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John A. Brown

Joined: 19 Feb 2015

Posts: 23

PostPosted: Sun 19 Mar, 2017 3:34 am    Post subject: Can you use Indian Clubs to practise swordplay?         Reply with quote

Inspired by two questions I saw on reddit.

I actually was inspired by the first link above to buy the same Indian Clubs that the OP mentions which is in the link below.

So I am wondering can I use the clubbells that I linked in the Amazon site that just arrived weeks ago by mail to practise arming sword techniques? Can I pick up any heavy tree branch to substitue for a waster? Can I do duel wielding techniques with two bowling pins?

I am already considering buying an Indian macebell which is in the link below.

I am going to order the heavier models that weigh at least 15 lbs. So in addition to Yoga exercises and medieval mace and baton fencing, I am going to use this to practise Zweihander techniques and other heavy two handed sword types so I can prepare my body to handle the real Zweihanders.

Is this an effective substitute? Or would I have to buy actual wooden swords and dull edged swords to practise techniques rather than substituting them with macebells, heavy walking sticks, and clubbells?

This video is why I am asking this question.

I mean Matt Eastern of Scholagladiatoria in the Youtube video above states the fundamentals for using an axe, war club, mace, staff, dagger, and other melee weapons are all basically the same as using a sword. So by his statements this is where I am wondering if Indian Clubs and other tools can be used in place of traditional swordsmanship tools.
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Mike Ruhala

Location: Stuart, Florida
Joined: 24 Jul 2011

Posts: 328

PostPosted: Sun 19 Mar, 2017 4:35 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

First thing, if you have any kind of historical fencing group within range of you seek them out.

Indian clubs are a great exercise tool for swordsmen but don't try and do arming sword technique with them, do Indian club technique. Don't try to do arming sword technique with anything heavier than an actual arming sword you intend to use. Too heavy a weapon will wreck your form and may even injure you. Starting with a light weapon and working your way up is a good idea.

Historical fencing on Florida's Treasure Coast!
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T. Kew

Location: London, UK
Joined: 21 Apr 2012

Posts: 208

PostPosted: Sun 19 Mar, 2017 5:38 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Light clubs are a good way to practice certain physical aspects of fencing. They can help with shoulder and arm mobility, and provide a good way to practice engaging various muscle groups. As such, they're an excellent part of a warmup - my 1.5lb antique set travel with me to any tournament or event.

They are not, however, swords. They won't give you good feedback on cuts. They won't show you about edge alignment. They don't balance or handle like swords. If you want to learn swordplay, you should study with swords. Mike is absolutely right when he says to seek out a historical fencing group.

Overly heavy clubs are particularly dangerous. You can't swing a 15lb mace bell like a lighter weapon, without doing yourself serious injuries. So you will either be practicing inappropriate techniques, or you will be damaging your body. That doesn't mean they're useless - many of the same mobility and co-ordination aspects still apply, and are enhanced in certain ways. But they are dangerous and inappropriate to use as a sword replacement.

In general, the idea of doing sword actions with a significantly heavier object is unhelpful. Swords should be at the weight of a sword. Strength training is separate and independent, and is best done with modern barbells or similar focused workout tools. Lift heavy, fence fast.

HEMA fencer and coach, New Cross Historical Fencing
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J. Nicolaysen

Location: Wyoming
Joined: 03 Feb 2014
Likes: 32 pages

Posts: 776

PostPosted: Sun 19 Mar, 2017 3:15 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I am here to echo what T. Kew and Mike Ruhala say, though I am definetly not nearly as practiced and knowledgeable as they are.

Indian clubs are great for grip strength and wrist flexibility as well, and upper joint flexibility movements are all reasons why I've begun training with them. I do have a five pound suborito I used to use more when I was doing JSA. That is plenty of weight for very basic sword movements, it's surprises everyone who picks it up because of the balance. It is more for basic swings and passive strength building. You don't need much more than that for sure; using a 5lb suborito makes a 2.2 lb iaito pretty quick. But at a certain point strength is less important than good form and endurance. I didn't use the suborito for actual sword techniques like slicing, drawing, etc. More like zornhau, etc.
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Philip Dyer

Joined: 25 Jul 2013

Posts: 507

PostPosted: Mon 20 Mar, 2017 6:41 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

If you want to work on strengthening you sword specific muscles, you should sand and grind a piece to have the practice of the sword you have but have be twice as heavy as your sword. The problem with using Indian clubs as a sword training aid is that they are much more head heavy than most swords and are heavier, if try to swing them like a sword, you could seriously hurt yourself. Also, torquing and swinging anything puts allot more strain on your body that the relatively simple act of lifting anything so don't judge the weight you can swing by what you can lift.
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