Steel Mace Training: Evolution & Adaptation is A Natural Process

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There was once a time where the only thing people thought Silly Putty could be used for was a children’s play toy. A group of scientists decided to try something different. They learned that when you mix it with another substance (Graphene in particular) you get new material that now conducts electricity and is extremely sensitive to pressure. This new material could detect pulse when pressed against arteries. (reference: NPR article: Adding A Funny Form Of Carbon To Silly Putty Creates A Heart Monitor)

Imagine if people still played the guitar in the same way it was played 100 years ago. Over the years, people have found new use for the same tool and created new music and art from it. I’m certain there were purists at every step of the way who pushed back heavily against this creativity, but they were on the wrong side of history.

Unlike the evolution of species, where the theory is that adaptation occurs based on advantage; the evolution of the use of a tool isn’t necessarily about creating new advantages or being of better use.

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The evolution of use of a tool can simply be to provide something different or a broader use for that tool.

Diversity is something that is important for overall growth and progress.

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Diversity of people from different backgrounds provides different ways of perceiving the same thing. Without ethnic diversity, music like Jazz, Blues and Rock & Roll wouldn’t exist. Without the diversity of ethnicities in America, many of the scientific advancements would never have existed. Without this diversity plus integration, efficiency of progress would also be slowed. (SEE: Hidden Figures) The same can be said with regards to exercise.

Diversity of genetics plays a huge role in adaptation and survival of species.

Diversity in exercise allows a person to adapt in broader ways physically.

Purists are stuck in the realm of the Mace or Gada being used only for traditional movements.

With all of this said, the diversity of training growing with the use of the Steel Mace is something that will provide a broader range of adaptation.

Purists are stuck in the realm of the Mace or Gada being used only for traditional movements.

But as more and more people of different backgrounds gain exposure to this tool, the use of the Mace is beginning to evolve and new music is being created.

We are in the beginnings of a Mace Renaissance, where Rock & Roll is budding. If we keep going, maybe Hip Hop will spring from this mashup. No one thought that looping a record over and over again was music. The Genius of Grand Master Flash on two turn tables is just now being recognized nearly 40 years after the fact.

“You can’t do that…”

That’s what people will tell you.

“Swinging is the best way to use an offset weight”

That’s what they’ll tell you.

Beware of anyone who says that their way is the BEST way. There’s always more than one path to any destination in life.

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Offset loads are better for swinging and Center of Mass tools are better for Maximal Loading. But this

doesn’t mean that there’s nothing to be gained from using Offset Loads in Linear Training.

In fact I would argue that there is a lot to be gained from using offset loads like the Steel Mace or Gada in a linear training program.

The offfset load places a high demand on the muscles of the core and across the hips, which demands a high level of focus and concentration during movement.

The offset load also tries to force your body into rotation, which requires a significant amount of counter rotational activity. This engagement could provide benefit to any athlete that experiences rotational forces… That’s pretty much any athlete. But it’s specifically beneficial to Golfers, or athletes that swing in rotation.

Athletes like Golfers and Baseball players rely on rotational speed, and this speed can be effected by the athletes ability to decelerate. Just like jumping and landing, generating more rotational force than your body has the ability to decelerate can potentially put the body at risk for injury.

Back to Swinging being Best…

What if the person doing the swinging overhead doesn’t have the shoulder mobility to properly swing the Mace or Gada behind the head? Is swinging still BEST for this person?

There’s no doubt that in our current understanding of the Steel Mace and Gada is one of the Best, if not the Best tool to use for swinging. But swinging isn’t always the best thing to do with it for every individual.

James Earl Jones in the film “Conan” says, “What is steel compared to the hand that wields it?”

So I argue that the best use of the Steel Mace not only depends on the hand that wields it, but as my good friend Travis Janeway said to me in a recent chat, “Tools are just tools. It’s what you do with it that makes it effective.”

And as I said in one of my recent articles, “objective defines the movement” and as long as you have a purpose and objective you are trying to achieve, then what you are doing isn’t incorrect.

Don’t let purists and dogma driven individuals declare your innovation, progressive nature and forward thinking wrong. Be a part of the Renaissance, change the game and go down in history as a leader, not a follower.

What do you think?

Rich Thurman

Coach Rich Thurman has over 15 years of Coaching and Personal Training experience. With a Bachelors in Physiological Science from UCLA and as a NSCA Strength & Conditioning Coach, Rich takes a scientific approach to improving your athletic performance and overall Longevity and Durability. Whether you're a competitive or casual Golfer, Adventure Racer, Fighter, Desk jockey or just generally looking to be healthier, Rich can help you. Structural Integrity and Postural Awareness are the keys to getting the results you want. Check out the services offered to find out more.