tiistai 5. heinäkuuta 2016

Interview with Ali Ghoorchian

(c) Brice Portolano

Ali Ghoorchian is coming to visit Finland for the following two weeks and many finnish horseback archers will meet him and attend his clinics and lectures. I thought you might want to know more about him, so I made an interview during my stay in Iran! All the answers are written with Ali's own words. I warmly welcome Ali to Finland and hope that he enjoys he's stay!

Who are you?
- I'm trying to be pure Persian. I'm a musician, sculpturer, horse rider, horse trainer, archer, falconer, horseback archer and teacher.

When and how did you start horseback archery?
- I have been rider more than 30 years and I was also a compound archer. Then I started horseback archery as fun about 16 years ago, just a short experience. When I found out that we have a world federation I started to learn more about it and also really practicing to become a horseback archer.

What is so fascinating in horseback archery that you decided to focus your whole life on doing it?
- Really I can't say. There is no secret, for me it's about living my dreams.

(c) Lena Pena
You have many other interesting hobbies too. Can you tell a little about those?
- All equestrian sports, especially equestrian martial arts and endurance riding. Also hunting, falconry, traditional music, sculpture, Persian swordmanship etc…

You are the head of the organizing committee of World Horseback Archery Federation. Can you tell something about WHAF?
- I found them 2009 and then I met them 2010. I think for all of us as horseback archers, especially all who want to become professionals, WHAF is the only way because all the rules are based on history. For me they are a strong light on my way, because they are focused on all cultures of horseback archery. For me as a Persian it's a great honor that they accepted that we have the oldest history of horseback archery between 10 000-12 000 years.

What are your best results in competitions?
(c) Persian Horseback Archery Association
- I won the world championships in 2011 and 2012. Poland in 2013 I had gold in Korean track and also same 2014 in Poland Orsa competition. I had third place but good results in 2015 in Turkey, Biga and the latest 2016 in Germany I had gold.

Which do you think is the most important, being a good rider or a good archer?
- First good rider then good archer. It's old Persian rule: sit straight, shoot straight and be honest.

Why do you think speed is important in horseback archery?
- Speed is based on war and hunting. On a slow horse you will die, because of no food or fast enemies.

You were a three finger archer before, but you decided 2 years ago to start using thumb. Why do you prefer thumb archery?
I was training just by myself, I didn't have a good teacher. I got good results with three fingers, but I was not sure about it, I was searching every where. When WHAF decided to fix the rules about quiver then I saw that oops, something is not good for three finger archers, right or left side quiver... You can't be enough fast if you try to put your arrow on the left side of bow. Then I met Master Lukas Novotny, he doesnt like to push others to his style but I was interested in his way, 100% traditional and thumb archer. Then I asked him and he opened a big window to a beautiful garden for me... Now still I am walking, searching and smelling in this magical garden.

What kind of horse is best for horseback archery in your opinion?
- First it's about size, medium size ( Arabian horse size) is the best. All hot blood horses for example Arabian, Persian, Turkmen, Kurdish, Korean and Mongolian etc.

Many people in Finland are now starting horseback archery. What is your best advice for them?
- I think it's important to follow Finnish archery culture if it has something about horseback archery. If you have not, the best way is to focus on the best horseback archers in history: Who? Where? When? In my opinion Ottoman period in Turkey and Safavied period in Iran. We have also Japan, Korea, Mongolia etc, but some cultures were effective and surely Persia is one of them. Look at the results in competitions all over the world, then you can find easily who is following the culture. For example, Lukas Novotny is my idol because he is following just traditional techniques 100 %.
(c) Amir Ala

When you decide to be a good horseback archer you have to know who can help you, because you can't find the best way just by history and books. Good teacher can make nice future for you. All details are important, teacher has to be honest and to know old and new ways . He / she has to know anatomy, we have different styles because we have different bodies! He has to help you to find your best way, how to compete with yourself and how to become real horseback archer.

What do you hope for the Finnish horseback archers for the coming years?
- First I'm happy that I will see Finnish team in Korea 2016. Then I hope you start following WHAF rules, because in my opinion it's the way that you can become professional horseback archers.

What do you look forward to in your trip to Finland?
- First, surviving! Then I hope to be useful for Finnish horseback archers and be alive and see results in future. ّ

What is the key to become a successful horseback archer?
- Really hard question. The main key... Close your eyes and open your heart, just listen the sound of the arrows: zzzzzzzzzzz top, zzzzzzzz top, zzzzzzzzz top. Find the rhythm, find art of archery. You have to play this instrument, you dont need to look, just listen and listen. Listen to the best players and then play your melody, not fast, just rhythmic and listen... I hope to hear your melody ūüôā Soon!

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