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