Kushti is best said to be a “wrestling contest”, but is very ancient and related to Hanumanji. I have placed this post in the sports section since it is related to fitness exercise, but one can almost consider putting it in the yoga section though it is not a recognized form of yoga.
We all know Hanuman carries the Gada. But I think He might have carried TWO gadas! Whatever the case, read a little bit more and then see the attached link to the video.
Today the modern Gada used often for the exercise is a meter long bamboo stick with a heavy rounded stone or other weight (often incorporated into the clubs) at the end of both gadas. Sometimes one gada is used, but the best and most fascinating exercise is the use of two gadas. 12 KB clugs can be used, Ten US pound meels (large and long gadas) are recommended. The devotees and military and health conscious persons who are fit and ready, they do 200 repetitions of club swinging!
We can see this is definitely a disciple of ancient martial arts, and is in preparation for such arts as part of warm up or practice with the weapon. It was also later incorporated into the regimes of the Pehlwani wrestlers. Of course, I am a big fan of martial arts, my own daughter will soon have her black-belt in Karate. That is because I like action and adventure.
In Varanasi, you may sometimes see the exercise in motion. Below, on a misty day in Varanasi, you will see it being performed (the quality of the picture is sort of foggy, but gives a good idea of what I am talking about). We can see, this is definitely related to Lord Hanuman, even if adopted later by yoga groups, fitness clubs and even by Iranians (Persians) for example.
Here is another example, again using only one gada – I like to see with TWO gadas, but … - this looks like a Westerner and the background looks like California, not sure:
Here is a really good one using TWO GADAS training video! It is followed by a bamboo stick swing which if different.
This really is fascinating, I recall seeing a real good example of this way back in the 1970’s, and there was a fantastic PBS (Public Television) serial way back, probably late 1960’s or early 1970’s, that had a black-and-white clip of a powerful man at Tulsi Ghat in Varanasi doing the exercise with two clubs, and this guy was for real. I mean for real. But I could not find that, sorry.
Akhada is a Hindi word which means a place to practice exercise. You will see this happening at Tulsi Ghat in Varanasi.
It is said the Pahlavani developed their martial art strength and conditioning using this exercise in preparation for invaders. You can see how powerful Hanuman was, and is.
I would recommend this exercise for any young man! You need to eat fruits for this exercise. The Indian monthly on wrestling “Bharatiya Kushti” recommend eating a lot of appels, “wood apples”, bananas, figs, pomegranantes, gooseberries, lemons, watermelons. This may have been a recommended diet of Hanuman, since he wanted to eat the sun as an orange even though orange is not on the list but probably should be.
Om Namah Sivaya