House Gymnasium, Kensington Gore, S. W.
Many people assert that physical drill should consist of "free" exercises only (hands empty); but hand apparatus, such as wands, light dumb-bells, rings, canes, etc., can be used with great advantage.
It is obvious that they impart much greater variety to the drills, and this is a very important point, for monotony leads to loss of interest on the part of the pupil, and consequently to apathetic and therefore useless work. Moreover, each kind of apparatus has its specific use; for instance, wands have a special effect in correcting round shoulders and narrow chests.
General Directions. Wands are made, as a rule, of polished wood, and may be from 3 ft. to 4 ft. long and about five-eights to three-quarters of an inch in diameter.
In marching they should be carried in the left hand (arm straight down), and in a vertical position against the left shoulder; the hand either round the lower end of the wand, or, if the wand is long, in such a position that the top of the wand is level with the top of the pupil's head.
Before starting exercises the wand is lowered in two movements: (1) Bring the right hand over to the left shoulder and grasp the wand (back of hand towards the shoulder); (2) lower the right hand. The wand is then in a horizontal position, resting lightly against the thighs; the distance between the hands should be rather greater (about nine to twelve inches) than the width of the shoulders. The fingers should be closed round the wand; the head should be erect, chest forward, knees braced back, heels closed, toes slightly turned out (angle of 450).
The following exercises are arranged in groups, each group representing a complete drill - i.e., all parts of the body are brought into play, the most important muscles are exercised, and bad postures corrected.
The first group is Elementary, for children from 6 to 9 years, and the second group Advanced.
The difficulty may be increased in several ways - by making the positions harder, by combining movements of trunk and limbs, and by putting a greater number of movements into one exercise. Each exercise should be done four times.