|Type||Mace / Club|
|Place of origin||India|
The gada (Sanskrit: गदा gadā, Malay: gedak) is a blunt mace or club from South Asia. Made either of wood or metal, it consists essentially of a spherical head mounted on a shaft, with a spike on the top. Outside India, the gada was also adopted in Southeast Asia, where it is still used in silat.
The gada is the main weapon of the Hindu god Hanuman, an avatara of Shiva. As the god of strength, Hanuman is traditionally worshipped by wrestlers in South and Southeast Asia. Vishnu, one of the deities making up the Hindu trimurti, also carries a gada in one of his four hands. In the Mahabharata epic, the fighters Bhima, Duryodhana, Jarasandha, Balarama and others were said to be masters of the gada.
The martial art of wielding the gada is known as gada-yuddha. It can either be wielded singly or in pairs, and can be handled in twenty different ways. Various gada-yuddha techniques are mentioned in the Agni Purana and Mahabharata such as aahat (आहत), gomutra (गोमूत्र), prabrita (प्रभृत), kamalasan (कमलासन), udarvagatra (ऊर्ध्वगत्र), namita (नमित), vamadakshina (वामदक्षिण), aavrita (आवृत्त), paraavrita (परावृत्त), padodrita (पदोद्धृत), avaplata (अवप्लत), hansmarga (हंसमार्ग) and vibhag (विभाग).
By means of gunpowder it could also be used as a projectile weapon of war. Its principal use was to strike the enemy either from a raised place or from both sides and strike terror into the enemy, especially of the gomutra array.
The gada is one of the traditional pieces of training equipment in Hindu physical culture, and is common in the akhara of north India. Maces of various weights and heights are used depending on the strength and skill level of the practitioner. For training purposes, one or two wooden gada (mudgar) are swung behind the back in several different ways and is particularly useful for building grip strength and shoulder endurance. The Great Gama was known for excessive use of gada. Winners in a kushti contest are often awarded with a gada.