Zurkhane is an Iranian traditional sport which philosophy consists in mental and physical improvement.
The athletes not only build their body muscles, but also improve their morality and behaviour by performing ancestral movements.
The gentlemen gather in a small arena that is built slightly below street level to provide constant temperature. In the middle of the arena there is a round or octogonal sunken area named “Gowd”. The exercise starts with a warm up following the rythm of the Morshed, the master of ceremony who plays tombak and manage the training, singing traditional songs (mostly from Shanameh of Ferdowsi that is the epic of Iranian heroes and athletics). Then they start to play with some special instruments like wooden maces, shields, bows, which have been inspired from the antique weapons.
Some movements remind us the whirling Sufi dance.
The tradition dictates that the older athletes and If one is descendant of the Prophet of Islam (Seyed), have to be more respected, whatever their skills, experience or body condition. the ovation would turn to a salavat, the formula of praise and salutation to prophet Mohammad and his family.
It is said that the origin of this art goes back to the time that Iran was under Mongol domination, the persian warriors secretly trained to organize the insurrection against the invaders.
The entrance of the ceremonies are absolutely free for the spectators, but they can give money, collected in a vase for charities.