32) MHFA International Meeting 2015 at Fort St. Angelo, Malta

MHFA International Meeting 2015 took place at Fort St. Angelo in Malta from 11-13 December 2015.

I was really pressed for time so I could only book a flight on December 11 to Malta.  I had been to different events before and had been involved in many projects. But going to Malta meant a lot to me.  First I was going to meet my friends Maestro Andrei Xuereb and his team members.  Andrei is truly a professional swordsman and martial artist.  Techniques do not only make up a man and a warrior but his behavior at the same time.  Andrei represents both excellent techniques and martial spirit and at the same time he represents the spirit of chivalry what we call javanmardi in Persian and Japanese bushido. Another reason I was really looking forward to participating in that event was that the whole seminars would take place in Fort St. Angelo, the legendary fortification which played a pivotal role in fending off the Ottoman armada in the Freat Siege of Malta in 1565. Life bears different symbols and confronts us with them.  At times we perceive and understand these symbols which might change something in our lives and sometimes we just ignore them as we are too busy with our everyday lives.  To me the first symbol was when Ms. Maroma Camilleri, the Librarian of the National Library of Malta kindly asked Dr. Toichkin (History Professor of the University of Kiyv and Razmafzar Member) and me to write two articles for a peer-reviewed book "Besieged Malta 1565" which was going to be published in two volumes.  We had already submitted our articles and the first volume had been already published by the time I was flying to Malta.  With the kind help of Mr. Robert Cassar, the curator of the Palace Armoury of Malta, Andrei and his team took many Hospitallers' and Ottoman arms and armor of the museum, measured and photographed them for our articles.  The second symbol was when Andrei informed me that the whole event would take place in that legendary fort St. Angelo.  With the help of my dear friend and Razmafzar member Mr. Heiko Große, we were going to have my 70-man fight trial in the legendary fort Angelo.  I was also very happy to see all my friends from FISAS Italy and MHFA.

December 11, 2015

The opening salute and ceremony

The program consisted of the following seminars and each instructor was scheduled to teach the same seminar twice:

 

- Maestro Andrei Xuereb (Sword and shield): The use of sword and rotella based on an ongoing research of 16th century sources put in practice in free assaults;

- Maestro Viviano Crimella (rapier): Dominating the line of attack by taking advantage of body positions and footwork; 

- Mr. Andrew Feest (Longsword): Fighting multiple opponents based on Form, Awareness, Space and Time (F.A.S.T);

- Dr. Manouchehr Moshtagh Khorasani (Scimitar, buckler and dagger): Fighting combinations using Shamshir, Separ and Khnajar;

- Mr. Mark P. Donnelly (Bartitsu): Selected techniques of self defence from this mixed martial art of the late 19th century;

- Maestro Andrea Lupo Sinclair (Sword and dagger): Sword and dagger, knife and stick: Different brothers;

- Mr. Robert Brooks (Longsword): A look at some less known longsword techniques from Italian sources;

- Mr. George Livermore (Partisan): The handling and body mechanics of using this highly versatile and effective staff weapon.

Maestro Andrei Xuereb teaching sword and rotella

My first seminar was on Shamshir, khanjar and Separ that took place on December 11, 2015.  I took a plane around 11:00 and landed in Malta around 13:00.  Mr. Franco Davie from MHFA kindly picked me up at the airport and we directly drove to the Fort St. Angelo.  We arrived and one hour later we started with my seminar.  I had planned to teach three combinations from the third level of Razmafzar.

These combinations are as follows.  Combination 1 consisted of:
- bā pahnā-ye šamšir defā kardan (to defend with the flat of the sword)
- bā xanjar qolāb kardan (to hook with the dagger)
- šamšir bar pas-e gardan zadan (az rāst be čap zadan): to strike the neck (from right to left), 
- bā pahnāye tiq be pāin zadan (to strike with the flat of the shamshir downward)
- xanjar bar galu zadan (to strike the throat/neck with a dagger) 

The combination 2 consisted of: 
- bā pahnā-ye šamšir defā kardan (to defend with the flat of the sword) variation 2, 
- separ be jolo dādan (to strike with the shield in the front),
- šamšir bar pas-e gardan zadan (az rāst be čap zadan): to strike the neck (from right to left)
- khanjar bar halq foru kardan (to thrust the throat with the dagger)

The combination 3 consisted of the following techniques: 
- be samt rāst raftan (to evade to the right),
- bā separ zarbe zadan (to strike with the shield),
- šamšir foru kardan (az bālā be pāin): to stab with the sword from top to down

In between of each combination I had my students spar with each other to gain an understanding of the mechanics oof shamshir, khanjar and separ.  To see the first seminar click here.

