So at the beginning of August I decided to start my first documented experiment in Health and Fitness. The plan was to build my own Mace or Gada and learn how to swing a full Mace 360 with hopefully a high level of grace within 30 days. Who knows, if this turns out to be easier than I suspect, maybe I’ll be able to demo an amazing warrior flow by the end of the month…..
Day 1 – Aug 4th 2020
Weighing in the mace Right, first off, this is not going to be easy. This thing is heavy.
Well technically it is not heavy at all. It’s 11lbs or 4.99kg which is pretty light and considered quite a good starting point for a beginner but I found it somewhat terrifying to launch over my shoulder and I am struggling to muscle it up and over to the other side.
It looks ugly and my face is a grim face of concentration and struggle. My body is rigid and the darn mace won’t swing round. I’m wondering if “my bum is too big”.
I shared a video of my disappointing first day with my coach [LittleTank](https://www.instagram.com/littletank/, there followed a flurry of useful tips.
- I need to move my body away from the mace
- Push the mace up towards the top corner and allow gravity to pull it down
I was given some Indian Clubbell pendulum drills to encourage my resistant torso to move.
Progress was actually made today. I came close to making a full rotation without shouldering the mace up and over.
I knocked together a super lightweight mace from a walking pole and rubber foot massager. I thought it might be useful to try some movement drills with it but I’m not terribly convinced. It’s really too light to tell one way or another.
Day 5 Saturday
I’m using the clubbells for a nice and torso warmup before attempting to swing first the practice stick and then the mace. It’s definitely better than my first attempt but it’s not good. My arms should be out of view behind my head but mine are way too high and will cause me some elbow problems if I’m not careful.
I shared this demo on Instagram and got a flurry of helpful comments. Although at this stage it can be hard top tell what is helpful and what is not although I did take great comfort in the fact that many people struggle with this to start off with. Will I get it before the month is up?
Day 6 Sunday 9th Aug
Very little mace practice today as I attended a Strongman workshop today at StrengthAmbassadors. I came back a wilted version of my former self as we are in the middle of a heat wave.
Littletank had left me a new drill to practice with though so just before bed, me and the cat went out to practice rear pendulum swings in the night.
Day 7 Monday 10th
I tried for a sneaky swing and it felt ok so I quickly grabbed the camera which revealed that my hands were still not dropping behind my head. I went back to the pendulum swing drill and even that eluded me today. I clonked my bum and my calf and I just couldn’t seem to fathom how to build momentum. It reminded me of those hula hoops that I could never get to stay up.
I’ve re-watched some technique videos and I will back out for another practice when its cooled down this evening.
Day 9 Wednesday 12th
I’ve been really quite impressed by how much helpful technique advice there is on mace swinging, available on Instagram. There is a potential problem with looking for advice on social media but so far I seem to be exposed to some quality mace swingers in my feed.
I’m picking up a queue a day and trying that out. Yesterday it was to shift my hand to my hip just before pushing the mace away, today it was to get that shoulder rotation that has helped me get more control with my pendulum.
I felt really frustrated with my first attempt today, it felt like I’d gone backwards and the fuck-it feeling was creeping in. I pushed myself to at least go through the motion in the reverse direction, just for balance, but strangely it felt like I might have got it!
A face of calm?
I flipped back and forth, rotating one direction and then the next. There were wobbly mace moments and the occasional shoulder nudge but in the main it felt like a successful swing. It was ugly and uncertain and my face displayed a most disconcerting grimace but there is something to build on here.
This glimmer of success came just in the nick of time I think.
My technique seems to have gone to shit. I’m not going to despair though. My shoulders are aching and perhaps I just need to take it easy for a day. The lido opened this week so back to back swimming and mace swinging may have temporarily pushed me beyond my limits. I’ll try again tomorrow.
Day 12 & 13 (Sat and Sun)
So I’ve switched to starting the day with a minimum of 20 swings while the coffee is brewing. Trying to cement some habits by linking them to non negotiable constants in my life.
It worked pretty well yesterday. My swings seemed consistent and almost pretty good. Today I flipped back to ropey though. This experiment is proving to be a real lesson in ups and downs.
I was tired, I opted for Indian clubbell swinging first thing and left the mace for bedtime. It didn’t go too well. Today was a bad day for wannabe warriors.
I am a mace weilding rock star!
My 360s very nearly flowed today. I knocked off about 40 this way and that way and I felt like a pro. Obviously the mace sensed my ego taking over and decided to reward me with a vicious bite to my calf. I limped off to enjoy my freshly brewed coffee and ponder on lessons learned.
The pattern of great days followed by naff days continues. I like the discipline of early morning practice though and 20 swings is entirely doable even when every one of them tries to take a chunk out of my shoulder or calf.
I have continued with daily early morning swings and the consistency is paying off. I’m much better when swinging to the left and I’m probably accentuating that by playing to my strength. I need to start my swings to the right from now on….
I’m away for a few days and will be taking my Indian Tonic Clubs for portable practice while the mace will have to stay at home. I’m hoping to tour salvage yards and retro shops and I will have my eye open for potential gada weights.
Back from my break and I’m straight back to my mace swinging routine.
I’m really pleased with the progress when I swing to the left. I have a fairly smooth start stop flow to the left but my right hand swing has deteriorated. I don’t know what is going wrong but it is putting me off swinging. Sometimes I pitch it way behind me which is hazardous but most times I just end up shouldering it back up to vertical. I’m tempted to just swing to the left forever but that will just exacerbate the problem and probably give me very odd looking shoulders.
Day 30 +
This has been a really satisfactory challenge. I performed my swings daily for 30 days. It worked well for me to set a minimal but very achievable swing target and then I made sure I got out there early and ticked them off. I was out swinging every morning while I waited for my coffee to brew and if I fancied another swing during the day, then that was a bonus.
Here’s my final swing.