************* gatka ***************

chardi kala vich rhiye

HaRdCoRe BiOtEcHnOlOgIsT
************* GATKA ***************

Gatka owes its early development to the Shaster Vidiya, literally meaning knowledge of the arms. This was a warrior curriculum used by the Sikhs for military training. According to tradition, the roots of this system can be traced to the founder of Sikhism, Guru Nanak Dev, who received it through a divine summon[citation needed]. Guru Nanak passed the art to Baba Buddha, and stated that he would claim it back in his sixth form. Baba Buddha trained the sixth Sikh guru, Guru Hargobind, in the Shaster Vidiya system and also taught the soldiers of the Akal Bunga (the Immortal Fort, built in 1606), known as Akalis (immortals) Guru Hargobind propagated the theory of the warrior-saint, and emphasized the need for his followers to practice fighting for self-defence. Arrangements for combat training were made and the guru himself learnt the use of weapons.

Guru Gobind Singh, the 10th guru of Sikhism, trained in martial arts in the Panjab. One of his achievements was the founding of Khalsa, the collective society that galvanized the martial energies of the Sikh community.

In regards to training the Khalsa, he pledged that he would "teach the sparrow to fight the hawk". Both men and women were known to have practiced the art; there were and are no gender restrictions iterated by Sikh teachings or the Gurus. Tradition holds that the Guru carried two swords, symbolizing the temporal, as well as heavenly power. Later this came to be known as Miri-Piri. Miri (Emir, a temporal leader) solidified the belief that the Guru could engage in righteous armed struggle and Pir, (the Sufi word for a mystic) designating a spiritual leader, acknowledged the Guru's religious standing.

Gobind Singh's Khalsa was a body of warriors dedicated to the Guru, outwardly defined by the uncut hair and other Sikh symbols. The Khalsa served as an armed wing to defend people of the region in the face of increasingly aggressive and intolerant Mughal policies. The Khalsa was involved in armed struggle against the armies of Emperor Aurangzeb and his local allies.

The men and women of the Khalsa were skilled fighters, and in many conflicts came out ahead despite being severely outnumbered. Khalsa Sikhs were accustomed to view military service in terms of individual and collective honor. According to the teachings of Guru Gobind Singh, extreme courage and even death in the heat of battle was said to bring honor to the Sikh community.

Guru Gobind Singh altered the structure of the Sikh army in such a way that only a high ranking soldier of the Akali Sena was to be known as an Akali; the lower ranking soldier was called a Nihang, or he who is not attached to life nor fears death. Following the second Anglo-Sikh war and the establishment of the British Raj, the Sikh martial traditions and practitioners suffered greatly. The British ordered effective disarmament of the entire Sikh community; even tools and farming equipment were banned. Those who refused to surrender their weapons were punished severely by the British authorities. The traditional martial knowledge of the Sikhs, previously preserved to a high standard, almost ceased to exist in the Panjab. During the Indian Rebellion of 1857, the Sikhs assisted the British in crushing the mutiny. As a consequence of this assistance, restrictions on fighting practices were relaxed in the Panjab. However, the Panjabi martial arts which re-emerged after 1857 had changed a great deal. Instead of producing soldiers for warfare, the Shaster Vidiya had developed during the 1860s into a new fighting style called gatka (from the name of its primary weapon, the sword training stick) which was mainly practiced by the British Indian Army. As Sikh colleges opened in the Panjab during the 1880s, European rules of fencing were applied to Gatka, resulting in further alteration. This led to the formation of two gatka branches, rasmi (ritualistic) and khel (sport).

Combat Principles

From the Zafarnamah, in which Guru Gobind Singh addresses Aurangzeb:

"When all the stratagem employed for (solving) a problem are exhausted, (only) then taking your hand to the sword is legitimate."

"Gat" means grace, liberation, and respect in one's own power. "Ka" means one who belongs or one who is part of a group. Gatka means one whose freedom belongs to grace. It was originally created along three principles:
• it had to be easy to learn.
• it had to make use of every possible weapon.
• it had to allow for fighting multiple opponents at once.

Movement Patterns

The foundation of the art is a movement methodology for the use of the feet, body, arms and weapons in unison. Gatka favors rhythmic movement, without hesitation, doubt or anxiety. The attacking and defense methods are based upon the positions of the hands, feet and weapon(s) during the dexterity regimen.
Chanting holy verses may accompany these exercises. The three-beat-per-cycle played by a drummer adds to the coordination during practice.


The correct use of melee weapons is central to gatka with techniques depending on the nature of the weapon. The single-edge sword is gatka's main weapon and is often paired with a shield; the staff is also commonly used.[10] Weapons used in gatka include:
Talwar: curved sword
Lathi: stick of bamboo from one to three meters in length
• Flexible weapons, such as whips and chains.
Churi: knife
Bow and arrow: either traditional Indian steel recurve bows or true composite bows made of wood, horn and sinew. Arrows used are usually fletched reed arrows with tanged steel points.
Barcha: spear
Khanda: traditional Sikh and Rajput straight sword
Peshkarj: dagger
Kukri: bent sword which broadens towards the point
Tabar: axe
Chakram: circular edged weapon that can be thrown. Smaller specimens can be worn like bangles and used as brass knuckles.
Bagh Nakh: leopard's claw, a spiked weapon worn on the hand similar to the Japanese shuko
Katar: dagger able to pierce armor

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