History of Persion Meel?
Persian meel is a mace like wooden exercise tool used for building physical strength and stamina. The meel is use as a warriors training as both sport and physical enhancement in preparation for a battle.
The Persian has a place of gathering known as the “Zurkhaneh” ( the house of strength and/or power ). In the Zurkhaneh, the activity known as “Varzesh-e Bustahni” ( exercise/ sports from ancient/pre Islamic times ) took place. Wrestling ( Kushti ) was one of the key components of this practice along with a series of club swinging ( meels ) and other simple equipment and calisthenics. This is part of Iran’s (Persian) traditional strength and martial art training. The trainee of the Zurkhaneh is called “Pahlavans”.
During the Mongol invasion of Iran (1256 AD), many Iranian Pahlavans traveled to India (see Pahlavani Timeline, Islamic Era) and introduced some of the Pahlavani traditions and instruments to the Indian subcontinent. One such introduction among many was Meels.
Among many Pahlavans who traveled to India are Pahlavan Bozorg Pouriyay-e Vali (mid 1300 AD) and Pahlavan Shirdel Kohneh Savar (mid 1300 AD). Their journeys and the accounts of their wrestling matches are documented in Pahlavani books and have been passed from generation to generation in the form of oral history.
Centuries later, the British brought the clubs to Europe and named them “Indian Clubs.” The Clubs eventually were brought to the United States of America by European immigrants in the 1800s.
Meels come in different sizes and weights. Two factors that affect exercising with Meels are the height and the weight of a Meel. Usually the light meels weigh about 10-15 lbs. This type of Meel is good for improving one’s stamina and they are exercised in 100s of sets. It is reported that Pahlavan Bozorg Hassan Razaz used to exercise meel swinging with 1,000 sets of swings as part of his daily exercise.
On the other hand, heavy Meels are used for building the practitioner’s strength. Heavy meels range from 25 lbs. to 60 lbs. each, and the height can be as tall as 4.5 feet. Because Meels are very effective for developing one’s upper body strength as well as stamina, many of today’s wrestling champions in Iran practice with Meels and other Pahlavani instruments.
The following picture shows Phalavan Mustafa Toosi, the winner of the Pahlavani Armlet in 1944, 45 and 46, in his later years easily holding a pair of heavy meels. These meels are about 60 pounds each .