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Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa, Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh!
 
Why is literature on Indian martial arts so rare?
 
There are countless books on Chinese, Japanese and Korean martial arts, but probably only about 5 Kalaripayattu books, and only 4 Gatka books (two in English and two in Punjabi). The first Gatka book was published in 1936 by K. S. Akali. He refers to Gatka as a ‘sport’ and exponents as ‘players’. No association to Sikh warriorhood, etc. And the pentra doesn’t seem correct. Also, it only covers the soti; no dhal talvar, barcha, etc.
 
Then there is Nanak Dev Singh Khalsa’s Gatka book written in the 1980s. It’s mixed with H3O-style yoga. I remember emailing the author directly back in 2000 to obtain his book, which I had read about in an old online Gatka article. He told me to forget about the book and gave me the mobile number of his new Ustad, named… Nidar Singh!
 
In 2000, I travelled to India specifically to obtain books on Indian martial arts (previously could only find brief mentions of IMA in desi magazines and newspapers). In India, I came across large book markets. They had tons of books on school education, poetry, religion, but no Gatka books. Fortunately, though, as I was about to leave from a small store, the shopkeeper pointed to a dusty old book. He said it was titled “Lathi Shiksha”. It was an illustrated manual on quarterstaff fighting written in deep Hindi. Includes some mystical-seeming geometrical patterns. I assume they are the directions of stick-fighting forms. It was so fragile that the pages would break off if bended. No date on it, but could be from the 1940s or 50s.
 
There is a short booklet called Shastar vidya, by Baba Gian Singh (published by Budha Dal). I believe it was first published decades ago. Most of it is full of warrior philosophy and martial verses from the Dasam Granth. There are some dagger-fighting descriptions towards the end.
 
Then there is a 2017 book called “Shastra vidya: The Ancient Indian Martial Art of the Hindu Kshatriyas”. It’s got textual evidence (from Hindu scriptures, epics and treatises) and includes illustrations to go with the descriptions. It covers weapons like bhindipal, vajr, trishul, gada, mayukhi, dhanush, etc. But it’s not by Nidar Singh! I’m surprised Nidar Singh hasn’t brought out a book yet on Shastar vidya.
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probably because like most arts in the east there was a master disciple relationship between the two before transmission of the arts this also included martial arts. The treatise that were written were done by vele monks or masters in noblemen's households who could afford the luxuryof  time not people out fighting fullscale battles for existence like us.

There is also the question of secrecy to maintain the edge of your particular style so important documents were kept under lock and key if ever made and only revealed to the deserving. Remember the furore when Bruce Lee wrote his treatise on Jeet Kun-do

Nidar is not a researcher really that's why he had to partner up with Madra

Edited by jkvlondon
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Waheguru ji ka khalsa

waheguru ji ki fateh

 

Nidar Singh Nihang wrote a book on shastarvidiya in the 90s which is very interesting. Please see this link. http://www.sikhawareness.com/topic/18314-the-fighting-traditions-and-fighting-arts-of-the-traditional-sikh-warriors-the-beloved-of-guru-gobind-singh-ji-the-akali-nihangs-edition-2-1998/

Chatka Vidiya is composed of the following three ele-ments

(shown in order of importance and priority):

1. Bbeck-abbeck dee katha - The paradoxical philosophy

which grants mokhsh (salvation).

2. Ithaasak shatria maryada - Historical martial traditions

which harness martial spirit and give the context to battle

(before fighting it is important to know what to fight for).

3. Dao pech - Traditional Sikh martial techniques com-prising

both platha-baji (unarmed combat) and ayudh

vidiya (hand-to-hand weapon combat)

The hallmark of a true warrior is he who recognises Katcha and Paka (Chatka) Hath . Meaning the Katcheh Gatkabaj by not appreciating Katch Paka . Go for strikes which are Katcheh and thus stand a good chance getting themselves killed . By not appreciating Katch and Paka they can not properly anticipate (Tar) correctly an opponents intentions . Thus they become defensively weak . Both the warriors know the duel can only end in one of their deaths . Chatka Gatka can only be done with the mind fully focused on Kal meaning death meaning Chatka meaning Nishchet Jeet meaning a complete victory . Thus unlike in Jahir Kach Gatka in Chatkabaji when indulging in challenges (Mukablas ) , Chatka Gatka can not be play fully shown . It can only be done.

