axisofevil Zurkhaneh - Iranian wrestling - Axis of Evil World Tour
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'Zurkhaneh' - Iranian wrestling

'Zurkhaneh' - Iranian wrestling

Book Excerpt

... next we stumbled across an Iranian ‘wrestling’ performance in one of the buildings. A tout outside urged us to go inside, even saying “welcome” in English. Ducking down a cramped staircase we were first met by the pungent smell of wet shoes and old sweat, with the giant pile of shoes at the entrance explaining part of that. Quickly and self-consciously I slipped off my boots as half the crowd turned to watch Professor and I.

The next problem was stepping gingerly over everyone else’s shoes to find an empty spot on the floor. We carefully tiptoed our way through the dimly lit little arena until we came to a partially empty spot. There Professor pulled the age thing so handy in cultures where the young still respect the old and made a couple of teens scoot over so we could sit down.

Once seated I could finally turn my attention to the ring dug in the center of the floor. It was not what I expected. Instead of two people fighting, or pretending to fight, the ring was full of men, and a few boys, doing calisthenics. Maybe it was just starting and they’re getting warmed up … I thought … watched … thought some more, then realized that was about it. At a couple of points it became moderately interesting but at no time was it the ‘wrestling’ I expected. Instead the calisthenics and stretching gave way to an odd kind of spinning dance; where the guys would one at a time start spinning around the center of the ring like mad. The more skillful looked like giant tops they buzzed around so quickly. Of course most demonstrations lasted less than a minute before the crazed spinner flailed out of control and smacked into someone waiting their turn. That was his signal to stumble away and let someone else try. ...

Copyright 2006-2007 Scott Fisher and All Rights Reserved.