Gyrotonics is a relatively new system of physical fitness. Juliu Horvath created the system in the late 1970’s. He combined the dance and gymnastic training of his youth with a passion for woodworking. The end result was a machine that allowed the body to move resistance in circles, arcs and angles not available with conventional equipment. Exercise could now move in the more natural range of motion. A newer and yet another application of circular exercise. Many of these moves are on the same plane of use as Indian Clubs. With clubs, you have the added advantage of moving the bodies location and position.
“Circular Strength Training” has been coined by some and used as currency by others to get buy-in to their system of training.
Dr. Ed Thomas of Iowa brought Indian Clubs back into America’s consciousness decades back as an instructor for the military and University Systems. He has worked with MMA legend Pat Miletich and the Miletich Fighting System includes Indian clubs as a vital part of their fighters contest preparations to retain or improve range of motion. Dr. Thomas is a genuine authority on Indian Club Training and instruction. His voice is one of experience, education and purpose.
Please excuse the lengthy discourse of this installment. I want to establish the understanding and functional history of Indian Club training. Now on to this weeks technique progression. The inner and outer heart shaped circles are the bread and butter swings as they work the front and back of the shoulders. They are so named because the pathway of the swing is in the shape of a heart. We will focus on the outer heart shaped circle this time. Cross your hands across your chest. The left hand resting by the right shoulder and the right doing the same on the left. From this position slowly open your hands outward to its own shoulder(left towards left, right towards right) as you do this, open the elbows outward so they are in line with the side of your body. The most easily corresponding natural position would be like a yawn ready to launch the arms up and outward. Now, “launch” the arms upward and outward at a 45 degree angle. This angle is ascribed by the head line as center and the shoulder line going straight out as the 90 degree angle. Once it is launched upward and outward to straight arms, you allow the arms to fall in a circular arc downward to in front of the body. As the swing lines up with the legs, begin to curl the arms into the ” cross arms” position. With every swing, alternate the arm that is on top of the other.
The body is erect in a formal or natural stance. You will arrive at the muscle work by relaxing the muscles after the launch for a bit before you start contraction to control and direct the swing. This relaxing and contracting of the muscles involved are a vital part of the movement. The successful application comes with perfect practice.
Practice the previously mentioned swings before you attempt this new technique. It will prepare you for success and easier performance of this swing. Each technique lays a foundation for the more intricate swing techniques later on.
A short comment before I leave this article. I remember hearing a Hawaiian Rock Wall builder say that each level is set to prepare the rocks to receive the next level. These are walls built without mortar so each rock has a place and purpose. The same goes for the Indian Club techniques that you are being introduced to.