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Indian Clubs

Indian Clubs, or Swing Bells as they are also called were introduced to America in the 1800's. They are made out of wood and resemble bowling pins or juggling clubs. They come in different sizes and weights depending on your experience, strength and your objective. You can use them for rehab or for strength gains and raw power. Working out with Indian Clubs might be described as Circular Weight Training. It develops rotary and angular or diagonal strength. Indian Club Training will increase stability and prevent injury in the shoulder region. You'll feel your shoulder muscles getting stronger and more flexible.

Great Gama World Wrestling champion from India with Gada

The club is the oldest and most ancient of all weapons. When we think of pre-historic man we immediately think of the brawny caveman dragging his weapon of choice the club. The club evolved into a highly sophisticated martial arts weapon used world wide by most ancient cultures at one time or another. Many cultures used the club not only for fighting but also to strengthen thewarriors' body. Modern Club Swinging has its roots in India and Persia, what is modern day Iran and Iraq. In India they referred to their clubs as Gadas and Karelas. In Persia they were known as Meels. In the late 18th century the British that occupied India were amazed by the strength and power of Indian slaves and Police Officers. There after they took the ancient tool/weapon to Britain and named them Indian Clubs.

You will find mention to clubs in numerous religions. In the Old Testament Cain murdered his brother Abel with a club. The Greek/Roman mythological Demi-God Hercules worshiped for his power and strength was known for his skills with the bow and arrow and the club. In India the club or Gada as they call it is a symbol of invincibility and physical power. Almost every God or Goddess in the Hindu religion is pictured holding a Gada. From ancient Persian strongmen to the famous Indian wrestler, The Great Gama, to turn of the last century strongman to British and American physical culture in the 1800's and early 1900's, Indian Club were used to create a definitive edge in health, strength and fitness. Today even 5 time Ultimate Fighting World Champion, Pat Miletich trains with Indian Clubs. Pat has trained more world champions than any other trainer in the world and has been voted the #1 trainer in the world two years in a row.

Sim D. Kehoe produced the first clubs in the USA and was also the person most responsible for the growth of Club Swinging in America at the end of the 19 th century. In the late 19th century a movement called “Muscular Christianity” popularized Club Swinging. This movement linked physical training to moral and spiritual development. They were also popularized by strong man acts, professional wrestlers and athletes from around the world. Indian clubs were indorsed by American Presidents Ulysses S. Grant, Teddy Roosevelt and by Queen Victoria of England. Club Swinging was so popular as a means of fitness and sport that a series of Club Swinging tobacco cards (similar to baseball cards) were printed.

Club Swinging became an Olympic sport it was called “Rhythmic Gymnastics” in the St. Louis Olympics of 1904 in which the Americans won all of the divisions. It continued in the Olympics until the 1932 Los Angels Olympics in which the Americans won all of the divisions again. Club Swinging was once practiced in many colleges, gymnasiums, the military and in social clubs throughout America. It was a very popular women's activity in primary through secondary schools. Many colleges and girls clubs had competition and demonstration teams. Yet, this wasn't just for girls most gyms and PE programs had Indian Clubs for boys so that they could develop into masculine strong young men.

Today Club Swinging is resurfacing through the efforts of Dr. Ed Thomas, and Dick Thomas. Dick produces Indian Clubs and a training DVD through his company motionRx entitled “Club Swinging with Dr. Ed Thomas.” Julio Anta was certified as an CICS (Certified Indian Club Specialist) in 2010 by Dr. Ed Thomas at the first Indian club certification in the united States. At Anta's Fitness and Self Defense you can learn this ancient art through private classes or the XFT (Xtreme Functional Training) Challenge. XFT is the fusion of the ultimate fitness routines: Indian Clubs, Kettlebells, Kickboxing, medicine ball training and stretching. Call us today or register on line for a free introductory class. We would like to thank Dick and Ed Thomas for sharing there knowledge and spreading the art of Club Swinging with us at Anta's Fitness and Self Defense.

Click the images of Mr. Anta's Dragon Boat World Indian Club training article to enlarge them:
Krishen Jalli 1964 20 kilo clubs on Sports Day at Tadavindem Stadium India

Julio Anta at CICS certification with Dr. Ed Thomas, the father ofmodern day American, Indian club training 4-18-10


Julio Anta Action Strength Gada training with Harader Singh 7-11

Gada training at Action Strength certification 1

Gada training at Action Strength certification 2


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