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Gatka article in MAI


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Jan 09 issue of Martial Arts Illustrated in the UK.

An article about Harjinder Singh of Birmingham who teaches Gatka. Interesting the way he has mish-mashed it with other Oriental martial arts in terms of style and clothing.

Also a subtle dig at Nidar Singh Nihang where he says to the interviewer that he doesn't need to accept any challenges from others!

He was a one time student of Nanak Dev Singh and Nihang Nidar SIngh.

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I went to buy the issue, but when I saw the article I put it back on the shelf, awful (a bit like the "art)

LOL Know what you mean!! hence the reason I mentioned just reading it in WHSmiths.

Bhujangi, Would you mind explaining to the forum about the Self-promotional, vague details of the article? Or the heavily censored pre-agreed questions?

Though one thing I have noticed about most gatka akharas in the UK is the change in the 'arts' background and history over the last few years. eg: them moving away from the "Gatka is a Sikh martial arts started by the 6th Guru". Apparently, now they think its 10,000 years old now!

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I bought the magazine for refference purposes,

Here is the article:

MAI: Ustaad Ji (Sensei) – What is your martial art background?

Harjinder Singh: In the last fifteen years or so, I have had some training in Kung Fu, Aikido, Karate training, and at present I am training in art of Kinjite Karate – a very rare form. But I am most experienced and trained in the Gatka art.

MAI: What is the history of gatka?

HS: Gatka is probably more than 10,000 years old, but the Sikhs adopted this art during the 16th century against the tyrant Mughal Oppressors.

MAI: Is the art unique to the Punjab or was it influenced by other Oriental/Western martial arts?

HS: It was widely spread in India but over the centuries it has become part of the Sikh heritage, due to the fact that Sikhs are mastering and defining the art to perfection.

MAI: What areas of combat does Gatka encompass?

HS: Gatka uses many form forms of footwork and handwork both armed, semi armed, fully armoured and un-armed.

MAI: What are the principle tactics/strategy used by Gatka practitioners?

HS: The principle tactics are to learn to defend one against many opponents.

MAI: Is there a spiritual side to the art?

HS: Yes there is, Gatka has a balance of spiritual and physical elements.

MAI: Is Gatka a weapon based art or does it have empty hand components?

HS: It consists of both empty hand and weapon based components.

MAI: What are your favourite weapons and why?

HS: I don’t have a favourite.. the weapon I pick up at training sessions, demo or sparring sessions is my favourite weapon, which ever one it may be.

MAI: IS Gatka a complex art or easy to learn?

HS: Like all arts it depends on the individual, although the science behind the art is easy to understand.

MAI: Do you have a ranking structure in Gatka?

HS: Yes

MAI: What makes Gatka a unique art?

HS: The uniqueness of Gatka is that its quite an open art and is able to adapt to an opponents moves with or without weapons.

MAI: Are there many masters in the UK?

HS: No

MAI: As a master, do you have to accept challenges from those who want to test your skills?

HS: No, and I consider myelf a learner on a journey to become a master.

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So what if different martial ars are combined. The important thing is that one learns how to fight..

True, in fact to be a complete fighter, you have to learn from different sources. Each art has its strong and weak points.

Even the techniques taught by Niddar Singh are an amalgamation of different martial arts, despite what he says.

The aspect most neglected by Singhs today is firearms training. Even in India, Nihangs who carry guns haven't gone past the old WW2 .303 rifles.

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Matheen, please explain exactly which martial arts Niddar Singh has alamgamated into his fighting style? With refference to the Khat Ang Penthras, Sapt Ang and Dev Ang, which arts has he taken to form those?

True traditional arts were complete and covered all aspects of fighting, the reason why modern day martial artists cross train is because they have a particular weakness in their art which can be supplemented with another. Shastarvidiya however is a true combat art which covers fighting at all levels.

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Who is Harjinder Singhs Gurdev?

This question always seems to be a allude all the prominent 'gatka ustaads' in the UK.

That Harjinder Singh has such a keen interest in learning so many other martial arts clearly shows (in my opinion) the holes that exist in the exhibition art he practices or his understanding of it. A practitioner of a true/complete art - will know that even after 40 years, there is still much to learn from it....

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