 

The reason why I am saturating this chapter in traditional Chatka Gatka terminology is to show Jahir Gatkabaj how rich is their traditional true fighting system . Jahir Gatkabaj being a impostor Sikh fighting art has no such richness of martial terminology , technique , traditions or Pentra .

 

 

 

  •  
Edited by Destruction
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19 hours ago, jkvlondon said:

probably because like most arts in the east there was a master disciple relationship between the two before transmission of the arts this also included martial arts. The treatise that were written were done by vele monks or masters in noblemen's households who could afford the luxuryof  time not people out fighting fullscale battles for existence like us.

There is also the question of secrecy to maintain the edge of your particular style so important documents were kept under lock and key if ever made and only revealed to the deserving. Remember the furore when Bruce Lee wrote his treatise on Jeet Kun-do

Nidar is not a researcher really that's why he had to partner up with Madra

Thanks for your response, lkvlondon.

I'm sure Nidar Singh has the backing of loads of people, like weapons collectors and historian Davinder Singh Toor as well as Paramjeet Singh.

Also, I wonder if Ravi Singh (of Khalsa Aid) is Nidar Singh's brother. If you Google their pics, you'll see they look so alike.

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2 minutes ago, Ashtabhuja said:

Thanks for your response, lkvlondon.

I'm sure Nidar Singh has the backing of loads of people, like weapons collectors and historian Davinder Singh Toor as well as Paramjeet Singh.

Also, I wonder if Ravi Singh (of Khalsa Aid) is Nidar Singh's brother. If you Google their pics, you'll see they look so alike.

why so salty ? I meant his skillset is not for sitting trawling through old tomes, doing paper searches and meticulously cataloguing  sources. Each to their own strengths

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19 hours ago, Destruction said:

 

Waheguru ji ka khalsa

waheguru ji ki fateh

 

Nidar Singh Nihang wrote a book on shastarvidiya in the 90s which is very interesting. Please see this link. http://www.sikhawareness.com/topic/18314-the-fighting-traditions-and-fighting-arts-of-the-traditional-sikh-warriors-the-beloved-of-guru-gobind-singh-ji-the-akali-nihangs-edition-2-1998/

Chatka Vidiya is composed of the following three ele-ments

(shown in order of importance and priority):

1. Bbeck-abbeck dee katha - The paradoxical philosophy

which grants mokhsh (salvation).

2. Ithaasak shatria maryada - Historical martial traditions

which harness martial spirit and give the context to battle

(before fighting it is important to know what to fight for).

3. Dao pech - Traditional Sikh martial techniques com-prising

both platha-baji (unarmed combat) and ayudh

vidiya (hand-to-hand weapon combat)

The hallmark of a true warrior is he who recognises Katcha and Paka (Chatka) Hath . Meaning the Katcheh Gatkabaj by not appreciating Katch Paka . Go for strikes which are Katcheh and thus stand a good chance getting themselves killed . By not appreciating Katch and Paka they can not properly anticipate (Tar) correctly an opponents intentions . Thus they become defensively weak . Both the warriors know the duel can only end in one of their deaths . Chatka Gatka can only be done with the mind fully focused on Kal meaning death meaning Chatka meaning Nishchet Jeet meaning a complete victory . Thus unlike in Jahir Kach Gatka in Chatkabaji when indulging in challenges (Mukablas ) , Chatka Gatka can not be play fully shown . It can only be done.

