbarian Squat is a great full-body exercise. You’re working your upper as well as your lower body in a single movement. Begin in a standing position with the mace behind your neck. Start lowering your body into a squatting position while simultaneously bringing the mace to the front. You’ve successfully completed the exercise if you’re in a full squat and the mace is in front of you. Return to your starting position by standing while simultaneously bringing the mace back to its original position. Repeat.

Dynamic Curl

DynamicCurl

 

The Dynamic Curl works the forearms and biceps.

Hold the mace with a mixed grip — one hand overhand and one underhand — with the hand near the mace ball-end holding the handle with an underhand grip. Lift the ball end with the hand closest to the mace ball. When the ball reaches the middle of the arc, switch your hands up by sliding the hand that was near the ball down towards the end of the handle and bringing the hand that was near the handle up closer to the ball end. When you’ve finished, the ball end should be on your other side and your mixed grip should be reversed — the hand that was originally overhand should be underhand; the hand that was originally underhand should now be overhand. Swing the mace back and forth like this for several repetitions.

Spear Stab

SpearStab

 

Hold the mace like you would a spear. Thrust as if you were an ancient Pauravaian warrior stabbing an a member of Alexander the Great’s Macedonian army in the Battle of the Hydaspes River. The closer both hands are to the handle, the more difficult this exercise will be. Switch up your hands and your stance to work the other side of your body.

Grave Digger

SpearStab

It’s time to bury all those imaginary Macedonian soldiers you just killed. Hold the mace like you would a shovel and pretend like you’re digging a hole in the ground with the mace ball. Repeat for several repetitions. Switch up your hands to work the other side of your body.

Splitting Wood

SplittingWood

 

You’ll need a tire for this one. Just pretend like you’re splitting wood like a lumberjack. Start off with your non-dominant hand near the butt of the handle and your dominant hand placed near the mace’s head. Bring the mace head above your head. Swing down. As you swing, slide your dominant hand down the shaft of the mace for extra power. Switch up your hand placement to work the different sides of your body.

Who are we if not searching for meaning?

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Warrior Training

What does it mean to be a warrior? A warrior means many things to me. I have had the honor of knowing and working with many warriors in my life. They all share common traits.

Military organizations are made up of real warriors. Police and fire organizations are full of them. Many of todays martial artists would qualify for “warrior status”.

Even though it may seem that I am only equating fighting/military/police with a warrior I am not. Anyone regardless of profession can be one. It is a mindset.

First of all a true warrior is someone that stands by his/her principles and beliefs. It is someone that is committed to conquering his/her fears and self-limiting beliefs. It is not just about being positive but about waging the war against self-doubt and a negative mindset.

The combat soldiers that I have known have that mindset. They may feel fear bit it does not consume them or stop them from accomplishing their mission. A firefighter will go into a burning building, save a family, and then say “it was nothing”. A police officer will put his/her life on the line everyday without giving it a second thought. We take these people for granted, unless we share the same mindset.

I have been a warrior. I have also been the exact opposite. I am now on my way back from the abyss of fear, doubt and negativity. The difference is astounding.

Living like a warrior means conquering yourself. Being a master of yourself. Being a master of your own destiny and taking responsibility for it. Period.

Training like a warrior means taking on the challenge of working hard. Of pushing yourself to the limits. The methods should be integrated, functional and in many aspects, primitive.

Military-type training is designed for that. It is brilliant in its simplicity and awesome in it’s functionality(for obvious reasons). Anyone that ever goes through any type of basic training develops those qualities. It happens by overcoming challenges that seemed insurmountable at the onset. When you accomplish something that seemed impossible it changes you. The more you do that the “stronger” you become inside and out. You develop the habit. There is nothing like obstacle course training without sleep for making a person tough.

Martial arts training also develops these qualities. The work is hard, the attention to detail is exacting and the inherent danger keeps you focused. I can’t recommend martial arts training enough for anyone looking for a great workout and greater self-confidence. It is said that a man learns his true nature in combat. This is true whether you are in a combat sport or in the military.

Another question is whether or not warriors are born or made. I am not totally sure. Most people never see their true potential and are not willing to put themselves in situations that would force these qualities to emerge. I think that their is a warrior in all of us. The trick is in finding the motivation to find it, dust it off and put a shine on it.

This is why I have so much respect for anyone that serves others, thereby putting the greater good ahead of their own needs. Whether you are a pacifist or at the other end of the spectrum, we all owe so much to the brave men and women that serve their country. They deserve our thanks and gratitude.

Many of the training techniques and concepts that I am known for are based on martial arts training and are great whether you are a cop,an athlete or a stay at home mom. They will develop the mindset, the warrior spirit and the physical conditioning needed to survive the chaos of combat and the unpredictability of life. Everyone that has experienced this training has found something that “spoke”‘ to their inner warrior.

So are you a warrior? Are you ready to walk through life like a warrior? Are you ready to go through the tough training that it takes? If so I wish you luck and success on your journey. It will afford you a life time of happiness and pride.

Strength and Honor© is created in the Spirit of the Spartan Warrior code.

We treasure Tradition, we value Honor.

We demand Respect, we are loyal to the Brotherhood.

We live by the Code, we die by the Code.

We are the Warrior Spirit that cannot be broken.