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I have shoulder instability in both shoulders. Scapulae rhythm with my humerus around a mobile thoracic spine with all of the RC muscles is paramount. Indian Clubs encourage and integrate these things with the body. Use of the clubs have increased my proprioception in both joints…Read More
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Few tools are more elemental, natural and enduring than the Club. Certainly primitive or developing humans picked up heavy sticks to crack open food or swung them for defense. Children pick up spoons and other objects and bang on whatever is available. As adults, the games we play can involve "clubs" in a variety of shapes and designs, including the golf club, baseball bat, and cricket bat.
A look at ancient Hindu texts reveals pictures of Hindu deities carrying clubs. These images indicate that the club has roughly a 5000-year history.
So-called "Indian Clubs" made the trip to the West as a result of British Colonialism. They eventually gained popularity in the United States in the late-1800s and were widely used in the German Gymnastics system called the Turnvereine. One of these, which became known as Turner Halls in the US, was still active when Dr. Ed Thomas was growing up in Davenport, Iowa.
Club swinging was highly developed and popular in Davenport for several generations when Dr. Thomas began training with them around the age of eight. He eventually began teaching the art to a few of his university students in the early 1980s, and continued searching for instructors. In 1988, he went to Burma as a Fulbright Scholar and studied under a classical club swinging instructor for nine months. Along the way, he has also found club swinging instruction in Korea, Germany and other places.
Despite its illustrious history as an Olympic sport in 1904 and 1932 and its presence in Army physical training doctrine from around 1885-1980, we currently find ourselves in the perplexing situation of it being reintroduced as a training implement. Add to this the fact that there are at best only a handful of people alive today who are truly familiar with the art of classical club swinging, it is truly a skill worth learning.
Club Swinging Essentials seeks to ground Club swinging as a restorative art and to bring Mindful Movement to the "extreme" fitness culture. The manual and DVD reveal, and detail, an essential group of classical Club swinging movements and provide a bit of history and perspective.
Below is an excerpt from the introduction of the Club Swinging Essentials Manual. Gray Cook and Brett Jones have been extremely fortunate to work with Dr. Ed Thomas in taking his club swinging system to the public. A disappearing art, club swinging provides a high neural demand on movement and coordination.
Why Swing Clubs?
Not to answer a question with a question but allow me to ask you: "Do you have a restorative art as part of your fitness regime?" What is a restorative art?
The fact that you may have felt the need to follow my question answering the first question with a question means you probably don't have a restorative art in your fitness regime.
A restorative art seeks to bring the body back to an optimal state of balance. It is the balance to the heavy, "extreme" training common in today's gym. In the past there were three systems in physical education: Martial, Restorative and Pedagogical. Today we are heavily slanted toward the Pedagogical (games and sport) where the push is to achieve what we call "fitness". This push to run faster or farther or lift more weight pushes us out of balance. A restorative art like club swinging seeks to release the tension and stress of "extreme" fitness training.
In addition to being a restorative art there are great benefits to upper body mobility and integrity, coordination and just the plain fun of swinging clubs. So my final question is: Why not swing clubs?
Aren't they too light to be of benefit?
Clubs used as a restorative art are usually light (in the 1-3 lb range), and unfortunately some people consider these weights useless. In discussions with Dr. Thomas he has simply stated that while there are club swinging systems that use heavier clubs all of the classical systems begin with the lighter clubs. Grapplers and wrestlers would tend to move towards the heavier systems while boxers would move along with the lighter systems. But again everyone learned and got started with the lighter clubs.
Are you a kettlebell athlete, a powerlifter or do you participate in sports or activities that place significant load on the body? (Take running for example where roughly 6 times your bodyweight is moving through your body every step.) Then you do enough "heavy" and light club swinging is again that restorative art that can help restore balance to your body.
I have shoulder instability in both shoulders. Scapulae rhythm with my humerus around a mobile thoracic spine with all of the RC muscles is paramount. Indian Clubs encourage and integrate these things with the body. Use of the clubs have increased my proprioception in both joints (awareness neuromuscular control of the shoulder), reduced pain, and increased strength. I think it is wonderful that DD is introducing this to the public. However, there is not enough emphasis in my opinion, on moving slow and well, before moving fast. If you don't you miss the benefits that these clubs can bring. I was lucky enough to have a SKYPE session with the man Brett Jones himself. Before, I was going too fast. He taught me to slow it down, and I could feel the muscles turn on and feel the integration much better than before. He taught me the true importance of moving slow before moving well. The clubs and the way the material is presented is great. To get the most benefit I would highly recommend seeking out a Certified Instructor because you can hurt yourself, and you will find that the devil is in the details. Even moving slow though, my TGU and press went up significantly in the first week after being instructed, as did my shoulder pain. I just think if it's going to cost what it cost, it should be more than just an introduction and more of an in depth explanation of the moves and not necessarily the progressions. That is my only complaint. Excellent compliment to KBs. EVERYBODY should be using these things as part of their program.
