Gholamreza Takhti

Posted on Friday, November 10th, 2017 by John Wood
Gholamreza Takhti was the greatest wrestler in Iranian history. He won the gold medal at the 1956 Olympic Games in Melbourne, Australia. He also won Silver medals at the 1952 Olympic Games in Helsinki and the 1960 Games in Rome. To build his strength and upper body endurance, he trained in the traditional methods, as is pictured here, finishing up a workout with the light Meels.
All Contents, Including Images and Text, Copyright © 2005-2019 by John Wood and Thunderdome Media Inc., Not to be reproduced without permission, All Rights Reserved
Author: John Wood. All contents, including images and text, copyright © 2005-2019 by John Wood and Thunderdome Media Inc. Not to be reproduced without permission. All rights reserved. We will most likely grant permission but please contact us if you would like to repost. IMPORTANT: Equipment and books, courses etc. pictured in blog posts are generally not available for sale unless specifically noted.

Kettlebells in Iran, circa 1897

Posted on Tuesday, August 25th, 2015 by John Wood
Kettlebells are thought by many people to be uniquely Russian. While there is no question that they have very strong roots there, kettlebells have a long tradition in other areas of the world as well. This rare picture was taken in Iran, circa 1897, showing these practitioners of ‘Varzesh-e Pahlavani’ (Iranian Martial Arts) who obviously use them as a part of their training. The text offers no explanation as to why they are fastened together by ropes.

Also of note are the Kaebade (i.e. Iron Bows) at their feet. That unique training tool is swung from one shoulder to the other, building upper-body strength.

All Contents, Including Images and Text, Copyright © 2005-2019 by John Wood and Thunderdome Media Inc., Not to be reproduced without permission, All Rights Reserved
Author: John Wood. All contents, including images and text, copyright © 2005-2019 by John Wood and Thunderdome Media Inc. Not to be reproduced without permission. All rights reserved. We will most likely grant permission but please contact us if you would like to repost. IMPORTANT: Equipment and books, courses etc. pictured in blog posts are generally not available for sale unless specifically noted.

The Iron Sheik’s Persian Club Challenge

Posted on Saturday, February 22nd, 2014 by John Wood

he Iron Sheik's Persian Club Challenge

Many oldschool Pro-Wrestlers had their own strength challenge to confound their opponents and sometimes members of the crowd.
The Iron Sheik had “The Persian Club” challenge where he offered $2000 to all comers if they swung a pair of “75 pound” traditional meels for as many reps as he could.

To my knowledge The Sheik was never beaten, and what’s more, Sheik used the Persian Club Challenge to injure then-champion Bob Backlund before their title match back in ’83 (it wasn’t the first time he used the clubs to get the upper hand against his opponents either, see below.)

He’s a crafty one, that Sheik.

Also of note is the Takhteh Shena (traditional Zurkhaneh pushup board) at his feet. Before his pro-wrestling gig, the Sheik was a bonafide stud on the amateur mat and competed for the Iranian Greco-Roman team in the 1968 Olympics.

Mustafa Toosi

Posted on Thursday, February 13th, 2014 by John Wood

Mustafa Toosi, the great Iranian wrestling champion, won the modern Pahlevani competition, in 1944-45, 1945-46 and 1946-47. Here Toosi holds a pair of traditional heavy clubs known as Meels. Each of these Meels are about 4 feet long and weigh around 60 pounds (27 kg). It’s an impressive feat just to be able to hold them in this position, let alone swing them.