Learning from Global Training Traditions with Peter Hodkinson of Body Mind Fitness

The Good Gym Guide Podcast • Series 1, Episode 1

This first episode of The Good Gym Guide is with Peter Hodkinson of Body Mind Fitness. Peter produces beautiful wooden training equipment, as used in movement traditions from all across the world - clubs from India, meels, maces and sang shields from Persia, tai-chi balls from China... He has travelled widely to experience some of these methods in their place of origin, and he talks about how this has affected his approach to his own training, and to the classes and workshops he leads at home in Bradford-on-Avon.

We spent a lot of time talking about the mental side of training too, drawing on his experience studying and teaching qigong in China and with a sul ki do master in London.

Our conversation made me think a lot of things - about the ritual aspects of entering and preparing training spaces, about how many conventional gym spaces really separate mind and body - and this is something that has popped up in lots of other interviews too - and also about lineage and heritage and indigenous movement traditions… Like, what would the English or British equivalents be? Bring back cudgel play, I reckon. Backswording, not Body Pump… Catch as catch can wrestling… The Haxey Hood.... There are lots of options, ripe for rediscovery! It also made me think about training for longevity, cultural attitudes towards age, and about how important our relationships with our coaches and mentors can be, but how we tend to have to pay a premium for that over here.

Peter’s work

Episode links


  • Pretty much all the ambient sound came from Peter’s own recordings

  • The photographs are from Peter too

  • Most other photographs on this website were taken by Paul Samuel White

  • Production support by Yas Clarke

  • Graphic design by Steph Weise