 

The reason why I am saturating this chapter in traditional Chatka Gatka terminology is to show Jahir Gatkabaj how rich is their traditional true fighting system . Jahir Gatkabaj being a impostor Sikh fighting art has no such richness of martial terminology , technique , traditions or Pentra .

 

 

 

  •  

Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa, Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh!

Thanks for your response, Destruction.

I've actually read that book. Printed it out and keep it in my cupboard. It is indeed interesting. But it contains more info on history and philosophy than technique. Wish it was the other way around (though it gives a valuable insight into old school Nihang culture, which you don't find in other books). 

Nidar's book mentions the animal- and deity-based styles which he teaches today. However, in the new book, "Shastra vidya: The Ancient Indian Martial Art of the Hindu Kshatriyas”, there's boxing, grappling, and weapon techniques backed by textual sources, but no mention of the animal and god/goddess styles.

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21 minutes ago, Ashtabhuja said:

Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa, Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh!

Thanks for your response, Destruction.

I've actually read that book. Printed it out and keep it in my cupboard. It is indeed interesting. But it contains more info on history and philosophy than technique. Wish it was the other way around (though it gives a valuable insight into old school Nihang culture, which you don't find in other books). 

Nidar's book mentions the animal- and deity-based styles which he teaches today. However, in the new book, "Shastra vidya: The Ancient Indian Martial Art of the Hindu Kshatriyas”, there's boxing, grappling, and weapon techniques backed by textual sources, but no mention of the animal and god/goddess styles.

the SV book mentioned is the one by Harjit Singh Sagoo?

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31 minutes ago, jkvlondon said:

the SV book mentioned is the one by Harjit Singh Sagoo?

Yes, that's the one. It was on Amazon.

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1 hour ago, Ashtabhuja said:

Yes, that's the one. It was on Amazon.

have you read the  other one on ancient Indian warfare? I think includes section on chankaya in practical use , strategy etc . He wrote it with a gora called Cummings I think

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2 hours ago, jkvlondon said:

have you read the  other one on ancient Indian warfare? I think includes section on chankaya in practical use , strategy etc . He wrote it with a gora called Cummings I think

You mean The Lost Warfare of India. I've got that and the SV book. The warfare book is actually largely based on Chanakya's treatise, Arthashastra (all the sections on warfare, spying and assassination). It's like Ninja stuff, except ancient Indians were doing this sort of thing long before the Ninjas. Have you read it? I wish people (Indian and non-Indian) would write more books like this on ancient Indian martial culture and arts. It helps to have those silhouette images. Not really a fan of text-only books.

Yeah, he wrote it with Cummins. He's a Youtuber and author famous for separating fact from fiction when it comes to the Ninja and Samurai. A lot of what we know about Ninjas comes from Masaaki Hatsumi, but not everything Hatsumi says is true. But Cummins uses textual evidence (when you have that, you cant make anything up).

Also, Sagoo was actually the second person to interview Nidar Singh years ago for MAI (Krishna Godhania was the first) but his SV book doesn't seem to be linked with Nidar's SV (like no mention of Chandi Yudhan, etc.). There's a YouTube trailer of it. Again, the illustrations of Kshatriyas that accompany the text helps.

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3 hours ago, Ashtabhuja said:

You mean The Lost Warfare of India. I've got that and the SV book. The warfare book is actually largely based on Chanakya's treatise, Arthashastra (all the sections on warfare, spying and assassination). It's like Ninja stuff, except ancient Indians were doing this sort of thing long before the Ninjas. Have you read it? I wish people (Indian and non-Indian) would write more books like this on ancient Indian martial culture and arts. It helps to have those silhouette images. Not really a fan of text-only books.

Yeah, he wrote it with Cummins. He's a Youtuber and author famous for separating fact from fiction when it comes to the Ninja and Samurai. A lot of what we know about Ninjas comes from Masaaki Hatsumi, but not everything Hatsumi says is true. But Cummins uses textual evidence (when you have that, you cant make anything up).