Maestro Andrea Lupo Sinclair teaching Italian rapier and dagger.
In the evening we went out for dinner. From left to right: Manouchehr Moshtagh Khorasani, Andrea Lupo Sinclair, Heiko Große, Andrei Xuereb and Viviano Crimella.

December 12, 2015

One of the highlights of the event for me was to fight 70 rounds (each round 2 minutes) and 140 minutes in total and I would like to thank Maestro Andrei Xuereb who kindly provided a number of his fighters for the fight.  Mr. Heiko Große from my team also participated in the fights and explained the requirements for the fights.  Thank you Heiko for your support and coaching.  As usual we decided to have a short break for me to drink and have liquid energizers.

Round 1: Heiko Große (shamshir & separ) vs. Manouchehr Moshtagh Khorasani (shamshir & separ),

Round 2: Karl Agius (shamshir & separ) vs. Manouchehr Moshtagh Khorasani (shamshir & separ),

Round 3: Jasper Schellekens (longsword) vs. Manouchehr Moshtagh Khorasani (shamshir & separ),

Round 4: Brendan Cutajar (sidesword) vs. Manouchehr Moshtagh Khorasani (shamshir & separ),

Round 5: Andrei Xuereb (Sidesword and Rotella) vs. Manouchehr Moshtagh Khorasani (shamshir & separ)

Round 6: Franco Davies vs. Manouchehr Moshtagh Khorasani (shamshir & separ),

Round 7: Heiko Große (military saber) vs. Manouchehr Moshtagh Khorasani (shamshir & separ),

Round 8: Karl Agius (sidesword) vs. Manouchehr Moshtagh Khorasani (shamshir & separ),

Round 9: Jasper Schellekens (longsword) vs. Manouchehr Moshtagh Khorasani (shamshir & separ),

Round 10: Brendan Cutajar vs. Manouchehr Moshtagh Khorasani (shamshir & separ)

Round 11: Heiko Große (shamshir and big shield) vs. Manouchehr Moshtagh Khorasani (shamshir & separ),

Round 12: Andrei Xuereb (rapier and dagger) vs. Manouchehr Moshtagh Khorasani (shamshir & separ),

Round 13: Franco Davies (rapier & buckler) vs. Manouchehr Moshtagh Khorasani (shamshir & separ),

Round 14: Karl Agius (sidesword) vs. Manouchehr Moshtagh Khorasani (shamshir & separ),

Round 15: Jasper Schellekens (sidesword) vs. Manouchehr Moshtagh Khorasani (shamshir & separ),

Round 16: Brendan Cutajar vs. Manouchehr Moshtagh Khorasani (shamshir & separ),

Round 17: Heiko Große (double shamshir) vs. Manouchehr Moshtagh Khorasani (shamshir & separ),

Round 18: Andrei Xuereb (longsword) vs. Manouchehr Moshtagh Khorasani (shamshir & separ),

Round 19: Franco Davies (longsword) vs. Manouchehr Moshtagh Khorasani (shamshir & separ),

Round 20: Karl Agius (sidesword) vs. Manouchehr Moshtagh Khorasani (shamshir & separ),

Round 21: Heiko Große (separ & kard) vs. Manouchehr Moshtagh Khorasani (khanjar & separ),

Round 22: Jasper Schellekens  (longsword) vs. Manouchehr Moshtagh Khorasani (shamshir & separ),

Round 23: Brendan Cutajar (sidesword) vs. Manouchehr Moshtagh Khorasani (shamshir & separ),

Round 24: Andrei Xuereb (shamshir & separ) vs. Manouchehr Moshtagh Khorasani (shamshir & separ),

Round 25: Franco Davies (sidesword and buckler) vs. Manouchehr Moshtagh Khorasani (shamshir & separ),

Round 26: Heiko Große (military saber) vs. Manouchehr Moshtagh Khorasani (shamshir & separ),

Round 27: Karl Agius (shamshir & separ) vs. Manouchehr Moshtagh Khorasani (shamshir & separ),

Round 28: Jasper Schellekens (sidesword) vs. Manouchehr Moshtagh Khorasani (shamshir & separ),