I have been interested in the Indian clubs for a few years now - but didn't know exactly where to find informed or even adequate instruction. As an avid kettlebell enthusiast, I finally decided to purchase the Club Swinging Essentials. It was one of the BEST purchases I have ever made. I have been a gym owner, and martial arts student for over 30 years -and at age 55 I know great instruction when I see it! Cook, Jones, and Thomas deliver a quality introduction, and extremely usable program. I have decided to attend one of their workshops as soon as possible. If you are on the fence as to whether Indian clubs would add to your athletic practice or fitness routine, wait no longer!
I had never utilized Indian Clubs before deciding to integrate clubs into my kettlebell routine and purchasing Club Swinging Essentials and a set of clubs. The book coupled with the DVD is excellent - and I find myself periodically reviewing both to ensure that I'm on track.For shoulder flexibility clubs are unmatched. For 'opening up' the chest they have worked wonders for me which directly translates into honing my KB skills. I can unreservedly recommend this book to all but especially for KB practitioners.
This is an excellent product for anyone that wants to know the ins and outs of swinging a club. I've been experimenting with club swinging off and on for over a year now and Club Swinging Essentials pointed me in a whole new direction of training with these primitive tools. Gray and Brett did a great job of breaking down the movements and giving excellent cues to get your body in the right place to get the most out of every movement. After only a week of practice my right shoulder is already accepting the motions much easier. The Club swinging instruction alone is worth the investment, but what really sets this product apart is the contribution Dr. Thomas made by sharing his insights on club swinging and physical fitness in general. Great product, well worth the investment.
An excellent compendium, really demonstrates the depth of the art. There is so much to learn and master-intimidating-but Rome was not built in a day.
I purchased Club Swinging Essentials the week it was released.The art of Indian Club swinging was almost lost. That would have been a most unfortunate occurrence as they are an excellent tool to gain shoulder mobility, relieving shoulder stress and aches and pains. They teach motor coordination in many planes as well as simply being enjoyable to turn.The CSE DVD fills a much needed void, as there are currently few modern sources of instruction on the clubs.The DVD excels in its presentation of the basic patterns of club swinging. I have seen most of the available DVDs and this is simply better.The guest presenter Dr. Ed Thomas is a foremost club turner, having learned as a boy in an authentic Turner style gym. He has continuously refined the art over the years, and watching him spin the clubs is a joy.To complement co presenter Brett Jones models the movements more as a beginner would, breaking everything down to easy to digest bites.The DVD presents the major pattern and then shows many useful variations which will work your scapula and rotator cuff in all directions.Also touched on are some advanced elements including spinning the clubs and various step movements.The DVD is aimed at Instructors, so there is some discussion that may not appeal to everyone, however the core material being so good, this is a small issue for the lay buyer.The patterns presented are limited, it would have been nice to have expanded more on some other movements, and one basic pattern the figure 8 is skipped entirely. I deduct a point for this reason only.However, the skills CSE provide are more than enough to make picking up new patterns easy, once you have mastered the basic skills.For anyone interested in Indian Club Swinging, Club Swinging Essentials is simply a must buy as there is nothing else like it available on the market today.
I'm glad these big name trainers are making this age old information available, I never would have heard of these otherwise. You won't believe how good your upper back and shoulder will feel after trying a few of these mobility workouts. Every joint in the upper body gets mobilized, and its fun.Its like swimming without getting wet.You will also get stronger in your strength training. I don't understand why, but you do.Definitely worth getting.
I purchased this video after attending the CICS workshop and found it to be a great tool for review, as well as a more detailed approach to the art than was presented in Dr Thomas' introductory video that came with my first clubs. Brett and Grey make a good teaching team and include a good deal of functional movement information that one doesn't often see. This is especially true of the tall kneeling approach to swinging with stability.I also liked the historical perspective and the performances that Dr Thomas provided.My shoulders have suffered from injury as well as repetitive stress for some time and the club swinging has done much more than P/T to restore function in them both. I am sharing this new art / therapy with anyone who will listen.
I have been using Indian clubs for about 2 years now. I have Dr. Ed Thomas's dvd which goes quickly over the basics. This DVD and manual break the basic movements down which has helped me fix some flaws in my workout. The DVD has also helped me to teach my son the moves also. I would recommend Club Swinging Essentials to anyone who wants to learn how to swing the clubs. It is not only for trainers I think it is the best info available for any club swinger.
Clear and precise information on the progressions from one pattern to the next and helpful ways to correct mistakes. I can't wait to put it all to the test at the upcoming CICS certification next month!
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