Also known as “Varzesh-e-pahlavani” is a Middle Eastern combat from known as Pahlevani. This “grappling” martial art form is said to have originated from Iran. Apparently, this form of combat was a system that was developed to train warriors in the country. Furthermore, this combat system essentially fuses elements belonging to several martial art styles, calisthenics, strength training, and music. In addition, the training system of the martial art form is officially considered to be “the world’s longest” by the UNESCO.
a. History/origin of the Pahlevani:
According to the cultural history of Iran, this form of traditional wrestling was first developed centuries ago in the Persia and Parthia region. Apparently, Pahlevani was practiced by a Persian mythological character Rustam belonging to an epic called Shahnameh. Furthermore, this “grappling” combat form was basically developed mainly to train men as warriors and also infuse a spirit of nationalism within them. In addition, Pahlevani which literally means “hero” when translated was derived from the Zourkhāneh system of training known as “vazresh-e-bastani”. The Zourkhāneh’s were usually secret places (used mainly during the time the Arabs had invaded Persia) where warriors used to train to keep their spirit of nationalism alive. Competitions for this style of wrestling is said to have been organized annually in the Shah’s court during “Nowruz” i.e. Iranian New Year. The ultimate victor of this competition would be personally awarded with an armlet known as “bazoo band” by the Shah himself.
b. Weapon used in the Pahlevani:
The “arms and feet” of the wrestler is mainly used as a weapon in this style of wrestling.
c. Technique involved in Pahlevani and training availability:
In terms of technique, the primary objective of the wrestler in the Pahlevani is to throw an opponent on the ground. Furthermore, the wrestler can use any form of leg technique to overcome the opponent. In addition, overcoming an opponent using moves such as Pish Kaseh, Pas Kaseh, Pish Qabz and Pas Qabz gives the wrestler two points. As for training centers/schools, there are a number of them i.e. Zourkhāneh’s available especially in Iran for those interested in learning this “grappling” form of combat.
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