Shortly after Ibrahim started exercising in the Zoorkhaneh, he also started wrestling at the recommendation of his friends and Haj Hasan. He signed up in the Abu Moslem gym close to Khorasan Square. He started in the 53-kilogram division. Mr. Gudarzi and Mr. Mohammadi were his good coaches at that time. Mr. Mohammadi liked Ibrahim very much because of his ethics and behavior. Mr. Gudarzi taught Ibrahim the wrestling techniques very well. He always used to say, “This boy is very calm; but, in wrestling since he is tall and has long and strong arms, when he grabs someone’s leg he attacks like a leopard! He doesn’t stop until he gets a point.” That is why he called Ibrahim ‘Sleeping Leopard!’ He said many times, “You will see this boy in the World Championships one day. Be sure!” It was around the year 1350 AHS that he participated in the Tehran Championships for Teenagers. Ibrahim powerfully defeated all the opponents. He was chosen for the national tournament when he was only 15 years old. The tournaments were held during the early days of the month of Aban. But, Ibrahim didn’t participate in theses tournaments! The coaches became very angry with him. Later we found out that the tournaments were held in the presence of the crown prince and that he had given the awards. That was why Ibrahim didn’t participate in the tournaments. The next year Ibrahim participated in the school championships and won. In the same year he participated in the Championships of the Tehran clubs in the 68-kilogram division. The next year when he saw that his close friend had participated in this weight division, he participated in the heavier 74-kilogram division. He was stunning that year; the 18 year old young man became the winner of the club’s competitions for the 74-kilogram division. Ibrahim’s special flair in foot techniques and timely and accurate use of his strong, long hands made him a competent wrestler. Ibrahim left his house in the early morning with his wrestling equipment. My brother and I went too. Wherever he went, we went too; until he entered the gym which is located in the Haft Tir Square. We went into the gym too and sat down among the spectators. The gym was crowded. After an hour, the wrestling competitions started. That day Ibrahim wrestled a few times and won all of the games. Suddenly he saw us. We were cheering him among the spectators. He came towards us angrily and asked, “Why have you come here?!” We said, “No reason. We came after you to see where you are going.” Then he said, “What is that supposed to mean?! This is not your place. Let’s go home quickly”. I asked in surprise, “Why?!” He responded, “You shouldn’t stay here. Get up! Get up! Let’s go home.” While he was talking, the speaker announced, “The semi-final wrestling match in the 74-kilogram division between Mr. Hadi and Mr. Tehrani.” Ibrahim looked at the wrestling mat and at us. He was silent for a few seconds. Then he went towards the mats. We were shouting and cheering him a lot. Ibrahim’s coach shouted constantly and tried to direct him. But, Ibrahim was just defending. He looked at us out of the corner of his eye too. The coach became very angry and shouted “Ibrahim! Why don’t you wrestle? Knock him down.” Ibrahim picked up his opponent with a beautiful technique, turned around, and threw him on the mattress firmly. The wrestling match wasn’t yet finished when he stood up and came off of the mattress. That day he was very angry with us. I thought maybe he was angry that we had followed him. As we were talking on the way back he said, “We should exercise to get strong; not to win. If I participate in different matches, it is because I want to learn different techniques. I don’t have any other purpose.” I asked, “Is it bad if a man wins, becomes famous, and everyone knows him?!” After a few seconds of silence he said, “Everyone doesn’t have the capacity to become famous. More important than becoming famous is to become a real human being.” That day Ibrahim made it to the finals; but, he came home with us before the final match! He showed us in action that rank and position were not important for him. Ibrahim always repeated the famous sentence of the late Imam (r.a.), “Exercising shouldn’t become one’s goal in life.”


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