Pahlavan Haj Seyyed Mohammadali Nekoogar as a young student at age 22, Circa 1928
I will dedicate this series to the memory of my grandfather Pahlavan
Haj Seyyed Mohammadali Nekoogar. It was his life, his moral path, and
his Pahlavani character that induced in my formative years the study of
the traditional Iranian martial arts, or what is referred to in this
series as Varzesh-e Pahlavani. I know for sure today that if it was
not because of my grandfather, I would not have embarked on my journey
to learn about history and rituals of Pahlavani.
Pahlavan Nekoogar was born in Tehran, Iran in 1905. He started practicing Pahlavani under the guidance of Pahlavan-e Bozorg Haj Seyyed Hassan Razaz of Tehran in 1923. He was also familiar and interested in the traditional Iranian music.
His dear interest in Pahlavani tradition made him an inseparable disciple
of this school to the point that in his later adult years he would
dedicate a significant part of his personal wealth and property in
preserving and fostering Pahlavani tradition. For example, he built a
new Zoorkhaneh in Tehran, the holy place in which the rituals of Pahlavani
are practiced, which still exists and operates. Additionally, he
contributed from his own wealth to feed and give shelter to the poor.
This charitable characteristic, I learned very soon, was another aspect
of Pahlavani tradition.
Later in his life, my grandfather's spiritual journey evolved into the study of Sufism, and this allowed him to ventilate his love for humanity through his composing Sufi poetry. That was in 1960's. I am fortunate that I possess today his poetry book which was published in Iran in 1960.
Pahlavan Nekoogar as a Sufi follower in the Order of Safi Ali Shah (1971)
||Although he is not with us today in body, he is still remembered and revered by veteran masters of Pahlavani. He did his share to preserve the traditional Iranian martial arts. I trust that my contribution to this tradition in this series will assure continuity. Moreover, I feel we need to preserve this aspiring tradition not because I happen to come from a family with Pahlavani trace, but more importantly because I sincerely believe that this tradition still has a lot to offer to the prosperity and health of the youth today. For this, I am delighted to share my findings with this worldwide audience.|
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