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    Sikh martial arts


    by Sunny on 5th May, 2009 at 10:06 am    

    Good article in the Independent about something I wanted to blog about:

    The martial art that the men are practising is shastar vidiya – a now little-known fighting technique from north India that virtually died out when the British Raj banned it after the final, bloody defeat of the Sikh empire in the mid-19th century.

    But one man is determined to bring it back from the brink of extinction. Nidar Singh Nihang is a 41-year-old “gurdev” (master) who has spent 20 years studying the secrets of shastar vidiya in order to pass it on to younger generations. It is a journey that has taken him from being a food packer in a Wolverhampton factory to one of the world’s top authorities on ancient Indian fighting styles. Now he is looking for young apprentices willing to devote their life to learning the secrets of an art that he believes risks dying out altogether.

    There’s more about the book this is based on - In The Masters Presence - The Sikhs of Hazoor Sahib, on this Facebook page/group.



      |   Trackback link   |   Add to del.icio.us   |   Share on Facebook   |   Filed in: Culture, Religion




    11 Comments below   |   Add your own

    1. qidniz — on 5th May, 2009 at 12:58 pm  

      Not in the budget, sadly…

    2. Jai — on 5th May, 2009 at 1:52 pm  

      Excellent article from The Independent — Thanks for flagging this up, Sunny.

      Inspiring stuff, and it’s very impressive when you see demonstrations of this type of martial art in action. Probably also intimidating to some people (as the comments thread on The Indy indicates), but that’s par for the course.

    3. bananabrain — on 5th May, 2009 at 3:29 pm  

      oooOOOOOOooo. i’d like to learn something about this.

      ironically, “gatkes” is the yiddish word for “long johns”, which i assume is because of the punjabi influence on ashkenazi culture. gatkes are of course a ceremonial garment much used in the most prominent form of “silent but deadly” jewish unarmed combat.

      b’shalom

      bananabrain

    4. The Dude — on 5th May, 2009 at 3:33 pm  

      Sunny

      We really will having to do something about your anger management….

    5. Katy Newton — on 5th May, 2009 at 7:22 pm  

      “The next technique I’ll teach you is one that can break both a man’s arms in just three moves. In real life of course, once you’ve broken the first arm your opponent is not getting back up.”

      Not if this is anything to go by.

    6. Sunny — on 5th May, 2009 at 7:34 pm  

      Heh! I knew you’d linked to the monty python sketch before I even clicked it :)

    7. Katy Newton — on 5th May, 2009 at 7:40 pm  

      Next article plz to give me excuse to link to this…?

    8. qidniz — on 5th May, 2009 at 7:55 pm  

      I really don’t want to rain on this parade, but when I hear claims of someone being the last living master of some secret school from some out of the way place and so on, for me at least bells start to ring.

      Consider, for example, this thread, which seems to suggest that the $100+ tome has some funky practices in it. And then there’s this article from a while back that somewhat annoyingly names no names but seems quite certain that charlatans were already in the game back then (in 2002 — so, what happened to them? Where are they now?)

      Nidar Singh Nihang is most probably for real, but independent confirmation would help.

    9. FaustoT — on 5th May, 2009 at 9:26 pm  

      Interesting, a couple of weeks ago, I saw something similar being practised in the car park of the sikh temple in leeds, mostly young boys about 15ish.

      They also seemed to be waring blue, and twirling big sticks

    10. Amrit — on 5th May, 2009 at 10:17 pm  

      Oh my GOD… I hope he teaches girls! This sounds amazing.

      I flirted with the idea of doing gatka but then dropped it because it looked like it involved far too much skipping, and settled for kung fu instead.

      This should fill the hole that stopping that left nicely!

    11. Sunny — on 7th May, 2009 at 12:03 am  

      Lol Amrit!



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