Sufi zurkhane exercise

ASIA GRACE by Kevin Kelly

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Sufi zurkhane exercise

Tehran, Iran

The followers wear special paisely pants, thick leather belts and wield large clubs. They roll back and forth, swing the clubs in unison, and perform calisthenics. There is apparently a sufi mystical connection, sort of the Islamic equivalent of Tai Chi, or East Asia martial arts, but I never found out what it was.

A reader named Daniel O’Donnell writes:

These men are performing zurkhane exercises, rigorous martial arts exercises meant for physical, moral, and spiritual fitness. They are usually performed accompanied by recited verses by Sufi poets, in Persian, with a drum called a zerbaghali keeping rhythm.

A reader named Misagh Tabrizi writes:

These are Men of the Ancient Sports (called Bastani in Fardi). These activities combine music, exercises, and sufi verses to help the men become a Pahlavan( Athlete) not a Ghahraman(Hero)…

A reader named Ianollah Rampergass writes:

An amazing sport, Bastani, concerns both physical and spiritual aspects of doing exercises. This is only seen in persian heritage.

A reader named Masoud Kholghy writes:

I used to practice these exercises in a Mashhad, Iran zurkhane. The pit or “gode” was a lot bigger and everone wore at least an undershirt. Anyways, these exercises were specifically designed for ancient and medieval combat.

The weapons:
Meel: A pair of wooden Clubs that evolved from ancient mace.
Kabadeh: The Bow.
Sang: The Shield.
Takhteh Shena: The Bar.

There is also a spinning act that was used to fight many enemies at once.

A reader named Mohammad Abdullah Ansari writes:

Known as Silat Haqq Kuntao, or the System of Health, Self-Defense and Physical, mental and emotional Harmony

If we Muslims are people of peace, why do we practice the martial arts? What good does it do to dedicate time and energy doing exercises with martial movements, exercises that appear to be a mixture of fighting and dance? We�ll answer these questions by way of asking another. Why is it that by learning and practicing a series of physical movements a person can make great improvements in ones emotional state, physical condition and even sharpen mental abilities?

We�re talking about the martial arts as it was taught thousands of years ago and practiced by wise men not necessarily in preparation for an exterior war but rather to win an interior war � to harmonize with the Truth (Haqq), to unite with the Reality. The result was a healthy and balanced life.

Don�t confuse this form of martial arts with that which is generally taught and practiced today. Very few know of the existence of the real martial art and even fewer know how to teach it. We see vestiges of the techniques of this art in many forms of healing arts today such as acupuncture, shamanism, various forms of massage therapy and healing with energy transmitted through the hands and even in the newest advances in established medicine.

Scientists today now admit that a great part of the reality of our world is invisible. We are surrounded by waves and forces that we can�t see but never-the-less affect us � our lives rely on them. There are invisible patterns or templates put in place by Allah that direct the forces and conditions of everything that exists. When things are in harmony with these invisible templates things run smoothly but the more things divert from the templates of divine nature, the more difficult, conflictive or sick is the world, the society or the individual. The physical movements in the martial arts, in their original form, correspond to the invisible templates that form the universe leading the participant to a state in harmony with the universe and the divine laws, as well as emotional and mental stability and a state of health and liveliness or attitude superior to the norm.

Your Story

You may know more about this scene than I do, or you may have an amazing story revolving around a similar thing you saw. I’d love to hear it. Submit your story below, and if it’s appropriate I’ll post it here for all to read. For the benefit of a larger audience, please use English, even if it is not the best English.


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