Shinan Farhad Varasteh 9th Dan Soke, Kanzen-ryu Karatedo
By Reza Ganjavi
Mr. Farhad Varasteh founded the Karate Academy in Tehran where I studied for some years, I suppose in late-pre-teen and early-teen years. One of the most important contributions of Karate was bodily flexibility and strength. It also gave one "confidence", a tool, to be able to protect the body against certain threats -- just yesterday I used a martial artsy kick to defend against a dog attack.
[ OFF-TOPIC: I put the word "confidence" in quotes because it is misused. Everybody and their mother talks about confidence/self-confidence, but that is exactly what it is in most cases: a thing of the self, of the ego, this fictitious psychological entity made of memories -- so protection goes beyond the natural instinct to protect the organism -- it goes into protecting the psychological self -- and all sorts of problems arise out of this attempt -- and there are 1001 books that teach the self how to glorify itself and how to get what it wants and have self-confidence and other such nonsense. A 4-year-old child is very confident but that confidence has a totally different color -- it is the confidence of innocence. A beautiful, perishable, pliable blade of grass is confident - it stands unworried, fearless, though the gentlest breeze can sway it and a shoe can crush it. ]
Mr. Varasteh was a very kind and humble man -- I was just a kid among many of his students but I do remember having personal interaction with him in forms of greetings, small talk, and maybe even a photo. I am glad I went to the Karate academy and would recommend it to any youngster - with proper philosophical guidance.
The flexibility the Karate class gave helped/reminded one in taking up yoga in the first year of college which had huge benefits. A few years ago I started integrating the Karate kicks and punches I had learned years ago in my regular exercise program - good way of keeping fit. Continual study led to a Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do.
Martial Arts make the body into a weapon - and this can have its drawbacks - so one has to be very careful and cool, especially in crazy situations.
Here are some excerpts from Mr. Varasteh's website http://www.kanzenkai.org/ -- He currently teaches in Canada.
EXCERPT FROM “LET NO MAN WRITE MY EPITAPH -- A short history and an autobiography by Shinan Farhad Varasteh 9th Dan Soke, Kanzen-ryu Karatedo”
The founding of Karate in Iran was not an enviable task, for I went from the depths of despair to the very heights of glory only to be disillusioned once again. After finishing my studies in the U.S.A I returned to Iran and while serving as a diplomat at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs I started teaching Karate with one person as my student. As the number of my students rapidly grew, so did the opposition to the teaching of Karate by all authorities who misunderstood the art of Karate as an "art for killing". The sport Organization of Iran took every measure to see that any teaching facilities were made unavailable, as a consequence I had no choice but to teach my students in basements, Tennis courts and unheated military compounds. As time passed the number of students continued to rise, inevitably so did that of the opposition. Despite the odds, I believed and still continue to believe that a fighter must fight, and I fought for with an undying passion for the cause of Karate-Do.
In the fourth world Karate Championships in Tokyo, Japan Iran took third place in the world with France. So impressed was the world of Karate with me as the president, trainer and coach of my country's team that I was unanimously voted to become the vice-president of the World Karate Federation for a second four-year term, I also re-qualified as a world judge and referee.
I was expelled from the Ministry of Foreign affairs, with no explanation given. And one year later all doors were closed on the love of my life as my Dojo was closed down, the authorities claimed that it was illegal, this was contradicting due to the fact that I was the first person to have a permit for a Karate club. I was then forbidden to leave Iran and after the Iranian National Karate Championships (ironically titled the Farhad Varasteh Cup), I was forbidden to leave Tehran.
So after so many years of hard work, accomplishments, and contributions to the sport and to the youth of my country, I was deprived of everything that I had worked so hard for… with all doors closed on me, I fled my beloved Iran for Paris, France only to start again from scratch, only this time with a wife and four children…
Nassim, your father's contributions were incredibly important to the entire generations of Iranians whom I was a part of as a student in the Academy in Tehran when I was a child, and to future generations who will undoubtedly benefit from the consequences of his work. I cannot be there for the event in person but my good wishes are with him and his family.
My gratitude for him and his work is immense.