Round 29: Brendan Cutajar (sidesword) vs. Manouchehr Moshtagh Khorasani (shamshir & separ),

Round 30: Andrei Xuereb (sword & rotella) vs. Manouchehr Moshtagh Khorasani (shamshir & separ),

Round 31: Heiko Große (khanjar & separ) vs. Manouchehr Moshtagh Khorasani (kard & separ),

Round 32: Franco Davies (rondel dagger) vs. Manouchehr Moshtagh Khorasani (khanjar & separ),

Round 33: Karl Agius (parrying dagger) Manouchehr Moshtagh Khorasani (khanjar & separ),

Round 34: Jasper Schellekens (qame) vs. Manouchehr Moshtagh Khorasani (khanjar & separ),

Round 35: Brendan Cutajar (parrying dagger) vs. Manouchehr Moshtagh Khorasani (khanjar & separ),

Round 36: Heiko Große (rondel dagger) vs. Manouchehr Moshtagh Khorasani (khanjar & separ), 

Round 37: Andrei Xuereb (rondel dagger) vs. Manouchehr Moshtagh Khorasani (khanjar & separ),

Round 38: Franco Davies (rondel dagger) vs. Manouchehr Moshtagh Khorasani (khanjar & separ),

Round 39: Karl Agius (parrying dagger) vs. Manouchehr Moshtagh Khorasani (khanjar & separ),

Round 40: Jasper Schellekens (qame) vs. Manouchehr Moshtagh Khorasani (khanjar & separ)

Round 41: Heiko Große (saber) vs. Manouchehr Moshtagh Khorasani (shamshir & separ),

Round 42: Brendan Cutajar (sidesword) vs. Manouchehr Moshtagh Khorasani (shamshir & separ),

Round 43: Andrei Xuereb (sidesword & dagger) vs. Manouchehr Moshtagh Khorasani (shamshir & separ), 

Round 44: Franco Davies (sidesword) vs. Manouchehr Moshtagh Khorasani (shamshir & separ),

Round 45: Heiko Große (shamshir & separ) vs. Manouchehr Moshtagh Khorasani (shamshir & separ),

Round 46: Karl Agius (sidesword) vs. Manouchehr Moshtagh Khorasani (shamshir & separ),

Round 47: Jasper Schellekens (rapier) vs. Manouchehr Moshtagh Khorasani (shamshir & separ),

Round 48: Brendan Cutajar (sidesword) vs. Manouchehr Moshtagh Khorasani (shamshir & separ),

Round 49: Andrei Xuereb (sidesword & rotella) vs. Manouchehr Moshtagh Khorasani (shamshir & separ),

Round 50: Franco Davies (sidesword & buckler) vs. Manouchehr Moshtagh Khorasani (shamshir & separ), 

Round 51: Heiko Große vs. Manouchehr Moshtagh Khorasani (shamshir & separ),

Round 52: Karl Agius (shamshir & separ)  vs. Manouchehr Moshtagh Khorasani (shamshir & separ),

Round 53: Jasper Schellekens (sidesword) vs. Manouchehr Moshtagh Khorasani (shamshir & separ),

Round 54: Brendan Cutajar (sidesword) vs. Manouchehr Moshtagh Khorasani (shamshir & separ),

Round 55: Andrei Xuereb (rapier & dagger) vs. Manouchehr Moshtagh Khorasani (shamshir & separ),

Round 56: Heiko Große (military saber) vs. Manouchehr Moshtagh Khorasani (shamshir & separ).

Round 57: Franco Davies (rapier) vs. Manouchehr Moshtagh Khorasani (shamshir & separ),

Round 58: Karl Agius (sidesword) Manouchehr Moshtagh Khorasani (shamshir & separ),

Round 59: Jasper Schellekens (sidesword) vs. Manouchehr Moshtagh Khorasani (shamshir & separ),

Round 60: Brendan Cutajar (sidesword) vs. Manouchehr Moshtagh Khorasani (shamshir & separ),

Round 61: Heiko Große (military saber) vs. Manouchehr Moshtagh Khorasani (shamshir & separ),

Round 62: Andrei (shamshir & separ) vs. Manouchehr Moshtagh Khorasani (shamshir & separ),

Round 63: Franco Davies (sidesword & buckler) vs. Manouchehr Moshtagh Khorasani (shamshir & separ),

