Which hand should be on top? An important question that is one of the first questions that I get when I first teach someone to swing. The reason why it’s so important is because there are always two ways you can swing a mace, so it makes sense to switch hands and not only emphasise the dominant hand. Let’s say I’m teaching someone a 360 (a swing behind the body), which hand should be on top when I’d say swing over your left shoulder?
The simple answer is: it doesn’t matter which hand is on top. But of course, there is a more in depth answer to the question. There are coaches out there that teach to swing towards your upper hand and there are coach who teach the opposite. Now why would someone coach something so seemingly unimportant with such a consistency? For example with a 300 (10 to 2) you keep the same hand on top while swinging over both sides. This does indicate that you can swing towards both shoulders with the same hand on top. So why prioritize at all?
Because of symmetry and skill in bodily coordination. If your right hand is dominant, you tend to overwork your right side and keep the right hand up top. This seems to be because usually the shoulder on the dominant side is tighter and more restricted, and therefore wants to be on top because that requires less mobility behind the back. So what is usually created is a system that keeps the hand position consistent in order to ensure that you train both sides equally. Makes a lot of sense right? But then, what hand should be on top in a consistent fashion?
Here the discussion is held the most. Some say that you should swing towards your lower hand because there is more room in the wrist. This would only be true if you didn’t aim your hands in the opposite direction of where you point the mace (sword block). If you do block with your hand to the other side, and keep your wrists straight, you’ll find that there is more room when you swing towards your upper hand. Because the lower hand is then closer to it’s side, and the upper hand arm has a better angle. The image below illustrates this point.
As you may have noticed in this image, the distance the hands need to travel is shorter when you swing towards your upper hand. Swinging towards your upper hand will also help to keep your wrists straight. Because of this reason I choose to teach to swing towards the upper hand. I have taught a lot of people to swing towards their lower hand too, so it is not to say that there is only one way. You can say something for both, but the main thing is to alternate to ensure you train both sides