ENTER THE GADA
Over the years, it has become more difficult to take courses. I teach enough workshops that I try to save my weekends for the family.
So it is an absolute treat when I get to hop in full student mode and take a workshop to learn something that interests me.
My buddy Ben Marvin introduced me to Mace/Gada Training while I was teaching in Austin, TX. It jives well with my background in Indian Club Swinging and minimal exposure to clubbells. However, aside from tips from Ben, I had no idea what I was doing... and that was part of the fun. Being a total beginner is quite liberating.
When Ben cued me into an upcoming Indian Club/Gada Workshop held by Kelly Manzone withPaul Taras Wolkowinski, I cleared the day and luckily made it off the waitlist.
What I loved about the course was Paul's easy going/crystal clear teaching style. He verbalizes and navigates the "mental gymnastics" of these systems extremely well.
It's also always fun meeting like minded people that not only share a love of fitness, but a passion for these more esoteric forms of training. It was a room full of wonderful and strong fitness nerds. We smell our own.
Aside from the people, the biggest takeaway was learning what I was doing wrong. The rack hold position in Gada/Mace Training is very low. I was using a decidedly "hardstyle" kettlebell approach and muscling the mace into more of kb type rack.
I also had only used steel maces before. The Gada (handmade mace) feels and reacts differently. As Kelly explained, the weight of a steel mace is partially distributed through the handle. In the Gada, the weight is all in the ball. With handles made from bamboo and broomsticks, the grip was also very different from what I was used to it.
Upon leaving the course, I couldn't pass up buying a beautiful 23lb Gada made by William Calvani. This was going to be step up and challenge indeed.
Over the last few weeks, I went back to my 10lb steel mace and began to groove in that new deep rack position. Slowly, I began to work up to the 20lb steel mace and today, well today I decided to give my War Yoga Gada a swing (pun intended).
Woof! Switching to the thinner handle, bottom loaded, heavier Gada was a challenge and I clearly have a ways to go and a ton to learn. But isn't that the point of it all.