S. FERDINAND LEMAIRE
C. K. OGDEN
HOW TO USE THEM.
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JOHN WILSON, JUN.,
ERSKINE STREET, HULME, MANCHESTER.
CONTRACTOR TO HER MAJESTY'S GOVERNMENT.
HOW TO USE THEM.
A NEW AND COMPLETE METHOD FOR LEARNING TO WIELD LIGHT AND HEAVY CLUBS
GRADUATED FROM THE SIMPLEST TO THE MOST COMPLICATED EXERCISES.
E. FERDINAND LEMAIKE,
FOURTEEN YEARS MEMBER AND LEADER OF THE GERMAH GYMNASTIC SOCIETY, LONDON ;
Two YEARS HONORARY DIRECTOR OF EXERCISES OF THE AMATEUR GYMNASTIC CLUB, LONDON
HONORARY MEMBER OF SEVERAL OTHER GYMNASTIC SOCIETIES.
(Winner of the Gold Medal at the Leeds All Weights Indian Clubs Open Competition, i8;6J
WITH 218 ILLUSTRATIONS BY THE AUTHOR.
FOLLOWED BY AN APPENDIX ON
STRENGTH AND STRONG MEN,
ILIFFE AND SON, 3, ST. BRIDE STREET, LUDGATE CIRCUS.
ENTERED AT STATIONERS' HALL.]
PRINTED BY ILIFFE AND SON, 3, ST. BRIDE STREET, LUDGATE CIRCUS, LONDON, E.C.
PREFACE ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 5
INTRODUCTION ... ... ... ... ... ... 7
KEY EXERCISES (ILLUSTRATIONS OF) ... ... ... 12 to 15
CHAPTER I. PRELIMINARY REMARKS AND KEY EXERCISES ... 17
CHAPTER II. ... ... ... ... ... ... 43
FIRST SERIES ... ... ... ... ... ... 43
SECOND SERIES ... ... ... ... ... 80
THIRD SERIES... ... ... ... ... ... 107
CHAPTER III. KEY EXERCISES ... ... ... ... 129
CHAPTER IV. ... ... .. ... ... ... 137
FIRST SERIES, SECOND PART ... ... ... ... 137
SECOND SERIES ,, ... ... ... ... 146
THIRD SERIES ,, ... ... ... ... 151
CHANGES ... ... ... ... ... ... 155
TABLE SHOWING THE ORDER IN WHICH THE EXERCISES
OUGHT TO BE LEARNT ... ... ... ... l6l
CHAPTER V. EXERCISES SUITABLE FOR SCHOOL PRACTICE ... 165
CHAPTER VI. HEAVY CLUBS ... ... ... ... ... 181
TABLE OF EXERCISES FOR HEAVY CLUBS ... ... 183
CHANGES ... ... ... ... ... ... 184
STRENGTH AND STRONG MEN ... ... ... ... ... 195
I DEDICATE this book to the many friends to whom I may have
had, at different times, the pleasure of giving hints or more
extended instruction on the use of Indian Clubs.
Having often been asked if I knew of a good book on Indian Clubs,
and believing that all those treating of the subject fall far short of the
ordinary requirements of anyone wishing to become proficient in that
branch of athletics, I have determined to write this book, introducing in
it all that my long experience has taught me. Here I may say that I
have not been guided by any other book, or any other person's ideas or
principles. The whole of this work is entirely original, the system I
have made use of is my own invention, and the whole of the illustrations
are from my own designs.
The method I have employed is based on five simple circles, which,
by being gradually added and combined together, carry the learner
progressively from the most simple to the most difficult exercises. I
demonstrated it in public at a gymnastic display given in the Albert Hall,
in connection with the Health Exhibition, by making a squad of fifty
men go through over a hundred different evolutions, starting with the
most simple and gradually increasing to the most intricate, and my
system made a great impression on the spectators, among whom were
many competent judges. The five circles I have mentioned, and which
are designated by distinctive names, are in themselves extremely simple,
but, although the diagrams representing them would suffice for any one to
understand how to do them, I have devoted upwards of 50 pages and
illustrations to their explanation, so that the student may be thoroughly
familiar with them before any exercises are attempted. This method not
only enables any one unacquainted with Indian Clubs to become
6 INDIAN CLUBS.
thoroughly proficient, but it is also of the greatest value to advanced
performers and teachers, as it shows them how to form exercises and
combine them together. In all the illustrations the circular course of the
right club is clearly distinguished from that of the left, the former being
traced by dots, the latter by dashes or strokes.
