Steel Mace Training: Tradition, Innovation & Progress

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As Steel Mace Training rapidly grows in popularity, it’s inevitable that we’ll see some pretty silly movements and uses of this tool; You know, the thoughtless movement that just looks cool yet has no rhyme or reason; the kind of movements that feed into the negative feedback loop that’s wreaking havoc on posture.

We’ll also hear from “traditionalists” and “purists” that have confined this tool to a box of concepts that cannot be seen beyond. There’ll be people who tell you that,”it wasn’t meant to be used like this” and “it should only be used for that.” These people are

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not innovators.

Steel Mace San FranciscoEvery innovator out there learned something new through trial and error. Every successful innovator explored ideas outside the box of the norm. And when people told them they were wasting their time, or that “we don’t do it like that”, they trudged onward seeking another way.

Innovators hypothesized, took notes, came to conclusions and blazed new pathways.

This is the path that I have chosen with the Steel Mace. Don’t get me wrong, an understanding and appreciation of tradition is necessary, for what would Hip Hop be without the music that came before it?

What if Grand Master Flash, DJ Kool Herc and Afrika Bambaataa hadn’t taken the traditional and explored new avenues?

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You’re not supposed to do that with records… What are you doing? Imagine that.

. . .

In my opinion, my friend Erik Esik Melland is like the Grand Master Flash of the Steel Mace game, because he fundamentally changed the Steel Mace game, taking it in new directions. He not only changed the way the tool is used, but has brought a tremendous number of new users to the field. And if that’s who he is, then I’m aiming for somewhere between GZA and J Dilla at the core with the lyrical expression of Rakim.

Onnit Steel Mace San FranciscoRakim is heralded by many as one of the greatest lyricists in Hip Hop. As a kid I admired his ability to move across the beat so smoothly and effortlessly. On his album “Paid in Full” he didn’t even curse. The ability to be clean, structurally sound and skilled at verbal assault set the bar high for future artists.

So for me, training with the Steel Mace is not only about respecting tradition, but evolving it past the confines of the traditional box into a realm that allows for expression of it’s full potential.

I don’t often coach flashy moves.

I don’t often DO a lot of flashy moves.

A sloppy rhyme is about as entertaining to listen to as a sloppy Mace Flow is to watch.

I focus on refining basic movements and like Rakim, I use simplicity to create complexity. A sloppy rhyme is about as entertaining to listen to as a sloppy Mace Flow is to watch.

With that said, I’m not criticizing anyone’s style. Just like there was room for the West Coast style in Hip Hop, there’s room for the East Coast’s style. The flows are different, but both achieve the end goal. At the end of the day, you have to do what works for you. And this was the beauty of Hip Hop just like it’s the beauty of the current Mace Training community.

There was a time when you knew exactly which MC you were listening to based on their voice and style. People distinguished themselves in this way. Like Kung Fu schools, the style was similar to that of the Master, but was an expression of the artists personality. A Grand Master had students who went out into the land and created their own schools with their own philosophies. These offshoots were like branches of a tree that all shared a common root.

But all branches are not strong branches. Some are stronger than others. But as long as we continue to grow while drawing from the root, we can grow stronger and eventually create our own leaves and branches.

So as the Steel Mace community progresses and grows, we must remember the lessons from Hip Hop.

We must remember what it once was and as we move forward, continue to emphasize fundamentals while promoting the exploration of individuality.

Remember that innovation

and evolution occurs in unexplored environments and uncharted lands.

And remember that creating a strong foundation allows you to explore greater distance, while still being able to always return home.

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.