Steel Mace info

King Cobra Fit

Matt - CSEP-CPT, SFG I, FMS I&II
Certified Instructor
Hello everyone,
I'm sorry to post this in the Kettlebell forum but I felt that this was the most applicable spot. I have just received my new 10 Lbs steel mace and have started adding it to my practice. I was wondering if anyone here has any info or resources that they could recommend?

I also have swinging clubs and used the FMS Swinging Club online course with @Brett Jones and that gave me a great foundation and lots to practice. (if you want a great, easy to access and affordable resource for clubs, check it out).

any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you all and stay strong Brothers and Sisters.
 

Steve W.

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
Jedd Johnson does have some good tutorials. Here's another one from Chris Duffin:


I started swinging maces after having used clubbells for a long time, using some of Scott Sonnon's instructional material, so the transition to the mace was pretty easy.

If I had to pick three points to emphasize for someone starting with the mace they would be:
--The killer apps for the mace are 360s and 10-2s. They have the same satisfying sense of rightness as KB swings and snatches. There are lots of other things you can do with a mace, but these two drills are the main reasons to use one.

--Think of your hands as a moving pivot point. You don't muscle the mace, but guide its momentum by moving the pivot point. It's not about high tension leverage lifting, but finding the right movement of the pivot point and the right rhythm of tension and relaxation to apply force in the right direction at the right time.

--For 360s and 10-2s, the basic movement of the hands is up and down. Up to initate the swing by tipping the mace over your shoulder and establish a pivot point for the mace to pendulum behind your back, and down to tip it upright and stabilize it after it pendulums up on the other side. I recall that one of the Jedd Johnson videos addresses this cue.
 
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El Cid

Triple-Digit Post Count
I agree that 360's and 10-to-2 (two hand and one hand varieties) are the money exercises with a mace. I'd think of them as the Snatch and the Swing of the mace world.

Have a look around this gentleman's YouTube channel. He practices traditional Indian style Gada swinging and has made numerous trips to India to learn the art and help keep it alive:


This is also a very solid tutorial vid:


Here's the first vid in a "beginner, intermediate, advanced" tutorial series


If you're looking for maximum variety of movement possibilities this gentleman has the videos with the deepest free content anywhere that I've found so far:

My advice is to master the 360 and 10-to-2 with two hands. Then, master both of those with one hand. After that either upgrade the weight or add more complexity of movement (depending on your goals and tastes).

Happy mace swinging!
 

jhpowers

More than 300 posts
I just started a very similar thread. I like Chris Duffins basic instruction and I like the shoulderok because it is plate loadable. Also, it is longer than the onnit mace and therefore swings lower. It has a different feel to me than the onnit mace. I was able to use Duffin's videos to start swinging without additional coaching.
 

King Cobra Fit

Matt - CSEP-CPT, SFG I, FMS I&II
Certified Instructor
This is great! thanks so much everyone. I very much appreciate the support this community offers.

@jhpowers where did you start your thread? can you send me the link? (I'll look but in case I can't find it)

For now 360's with two hands is plenty and needs work, but I feel so great through my shoulder girdle after.

Doing 4 weeks of Pistol/OAPU day and a SLDL/pull up 1,2,3 x 3 twice a week before I get back in to GS training in the new year. Clubs and Mace practice is my swing/snatch fix haha
 

jhpowers

More than 300 posts
I don't know how to add a link but my thread is called "mace with s&s." My question was a little different. I was asking about substituting mace work for halos. I think that the mace is a bit like a ballistic halo in its effect on my shoulders.
 

Sean M

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
What is a good weight to start with? Or, a formula like "If you can do 100 one-arm KB swings in 5 minutes with X weight, a starting mace weight is Y"?
 

El Cid

Triple-Digit Post Count
What is a good weight to start with? Or, a formula like "If you can do 100 one-arm KB swings in 5 minutes with X weight, a starting mace weight is Y"?
Hard to base it off of a KB swing standard, as those are much more leg/hip dominant. I started at 15lbs and there was a learning curve. I think if you've not used something similar like heavy clubs going a step lighter if you're stuck between 2 weight choices is the best way.

I'll speak to practice of the 360, because really that's where you should focus. It's very rotator cuff intensive (well the whole shoulder girdle really). If you need a KB standard as reference it would probably best be based off looking at: 1) Snatch; *and* 2) a press or TGU.

When I took up my 15lb mace practice I absolutely owned the 20kg for volume on Snatches, and could press/TGU/Bent Press the 28kg for volume on any given day (this was the heaviest bell I had at the time).

I worked the 15lb mace with 10-to-2's first, doing sets of about 8-10 reps with both right hand dominant and left hand dominant grips, and built volume. I moved on to 360's when I felt in control of the weight and lever length.

The mace plays well for high rep work (by this I mean 25 on up into the hundreds of reps), and I've found 2 technique dependent areas you can alter your swing to emphasize. These would be: 1) shoulder opening/mobility, 2) full body integration with strong oblique and QL emphasis. Basically it has to do with how much you shift your weight from foot to foot as you swing, and how much you lock down your core.