The book is full of valuable hints and explanations, and comprises
exercises not only for the most advanced gymnasts, but also for ladies,
children, and schools ; it has also a special chapter on heavy clubs.
The work finishes with an appendix on Strength and Strong Men,
giving a record of some wonderful feats performed by athletes and
historical personages from the earliest ages to the present time.
I may as well mention that this book is not intended as a literary or
artistic work, but simply as a practical handbook.
My name must be familiar to any one who may have taken an
interest in athletics during the last 14 years, as for that time I have
wielded the clubs at nearly 200 assaults-of-arms and gymnastic displays.
As regards those who do not happen to know me, I hope they will
soon be convinced that I possess the necessary qualifications for the
task I have undertaken. I have practised gymnastics in general for
about 25 years, and have taught Indian Clubs at the German
Gymnasium and elsewhere for upwards of 12 years. I have also been
the Honorary Director of Exercises of the Amateur Gymnastic. Club,
for two years, until its dissolution. I may say that I have shown how
to use the clubs to thousands of persons, including some of the best
professional teachers of the day.
Now, I think the reader will be convinced that I must know some-
thing about what I have compiled in this volume, and I trust that he
will have that confidence in me which I think it is necessary the
pupil should have in his teacher.
E. FERDINAND LEMAIRE
LONDON, October, 1889.
INDIAN Clubs are perhaps the most ancient of the gymnastic imple-
ments used at the present time. Their use can be traced to the
most remote antiquity. Persian Clubs would be a far more correct
name for them, as in their present shape they were much more used by
Persians than Indians. In the Tower of London can be seen a pair of
clubs from India. They are made of very heavy wood, and are some-
what in the shape that I recommend further on for heavy clubs.
The Persians and Indians use their clubs principally by holding them
in the reverse way from what we do in this country ; that is, the club
hanging below the little finger, instead of being above the thumb and first
finger. Their favourite exercise consists of doing small circles above
The Greeks and the Romans made great use of them, and gave them
a prominent place among their various gymnastic exercises. At the
present time clubs are much more used in England and America than
in any other part of the world. On the Continent their use is very
limited, and tliey are practised with more after the fashion of dumb-bells.
That the club is the most ancient weapon nobody can deny ; it is also
the most natural and handy that could be found, and consequently the
first used by man, for we find that Cain slew Abel with a club. The
ordinary weapon of the athletic god Hercules was a club ; and though
he also used the bow and arrow, he is always represented with his club.
In ancient times, both in Greece and Rome, the strongest athletes, on
public occasions, were fond of brandishing clubs, believing themselves to
be representatives of Hercules. We hear of Milo of Crotona leading his
compatriots to war armed with a club. A Roman emperor, Commodus,
proud of his immense strength, paraded the streets with a club as Hercules,
8 INDIAN CLUBS.
Bacchus is said to have conquered India with an army of satyrs and
bacchantes armed with clubs. Samson would have been very good with
clubs when \ve consider what he did with a jawbone, which was simply
for him a kind of club. Some theologists believe that the Samson of the
Jews is the same person as the Hercules of mythology. Clubs were
favourite weapons with the fighting bishops and other prelates of the early
and middle ages. They thought that if they were not allowed to kill
people in the ordinary way, with swords, spears, or arrows, nothing could
forbid their knocking them down. We find that at all times the principal
weapon of uncivilised races were and are clubs, and going still a little
lower we also find that the higher races of monkeys, such as the ourang-
outang, fight with branches, which they use as clubs, and travellers tell
us that thus armed they are most formidable antagonists to encounter.
Thus, clubs, in one form or another, have had a conspicuous place in
nature, mythology, and history. But what interests us more here is the
adaptation of clubs to the development of health and strength. To those
who, for certain reasons, do not care or find it impossible to go in for the
head-over-heel style of gymnastics, Indian clubs are most invaluable. I
shall even go further and say that, to runners, walkers, boxers, rowers,
and swimmers -in fact, to anyone practising any special branch of
athletics, they are also of the greatest use, as they open the chest,
strengthen the back, the arms, and nearly all the muscles of the body.
