Iranian born strongman Khalil Oghab, also known as The “Iron Man from Iran” was the first man to organize strongman shows in Iran. Born in 1924 in Shiraz, young Khalil was active in varzesh-e pahlavani, an ancient traditional Iranian system of athletics that has been used for warrior training.
Khalil was famous for bending heavy metal beams, scrolling, support feats and getting ran over by cars. In his best performing days in Iran, Khalil was able to attract a crowd of as much as 50,000 people in a single event in the sixties. Eventually, he decided to tour the world and lived in Ireland (1971), England (1972) and Italy, working in various circuses as a strongman to support himself. After long journey of about 20 years, Khalil Oghab settled down in Italy where he founded a circus called “Iran and Italy”.
Iron Man from Iran was able to carry 1000 pounds in teeth and lift 3000 pounds elephant with his feet. It is said that he lifted two elephants for five years on a daily basis, just to maintain the strength needed for shows. Khalil came back to his home country in 1991 after being invited by the Iranian government, along with sixty performers working for him in a circus. Among them were two of his children, Shahrzad and Ibrahim.
If you’d like to be able to perform like an old-time strongman, you have to check out the 4 DVD set I created with Bud Jeffries here.