Fun With Sledgehammers And Training As Spiritualism

I’ve spent a good bit talking about feelings, lately, which is weird because I don’t like to talk about my feelings all that much. I do it, but I don’t like it. Yet I’ve never had a problem talking about enjoying something, nor about why I enjoy it.

Yesterday, in between sets with my kettlebell, I picked up my sledgehammer and had a little fun, and I don’t mind talking about why at all.

About midway between my rest periods, what I would do is pick up my 8 lbs sledgehammer and basically do this exercise. The difference is I went one direction, then immediately did it in the opposite direction, for five reps each.

I did three sets in total.

And, to be honest, it felt pretty damn good.

Macebells, like in the link above, are cool as hell and something I definitely want to get into. Originating in Persia, they migrated to India where they’re still used to help train Hindu wrestlers.

I’ve long been fascinated with the training practices of these guys, but mostly because of something I read a few years ago. You see, their gyms are actually temples to the Hindu god of strength. (More on that in a bit.)

Proponents of the movement swear that it’s fantastic for shoulder mobility and strengthening the muscles of the rotator cuff.

I haven’t really delved into the science to see if that’s true or not. However, I do note that it’s the same movement as the kettlebell halo, but if a kettlebell is partially effective because it’s unbalanced, then wouldn’t a mace or similar object?

Well, I don’t have a mace. I’ve never gotten around to getting one, though I’m interested in the training.

What I do have, though, is a sledgehammer.

I bought it to do tire slams a while back, but an oddly balanced weight is an oddly balanced weight, all things considered. While it’s not as round on top as the mace, I figured it would do the trick.

Once I finished, I felt great.

But that also got me into thinking a bit more about our training spaces. I was thinking about the wrestlers mentioned above and how their training space isn’t just about getting stronger, but also about connecting with one of their gods.

In the past, I’ve experimented with trying to find a way to do that which didn’t conflict with my Christian faith, and I’m positive it can be done. I just haven’t had a lot of success with that.

Then again, I’m not very successful as a Christian either, so…

Regardless, what if we all took a few moments and started thinking about how we can use our training time to connect with something else. I’m not talking about New Age enlightenment or anything like that. I mean, if that’s your bag, so be it, but it’s still not my focus.

What I’m talking about is the primal nature of man.

Honestly, moving heavy things is about as basic and primal as you can get without eating raw meat or killing animals with a spear. It’s a basic part of our being. We’ve long moved heavy weights for a variety of reasons. We built structures and monuments. We’ve transported large game. We battled enemies.

It’s part of who we are.

So why is it that so many of us, myself included, look at our training time as just that. Training time. It’s little else.

Oh, some get fancy and listen to audiobooks on their headphones, which is fine. As an author, I even applaud it to some degree. But even then, they’re making the most out of their time, but they’re not embracing the nature of that time.

When I talked yesterday about the barbarian nature of unconventional training, I think I touched on the feelings evoked and the barbarian aesthetic that I’ve seen take hold of some.

But what if we actually cultivated it?

What if we trained in the sun and rain and even cold (shudder) not because it’s just where we train, but because we wanted to use it to for a sort of spiritual awakening.

As people start Lent, they’re sacrificing things for their faith. I have a lot of respect for that.

Yet what if we offered up our time, our sweat, even our pain as a sacrifice to something else? What if we used it to forge ourselves into better, stronger Barbarians as well as to awaken that part of ourselves that understands what it is to be a Barbarian?

Is it even possible?

Damned if I know. I think, on some level, most people do some kind of awakening. People who train have certain mindsets that are almost universal in many ways, which hints that such a thing may be possible.

Maybe it’s time for me to explore not just the science, but the spiritual side of training. Who knows? It might be possible to take what we do for our bodies and become all that I’ve hoped we could all become.

Perhaps it’s possible that the sledgehammer didn’t just batter the tire or my shoulders as I rotated it around my head, but also battered that part of my mind that’s been shutting out the possibilities.

You know…or not.

Author: Tom

Tom is a husband, father, novelist, opinion writer, and former Navy Corpsman currently living in Georgia. He's also someone who has lost almost 60 pounds in a safe, sustainable way, so he knows what he's talking about.

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