By the judicious use of them, a weak and sickly person can become strong
and healthy. Their great advantage over dumb-bells and other imple-
ments used in calisthenics is their endless variety of exercises. They
afford more scope for invention than any other kind of athletics, hence
their great attraction to those who use them. There are hundreds of ways
of wielding them, and every new exercise is the means of finding another.
The clubs can be used as well by children, either boys or girls, as by
men and women. Clubs are particularly advantageous to ladies, who are
generally prevented from doing as great an amount of exercise as men.
Gymnastics proper they do not do ; their calisthenics I will not mention.
To them, therefore, the clubs ought to 1,-e a great boon. It is a very
graceful and healthy exercise, and with all the details thev will find in
this book they ought to be able to become very proficient with them
deriving at the same time great benefit. Of all the exercises I have
given there is not one that will injure them that is, if they practice
with a club of a proper weight. This is the most important thing
of all. People will use clubs too heavy for them, and thus injure
themselves ; it is not the exercise that hurts them, it is the weight
of the club. For children from 10 to 12 years old I should advise
clubs of lib. each, or even less should they be weak ; from 12 to 15,
i^lbs., if weak only lib. ; for boys from 15 to 17, 2lbs. ; from 17
upwards, up to 4lbs., according to strength. For girls from 15 to 18,
iflbs. ; from 18 upwards, up to 2^1bs., according to strength.
The shape of the clubs is also most important. It is very difficult
to find a proper shaped club ready made ; they are often turned by
people who have not the slightest notion of what is done with them,
and accordingly make only a clumsy round piece of wood with a
handle to it, and call it a club. A club should be turned quite
plain, without any ornamentation about it in the way of turning.
The shape should be as shown in the following illustrations :
The length of a ilb. club ought to be about 20 inches ; of a 2lbs.
24 inches ; and of a 4lbs., 28 inches. A heavy club should be about
32 inches long. The price of clubs is from 6d. to gd. per Ib.
10 INDIAN CLUBS.
In the chapter on heavy clubs will be found the necessary instruc-
tions and advice respecting the weights and use of heavy clubs. Ladies
should not use heavy clubs.
Another great advantage connected with clubs is that they can be
used in any room where there is a clear space of two yards by four
yards, and where, of course, the ceiling is sufficiently high to allow of
the clubs clearing it without touching. Those living in the suburbs,
and having a little open space at the back of their house, can derive
great enjoyment and benefit out of half-an-hour's quiet practice with
the clubs. There is no trouble in bringing or taking them away, and
they are easily put aside in a corner or out of sight.
Thus it can easily be seen that Indian Club practice affords, more
than any other exercise, facilities for healthy recreation to those who
from occupation or other causes are prevented from joining a
gymnasium, or leading an active athletic life. To them, if they act
according to all my directions, I hope the following chapters will be
of great help, as such is my intention in writing this book.
I shall not give, as appears customary in books on athletics, any
special notion as regards what one ought or ought not to do to preserve
his or her health, how to train, when to get up, or go to bed. My
object is to teach Indian Clubs to the best of my ability. I shall only
say this. Above all things remember not to begin by doing much at
first ; five to ten minutes gentle exercise is sufficient to begin with ; in
fact, leave off immediately on feeling tired, and do not begin with any
weight heavier than those I recommend.
FIG. 2. BACK CIRCLE.
FIG. 3. SIDE WRIST CIRCLE.
ILLUSTRATIONS OF KEY EXERCISES.
FIG. 4. FRONT WRIST CIRCLE.
FIG. 5. LOWER BACK CIRCLE.
' ~> v '
RESPECTIVE POSITION OF THE CIRCLES OF THE FIRST SERIES.
V FIG. 6. FRONT CIRCLE REVERSED.
FIG. 7. BACK CIRCLE REVERSED.
FIG. 8. SIDE WRIST CIRCLE REVERSED.
ILLUSTRATIONS OF KEY EXERCISES.
FIG. g. FRONT WRIST CIRCLE REVERSED. FIG. 10. LOWER BACK CIRCLE REVERSED.
