Al-Faris International Horseback Archery Championship (Al-Faris IHAC) is a 2-days event held in Jordan under the Patronage of His Majesty King Abdullah II ibn Al-Hussein. It is being introduced for the first time in the region in 2011. Its mission is not only to introduce this sport in Jordan and the region but also, to present Horseback Archery as a worldwide cultural heritage sport.
Al-Faris Championship introduces new styles and techniques every year. It includes a variety of archery styles, such as: the Asian (Korean) Style, the European (Hungarian) Style, and the Oriental (Jordanian) Style in addition to a selection of shows and performances, such as; Saber Fighting, Mogu Show, Tent-Pegging, Vaulting and other Archery Martial Arts performances. Since the best competitors from 20+ countries - including the hosting country - will participate in this unique event, they will be competing not only to win the first 3 ranks per style, but also to win the allocated prize money as well as “Al-Faris Champion” titles.
Al-Faris IHAC offers different experiences during its events. In 2011, we introduced the Jordanian Style and in 2012, we combined the Jordanian Style with the Turkish under one name called the “Oriental Style”. For the first time during Al-Faris IHAC II in 2018, we will have two main titles in addition to the first three ranks of each discipline. We will introduce the Honorary Title of “Al-Faris Champion” for Chivalrous Behavior and also, we will allocate a prize money for "Al-Muntaser", the best ranking competitor out of all three Styles. For Al-Faris IHAC III in 2018, we will introduce as well, a new Jordanian discipline known as Al-Ghara (i.e. Attack).
- Al-Faris: “Al-Faris” means “A Knight” and it is derived from the Arabic word “faras”, which means “a horse”. “Al-Furusiyya” means “Equestrianism” in general and it is the historical Arabic term for knightly martial arts and/or exercise, particularly during the Middle Ages, the Crusades, and the Mamluk period. The term also denotes “nobility, chivalry or heroism” – in other words “knighthood”. As well, it features those who are trained to use the spear, the bow, the arrows, and the lance, in addition to riding the horse and being well-trained in wrestling, hunting, fighting, and mixed martial arts skills.
- Knighthood: "Knighthood” is the title, rank, or status of a knight and it is granted as an honorary title by a monarch. It is rooted in the values of truth, goodness, and beauty. It is originally a tradition emanating from human nature and inclined to admire the forelocks of horses. The majority of nations have known “knighthood” as one of their most important cultural traditions and also, as one of the most prominent physical and spiritual activities. “Knighthood” and “Horsemanship” occupied a privileged place that no other sport occupied among those nations, the majority of whom, equally in the East and West, regard horsemanship as the Sport of the Nobility insofar as their authentic affiliation; in the splendor of their genius; in the transcendence of their educational values; in their sublime ethical conduct; and in the superiority of their graceful performance.
- Mounted Archery: Mounted or Horseback Archery was introduced in the Middle East Region through the Turkish tribes in the early 8th century. It was perfected among the Turkish Emirates, such as; the Mamluk Reign in Egypt and the Moguls of India. This sport prospered during the Ottoman Empire to an imperial activity and consisted of different types and techniques, such as; target archery, far distance archery, and short distance archery, amongst others. Horse racing and mounted horseback archery were amongst the dearest sports to the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him), the Caliphs, Princes, Governors, and State Officials. It is an established fact that the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) practiced numerous kinds of horsemanship and knighthood arts, and also encouraged his companions to emulate him in this regard. The Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) used to organize horse and camel races, marksmanship and swimming, fencing and spear lancing, as well as other kinds of horsemanship competitions, where the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) became the exemplary model in the history of Islamic Horsemanship.
Archery was a main pillar in the way of “Furusiyya”. The ancient archery schools were set up like guilds of a spiritual brotherhood carrying this knowledge and understanding of the appreciated Sunnah of our beloved Prophet Mohammed (Peace Be Upon Him). Unfortunately, the knowledge of archery and the training of warhorses has been forgotten among Muslim Communities for more than 100 years. Al-Faris International Horseback Archery Championships, however, brought back this knowledge and revived this sport in the region for the first time in the year 2011, while preserving and manifesting knightly skills and traditional weapons, such as; the spear, the sword, the bows and the arrows.
Sources and References
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