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Sikhism

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Gatka (Punjabi: ਗਤਕਾ, gatkā ) is a traditional Sikh martial art. Gatka was handed down from the period of the 6th Guru of the Sikhs, Guru Hargobind Sahib (early 17th century). Punjabi (also Panjabi; in GurmukhÄ«, PanjābÄ« in ShāhmukhÄ«) is the language of the Punjabi people and the Punjab regions of India and Pakistan. ... A Sikh (IPA: or ; Punjabi: , , IPA: ) is an adherent of Sikhism. ... Hawaiian State Grappling Championships. ... Sikhism (IPA: or ; Punjabi: , , IPA: ) is a religion that began in sixteenth century Northern India with the teachings of Nanak and nine successive human gurus. ... Guru Har Gobind Ji (19 June 1595 - 03 March 1644) was the sixth of the Ten Gurus of Sikhism and became Guru on 25 May 1606 following in the footsteps of his father Guru Arjan Dev Ji. ... (16th century - 17th century - 18th century - more centuries) As a means of recording the passage of time, the 17th century was that century which lasted from 1601-1700. ...

Contents

Origin as an original system

Gatka emerged formally from its original birthplace in the Punjab region of northern India. Punjab, 1903 Punjab Province, 1909 Punjab (Persian: ‎, meaning Land of the five Rivers) (c. ...


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

Unfortunately much of it has been lost and what is left primarily exists only through oral tradition.


The Sikhs mastered Gatka and perfected its use in battle. Many hundreds, if not thousands, of battles were decisively won by the Sikhs, despite often being outnumbered. The techniques within Gatka were combined with the spiritual practices of the Sikhs to create a complete fighting system. Opposing forces are documented to have cursed the Sikhs for their skills in fighting.


The Sikhs actively used Gatka in warfare for over 200 years, until they finally enjoyed peace under their own rule, free from the Mughal Empire. Since then, Gatka has been passed down as a tradition amongst the Sikh generations. With the emigration of Sikhs to western countries such as the UK, Gatka has grown again in the hearts and minds of the new generation of Sikhs. Now, in the 21st century, martial artists in the West are slowly beginning to recognize Gatka and inquire about it. The Mughal Empire at its greatest extent. ...


Origin from a prior system

A different theory of origin is that Gatka is a remnant of Shastar Vidiya system. According to mostly oral tradition and some writings, Shastar Vidiya was a system learned from the Rajputs (another kingdom in NW India) in reward for aid in liberating some fifty-two Rajput princes from the Mogul empire in India. It was perfected by the time of the tenth and last Sikh Guru. Shastar Vidiya, also called Sanatan Sikh Shastar Vidiya is a form of weapon training practised by Sikhs. ... Image:Maharana Pratap. ...


It blended the skill practice with deep spiritualism. It taught the learners that they learn from their Gurus and also from the weapons themselves. In a manner of speaking, the users also worshipped the weapons as teachers. The practitioners would not submit to British rule of the Punjab. Shastar Vidiya was found intolerable by the British occupying forces and the exponents were proscribed and hunted down. Supposedly, it nearly died out except for a few surviving members. However, it was kept alive even though the British authorities and some Sikh accommodating the new government started Gatka as a replacement for it. The British favoured Gatka as it kept Sikh militarism as a useful (as part of the British-officered Indian Army), and controllable (no latent hostility against the British interests), asset.


Technique

One of the most important things learned in gatka is Paenthra. Paenthra is the ritualized footwork involved in fighting moves, and every fighting move has a different paenthra. A very important paenthra is also performed before picking up the weapon of choice. The paenthras used for picking up a weapon is unique to each gatka club, or school. One with experience in gatka would therefore be able to see which club a practitioner is from, merely by looking at their paenthra.


The arm movements are circular representing the Sikhs belief of one God who was never born and will never die, similar to one of the five Ks, the kara(or bracelet). Some Gatka members state that the above sentences further support the theory that Gatka was in fact an authentic system passed down from Guru Hargobind Sahib Ji and not the remnants of "shaster vidya". The Five Ks, or kakaars, are five items that baptised Orthodox Sikhs wear at all times either out of respect for the tenth teacher, Guru Gobind Singh, or out of a sense of religious devotion. ...


Weapons

It is largely weapon-based. The three primary types of weapons used are:

Gatka had none of Shastar Vidiya's almost unarmed fighting system (e.g. Chakra or Kara, the sharpened war wrist bracelet used in hand to hand combat and also as a quoit (deadly flying disc)). Swiss longsword, 15th or 16th century Look up Sword in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... A talwar or tulwar is a type of saber from Mughal India dating back to at least the 17th century. ... Diversity Around 91 genera and 1,000 species Subtribes Arthrostylidiinae Arundinariinae Bambusinae Chusqueinae Guaduinae Melocanninae Nastinae Racemobambodinae Shibataeinae See the full Taxonomy of the Bambuseae. ... Lathi is an ancient armed martial art of India. ... A whip is a cord or strap, usually with a stiff handle, used for delivering blows to human beings or animals as a means of control or punishment or torture. ... Shastar Vidiya, also called Sanatan Sikh Shastar Vidiya is a form of weapon training practised by Sikhs. ... Sikhs with chakrams, inscribed Nihang Abchal Nagar (Nihangs from Hazur Sahib), 1844 The chakram is a throwing weapon that was used by the ancient Indians; it is a flat metal ring with a sharp outer edge from 5 to 12 inches in diameter. ... Kara - one of the five articles of faith for the Sikhs The Sikhs were commanded by Guru Gobind Singh at the Baisakhi Amrit Sanchar in 1699 to wear a steel slave bangle called a Kara at all times. ... The quoit is a brooch popular during Saxon times. ...