K\ X^v A J "- / /-
\ XJ^ V/ ' / f
\X5 t /:'i ; \ y/X
RESPECTIVE POSITION OF THE CIRCLES OF THE SECOND SERIES.
PRELIMINARY REMARKS AND KEY EXERCISES.
INDIAN Club exercises are perhaps the most difficult to explain
clearly and comprehensibly in a book. I have endeavoured to bring
the whole to its simplest form, and for that purpose I have made a
key, which will be found immediately preceding this chapter. A reference
to that key will show that I have divided the exercises into three series.
The whole art of the Indian Clubs is comprised in the ten figures there
represented. The most intricate exercises are only a combination of
those ten figures. The second series is merely the first series done back-
wards, and the third series is a combination of the first and the second ;
for this reason there are no figures in the key representing the third series.
The exercises comprised in this series will be found in their proper places
in the book.
It will be noticed that I have given a name to all the various circles
represented in the key. It will also be seen that in the second series I
have added the word "reversed" ; it is to facilitate the understanding as
to how the exercise should be done ; for, having mastered an exercise of
the first series, going from right to left, the corresponding exercise in the
second series is the club travelling back in the opposite direction, or
" reverse " way, from left to right. Now I want special attention to
be paid to the direction ot the arrows in the dotted circles which
represent, in the figures, the direction the clubs are to go. The direction
of the right club is marked by dotted lines thus
the direction of the left by a line of small strokes thus
In the key all the exercises are represented as done with the right
arm ; and it will be seen that the exercises of the first series, when
1 8 INDIAN CLUBS.
done with the right arm, all go from the right to the left, passing
downwards ; and the exercises of the second series, done with the right
arm, all go from left to right, passing downwards. But if the left arm
is used instead of the right, then the exercises of the first series go
from left to right, and those of the second from right to left. All this
is very important to beginners, as it must greatly facilitate quick learn-
ing if thoroughly understood. It may seem very intricate in print, but
if, whilst this is read, a club is held to demonstrate what I say, and
is made to follow my directions, then all this will at once be under-
stood and perhaps remembered.
I am particularly anxious to afford all the practical information
that I think necessary at the beginning, as there is nothing like a
Beginners should never try the more complicated exercises until
they have thoroughly mastered the more simple ones. They will then
be accustomed to the handling of the clubs, and be better prepared
for the more difficult combinations. Do not hurry through the
exercises, so as to have time to use the brain, which in the Indian
Club exercises is much required, especially when both clubs are used
at the same time.
I shall now explain the key, which must be first learnt, with the
exception of the fifth circle of each series. These ought not to be
attempted until sufficiently proficient ; I shall introduce them where I
think best. The various circles should be known by the names I have
given them, as they will greatly help when we go further, and will
save a great amount of unnecessary repetition, enabling me to refer to
them simply by their names, and thus the learner will at once under-
stand what is meant when he finds those names used in the description
of the various combinations explained further in the book. I shall also
adopt the same system with regard to figures. I shall first explain
the figure thoroughly if need be, and afterwards the mere mention of
the figure will mean that the clubs are to be used or held as repre-
sented in the said figure. I must particularly request great attention
to be paid to the position of the clubs, arms and hands, as represented
in the figures.
The starting position of all exercises with the Indian Clubs is shown
PRELIMINARY REMARKS > KEY EXERCISES. 19
for one arm in fig. 12, for both arms in fig. 13. Previous to getting ready
for any exercise, and alter doing it, the clubs can either be put down or
held as in fig. n. .
The feet should be about 18 inches apart, so as to give steadiness to
the body, which ought to be erect and yet not stiff. The proper position
of the feet is observed in the illustrations. Great attention must be paid
to neatness and to a good position of the body, as besides giving a
graceful appearance it will allow a more even play for the various muscles
at work. The arms should move freely ; no ugly jerks, which are apt to
PRELIMINARY REMARKS & KEY EXERCISES. 21
injure the elbow joint sometimes severely. In a word, the clubs ought
always to be swung with grace and ease, and with a regular motion.
Do not follow the club as if attracted by its weight, as shown in
figs. 14 and 15.
This bad habit, by shortening the distance from the shoulder to the
feet, often causes the club to strike the toes. Lean slightly in the
opposite direction to that in which the club is going (figs. 16 and 17).
