HISTORY OF THE MACE
Indian mace swinging is derivative of ancient war club practice. Nearly every depiction of the gods and goddesses in Hindu religious art finds the deity brandishing a war mace of some kind. The mace has been used as a very effective weapon of war by ancient warriors of many cultures. Used for over 2000 years it provided a means of disabling an adversary, often finishing a fight with a single blow, the massive forces present when swinging the mace made this possible.
Even now 2000 years since they were first used for strength and conditioning the maces two highly effective basic swings are still practiced in many countries and more commonly by wrestling athletes from India and Middle Eastern wrestling styles such as Pehlwani, a form of wrestling from South Asia. Pehlwan who compete in wrestling nowadays still follow the similar strict training that has been used for hundreds of years to build strength and develop muscle bulk and flexibility.
These ancient warriors realised that practicing with these weapons caused noticeable general gains in their strength and fitness. Maces then started to be used as an integral part of these warriors strength and conditioning training.
THE GREAT GAMA
A great advocate of this training was Gulaam Mohammed Born to a Kashmiri family in Amritsar on 22 May 1878, he went on to earn the title of “The Great Gama” and to be remembered as the greatest wrestler of all time. He fought all comers from around the world and although only 5 feet 7 inches he was never beaten in thousands of matches. His diet and training regime were incredible. We see many photos of him with the Mace an integral component of his training. Even the late Bruce Lee was an admirer of his training regime.
In the last 10 years the mace’s value for general strength an conditioning has been realised and athletes and sports men and women from different disciplines use them. In the West mixed martial artists such as MMA fighters have taken up heavy mace training as a way to generally strengthen and make their bodies more robust and also their fascia and muscles involved with gripping and throwing techniques.
Some exercises employ the wrestler’s own bodyweight and other exercises such as using the Indian Gada (Mace) are used. This Mace training being one of the core group of training methods the wrestlers use. Legendary wrestlers from the bygone era like the famous western wrestler Karl Gotch have made tours to India to further hone their strength and skills.
People with an understanding of bodily function and effective training are starting to appreciate the unique benefits of Mace training and functional fitness and natural movement practitioners are adopting mace training because it provides such a tremendous full-body workout.