Warrior training

Warrior training

In days gone by, some of the best physical training methods were designed for the battle field. Over time most cultures let them disappear for other, more ‘sophisticated’ methods. However, some populations stayed with them and added to them, though the essence stayed the same. The benefits continue to speak for themselves and Iran is a prime example with tools and traditions dating back to the Persian warriors of old. Techniques and equipment designed for the battlefield are applied to elite athletes – most notably power lifters and wrestlers. The rest of the world is finally waking up and the benefits are becomming far wider as more and more sportsmen of varied disciplines can confirm.

UK Persian mils/meels

UK Persian mils/meels

To all who have waited for our larger Persian meel sets from 10kg, 15kg and 18kg pairs. Thank you for your patience. We have taken a while, but these monsters aren’t made overnight! Finally, we now have stock available of the heavier Persian mils/clubs.

10kg Persian meels in ok

First pair of meels, made from green oak by John Taylor, amazing musical instrument maker and recycler.

John Taylor ocarina maker

John Taylor, deceased. Maker of our first Indian clubs and Persian meels. Made his clothes, shoes and glasses frames too as well as the odd harpsichord!

BMF have been making Indian clubs and Persian mils for over 12 years and we have enjoyed the learning process from the very first pair of oak meels (inc. wonkey handle) to today’s made from various hardwoods. Timber is chosen from dense hardwoods that are sustainably sourced and suited for turning. Some wood can be super dense and a nightmare for our turner as the high mineral content can mean constant sharpening of his chisels! Last years pairs of 10kg ekki meels are very rare!

Our meels evolved, with handle girths to suit each weight… too wide a grip is not right for the lighter clubs… too thin will be painful to the hands for the heavier clubs over a long session! We also taper the handle neck to create a stronger bridge between body and handle. This refinement came from a broken handle last year. The guy did drop it on a hard surface though, so beyond expected resiliance!

The batch we have currently made are from Indian walnut, offering beautiful dramatic grain. Individual clubs weigh from 4.5kg to 13kg and all are paired according to the closest gram weight. Matching aesthetics comes second though they are all made from a single piece of the same wood. Each piece is unique. Some may have wavey grain, some more linear. See your clubs as yin/yang partners.

We hope to complete the range with some lighter mahogany Persian meels from 2kg to 4kg (4kg to 8kg mil sets). They are currently being worked on an will be available very soon. Exact date unknown. Making them is an art!

7.5kg Persian mils/meels

Functional fitness with clubs, meels, mace and shena

Functional fitness with clubs, meels, mace and shena

A top day with Tom and the PTs at BodyDevelopment. Learning moves through an appreciation of functional application makes it… understandable, acceptable, applicable, memorable. Many times, I have come away from a brain overload workshop only forget most of what I was shown. With Tom, he makes it work for you by explaining how various rotational and linear moves can work for your chosen discipline. Brains light up for us all in different ways as to how we can apply in our selected varied disciplines. All the moves learnt have a martial origin – uppercut, parry, sweep, fend, lock, break. By understanding the importance other parts of the body contribute to each seemingly simple movement, optimal performance can be achieved. These workshops will have you re-thinking, where does my punching/throwing power come from. Shoulders? Hips? Core? Big Toe? A. All of them and more.

I have been using Indian clubs for 12 years now and very happy to see this old dog of mine learn many new tricks! At a base level, the clubs are good for shoulder, elbow, wrist flexibility and coordination. Time to take it up a notch… integrate hip rotation and foot movement and the importance of head position. Keeping the head over your point of power – essential for the high torque generating power swings with mace and Persian meels. All the time, consider the transfer application for your chosen sport. eg. rugby maul – get your head over the ball Pull/Push relevant legs and Twist hips to rip the ball etc.

From a PT point of view, it is good to gain an understanding of moving up or down in terms of difficulty when teaching groups of varied abilities. If a client struggles with the task in hand, take it down a notch, or two. Obviously the reverse for those more capable. For Indian clubs this would be something like foundation level – dominant hand with club uppercut, open shoulder, straighten inclined arm and reverse. Repeat. Next level – with both hands. Maybe progress the moves in a squat position. Next level – Hinge, swing and lock overhead both clubs. Next level – open elbows to side from lock. Add – outside swings. Add – inside swings. Breaking each of these moves into their martial origins and desired applications makes the whole process meaningful. Something my own teaching with clubs will benefit from now on.

The above was just a small sample from one Tom Crudgington’s ever evolving workshops at BodyDevelopment in Bath.

A mind node illustrates information saturation of what was retained…
Indian clubs Gada Persian Meels Workshop mind node


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