This advice will be found most useful when using rather heavy clubs, and
the better it is attended to, the heavier the clubs can be.
Working before a looking-glass is of great assistance, as it helps to
obtain accuracy and a good position, besides reflecting any faults that may
Of course the pupil is supposed to know thoroughly one exercise before
he attempts another. If that rule is followed it will be seen how easy
everything will come later on, as I have so divided the exercises and series
that one works into the other. As regards the series, I shall keep the
same progression of exercises for all, so that if the order of the first series
is well known, that of the second will be already known before even having
begun to learn them. However, at the end of the book will be found a
table giving directions as to the order the exercises of each series should
be learnt. My reason for doing this is that thus the three series will be
gradually learnt at the same time, and also it will give time to the pupil
to become proficient with some of the more simple exercises of the three
series before he comes to the more difficult ones.
PRELIMINARY REMARKS > KEY EXERCISES. 23
Now to proceed with the exercises forming the key. All the exercises
may be done about twelve to fifteen times in succession.
Front Circle. Figs, i and 18. Take hold of the clubs as in fig. 1 1 ;
then put right arm up in the starting position as in fig. 12 ; this starting
position is also shown in fig. 18. From there thrust the club to the right,
with straight arm, as shown by the dotted arm and club in fig. 18 ;
describe a perfect circle with straight arm, passing the club in front of the
body in the direction of the arrows in the dotted circles of figs, i and 18.
Do about fifteen circles in succession, then stop by returning to the starting
position of fig. 12, and from there down as in fig. n.
24 INDIAN CLUBS.
Front Circle with the Left Arm. Fig. 19. The same
exercise as the preceding, with the left arm starting of course to the left
instead of the right.
Front Circle Reversed. Figs. 6 and 20. Hold the clubs fig. n,
right arm up, fig. 12 ; from there thrust the club to the left, arm straight,
as in dotted arm and club, fig. 20 ; describe a perfect circle with straight
arm, passing the club in front of the body in the direction of the arrows
in the dotted circles, figs. 6 and 20. Do about fifteen circles in succession,
then stop by returning to the starting position, fig. 12, then down, fig. u.
PRELIMINARY REMARKS &> KEY EXERCISES. 25
Front Circle Reversed with, the Left Arm. Same
exercise as preceding with the left arm, starting the club towards the
right, fig. 21.
PRELIMINARY REMARKS &> KEY EXERCISES. 27
Back Circle. Figs. 2 and 23. Hold the club fig. n. Up fig. 12.
From there raise the club as in fig. 22 ; then turn it to the right as in fig.
23, holding the hand close to the right ear ; the elbow is well in front,
almost level with the chin, fig. 23. Pay great attention to this position of
the elbow, as it helps much in getting this circle perfect.
From the position, fig. 23, let the club swing round behind the head in
the direction of the dotted lines, figs. 2 and 23 ; but observe that when
the club gets behind the head, as in fig. 24, the elbow changes its position
and gets quite at the side, see fig. 24 ; the club then finishes its journey
until it is again in position, fig. 22, with the elbow in front and ready to
begin another circle.
There should be no stop in this exercise, as indeed in any of the
exercises with the clubs, but it is better to do this one two or three times
slowly, following carefully the figures as indicated. Do the circle about
fifteen times without stopping, then recover as usual, fig. 12 and fig. u.
This mode of finishing all the exercises ought now to be so well under-
stood that I shall not refer to it any more. It must be made use of
whenever either starting or finishing. Of course, when using both clubs
at the same time, the starting and finishing is done with both clubs as
shown in fig. 13. (See page 38 for remarks as to position.)
Back Circle with the Left Arm. Same exercise as the pre-
ceding, but with the left arm instead of the right, starting to the left with
the end of the club well to the left. Fig. 25.
In the back circle it will be seen, by looking at the figures, that at the
beginning of the circle the knuckles are facing forwards, and at the end
they are facing backwards ; in fact, they follow the motion of the elbow.
This action of the hand is most important.
Back Circle Reversed. Fig. 7 and fig. 27. From the starting
position raise the club as in fig. 26. Here, it must be observed, that the
position of the elbow is reverse to that in the simple back circle. In the