Mace fighting (gorzzani) and Axe fighting (tabarzani)

Different types of maces and axes were used by Persian warriors during combat. Both maces as well as axes were powerful bludgeoning weapons that could easily break the enemy`s armor. This means that both types of weapons were used when the enemy wore a heavy armor that could not be penetrated by swords. Persian treatises, epics, poems and historical manuscripts report that Persian warriors were able to crush the helmets and armor of their opponents using these weapons during combat. Certain expressions describing the function of these weapons exist in the Persian language, such as gorz-e meqfarkub (a helmet-pounding mace) and amud-e maqzšekāf (brain-splitting mace). The mace did not only serve as an efficient weapon, but it also served as a symbol of power. Similarly, Persian manuscripts talk about the efficiency of the axe as a weapon with the use of terms such as tabarzin-e ostexānšekan (a bone-breaking saddle axe) in the manuscript Tārix-e Ahmad Šāhi from the 18th century and tabar-e maqzšekāfande(brain-splitting axe) in the manuscript Abu Moslemnāme from the 10th century. The hero Abu Moslem, as reported in the treatise Abu Moslemnāme, fought only with an axe.

There are four different terms in Persian to refer to the mace: a) amudb)   gorz, c) gorze, and d) čomāq.  Nowadays one uses the term čomāq to refer to a stick. In Iran, the use of the mace as a weapon of war had a long tradition going back to ancient Iran. Maces were not only used for warfare but they were also used to hunt down animals. Maces began to be used from the beginning of the Bronze Age (3000–1200 C.E.) and also during the later periods including the Islamic period of Iran (651 C.E. until the end of the Qājār period [1925 C.E.]). The mace was a simple weapon but very efficient, and there were many different types of maces. There are also examples with a head made of stone, bronze iron or steel. Additionally, with the passage of time, the mace transformed into a symbol of power and a form of insignia used in ceremonies.

There are two different words used to refer to the axe in Persian: a) tabar and b) tabarzin. The term tabar (axe) could be found in numerous manuscripts from the 10th century but tabar also refers to a variation of an axe meant for the combat tabar-e jangi (war axe). There was also a variation of the term tabar that was used by dervishes and at the same time it was used in the ceremonies such as tabar-e zarrin (a golden axe; a gold-inlaid, gold-overlaid axe) in the 14th-century manuscript Tārix-e Firuzšāhi. On the other hand, the term tabarzin significa “saddle axe” and can be found in numerous manuscripts. The 19th century manuscript Rostam al-Tavārix reports about prison guards (nasgči) who were armed with axes.

The system of Razmafzar also teaches the techniques of maces and axes in Iranian martial tradition. Similar to swords, the techniques of using axes and maces are analyzed and presented starting from epics stories from the tenth century C.E. until the end of the Qājār period. These
techniques include carrying the mace, techniques of mace attacks, defense techniques with a mace, combinations of fighting with the mace, general aspects about the axe, techniques of attack with an axe and c
ombinations with an axe.

© M.Khorasani Consulting