PERSIAN MIL CLUB – ZURKHANEH
Zurkhaneh means ‘HOUSE of POWER’
The Persian Mil Club is made from wood in the form of a mace, with a handle at one end and heavier at the other, varying in weight and height. Mil Clubs are made in pairs, the athlete holds the pair, one in each hand, with the heavier end resting on his shoulders during rest periods.
Swing the clubs up together from the floor and hold them in front of the chest not touching the body, keep your wrists just below waist level, at roughly 100 degrees. To start lift one hand up and over the shoulder, elbow should be pointing up, then bring the club back to the front and repeat on the other side.
When you are comfortable with this movement, push (cast) the club across your back and turn your body as the the club swings to the outside, then pull it back up to the front.
Traditionally Persian Mil Clubs are swung alternately around the shoulders keeping time with a drum beat. In swinging terms each arm performs a closed arm inward back circle, each club is pushed (cast) up over the shoulder, dropped and swung to the back, with a quarter body twist the club travels outward completing the circle with a sharp pull to the front of the body.
There are three casts, LOW cast, MIDDLE cast and HIGH cast.
Low cast is made by the hand holding the club kept close to the neck and passing to the back below the ear. Starting position is from the waist.
Middle cast is made by the hand holding the club kept close to the ear and passing to the back at ear level. This cast is quicker than the low cast because the club is lifted higher and has further to drop which means a quicker swing and recovery. This cast is very popular, both Meels are worked together. Note that the hands should come to the front in passing the face roughly at nose level before the Meel is brought to rest in the upright position.
High cast is made by the hand holding the club pushed over the top of the head raising the club even higher, the club has even further to drop and the swing is fast, this cast is a one handed version of a mace swing and is great preparation for advancing to gada or mace swinging, promoting great shoulder flexibility and incredible grip strength.
All three casts should performed with a turn of the shoulders and body as the Mil Club drops at the back, the turn harnesses the energy of the drop helping to pull the Meel up and back to the front position. It is quite natural to assume a body sway, like an upside down pendulum.
Footwork. As the Persian Mil Clubs are cast rhythmically transfer your body weight from one foot to the other creating a small sliding step that is done in time with the turn of the shoulders and body.
Persian Mil Turning as an exercise was originally intended to make men fit for carrying and using maces in warfare. The drill improves strength of the shoulder girdle, triceps, biceps, pectorals major & minor, trapezius and forearm flexor muscles.
Persian Mil Weights range from 3kgs. to 30kgs. each. A pair of Mil are referred to by their combined weight, so if one club weight 10kgs. The pair would be described as weighing 20kgs.
Video 1. This video is a demonstration of how the middle cast is done using 4.5kg Mils or 9kg in total.
Video 2. The beginning of this video demonstrates the LOW, MIDDLE & HIGH casts followed by Zurkhaneh style Mil turning.
Video 3. Mil Turning
Video 4. Ali Farzaneh turning huge clubs, complete control even though he has a bit of a hiccup half way through. Inspiring performance.
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