I recently had the opportunity to teach a 5th Grade Physical Education class as a volunteer parent. I had a number of activities for the children which included relaxation, breathing, calisthenics, crawls, speed/agility/quickness drills, balance, and some free-play time. I had two pairs of Indian Clubs with me for a quick demonstration. The kids were fascinated with the Indian Clubs! I only had one pair of youth-sized clubs, so out of 30 kids, only two children got to try them during the free play period. Why only one pair of “youth” clubs? Because no one makes YOUTH-SIZED Indian Clubs anymore suitable for smaller children. We have a good friend of The Lean Berets who is a master wood craftsman–he made us two demonstration pairs of youth clubs that only weight 1/2 pound each with the classical dimensions. Great for two kids, but what about the millions of others who need them again?
Historically, youth Indian Clubs were about 1/2 pound with a shorter length. They also had 3/4 pound clubs too, but a better weight for children just learning the patterns is only 1/2 pound each. The knobs on top must also be reduced in size to fit the smaller hands and palms–a historical fact often overlooked with today’s club enthusiasts. The clubs must turn correctly for the hand and wrist drills–by the way, all this texting and computer work does not optimize the joint mobility in children’s wrists today. The “light” adult clubs today are one pound each but have longer lever length. Just an extra half pound plus more length makes these light “adult” clubs inappropriate for children under 5th grade based on my experience with our twins who are age 10. While there are kids that are stronger and move better than our kids–our twins move far better than most. The one pound clubs were far too heavy even when choking up on them–and even today they don’t flow well for them. For most kids under ten, the one pounders are far too heavy and difficult to manage correctly. I sadly had to tell a little girl to put down the one-pound club because I was afraid she would hurt her shoulders. I really wish someone would take a chance on our children today and make some suitable clubs in their required size of 1/2 pound.
What does it mean to have “physically literate” and physically educated children? Check out the video above which will also provide a peek at how beautiful the Indian Clubs were in the hands of well-trained children 110 years ago in public schools. In about 100 years, we went from this level of movement quality to a staggering amount of children who can barely move. Amazing coordination and control with the 1904 children. NO ONE was hitting each other or themselves. This generation of American children often had quality physical education that emphasized quality movement…a little of this would go a long way today with today’s hunched over broken posture kids.
While Indian Clubs are old–they are still cutting edge sensory-rich and neurologically enhancing tools for optimizing movement not to mention posture…not just for kids–but also for adults.