A Steel Mace is a (often hollow) metal bar weighted on one end (this weighted end is called the globe). Ninety five + percent or more of the weight of the mace is the globe. The weight can range from 5 to 50+ pounds. However, the 10lb steel mace is the standard. The offset weight provides the opportunity to move the mace in unique ways (these are typically referred to as transitions) which can’t be accomplished with dumbbells, kettlebells, barbells, or any other piece of weight equipment.
The Mace was originally called a Gada and was made from bamboo stick and stones which were tied together. This ancient tool is at least 2,000 years old and has been used as a war weapon by numerous cultures. It was referenced in writings of Alexander The Great whose army fought the fierce hindu warriors who were known to train with this tool. He described them as fearless and having the strength of many men… perhaps from training with the mace. The gada, or heavy mace, was the weapon of choice of Hindu soldiers. According to the book Encyclopedia of Indian Physical Culture, warriors during the Puranic age would engage in mace training early in the morning along with wrestling, archery, and swordsmanship. In addition to dueling each another with gadas, warriors would swing heavier versions behind their backs in order to strengthen their backs, chests, shoulders, forearms, and fingers. Because of their rigorous physical and tactical training, Hindu warriors were some of the fiercest of the ancient world.
Yes, there are two primary styles. Steel Mace Flow and Traditional Steel Mace Training (for lack of a better term).
There is Steel Mace Flow (TM) created and popularized by Leo Savage which when mastered, seamlessly blends movement of the mace with body movement while flowing from one position and posture to another. Think Yoga Flow with a steel mace in your hand, but with far more explosive movements then sprinkle in Tai Chi and dance.
In a longer flow (which can last an indefinite amount of time) the goal isn’t to perform a certain number of sets and reps of any particular movement. Instead, it’s free form movement which has rules, but strongly encourages creativity, fluidity, and rule bending.
Traditional Steel Mace Training also blends movement of the mace with body movement, but there isn’t a flow. In face, the majority of this training is based around the 360s , 10-2s, and a few others. This world does focus more on sets and reps as well as increasing weight loads over time.
If we’re talking Steel Mace Flow, you have to be completely in the moment. Your mind can’t wander. This is because you truly need to connect your mind and body as there is a lot going… breathing, bracing, mace movement, footwork, transitions, etc. Finally, you need to develop a baseline proficiency in handling the mace before you can even dream of fluidly moving it fluidly in sync with your body. This is no joke. However, if you appreciate yoga, tai-chi, martial arts, or dance then you’ll likely love the steel mace. Learning to train with the steel mace is a process where you slowly develop basic skills/movements and then open pathways and transitions from one skill/movement to another. If you want some new and different that is unlike any other form of training this is it.
We offer a wide array of services including returning to exercise after injury (Post-Rehab), weight loss, golf fitness, sports performance, lessening the physical impact of neuromuscular disease, and pain reduction. We utilize a variety of equipment with our clients including kettlebells, TRX, steel mace, dumbbells, barbells, medicine balls, and often incorporate bodyweight exercises into our programs. For more information or to schedule a free consultation please reach out! We also work along side Action Potential Physical Therapy in Glen Mills and physical therapist Dr. Arianne Missimer in Downingtown.