The Textbook of Club Swinging by Tom Burrows

Posted on Friday, August 17th, 2018 by John Wood
Whereas Arthur Saxon wrote The Textbook of Weight-Lifting, Tom Burrows wrote The Textbook of Club Swinging. Both men were certainly qualified to do so. There were several other “Textbooks” — on Swimming, Wrestling, Boxing, and various other athletic pursuits.

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.

Indian Clubs in China

Posted on Wednesday, March 23rd, 2016 by John Wood

I knew that many other cultures regularly trained with Indian Clubs but was not aware that China was one of them, at least until now. Club swinging has always been popular with young students as it is a very good way to stay physically fit as well as build upper body strength before studies begin. A short morning training session with the clubs in a school setting will go a long way in improving the educational process.
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.

Richard J. Cox ~ Clubswinging Champion of The World

Posted on Friday, March 18th, 2016 by John Wood
Richard J. Cox developed lung problems when he was 12 years of age, and was labeled a “hopeless” case by his doctors. In a last ditch effort to regain his health, Cox took up Indian club swinging at the urging of his father. Within a few months of regular practice, the young master Cox had not only rid himself of his lung troubles but also gave his first club-swinging performance. Swinging the clubs became a lifelong pursuit for Cox and he won many medals and trophies for doing so. The above photo was taken in 1909, the day he won his first contest. (Looks like club swinging DOES build a little muscle, eh?) Cox eventually succeeded Gus Hill as “Club Swinging Champion of The World.”
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.

John C. Heenan’s Exercise Clubs and Boots

Posted on Monday, February 15th, 2016 by John Wood

April 17, 1860 is a famous date in pugilistic lore, it was on that date that American John C. Heenan was to face the Brit Tom Sayers in a bare-knuckle bout to decide the World’s first international Boxing champion. Like all big fights, this one captured the public’s imagination and topics which would normally be ignored were highlighted in great detail.

The newspapers of the day followed Heenan’s training regimen with great interest and among his preparations for the fight, Heenan swung Indian clubs to condition his shoulders (a gift from Sim Kehoe himself!) Despite giving up forty pounds and five inches in height, Heenan was in fine fettle come fight time. Above is a rare engraving showing Heenan’s clubs and exercise shoes. As for the fight, the action lasted forty-two rounds spread out over two hours. you can read more about the outcome HERE.

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.

Tom Burrows’ First Club Swinging Record

Posted on Wednesday, December 9th, 2015 by John Wood
On March 20th, 1895, Australian club swinging champion Tom Burrows set out to break his own record of 24 hours on continuous club swinging. In order to do so, he set forth the following conditions:

1. The clubs were to be 2 pounds each and to be 24 inches long.
2. To Swing 50 complete circles each minute.
3. No rest or stop allowed during the 25 hours.
4. No aid of any sort allowed.
5. To swing no fewer than 70,000 complete circles for the record.
6. There would be two judges present at all times to watch the swinging.

Burrows commenced swinging his clubs at 9:18 pm on Wednesday evening. At 10:18 pm the next day, he officially met his mark of 25 continuous hours of club swinging but he didn’t stop there. At 11:33 pm, he finally put down his clubs having established the mark of 26 hours and 15 minutes of continuous swinging. The above photograph is from that evening (I’m quite curious about the axes.)

William Needham

Posted on Friday, March 6th, 2015 by John Wood

Health and Strength League member William Needham was the Tasmanian Club Swinging Champion of 1911. Needham swung a pair of 4lb. Indian clubs for 24 continuous hours to set the Tasmanian record in April of that year. At times, he did 300 circles per minute but his average was about 150 per minute. Eyewitness accounts reported that Needham looked surprisingly fresh at the conclusion of his record swing.

A few years later, in 1913, Needham swung a pair of 3 lb. 3oz clubs for 100 hours and 4 minutes to establish a new record. Not only that, during one of his memorable endurance swinging performances, Needham allowed his barber to give him a shave, while continuing to swing, of course!  Needham engaged in several memorable Endurance Club swinging matches against Harry J. Lawson.

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.

Miss Carrie Davenport

Posted on Wednesday, December 10th, 2014 by John Wood

Miss Carrie Davenport was a vaudeville performer during the late 1800’s. She was an expert at Indian club swinging as well as a champion clog dancer, so she was never out of work.

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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.

George H. Benedict

Posted on Wednesday, September 17th, 2014 by John Wood

George H. Benedict, of Chicago Illinois, was an early amateur boxing champion and the U.S. National club-swinging champion of 1885. He quite literally wrote the book on Manly sports, covering the aforementioned topics along with wrestling, dumbbell training, gymnastics, swimming and fencing. This rare engraving shows him in fine form while swinging a pair of nifty Spaulding exhibition clubs AND… we’d like to point out that he is also wearing a pair of roller skates — FUNCTIONAL TRAINING!
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.

Sim D. Kehoe

Posted on Thursday, April 17th, 2014 by John Wood

Sim D. Kehoe

Simon “Sim” D. Kehoe was a manufacturer of gymnastic equipment who was introduced to club swinging during his travels abroad. He observed clubs of various sized being swung by British soldiers who, in turn, had learned club swinging from their counterparts in India. …police, soldiers, wrestlers and “anyone else whose caste renders them liable to emergencies where great strength of muscle is desirable.”

Once Kehoe tried the clubs for himself he instantly understood their value. Upon his return to the U.S. in 1862, he set up shop to manufacture Indian clubs and introduce club swinging to the American public on a wider scale. His efforts certainly worked, swinging Indian clubs of various sizes became wildly popular in many circles. (no pun intended) More on Sim Kehoe and his clubs at a later date…

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.