It has few of the original fifteen weapons (e.g. Barsha (spear), Choori (large Khyber or Afghan knife), Peshkarj (dagger-like knife) etc.) except for the Tulwar (single-edged Persian sabre), Lathi (staff), Khanda (Double-edged sword) and some other weapons. A talwar or tulwar is a type of saber from Mughal India dating back to at least the 17th century. ... Lathi is an ancient armed martial art of India. ... The Khanda The Khanda is one of the most important symbols of Sikhism. ...


This theory is also controversial as there are somewhat strong feelings for and against it. As mentioned above, Gatka is primarily a weapons based art.


Modern Controversy

According to the Shastar Vidiyia exponents, Gatka eventually devolved into a sport and exhibition form that is shown at Sikh festivals and is shorn of the ancient and actual combat skills. There was at least one reported instance where a Shastar Vidiya exponent challenged a leading Gatka organization head to a no-holds barred match for the purpose of re-establishing the ancient methods of perfecting methods by combat. This interesting ritual has rules that reportedly gave assurances that all injuries, deaths would be forgiven in the quest for perfection and that the loser (if alive and not permanently maimed) would receive more teachings from the winner to perfect himself and then ask for a rematch with the winner. Below is a report stating that the contest had taken place and is recorded on film. Although the final result remains somewhat inconclusive, the strong feelings and controversy involved is readily apparent.


Currently there is a huge feud and rivalry between The International Gatka Organisation (Mainly the umbrella group, Baba Fateh Singh Gatka Akhara) headed by Ustad Bhai Uptej Singh "Teji" and the Shastar Vidiya Organization headed by Nihang Niddar Singh. It started from when the Shastar Vidya organisation started to put down Gatka by stating superiority of Shastar Vidya and calling Gatka a mere sport. One recorded battle took place between Teji and Niddar with the fight being broken up before a winner could be found. There is no audio for the tape so what happens after the grappling begins (i.e. when Teji allegedly debunks or rebukes Niddar) is subject to conjecture. The summary following was provided by an assumed spectator present at the contest. Teji can be seen knocking Niddar's stick out of his hand thus turning the fight into a grappling match. After Niddar jumps on Teji, he is rebuked. The video can be watched here: http://tv.waheguroo.com/?view=21


External links

References

  • Nanak Dev Singh Khalsa & Sat Katar Kaur Ocasio-Khalsa (1991) Gatka as taught by Nanak Dev Singh, Book One - Dance of the Sword (2nd Edition). GT International, Phoenix, Arizona. ISBN 0-89509-087-2

See also

Part of a series on Indian martial arts

edit The Indian subcontinent is home to a variety of martial arts, including Pehlwani, Kalarippayattu, Vajra Mushti and Gatka. ...

Various Indian martial arts Pehlwani, Kalarippayattu, Malla-yuddha, Vajra Mushti / Vajra Mukti, Chakram, Kabaddi, Silambam Nillaikalakki, Gatka and other arts
Notable Practitioners The Great Gama, Phillip Zarrilli, Karl Gotch, John Will, Jyesthimallas, Gobar Goho, Imam Baksh Pahalwan, Paul Whitrod, Gulam
Related articles Kshatriya, Yoga, Indian mêlée weapons, Dravidian martial arts, Ayurveda, Sri Lankan martial arts, Topics related to Kalarippayattu, Indian martial arts in popular culture, Foreign influence on Chinese martial arts

  Results from FactBites:
 
Gatka (944 words)
Gatka was used succesfully by the Sikhs throughout the 16th and 17th centuries, in numerous battles against the Mughal forces.
Gatka is normally taught with rhythmic accompaniment, and the object is to achieve fluid, natural and flowing movement, without hesitation, doubt or anxiety.
Gatka students always train with "both hands full", as this is both an excellent exercise for matching the two halves of the body and is emphasised as ideal for combat.
Martial arts training - Gatka (903 words)
Gatka was used successfully by the Sikhs throughout the 16th and 17th centuries, in numerous battles against the Mughal forces.
Gatka students always train with "both hands full", as this is both an excellent exercise for matching the two halves of the body and is emphasized as ideal for combat.
Gatka emphasizes the superiority of having something in both hands, whether it's two sticks, or a stick and a sword, or a sword and a shield or any other combination.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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