Horsemanship (aspsavāri): Razmafzar also deals with mounted horse combat based on techniques described in Persian manuscripts and also provides solid training in the combat with spears and lances as well as horseback archery. Persian manuscripts often describe in detail how the champions fought on horseback using different types of weapons. This is also clearly shown in miniature illustrations in those Persian manuscripts. To be proficient in fighting with weapons, one trained not only on foot but also on horseback. Therefore riding, wrestling and playing polo on horseback were extremely important exercises for preparing the warriors. Horse riding exercises were described by the French traveler Chardin to the Safavid court. He reports that horse riding involved having a good seat, galloping with a loose rein without stirring, and stopping the horse short in its gallop without moving oneself. The riders had to remain light and active upon the horse to the extent that, while galloping, they had to be able to identify twenty counters upon the ground, one after the other, and to pick them up at their return without decelerating in speed. Chardin reports of seeing cavalrymen in Iran who can sit so firm and light on a horse that they stand up on their feet in the saddle, making the horse gallop in that manner with a loose rein. He also reports that the Persians sit a bit sideways on their saddle to shoot their arrows, throw javelins and “play at the mall”. Chardin describes playing at the mall as an exercise that is performed in an enormous field. At the end of this field, pillars are erected next to each other for the ball to pass through, creating a sort of goal. The ball is thrown in the middle of the field, and the players gallop after the ball with a small stick in their hands, trying to hit it. Since the mall stick is short, they must stoop below the saddle bow to hit it, and the rules of the game prescribe that the aim should be taken while galloping. The match is won when the players hit the ball between the pillars. There are fifteen or twenty people in a team. Playing polo has a very long tradition in Iran, going back to the Achaemenian era. This sport reached its zenith during the Sassanian period. There are two teams each consisting of 15 to 20 players. The Šāhnāme also describes polo games. Šāh Abbās Safavid was especially fond of this game and played it himself. Horseback archery and lance fighting on horseback makee up an important part of Razmafzar training as well.  Different lance techniques on horseback are described in Persian manuscripts in detail such as different attack techniques with a lance and attacking different parts of the body with a lance such as the eye, the neck, the throat, the mouth, the face, the arm/forearm, the chest, the abdomen, the navel, the shoulder, the side of the body, the back, the groin, the legs, the lower part of the lance, cutting the armor straps of the opponent and feinting techniques.

© M.Khorasani Consulting