Round 64: Karl Agius (sidesword)vs. Manouchehr Moshtagh Khorasani (shamshir & separ),

Round 65: Jasper Schellekens (sidesword) vs. Manouchehr Moshtagh Khorasani (shamshir & separ),

Round 66: Brendan Cutajar (sidesword) vs. Manouchehr Moshtagh Khorasani (shamshir & separ),

Round 67: Andrei Xuereb (rapier & dagger) vs. Manouchehr Moshtagh Khorasani (shamshir & separ),

Round 68: Franco Davies (rapier) vs. Manouchehr Moshtagh Khorasani (shamshir & separ),

Round 69: Heiko Große (military saber) vs.Manouchehr Moshtagh Khorasani (shamshir & separ), 

Round 70: Karl Agius (sidesword) vs. Manouchehr Moshtagh Khorasani (shamshir & separ).

 

To see the whole fights see the link

This was really one of the hardest tests I have ever been to in my martial arts career.  But I could successfully fight 70 rounds.

- Humidity and hot weather: I already started to have have stamina problems during round 20.  I was really shocked as next to Razmafzar I had been training intensively in MMA Spirit (Muaythai, Wrestling, BJJ no GI and MMA) and also long distance swimming of 100 freeytle laps once a week.  The high level of humidity and also hot weather really put a big pressure on me.

- Second wind:  I kept telling Heiko and other fighters in short breaks after each 10 rounds that I would catch the second wind and actually around round 40 I did.  It took me 20 rounds of pain and suffering to catch the second wind.  I was feeling cold inside and sweating outside.  But starting from the round 40 I started to feel fine.

- Muscle cramp: In round 49 during my fight vs Maestro Andrei Xuereb (armed with sidesword and rotella), I had a terrible cramp in my right calf.  I kept fighting as I did not want to break up the experiment and knew that at the end of the round 50 I would have some time to drink a bit and my team would loosen the muscle.  But it meant that I had to fight the rounds 49 and 50 with a cramped muscle and with a terrible pain.

- Thrust to the throat: In round 59 during my fight vs Mr. Jasper Schellekens (armed with a sidesword), I received a thrust on throat but fortunately it landed on my protection.  Due to my fatigue, my reaction time for defense and foot movements were off.  But I could shake it off and continue the fight.

 

At the end I was really happy to successfully finish the test.  I would like to thank all fighters who shared the long distance of 140 minutes of continuous fighting with me rotating and accompanying me through the pain, endurance, fighting with dehydration, muscle cramps, desperation and loneliness. I would like to thank my brothers Maestro Andrei Xuereb, Mr. Karl Agius, Mr. Franco Davies, Mr. Brendan Cutajar, Mr. Jasper Schellekens and Mr. Heiko Große. It was like a rebirth for me.  I still remember the words of Heiko after round 60, "Manouchehr imagine you are in Lut Desert very hot just ten more rounds and you will be in an oasis".  And I truly reached the oasis.  Thank you Heiko for your kind and motivating words. 

Maestro Viviano Crimella.

In the afternoon, I taught Persian wrestling to a group of Maltese fighters.  I decided to teach them five techniques of Persian war wrestling.  First we rolled on the ground fighting to gain best positions in wrestling.  I was assisted by Heiko Grosse. Then we practiced the following techniques.
1) Yanbāši (leader of the side: variation 
2) Yanbāši (leader of the side: variation 
3) tariq (belt throw)
4) lengāleng (hopping: variation 1) 
5) lengāleng (hopping: variation 2)

To see the whole wrestling seminar see the link

Overhook in Persian wrestling

Mr. Andrew Feest is cutting a cake with a longsword during Gala Dinner.

December 13, 2015

On December 13, 2015, I taught another seminar on Shamshir, Khanjar and Separ to another group of participants.  The seminar went very well and I explained three combinations as well

To see the whole seminar see the link.

 

To see a video of the whole event click here

Mr. Robert Brooks teaching longsword

At the end, MHFA was an excellent event, with state-of-the-art seminars and excelelnt instructors.  Many friendly people and professional people took part in the seminar to make such a wonderful event to happen.  There were lots of programs as well like taking a ferry to the Fort St. Angelo, Gala Dinner and many other smaller events.  I would like to thank Mr. Andrei Xuereb and his team for organizing such a wonderful event.  My special thanks to Mr. Anthony Xuereb for taking such wonderful pictures.

 

Dr. Manouchehr Moshtagh Khorasani