On 20 September I arrived in Moscow and met Mr. Aleksey Kurochkin personally for the first time. We had been in regular contact for months before to organize and discuss the details for the seminar "Persian and Indian Fighting". He kindly picked me up at the Domodedovo International Airport. Aleksey is a true gentleman and very friendly. This journey meant a lot to me as that was the first time I was travelling to Russia. A country I had always wanted to see. Additionally, it was very important to me as any martial artist knew that Russians were famed as excellent fighters.
After going to the hotel, we headed for the city and went to see the Armoury Museum of Kremlin, which was kindly suggested by Aleksey. Kremlin is a beautiful place and I was really mesmerized by the beauty of the collection. Specially for the lovers of Timurid and Safavid Persian arms and armor, it is a joy to see double-edged Persian blades from Timurid period, early highly-curved Safavid shamshirs, early Persian shamshirs with beak handle (Karabela hilt) and two magnificent Safavid war masks. All these items have provenance as they were brought and given to Russian Tsars from Persian kings.
Aleksey is an experienced martial arts instructor who has practiced different arts and for many years He has been teaching a Rajastani style of swordsmanship, stickfighting and empty-handed fighting for years. His co-trainer is Ms. Maria Morozova who is also an experienced martial arts instructor. Aleksey learned this system in South East Rajistan from a 70-year-old Indian master. He learned these techniques from his father and the system has been taught from one generation to the next for the last three centuries. These techniques were practiced in one of the military communities named akhara.
This system includes basic individual training sets and partner exercises comprising the following weapons: a) short spear techniques, b) stick techniques, c) sword/saber techniques, d) two swords/sabers techniques, d) sword/saber and shield techniques and e) techniques with short bladed weapons. Aleksey organized this seminar in a very professional manner. Months before he set up a website www.indianfight.com to inform the public about our mutual program. I was planned to teach Persian swordsmanship and war wrestling as part of the Razmafzar curriculum and Aleksey was scheduled to teach stick, spear and swordfighting in Rajastani style.
On 21 September, Aleksey and Maria picked me up at 8:30 at the hotel reception. Maria is truly nice, welcoming and friendly. It was really a true pleasure to meet Aleksey and Maria and I knew right away that our cooperation would be a longstanding one. We drove to the Paladin Center Gym in Moscow and started with the seminar on Saturday 21 September at 10:00 o'clock. Aleksey hired two experienced and professional cameramen to videotape the whole event. The audience consisted mainly of instructors of other systems who were experienced martial artists and fighters themselves.
We had an instructor in a Japanese Koryu system, a trainier in fullcontact Sanda, a judoka, a Gatka trainer and a Jujutsuka. Aleksey introduced the system of Rajastan and I gave an introduction on Persian swordsmanship. At 10:45 Aleksey started with basic principles of fighting system of Rajastan introducing basic movements and stick techniques. I really loved the fluid movements of the system which certainly taught a warrior how to move on a battlefield. A continuous training of these movements will certainly enable a warrior to acquire not only dexterity but also a set of efficient techniques which can be easily transferred to all other techniques at other levels.
At 11:15, I started to teach two basic combinations of Persian swordsmanship we train in Razmafzar. The basic attacking the top of the enemy's head with a sword strike, the follow-up horizontal strike to the neck (two variations left to right and right to left) with overstepping and then a reteat with a simultaneous shamshir strike to the head. At 11:45, we had a short break of 15 minutes and discussed with the participants and answered their questions. All were really interested in both systems and we truly appreciated that.
At 12:00 o'clock, Alexsey demonstrated the system of stickfighting in Rajastani style. It was fascinating to see how Aleksey could move his stick to all sides executing powerful blows. His explanations made it clear that one needed to place his body accordingly and gain power from twisting movements to be able to handle a long heavy stick and deliver powerful blows. At 12:30, I started to teach the third and fourth combinations in Persian swordsmanship. The third combination involves a strike below the armpit in a second blow which makes up an extremely effective technique. The fourth combination consists of an opening strike to the head, followed by a strike to the knee with a simultaneous defence of the head and then a horizontal strike to the neck. As the second and third strikes are executed from two opposing angles, the opponent will be hit from two sides which makes this combination very powerful.
At 13 :00, Aleksey demonstarted the usage of single tulwar in Rajastani system. The explanation of drawcuts and how to move explains why the tulwar handle locks the wrist. Following the techniques and movements, one can easily adapt his/her hand to the shape of the tulwar and move it accordingly to all sides. We learned how to coordinate our movements by moving to different directions and execute deflecting and attacking techniques to face multiple opponents from different sides.
From 13:30-14:00, I demonstrated the combinations 5 and 6 in handling the shamshir and the separ in Persian swordsmanship. The fifth combination involved attacking the knee as the second strike from the right to the left followed by a horizontal attack to the head. This is similar to combination 5 with a difference of direction of attacks. The sixth combination comprises a stabbing from the top guard above the shield of the opponent. At the end of the day. We had very interesting and lively discussions with participants. I was pleased to hear when Aleksey told me that all participants were very satisfied with the seminar and to hear that they found Razmafzar a truly efficent system. They said "These are real techniques and they work in a real fight and encounter". This means a lot to me. Everyone knows how tough and excellent Russian martial artists are and to hear that Razmafzar techniques are really efficient means a lot to me.
At the end of the seminar, Aleksey and Maria kindly invited me to a Caucasian restaurant. It was for the first time that I tried Caucasian food and it was truly delicious. Then I realized that the owner was smiling at me and approached me speaking in Russian. Aleksey translated and I was really glad to hear that the parents of the restaurant owner who was a lady immigrated from Iran to Russia. They were Assyrian Iranians. What a small world I thought.
On Sunday 22 September, Aleksey and Maria picked me up at the hotel reception and drove to the gym. At 10:30 Aleksey started with spear techniques in Rajastani system. Before the class, he showed me a wonderful technique how to change the position of one's lance on the horseback. Truly an impressive technique. The combinations of spear strikes and stabbing together with footwork proved to be a very interesting and efficient style. It was a joy to see these combinations in action. At 10:30, I started showing war wrestling. The technique I showed was Yanbashi which is a combination of standing armbar, leg tripping and knee on stomach. We trained the variations of this technique and I also showed the participants how to perform this technique with a shamshir and a shield by grabbing the wrist, All participants were fascinated by the technique.
At 11:00 o'clock Aleksey and Maria demonstrated pair exercises in stickfighting. These are truly fascinating exercises for speed and also to learn how to deflect powerful blows. This is always good to train and learn other techniques from different systems to enrich one's own system. At 11:30 I continued with the combination 7 in Persian swordsmanship which includes stabbing below the shield as the second strike in a three-strike combination. We continued with the combination 8 which involves side-stepping, deflecting the oncoming blow with the flat of the shamshir and three counterstrikes. I could tell that participants really liked this combination. At 12:30 Maria and Aleksey demonstrated pair techniques with double tulwars. It was really astnoshing and excellent to watch these techniques. At the end Aleksey showed powerful empty handed strikes in Rajastani style.
I am sure our cooperation will continue. After the seminar Aleksey and Maria took me back to the airport. It was a wonderful weekend and I would like to thank Aleksey and Maria for their wonderful hospitality, friendship, professionalism and for everything. I am truly impressed by this event and would like to thank all my Russian friends and martial artists and warriors who made this wonderful event happen. Thank you ladies and gentlemen and best regards to Moscow. To see the video press the following link
Dr. Manouchehr Moshtagh Khorasani