Gada (mace)

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Statue of Bhima's gada at Thrippuliyoor Maha Vishnu Temple, Puliyoor, Chengannur, Kerala.
TypeClub / mace
Place of originIndian subcontinent

The gada (Sanskrit: गदा gadā, Tamil: gadai, Malay: gedak, Old Tagalog: batuta) is a club or blunt mace from the Indian subcontinent. 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. Known for his strength, Hanuman is traditionally worshipped by wrestlers in the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia. Vishnu also carries a gada named Kaumodaki in one of his four hands. In the Mahabharata epic, the fighters Bhima, Duryodhana, Jarasandha and others were said to be masters of the gada.


Sculpture of Hanuman carrying the Dronagiri (Sanjeevi) mountain, with a gada in his left hand.

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).

Exercise equipment[edit]

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. It is believed that, Lord Hanuman's gada was the largest amongst all the gadas in the world. 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.

Chi'ishi, a karate conditioning equipment and its exercise pattern was inspired by the gada and mugdar. The war clubs were also inspired by gada.[1]

See also[edit]