It was bound to hap­pen: Vedic mar­tial arts are here and draw­ing a fol­low­ing of men and women

India Today - - LEISURE - —Ridhi Kale

It is at once med­i­ta­tive, rhyth­mic and phys­i­cally de­mand­ing. But the rapid yet pre­cise move­ments of mace-fight­ing tech­niques are much more than that. At­tend a Vedic mar­tial arts class at Dhyan Foun­da­tion’s South Delhi ashram and you’re bound to come out a new per­son. The ashram teaches the art of the mace (called gada in Hindi), and also de­fen­sive tech­niques us­ing staffs and knives.

The mace was very pop­u­lar with an­cient In­di­ans. But to­day, only the foun­da­tion teaches the art. “The mace has ex­isted since Vedic times, and finds men­tion in an­cient lit­er­a­ture,” says Yogi Ash­wini, who takes free classes for both adults and chil­dren. “Its shape is sim­i­lar to the Earth. In the fash­ion that the Earth re­volves around the Sun and ro­tates on its axis, mace move­ments are also prac­tised in dou­ble ro­ta­tions to pro­duce phe­nom­e­nal power. The shape of the ball is like that of the Earth, with the weight of the ball equiv­a­lent to that of the han­dle.” A be­gin­ner’s mace has a 4 kg ball and a 4 kg han­dle. Then, one moves up to 6:6, 8:8, 10:10 and fi­nally 15:15 (a to­tal of 30 kg). That re­quires a strong back, so yo­gic tech­niques such as the sanatan Kriya are a vi­tal part of train­ing.

“With con­stant gym­ming and di­et­ing, my back had given up,” says for­mer Miss In­dia Nikita Anand, who took up the mace in 2012. “I was in con­stant pain. But after prac­tis­ing with Yogi Ash­wini, my back is strong, I feel fit­ter than ever and my face glows with­out makeup,” says Anand, who is now an ac­tor and TV pre­sen­ter. So, what are you wait­ing for? Pick up a mace and swing into ac­tion.

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