The Ancient Art of Indian Club Swinging

By Craig Orchard

After suffering from a shoulder injury, I have been lucky enough to transform my pain into a passion! 


In 2019, after enduring over a decade of shoulder dislocations from a boxing accident in my early twenties, I embarked on a journey to reclaim my shoulder health. It was after my third shoulder surgery when doctors delivered a grim prognosis. I was informed going forward I would have restricted mobility and need to avoid impact sports! But for me, that wasn’t an option. Exercise had always been my lifeline, and I refused to be held back.


I took matters into my own hands, delving deep into research to revive my shoulder health, and that’s when I stumbled upon the ancient practise of Indian club swinging. Despite the excruciating pain and severely restricted mobility, I gave it a shot! After a few weeks of swinging clubs, I began witnessing remarkable improvements. I’ve gone from not even being able to extend my arm above shoulder height, to stepping back into the boxing ring, a feat once deemed impossible. Indian club swinging has emerged as my ultimate saviour, and I can’t contain my enthusiasm for this incredible, often overlooked art!


What’s truly marvellous about this form of exercise is its boundless potential. Whether you’re wielding light clubs to enhance mobility and coordination, or simply unwind and have a blast; the possibilities are endless. Once you’ve mastered the fundamental movements then you unlock the gateway to creating mesmerising flows. While in the flow, your practise into a soulful meditation where every movement resonates deep within. As you move on to heavier clubs, the benefits are immense, fostering increased mobility and strength in grip, arms, shoulders, and back, while sculpting a rock-solid core. This all contributes toward strong resilient shoulders, limiting the chance of any injury and helping maintain normal shoulder function.


In addition to honing my own craft to perfection, I’ve spearheaded a movement with @Indianclubsofficial on Instagram. Over the years, I hope I’ve played a role in raising the profile of Indian club swinging, nurturing a vibrant community that has empowered so many to embrace the phenomenal benefits of this ancient exercise.


Steeped in history, the origins of club swinging trace back to the 4th-century BCE. Documented in the text Arthaśāstra, which references the “mudgara”, a formidable war-hammer. Archaeological findings have validated the use of war clubs for strength training among ancient warriors. The West only came upon Indian club swinging during the British occupation of India in the 19th and 20th centuries and the British military adopted a scaled-down version into their fitness regimes. Indian club swinging even came to the Olympics in 1904 and 1932. Today, Indian club swinging is known for its healing properties and the promise to infuse your training routine with joy and vitality.


Ready to try Indian Club Swinging? Join Craig on 22 June for a unique workshop focused on mastering single clubs with fundamental patterns – perfect for beginners eager to embark on this transformative journey! Book here.


Got questions? You can find Craig on Instagram @the_club_connoisseur. Let’s swing into action together!