- Hashem Akbarian
Pahlavan Mirza Hashem Akbarian میرزا هاشم اکبریان His Early Life:He was born in 1897 (Persian year of 1275),in Chaharsoogh Aligholi Agha Place in Esfahan(Isfahan), once the capital city of Persia. The oldest son of Mirza Akbar, he lost his father at the age of seven and was forced to work as a novice carpenter to support his mother, his sister and his three brothers. When he started to work out at the age of around 20 in the Chaharsoogh Aligholi Agha Zurkhaneh زورخانه چهارسوق علیقلی آقا, he was a young skilled carpenter owning his own shop. Zurkhaneh literally means "The house of power" or "The house of Strength" in Persian language; equivalent to a Gym or a Club in the US. Over a period of ten years, he climbed the ranks by mastering the Zurkhaneh exercises including the traditional wrestling techniques. He was conferred upon with the rank of Pahlavan (The Champion) after defeating all wrestlers in his neighborhood Zurkhaneh and the challenging wrestlers from other Zurkhaneh. The wrestling matches were arranged by appointments or just by showing up unannounced in the sessions of the traditional Zurkhaneh work outs on Friday mornings. With each contender falling to the ground, Mirza Hashem became more and more widely renowned, prompting more challengers to try to get better of him.
Establishing Chahar Fasl Zurkhaneh (Four Seasons Club): زورخانه چهار فصل The seemingly unending marathon of crude wrestling matches and also requests from other Pahlavans who wanted a classier and bigger club, he was convinced to establish his own Zurkhaneh in 1939 (Persian 1317). He named it Chahar Fasl Zurkhaneh or Four Seasons Club, located on the globally famous Chaharbagh Boulevard چهار باغ in Esfahan. His Zurkhaneh was aimed at training young athletes inspired to reach the rank of Pahlavan in a more disciplined environment. Chahar Fasl Zurkhaneh immediately became the place for the government authorities and social elite curious to watch the beautiful, artful and breath taking musical work out show with the concluding wrestling matches. Pahlavans and athletes from various places and cities would come to display their artful aptitudes*.
His Contemporary Friends:Among many renowned Pahlavans who would visit his Zurkhaneh when in Esfahan, Pahlavan Haj Hesam Alsoltan Khoshnevisan حاج حسام السلطان خوشنویسان would visit him often traveling from Khorasan ( He left his home city of Tehran to live permanently in Khorasan province). Pahlavan Haj Razaz حاج رزاز also would visit him every time he would travel to Esfahan.
His Personality, Career and Social life:Pahlavan Mirza Hashem was very ethical and cultured with a charismatic personality who attracted people from all walks of life. He became most respected in his social and athletic community doing social works besides managing his popular furniture factory also located on Chaharbagh Boulevard.
His Last Days:At the age of 60, he felt chest pains and his heart size was found to be twice the size it should have been, a sign attributed to excessive work out. He retired himself to his home and closed the Chahar Fasl Zurkhaneh two years later in the 1959 (Persian 1337). His chest pains later was found to have been caused not by excessive exercise but due to an old digestion problem he had from his youth. He passed away of brain stroke at the age of 74 in 1971 (Persian 1349). He left behind seven daughters and two sons named Reza Akbarian and Mohammad Akbarian.
References: 1-The History of Wrestling In Iran Volume 4. Author: Mehdi Abasi. Publisher: Nashre Sepas, 1999. PO Box: 13445/475 , Tehran, Iran. 2-Images and complementary information are provided by: Pahlavan's sons and Zurkhaneh elders in the ancient city of Isfahan, Persia.
*Note: Zoorkhaneh or Zurkhaneh زورخانه work out consists of artful movements including colorful warm up moves, stretches, push ups, beautiful body movements, Club swinging and juggling, Dancers like foot works and of course, wrestling. Each person develops his own unique style after a while. The tools and gears used signify war weapons such as Swords, Shields, Bows and Clubs; combined with meaningful spiritual lyrics sang with music. All activities are subject to strict codes of behavior and etiquette. The work out ends with honoring the elders, prayer and pleads for getting help for the troubled and the poor and also collecting contributions. One session of exercises and its formalities used to last for 3 to 4 hours on Friday mornings and 1 to 2 hours on weekday mornings or evenings. At this modern times, weekday early morning work outs are completely scratched and Friday exercises start around 10:30 A.M..
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