History Of The Club

The most ancient weapon, the club, evolved over millennia into devastatingly effective martial arts worldwide.  Many cultural martial traditions across the planet utilized the club not just for combat, but for restorative health and developed strength: Indian Kalaripayat, Iranian Pahlavani, Okinawan Karate and Russian SAMBO.

Circular Strength Training® can be traced to the to strongman competitions in Ancient Persia. They created a definitive edge in strength and endurance training.  During these times, the weight-lifter, wrestler or fighter was called a Pahlavan, or club swinging strongman. This physical exercise existed as far back as Ancient Egypt.  The most popularized international form of Circular Strength Training® originated in India, though originally derived from Persia and ultimately from Ancient Greece.  Regardless of the method, whether with the Indian karela, ekka, jori and gada, Iranian meel, Russian bulava, or Okinawan chishi, Circular Strength Training® can be dangerous if not properly learned and practiced.

Sim D. Kehoe brought Indian Clubs to USA from Britain. In 1862, he opened a New York shop to manufacture clubs. To spread the word, he sent free samples of his clubs to prominent individuals in the hope of securing positive endorsements. The famous Civil War era boxer, John Heenan, wrote him that, as an assistant for training purposes, and imparting strength to the muscles of the arms, wrists, and hands, together in fact with the whole muscular system, I do not know of their equal. They will become one of the institutions in America.

US President Grant wrote to thank Kehoe, Please accept my thanks for your thus remembering me, and particularly my boys, who I know will take great delight as well as receive benefit from using them.

Bornstein stated that Circular Strength Training® was the most universal method of developing the muscular anatomy of the human body.  Schools, colleges and even theological seminaries have adopted their use in their respective institutions with the most beneficial results.  For keeping the body in a healthy and vigorous condition there has as yet been nothing invented, which for its simplicity and gracefulness can be favorably compared with club exercises

In 1866, Kehoe published Indian Club Exercise, a beautifully illustrated book showing the benefits of HEAVY Circular Strength Training®, with two aspects of significance. Firstly, he distinguished between the short, light-weight bat - a one to four pound club used in the popular Don Walker's and Dio Lewis' callisthenic drills. Secondly, Kehoe distinguished the long Club. Light-weight bats became the Ivy-league vogue in popular Victorian culture, and heavy leverage lifting was eventually phased out through social pressure - ironically simultaneous to the eventual phasing out of Catch as Catch Can wrestling and general Strongman enthusiasm.

Many turn of the century and modern strongmen such as George Jowett, Bob Hoffman, George Hackenschmidt,  Paul Von Boeckmann, and Slim the Hammerman Farman, and of course, Ghulum (The Great Gama) Mohammed  (pictured left with his 80LBS club) used many different types of clubs (and club variations , such as the Weaver Stick, Thor's Hammer, Fulcrum Bells, Swing Bars and even store-bought sledgehammers as substitutes.)

Circular Strength Training® was implemented in the military physical training programs for both the USA. Posse (1894) stated that clubs were the oldest known implement for military gymnastics.

In 1914, the US Army Manual of Physical Training explained that these exercises, supple the muscles and articulations of shoulders, upper-arms, forearms and wrist. They are indicated in cases where there is a tendency toward what is known as muscle bound. (There are opposing opinions regarding this statement in the physical culture industry.)

Circular Strength Training® became an Olympic Sport called Rhythmic Gymnastics  in 1904 (St. Louis, USA) which Americans won in all divisions.  It endured until 1932 (Los Angeles, USA) which Americans swept again.  Rhythmic Gymnastics diminished from the Olympic scene until 2003 when it rose again.  Olympic Style Clubbell® Sport launched in 2003 and is quickly becoming the most exciting strength endurance sport in the world





The Clubbell certification was extremely informative. As a trainers, we have many approaches to fitness, but being able to implement something as dynamic and beneficial as clubbells just makes the training we can offer that much stronger. The clubbell certification instructed by Coach Jones was great. It emphasized proper technique providing various progressions and modifications to suite a vast range of fitness levels. I am able to use what I learned from coach Jones with any and all of my clients. This certification is a good tool for all trainers to have, or even for those who just want to get a better understanding of club bells in general.  -Tess Kovit

I really like your web site. I forwarded it to a lot of friends who still can't figure out what I'm doing now that I quit the gym. -Robert Cremers

Since learning and getting certified on the clubbell certification months ago, I have had an opportunity to try some of the techniques Ive learned. As a professional MMA fighter, it has definitely improved some of my training routines. I find I have more grip strength, which is needed in my sport. I have also noticed an increase in core strength as well as mobility in my shoulders. Also a useful tool in MMA.

Aside from my own training, I have also started using the clubbell for my more advanced personal training clients. This has been a great way for me to mix up their workouts and make them a little more interesting and fun.

I would like continue learning more clubbell movements and techniques. In a short period of time I was able to expand my training and overall fitness using a tool that has so many dynamic aspects to it. -Joey Bareng

The clubbell certification was great!  I learned a lot of new exercises & combinations that I can use with my clients.  It was very hands on, so i didn't get confused at all and the instructions were very clear as to what we would be learning.  I especially liked the progressions of the movements & exercises because I could use them with my clients who are all at different levels. -Joanne Luat

I found the Clubbell workshop very informative and helpful.  Even though I had a previous certification in the Clubbell system, I learned a lot of new information from Coach Jones.  Some of the teaching progressions and techniques had changed.  I appreciate J Janero's effort to provide continuing education to the staff by bringing in top fitness professionals like Coach Jones.  This keeps all of us current on the latest techniques and developments so that we in turn can provide the best service to the clients.  I would recommend the RMAX Clubbell Certification to all trainers. -Steve Maxwell

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