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 © 2005-2021 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 © 2005-2021 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.

Gus Hill and his Indian Clubs

Posted on Sunday, February 16th, 2014 by John Wood
Gus Hill, Club-Swinger
Another look at the great Indian Club swinger, Gus Hill and some of his fabulous clubs. I can’t say much for his outfit but the shoulder development and wiry physique from regular club work should be evident.

George Roth

Posted on Monday, February 10th, 2014 by John Wood

George Roth

George Roth, from east Hollywood, California, (and eventual USC grad, class of ’42) managed to accomplish a feat which will never again be equaled: at the 1932 Los Angeles games, he won an Olympic gold medal in the sport of Indian club swinging. Club swinging, which was part of the gymnastics program at the time, has not appeared in the Olympic games since then.

Also in the probably-won’t-see-this-again department, Roth, after accepting his gold medal in front of 60,000 people, hitchhiked home.

Philip Erenberg and William Kuhlemeier, also both of the USA, finished with the Silver and Bronze medals respectively. Francisco José Álvarez, of Mexico, finished fourth.

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…

Professor James Harrison and his War Clubs

Posted on Friday, November 29th, 2013 by John Wood

Professor James Harrison

“… We learn that Mr. Harrison first began to use the clubs three years ago, at which time his muscular development was not regarded as being very great, his measurements being: round the chest 37-1/2 inches, round the upper arm 13-7-8ths inches, and round the forearm 13-1/4 inches.

The clubs with which Mr. Harrison commenced weighed about seven pounds each; he has advanced progressively until he can now wield with perfect ease two clubs. each weighing 37 pounds, and his heaviest weighing 47 pounds.
The effects of this exercise on the wielder’s measurements are as follows: round the chest 42-1/2 inches, the upper arm 15 inches, and the forearm 14 inches.

At the same time, his shoulders have increased immensely, and the muscles of his mid-section which were weak when he first used the clubs, are now well-developed and powerful. In short, all the muscles of the trunk have been improved by this exercise.”

Professor James Harrison
As Featured in The Illustrated London News
August 14th, 1852

Professor Harrison of London was a well-known gymnastics and physical culture teacher who was honored by Queen Victoria for his physical prowess. It was watching Professor Harrison expertly swing his heavy “war clubs” which inspired Sim Kehoe to bring club swinging back to America and promote it on a wide scale.

Tom Burrows Makes The Record

Posted on Saturday, June 16th, 2012 by John Wood

Tom Burrows Makes The Record

On April 18th, 1913, the Australian All-Around Athlete and Club Swinging champion Tom Burrows accomplished an incredible feat: he swung a pair of Indian Clubs for 100 hours straight without a rest. He averaged 80 repetitions a minute through the entire affair, a mind-boggling feat of muscular endurance and toughness. That’s a record you won’t see challenged any time soon.
All Contents, Including Images and Text, Copyright © 2005-2021 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 © 2005-2021 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.

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