When it comes to men being the talk of very diverse circles, all in positive ways, it would be difficult to top Hamed Konarivand. A Kurd, born and raised in Iran, now happily living in Switzerland, Hamad is not just a skilled, professional martial artist and coach, he is also an innovator who has created a unique martial art style, Taekfundo, to help children develop diverse positive skills. At the same time, he has proven himself a smart and effective entrepreneur, bringing some of the world’s top saffron from Iranian sources to Europe, to rave reviews. All while maintaining a lifestyle that many have pointed to as a remarkable role model across social media and beyond.
We are happy to do this interview with Hamad, and get his insight into his life, the challenges he has overcome, martial arts, business, and much more.
Q: Hamad, obviously martial arts, or more specifically, Taekwondo, has played a remarkable role in your life. Can you tell us your history with the sport and self-defense method?
Hamad: I was born in 1986 in Ilam, Iran, to a Kurdish family. I was lucky to be raised in an environment where athletics were held in high esteem, so it was natural for me to explore sports at a very early age with my family’s encouragement. With some luck, I came across Taekwondo at only six years old. I took to the sport like a fish to water, and it became a big part of my well-balanced life. By eight, I had won my first championship, and at nine, I received my Black Belt. So, Taekwondo is something that has been with me at the highest levels for most of my life. And my passion for the sport has only increased with time. The lessons it has taught me, and the powerful relationships and mentors I have been able to meet throughout the years, have had a formative effect on me. Now I have had the chance to share that wisdom, along with my own innovations, to adults, but most importantly with kids. Who are our bright future.
Q: Can you tell us about Koryo Club?
Hamed: I have been blessed with training with amazing coaches who helped me win many national and international championships. While Koryo Club has that influence, I also see us as a place where beginners can welcome themselves to the sport. Black Belts train alongside our newest members in an inclusive environment. We now have schools across Switzerland and France in places like Pay de Gex, Lancy, Genève, and the Gland area, where hundreds of families learn our art and grow together. It is a club with the highest ethics and values, and I hope we continue to grow in that spirit.
Q: What is Taekfundo and why did you create this method?
Hamed: I am an example of what Taekwondo can help a child achieve. This led me to think of the challenges kids face today, parents face, and what about Taekwondo can help. With that firmly in mind I developed Taekfundo exclusively for young kids to help them develop in a fun, no pressure environment. It helps them in a way, and is perhaps my proudest accomplishment. Parents telling me how it has improved their children’s lives is the highest compliment. If the kids decide to continue with Taekwondo, it is not important. If they do, this is great for them and the sport. But giving them a fun place to learn and develop skills that will make them happier and healthier is the foundation of what we offer.
Q: Apart from your success in sport, you are also praised for your business skills as a competitor, coach, and instructor. Again, this is not just in Taekwondo, you are also an entrepreneur with diverse interests. Can you tell us more?
Hamed: While I love Europe, I still have a strong cultural connection to where I was raised. This has given me something of a gift in seeing what wonderful things from the east would also be embraced in the west. My biggest success so far has been founding and operating a business that has made available the world’s finest saffron in the European market. This took life in my company Safranee. Safranee is a France-based company that produces and distributes the highest-quality Persian saffron worldwide. From top chefs who appreciate this magical ingredient, to those who like a taste of luxury at home, our saffron is being embraced. The future for the company is bright. We will continue to focus on top quality, and without cutting corners, I am sure our growth will continue at a steady pace.
Q: Is there a relationship between your success in the Taekwondo world and your success in the world of saffron? They seem far apart!
Hamed: At a glance they do. But honesty and hard work are universal qualities that are rewarded sooner or later. The lessons I learned in Taekwondo, about not being afraid to take risks, sweat, or grid, plus a demand to get as close to perfection from myself as possible, has all helped with my saffron business. Of course, there are other qualities that needed to be developed, but I have been lucky or blessed to have good examples to learn from, and to have a deep understanding of Persian culture, which is where the best saffron is found. All this has shown real rewards. I am grateful to share these lessons to those looking to make the most of opportunity. Using social media positively, which has allowed me to connect with others and share my lessons learned, is something special. I look forward to seeing what the future brings.