I want to introduce you to my new friend. This is a Gada, or mace. I made it out of a second-hand bowling ball and some black iron pipe – Total cost: approximately $20. Total weight: 19lbs. This exercise tool has it’s origins in the Middle East, but India is where it has really come to prominence. From scientificwrestling.com:
This killer training implement was preferred by legendary wrestlers for centuries, from the Pehlwans of India to 'God of Wrestling' Karl Gotch. Historically, the mace has had both strong spiritual and combative connotations in folklore. Robert L. O'Connell, on page 119 of his book Ride of the Second Horseman: The Birth and Death of War points to the mace as the first weapon made specifically for use against other human beings (as opposed to a modified hunting weapon). In the Hindu religion, the mace of Vishnu is named "Kaumodaki" and represents the elemental force from which all other powers (both physical and mental) are derived.
Mace-work is associated with the Indian god of strength, Hanuman. Hanuman is traditionally depicted in the form of monkey brandishing a mace, and this Mace is generally understood to symbolize bravery. Hanuman serves to remind the faithful that there is limitless power within each individual. In folklore, Hanuman focused all his energy into the worship of Lord Rama. This devotion freed him from all physical fatigue. This brutal kettlebell/Indian club hybrid actually originated in ancient Persia where they were known as "Meels". These "Meels" were utilized by the Pahlavan (ancient Persian grapplers and strongmen) to increase their strength, endurance, and health. The lighter version generally weighed in the range of ten to fifteen pounds and were used in high rep sets to build stamina while the heavier class weighed from anywhere between twenty-five to sixty pounds and were used to build great strength. According to longtime Pahlavani researcher Farzad Nekoogar, Meels first made their way to India as late as the thirteenth century by Persian grapplers fleeing the Mongols. 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.
I brought it out to my last drill weekend and swung it, pretty soon I had some of the lads around me asking about it. I was happy to demonstrate and train – some of them really got into it. I will freely admit that with all of the activity, I probably did a bit more than I should have; I had to prove to the cubs that The Old Bear could still hang. I was a little stiff the following Monday, but it was a good stiff; I didn’t feel completely broken like I have with other weights. This device will certainly take up a position of prominence in my training schedule. I plan on building a few more, and I think a can of spray-on bedliner is in my future – I think that will bring it together nicely.