Beginnings
As almost all forms of martial arts, Zurkhaneh sports has it's roots in battle andwarfare. It was formed during an age where warriors conducted hand to handand man to man combat and so were expected to be skilled, fierce, brave,strong and able to defeat one or several opponents with or without the aid ofbattle instruments such as the club (mace) swords, spears etc. Zurkhaneh Sports was developed as a physical discipline to forge warriors out of ordinary men, it empowered the practitioners to wield various weapons, taught them unarmed combat and prepared them for the endurance demanding activities of the battlefield and warfare.The exact time and place for the development of Zurkhaneh sports is difficult to establish and there are various theories about it's origin. But the research is unanimous that it is a sports deeply rooted in the Iranian lands and part of its cultural heritage. It is also known that some of the Zurkhaneh customers and traditions, such as the ranking system and ancient initiation ceremonies, have their roots in Mithraic traditions that date back to at least 2,000 bce.
According to research done by Delhi University professor Anita Ghosh, Zurkhanehs went underground during the Arab invasion of Iran around 637CE. The houses of Power served as secret meeting places where the national spirit was kept alive and where Iranians learnt to handle weapons forbidden to them by their Arab governors. Time and again, invaders destroyed these cellars of strength but nationalism kept new ones springing up in different locations.


The age of Pahlavans
The Heroic age of ancient Iran has been described at length in the literary masterpiece epic of Shahnameh by the renowned and great Ferdowsi, as well as in other sources. A word frequently encountered that describes and refers to the great heroes of Shahnamenh, and which is still used today to describe and refer to accomplished Zurkhaneh practitioners, is Pahlavan (in Persian). This word can best be described in English as a combination (label) of the words hero and champion. A Pahlavan (Champion/Hero) is expected to be able to cross mountains,deserts and waters (physically and emotionally), infiltrate and penetrate forts and castles, be able to handle every conventional weapon, be skilled in hand to hand combat and be extreme survivalists. Not only strong in body they were expected to be be pure in spirit and courageous in character. Honest in words, righteous in action and loyal helpers to those in need, they are the predecessors of the chivalrous paladins and knights of the middle ages and the epitome of [hu]manhood. The stories of the feats of the ancient Pahlavans (Champions/Heros) of Iran, such as the legendary Rostam from Shahnameh, continue to be a source of inspiration for Zurkhaneh athletes aspiring towards emulating and following in the footsteps of the ancient heroes in terms of character and spiritual strength. With the advent of Islam in the lands of Iran, and the conversion of many Iranians to Islam, the deeds, philosophies and teachings of the great leaders of Islam, such as Imam Ali (pbuh), were also incorporated in the Zurkhaneh culture. The examples of these great individuals and the lessons learned from their lives are often used by the Morshed (Master) to instill the core values of Zurkhaneh in practitioners and so continue a great tradition and lifestyle. Note: The example of Imam Ali (pbuh) has been highlighted to demonstrate that Zurkhaneh is not exclusive nor Iranian centric in its philosophy and it's culture is based on merit of action and not ethnic, religious or racial affiliations. Development of an art Zurkhaneh sports developed and matured during millenia, as such it has been influenced and colored by the various Iranian cultures, schools of thoughts, spiritual and religious practices, such as Mithraism, Zoroastrianism, Islam and Sufism, throughout its life span. As technology changed and substituted the battle instruments, and as periods of stability reduced the need for combatants, so did Zurkhaneh sports develop more and more into a stylized form of physical practice and an art form. While the symbolism of the instruments and practices remained, their usage has been shifted almost exclusively towards fitness and the development and maintainability of health. The arts, poems and literature have always played a very important role in Zurkhaneh and they are still being utilized to promote and enhance mental and spiritual development of the athletes. Often the subject of the arts, poems, songs and literature used in Zurkhaneh have been heroic deeds by courageous and righteous individuals during great battles and times of trial, as well as religious and esoteric teachings by great masters such as Ferdowsi, Hafiz, Rumi and the Holy Quraan. This great tradition continues to this date and new songs, poems, inspirational teachings and great variety of examples from other cultures are constantly added to the vast repertoire of the Morsheds and the cultural heritage of Zurkhaneh


Modern Zurkhaneh Sports
Modern Zurkhaneh sports maintains and includes all the aspects and elements of the ancient practice. While keeping true to its origins and roots, it has been infused with the modern understanding of physical exercise science. Considerations have been taken and adjustments made, in accord with the advance of science, to further promote health, fitness and wellbeing of the practitioners. But the training techniques and exercises of Zurkhaneh remain as ferocious and physically demanding as the name [House of Power] implies and constitute a rigorous, holistic yet demanding exercise that can be adapted to suit a great range of individual needs, i.e. the inclusion of women, children, elderly and also the physically challenged.