The Honorable George P. Kersten

Posted on Friday, June 29th, 2018 by John Wood
During the last century, a few minutes of Indian Club Swinging were not out of place during the normal work day. These sessions helped relieve tension and stress thus allowing for more productive work to be accomplished. Above is George P. Kersten, the longtime judge of Cook County, Illinois. The good judge certainly had his hands full in the city of Chicago during Prohibition years. Still, he never missed an opportunity to swing the clubs. These pictures are dated 1922.

Kersten worked his way up through the court system from a job as a clerk in police court in 1880, getting his law degree in 1885, a justice of the peace in 1900 and election to the circuit court in 1903. It was said that at one point he turned down a run for the Mayor of Chicago since he enjoyed being a judge so much. Notably, Kersten was also a crack shot, well-known as one of the most prominent marksmen in the Northwest, and was a long-time member of the Chicago Sharpshooter’s Association.

Ancient Training Techniques for Modern Warriors

Posted on Monday, December 4th, 2017 by John Wood
“With over 40 professional fights I’ve had to deal with a number of injuries including a partial rotator cuff tear, a jammed shoulder,and cartilage damage. I went through extensive rehabilitation with limited success. I was introduced to Indian Clubs a little over 2 years ago and I can tell you since using the clubs on a regular basis, my shoulder now feels solid and 100%. Indian Club Exercise are now a necessary part of Miletich Fighting Systems training. Not only for me, but all our fighters.”

– Pat Miletich – MMA Fighter, 5X UFC Champ.

All Contents, Including Images and Text, Copyright © 2005-2019 by John Wood and Thunderdome Media Inc., Not to be reproduced without permission, All Rights Reserved
Author: John Wood. All contents, including images and text, copyright © 2005-2019 by John Wood and Thunderdome Media Inc. Not to be reproduced without permission. All rights reserved. We will most likely grant permission but please contact us if you would like to repost. IMPORTANT: Equipment and books, courses etc. pictured in blog posts are generally not available for sale unless specifically noted.

Indian Club History: Endurance Club Swinging

Posted on Friday, February 7th, 2014 by John Wood

Indian Clubs

In the early 20th century, the unlikely hot spot for the even more unlikely sport of “Endurance Club Swinging” was Australia. The gentleman in the middle is the American champion, Harry J. Lawson, flanking him are his manager G. J. Jones (at the right), and Carrie Jones (his manager’s daughter) at the left. Lawson’s two training partners Bill Stanley and George Simmons are behind.

This picture was taken in 1910, and it was worth the very long trip by steamship to Rockhampton, Queensland, Australia where Lawson set a (then) endurance club swinging world record of 73 hours, 8 minutes with a pair of 3lb. 3 oz. clubs.

One of the reasons that Lawson traveled such a long way was to challenge the great Tom Burrows to a match…

Gus Hill, Champion Club Swinger of the World

Posted on Friday, December 16th, 2011 by John Wood
As a means of physical culture, the Indian Clubs stand pre-eminent among the varied apparatus of gymnastics now in use. The revolutions which the clubs are made to perform, in the hands of one accustomed to their use, are exceedingly graceful.

Besides the great recommendation of simplicity, the Indian Club practice possesses the essential property of expanding the chest and exercising every muscle in the body concurrently.

Note in the crowded thoroughfare of Broadway now and then an occasional passer-by, with well-knit and shapely form, firm and elastic step, broad-chested and full blooded, and you may mark him down as an expert with the clubs.”

Gus Hill
Club Swinging Champion,

circa 1890

Club Swinging for Health by Tom Burrows

Posted on Friday, October 7th, 2011 by John Wood

Club Swinging for Health by Tom Burrows

Here’s a real treat: an extremely rare Indian Club training course from Tom Burrows, published in an issue of Health and Strength in 1905.  Burrows was a champion in boxing, wrestling, fencing, gymnastics, the broad jump, the long jump, the hundred yard dash and the mile run — in fact, he won whole track meets by himself.

It was Burrows’ feeling was that swinging Indian Clubs was the finest all around exercise for health and strength.

In this particular course, Exercise 1 is for chest expansion, balance and leg development…  Exercise 2 is for building the waist and arms… Exercise 3 works the trunk… Exercise 4 develops the shoulders and thigh muscles… Exercise 5 is for the abdominals… Exercise 6 works the arms, legs, trunk and thighs… Exercise 7 is for chest development and Exercise 8 is for arms, legs and trunk development.