As a young child, I grew up as a Persian Sufi Dervish and understood what being one was all about. As a young boy, I would get into countless confrontations over the color of my skin, friend, ego and who we thought was the toughest. My father would always see me come home with a black eye and a bruised body. He decided I should learn some self-defense, in order to defend myself and learn self control. My father who was a brown belt, and had three years in the Persian Royal Air Force, and was advanced in Persian Martial arts called: “Varzesheh Pahlevooni”, introduced me to his good friend who taught me the art of Ninjitsu, and then from there I went on to learn Karate for two years. As my age increased, so did my ego and confidence.
My father tired to make me understand that I can’t go around always trying to prove a point or test my skills as I will meet my match one day, and how will I take loss and defeat then. I guess he was right, as I did meet my match when I went back to Iran. I was walking one day and this guy shouted: “hey English boy”, and then started shouting more derogatory remarks at me. I thought this would be like every other street fight, except it was not, as this guy was skilled in Persian martial arts and wrestling, as most men in Iran are. They call street fighting a dog fight for honor over there, because no one gives up until respect is gained. It began with him grabbing my leg and punching high and low. I fought until I could fight no more.
The fight lasted 15minutes, and we both were physically exhausted but neither of us gave in. We both stopped and he mentioned that it was a good fight, and I had earned his respect. I was entirely shocked, as I was used to the English street fights in South West London. That was a turning point for me, as my ego did not do me any good, because I realized there were people tougher and wiser then me. I was curious to learn more about the Persian martial arts of “Varzesheh Pahlevooni" , as it is called. This form of mental and physical training can be defined in a single word of “The Warrior”. It’s not just physical, but highly spiritual in training. I spent three months learning as much as I could about the ways of the Persian Warrior, and learnt self control and how to deal with a loss and convert it to a gain.
I went back to England and eagerly started security work as I have always believed in defending and standing strong for others. On top of this, I continued to expand my knowledge and training and took up Wing Chung gung fa with a man called Steven. I have always believed in independence, and never went under a master or sensei, nor did I wear a belt for rank. This man was also like myself, and was humble and sincere. He was a former student of Master Goh in Wing Chung gung fa for five years and a gung fa fighting champion. Steven always told me to take what you need for use and leave the rest, and to only put your energy in what works for you. A
fter six months of private training, he introduced me to his best friend who was also a former student of Master Goh and a mixed martial art champion who is much respected in London’s China Town, and the UK kickboxing world. Unfortunately, his name cannot be disclosed due to family matters, and legal reasons. Steven said it was time to advance my training, so I went to his friend for this reason. This gentleman, whose name cannot be mentioned, also told me not to call him anything but a friend in order to de-rank and humble oneself. I trained at his gym for six months and practiced muay Thai and kickboxing. The training was intense, and I learned vigorous training with my peers.
I spent most of my life learning and reading to reach the point I have reached at this stage of my life. The Divine Warrior is who I am and longed to be. Internally and externally I am complete. I have combined Dervish Sufism with Persian martial arts, and other disciplines of martial arts in order to create the Lion Heartz. In essence, the philosophy behind the Lion Heartz is to gain spiritual enlightenment, mental growth, physical strength, and that is all one needs to become a Lion Heart.
WHAT KIND OF TRAINING IS INVOLVED IN BEING A LION HEART?
The physical aspects involve strengthening the upper body, which I call the temple and the lower body, which I call the foundation. We do this by using isometric training in raw strength, ultimate power by pushing and pulling weights, repetition in punches and kicks, and perfecting ones techniques. The mental aspect of it involves building knowledge by expanding what you know, and gaining wisdom my focusing on your weakness, and to gain confidence and discipline.
The mind is only built on what you feed it, and that is to feed it with positivism and eliminate all sense of fear and inner distractions. When one is capable of doing this, you are capable of extreme mental growth. The spiritual aspect of it involves enlightenment and meditation, in order to be closer to what is divine, and avoid temptation. It is to conquer your inner demons such as lust, desire, negativity, and anything else that breaks you internally or externally. The physical aspect of it involves isometric training, and using the weight of your own strength to build physical power. Furthermore, repitition of techniques that work for each individual will be practiced by them.
DO YOU HAVE YOUR OWN GYM OR CLUB?
No. I do not believe that training is confined to a gym. A gym is anywhere around you, it could be your own room, the park, or even at work. You should be one with your surroundings, as this is part of your training. The reality is outside the gym, and confining yourself to one gym is not having the ability to deal with what’s beyond the gym. So the Lion Heartz training is anywhere, everywhere and at anytime. Be one within yourself as you would like to be with your environment, therefore if anything does happen in a given environment, you will have the capability to deal with your surroundings, and use it to your advantage.
DO YOU NEED TO JOIN OR PAY MEMBERSHIP FEES?
No, as I do not believe one can pay for mental, physical and spiritual growth. How would you quantify that? The answer is you cannot. In this day and age, this has become a business, and the true meaning of training has been lost. Therefore, this is open to all, either rich or poor. I work only with what I have, as I have learned to make use of what I do have, and not focus on what I don’t have.
WHAT TITLE DO YOU GIVE YOURSELF?
I am not a master, nor a sifu, nor a sensei, but just the founder and guardian of the Lion Heartz, as I believe everyone is equal and have as much to gain from eachother, as you gain from a master. A title is not important, nor is a rank, but it’s your overall training and results that matter. However, respect is very important, and respect must be given to all whether you are a guardian or a learner.
DO YOU HAVE A RANKING SYSTEM OR A BELT SYSTEM, AND WHAT IS THE DRESS CODE OF THE LION HEARTZ?
No, as I said I don’t believe in ranks or belts. One must humble themselves in order to reach their full potential. If you are given a belt, how do you know you have reached that stage without mentally acknowledging it, physically feeling it, and spiritually believing in it. When you do reach that point, you will know it yourself, without the need of a belt to prove it. The dress code is whatever you like to wear. However, it must be decent and presentable, and you must be comfortable in it.
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