Interested in a unique kind of calisthenic exercise therapy?

ASI Healing offers Didya Mudgara Warrior Club Calisthenics, which is a unique hybrid movement art based on Virgil Mayor Apostol’s background in the ancient traditions of northern Philippine weapon and healing arts along with wooden club calisthenics from India. Participants learn a beautiful, yet challenging blend of precise sequential movements, transitions, and flow. Clubs of all shapes and sizes were swung by the warriors of old. In the northern Philippines, flat hardwood clubs, called balila, were used for protection and self defense. Other types were also used by the warriors of India and Persia.

A wooden club is known as meel in Iran, and were used by the warriors of old who practiced the art of Varzesh-e Pahlavani (Persian martial arts). In modern times, Iranian wrestlers and health enthusiasts gather in the zoorkhaneh or “house of strength” where they swing the meels, in addition to the use of other tools for conditioning the body. It is historically said that the Persians introduced the art of swinging meels to India [1] where the different sizes and weights are generally known as jori or mudgal that were swung by the pehelwan or “Indian wrestlers.” 

During the British occupation of India, the art of club swinging was transplanted to Europe, eventually reaching American soil in the late 1800s. Its practice faced a decline during the Depression era, but is now making a comeback, due to its known health benefits and perhaps because of its unique appeal.

Apostol’s background in the Philippine martial art of Cabaroan Escrima and the healing art of Ablon Chirothesia serve as building blocks to the innovative delelopment and systematic wooden club movements that he teaches. In Cabaroan Escrima, the prominent weapons are buneng (bolos), bislak (sticks), and balila (flat clubs). The weapons that are used are oftentimes longer and heftier than those used in other Escrima styles. As a result, much emphasis is placed on effective body mechanics in order to effectively manipulate the weapons with sufficient speed and power. 

This combined knowledge of the martial and healing arts greatly influences how he presents wooden club swinging. All the movements are initially scrutinized for their adaptation to safe and effective swinging that are adaptable by the agile, elderly, fitness enthusiasts, and those undergoing physical rehabilitation. Strict emphasis is placed on the principals of proper body positioning, mechanics, and spinal alignment, all in conjunction with coordinated breathing.

Benefits of Didya Mudgara

This style of wooden club calisthenics, which is only available through ASI Healing, is ideal for anyone who wishes to improve their health. Everyone, ranging from seniors, athletes, and employees in the workforce, to those recovering from chronic upper-body injuries can receive the following benefits:

  • Develop physical and internal strength of the inner and outer core muscles, tendons, and ligaments

  • Increase joint range of motion

  • Improve concentration and graceful coordination

  • Increase cognitive functioning

  • Balance the left and right hemispheres of the brain

  • Enhance psychomotor performance

  • Align the posture

  • Improve overall balance and well being

The adaptation from swinging sticks to clubs is natural for a martial arts practitioner, especially for those with a martial art weapons background. This is because the body’s musculature is already accustomed to not only swinging a heavy weight, but also effective mechanics in doing so is already developed. This does not mean that other stylists who swing lighter sticks cannot learn to swing the clubs. By doing so, their bodies will adapt to movements that they are not usually accustomed to, thus developing more power while broadening their range of movements. In fact, because these club swinging exercises are based on gyrating movements, they are extremely beneficial for people from all walks of life, not only due to the intricacies involved in controlling the clubs, but also for the health benefits and injury prevention that allows them to perform up to par. 

Wish to develop the strength and coordination of a warrior?

Would you like to become more limber and move with precision and grace?



[1] Cited on 10-09-12 from “Traditional Iranian Martial Arts (Varzesh-e Pahlavani)