Zurkhaneh Tour 2014 part 1


Zurkhaneh Tour 2014 part 1 한국어 번역

Visit to Tehran

As part of my Indian Clubs World Tour 2014, I made a booking with the Iran Tour Center for a Zurkhaneh Tour which seemed like a perfect opportunity to learn more about the traditional training methods of Iran, and soak up some of the rich ancient history of this country.

This is the first video from Zurkhaneh Tour 2014 and has two parts:

Part 1 – Mr Ali Shahidi’s Mil Workshop

Part 2 – Pahlevan Pour Zurkhaneh

Part 1 – Mr Ali Shahidi’s Mil Workshop

The first part is a series of photographs taken inside Mr Ali Shahidi’s Mil Workshop. This workshop is hidden from the view in the basement of a private house, concealed by a very high outside wall. To access the basement you have to walk down a very steep stone staircase with no handrail, and upon entry your eyes slowly re-adjust to the dimly lit workshop. Your nose picks up the smell of freshly turned wood shavings that cover the floor.

As your eyes adjust to the light, you are confronted with piles of clubs, some with broken handles, and others intact. Plus enormous quantities of wood that has been left to dry out before being made into clubs. The walls are covered with the new and old photographs of proud Pahlevans, some black and white and some colour.

Tea is drunk everywhere, and of course there is the obligatory kettle in the corner ready to make the next brew.

Mr Ali Shahidi makes his clubs, by turning the body of the club first, and making a separate handle. The handles are then glued and jammed into the neck of the club. The handles are roughly shaped on the lathe first, and dry fitted to each club, from scrap wood. Then they are put back on  the lathe for final shaping and finishing.

Walking deeper into the workshop, you can see the green lathe, and the chisels lying ready for the next job, plus the all important tape measure.

In some of the next photographs you can see how cracks in wood are filled with wedge offcuts, which all firmly glued and hammered into place, once this is done, repaired sections will be put back on to the lathe to be finished.


Part 2 – Pahlevan Pour Zurkhaneh – Tehran


On entry to Pahlevan Pour Zurkhaneh you step through a very low door which forces you to bow your head as a sign of respect. You immediately remove your shoes and to get escorted to a small seating area, where you are served a small glass of black tea and lots of sugar cubes.

In the meantime the Pahlevans start getting ready for their training. Some of them with the Sang shields, and others with Mil clubs, the atmosphere is very friendly and relaxed.

The Morshed arrives and prepares his drum, he turns on a small electric fire, which warms the stretched skin of the drum and improves the sound. Sitting in front of a fire is no easy feat when the outside temperature is about 35°C.

As the drumming and singing starts, the Pahlevans step down into the Goud (pit) to begin their training. The song and drumming is mesmerising as the Morshed leads the training.

 Click here to read Korean translation

 My thanks to Jeong Heon Oh for translating.

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Meet the Author

Paul Taras Wolkowinski

INDIAN CLUBS and how to use them. Traveling, researching and studying old books and manuals, has played a major part in my re-discovery of the Art of Indian Clubs Swinging. I practice four disciplines, Indian Clubs, Persian Meels, Gada Mace and Indian Jori Clubs. I have discovered a fascination for this form of exercise that has grown with proficiency. This website is dedicated to help you discover how to use Indian Clubs for exercise and fitness.

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