I found a 35lb mace for a steal on a going out of business sale, and bought it. It was a real bear making the jump from 15 straight to 35lbs. Once I could get 10 reps with both hand positions I was off and running and built serious volume with the 35 though.

The only issues I've experienced are: QL inflammation and the fibrous/fascia area of the upper arm below the triceps can get sore. The QL issue was from too much volume to quickly (so my error lol). The soreness below the triceps seems to pop up when you're new to the mace, coming back from a layoff, or when you make a weight jump. I've remedied it by lacrosse ball rolling and self message. If it presents, I work the tissues and I'm right as rain. Point being, build slowly and respect the thing (it's a medieval weapon after all).

Overall I think it's a great tool and will probably continue to swing the mace for many years to come. You can really get into a rhythmic zone where you experience that nice time distortion of being "in the groove" if that makes any sense. I like what it's done for my shoulder health and torso.
 

pet'

More than 5000 posts
Hello,

@jhpowers
substituting mace work for halos
Lever is not the same.

With a kettlebell, you "only" have your arm length and a part of the handle.

With a mace, you have your arm length and all the stick.

For "iso-wieght" a mace is more difficult to control.

Kind regards,

Pet'
 

jhpowers

More than 300 posts
@pet' - I think you are right. It is harder to control. I think it is also harder to coordinate th movement of my body as a whole due to th ballistic nature of the movement. My gluteus and abs are always tight on my halos but I often get loose in the middle with the mace....more practice needed...
 

Geoff Chafe

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
I use a weighted sledge hammer, but mace swings are awesome and fun. He one handed swinging really works the hands, wrists, and lower arms. I have not done it in a while.

Their is no comparison between the halo, and mace swings.

Would be go for training for medieval combat.
 

King Cobra Fit

Matt - CSEP-CPT, SFG I, FMS I&II
Certified Instructor
@jhpowers thanks, I actually found it. An interesting idea about replacing the halos with mace work. I think substituting some of the halos for mace work would be ok, but I'm not sure I would sub them all. there's something about the slow controlled pattern of the halo that feels just different enough.

@Sean M I bought a 10Lbs Mace and that seems to be a good starting place for me. to put it in the context of your question, I'm comfortable snatching the 24 and just completed the Total Tension Complex with a pair of 28's. It really is more the mobility and motor control that is required with the mace that has drawn me to it. I'm not sure that there is a set equation of X in = Y out. but my novice advice would be to go light. just like owning the lighter bell in a get up, for example, before rushing on to heavier bells, there are important lessons to be learnt from relatively lighter weight
 

Kettlebelephant

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
What is a good weight to start with? Or, a formula like "If you can do 100 one-arm KB swings in 5 minutes with X weight, a starting mace weight is Y"?
Difficult to say. Maces come in different lengths. jhpowers already mentioned that e.g. the shoulderök is longer than your usual mace which leads to different levers and higher forces with lower weights.
Also everyone has different weak spots. I can swing my shoulderök with additional 15Kg without any problems or fatigue anywhere except my wrists.
I think increasing the reps is more appropriate than increasing weight.
Start with something in the 10-20lbs range and you're good for a long time.

@jhpowers thanks, I actually found it. An interesting idea about replacing the halos with mace work. I think substituting some of the halos for mace work would be ok, but I'm not sure I would sub them all. there's something about the slow controlled pattern of the halo that feels just different enough.
I replaced all of the halos with shoulderök swings. Months ago in another thread I already called the swing a "halo on roids", because it does everything the halo does but better and more. Swings allow more ROM and the ballastic nature of them teach your body one of the (if not the most) important thing for injury prevention: reflexive strength.
 

Kozushi

More than 2500 posts
I just ordered a 25lbs steel mace through the Canadian distributor for Onit, which is the big steel mace promoter in North America it seems. It will obviously be good for my kendo and help me progress faster with it. My problems in kendo are almost 100% conditioning related as kendo recruits quite specific strength systems in the body. This mace stuff looks very much like the same strength system as kendo. And, the problem with doing drill with the kendo sword is that it's too light. You need to do drills with a much heavier "sword" to get any benefit.
 
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Kozushi

More than 2500 posts
The premodern Korean army used to train with an overweight halberd expressly for exercise. Here is a quotation from the "Muye Dobo Tongji" military manual:

"The crescent halberd looks fearsome and is good for training but is not practical in combat."

The same book also describes a 120lbs halberd made in Persia, which I suspect if a true thing was a kind of fancy exercise mace, since such a heavy thing would be worthless in fighting.
 

Kozushi

More than 2500 posts
I got it in the mail finally today! Yey!

It feels very heavy! That's good!

I'll get to the authentic 360 exercise when my right shoulder heals up but for now I'm using it for halberd style fighting moves which transfer nicely in terms of strength systems to kendo and judo. For me its purpose is to be used like a weapon, not like a tool. I have a different take on it from some of the videos I've seen on it. I don't think it has been popular in the West long enough for a "Go to" training method to emerge outside of the traditional Indian ways of using it. To me the thing screams "halberd" and that's the kind of form I'm going to follow with it.
 
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