Also, Sagoo was actually the second person to interview Nidar Singh years ago for MAI (Krishna Godhania was the first) but his SV book doesn't seem to be linked with Nidar's SV (like no mention of Chandi Yudhan, etc.). There's a YouTube trailer of it. Again, the illustrations of Kshatriyas that accompany the text helps.

been looking at samurai core texts ...it's interesting getting other views on board..,

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It's pretty well established that what we call the martial arts of the East today, kung fu, toa chi originated in the structured format from India and predate 'sikhi' by thousands of years.. The term martial arts is broad and any fighting tradition is in itself a martial art.. However the systems and dharmic focus which trancend fighting and them becoming a yoga or gian were influenced by the arrival of Indian Buddhist monks in India. 

Jatka as a concept is a spiritual concept.. If we are to be benevolent and beyond hate then we must as warriors prepare ourselves for the ultimate test.. To take a life even on the battle field let us take it quickly without even our enemy suffering needlessly... So we train hard learning that if we must take life we take it without hate or gratuitous violence.. We discipline ourselves 

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Sure, Sukhvirk1976. There will always be good and bad people in the world. The Sikh gurus made it our duty to kill those bad people but only when all other means of punishing them have failed (regardless of what the law of the land says. Guru Granth Sahib Ji is our King and Waheguru is our Emperor. Elizabeth II, May, Trump, etc. are not our leaders. Khalsa cannot be led by non-Khalsa). And when we kill, we must do it with a jhatka - one strike (sword to neck, shot to the head or heart) and without hate. Guru Hargobind Ji is said to have killed opponents in battle with a neutral expression on his face.

So that's all good, but I started this topic to get people discussing books on Indian martial arts, because they're so rare. Do you know of any such books? Do you have an opinion as to why there are not that many? And what we can do to change that? 

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jkvlondon, the Samurai texts you've been reading, are they Cummins' books?

He's actually currently in Japan doing more research. He's got already got a chest containing several unpublished Ninja manuscripts which he will publish. All he did was go to Japan and buy them from antique book stores. Such scrolls are available because people, including the Japanese people themselves, aren't hunting for them. Some day, I hope to do the same for Indian martial manuals. 

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3 minutes ago, Ashtabhuja said:

Sure, Sukhvirk1976. There will always be good and bad people in the world. The Sikh gurus made it our duty to kill those bad people but only when all other means of punishing them have failed (regardless of what the law of the land says. Guru Granth Sahib Ji is our King and Waheguru is our Emperor. Elizabeth II, May, Trump, etc. are not our leaders. Khalsa cannot be led by non-Khalsa). And when we kill, we must do it with a jhatka - one strike (sword to neck, shot to the head or heart) and without hate. Guru Hargobind Ji is said to have killed opponents in battle with a neutral expression on his face.

So that's all good, but I started this topic to get people discussing books on Indian martial arts, because they're so rare. Do you know of any such books? Do you have an opinion as to why there are not that many? And what we can do to change that? 

I apologise for I digressed in my post and responded to a side issue with my thoughts.. 

I believe any academic research should be welcome and we need more of it.. For me One of the greatest tragedies to befall the Sikh quam was the loss of the library of Guru gobind Singh Ji in the sirsa after the siege of anandpur.. I believe the academic contribution made by Niddar Singh has great value if we approach it agnostically ie. We as individual researchers judge it upon the merits and veracity of the evidence to substantiate any given proposition..

What I can say is that all research should be encouraged without it being politicised.. I think to create a body of work the Sikh community should set up a bursary fund to finance academics to engage in research where the research is totally independent of any political objectives of the financiers.. Within Sikh community many people are really quick to dismiss and denigrate a piece of work not for any rational reason but rather that the intellectual questions that many works uncover challenge our dogmatic  assumptions .. More research from a plurality of opinions is what we need so that we can eliminate with confidence all nonsense 

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In addition, one problem with research within Indian tradition is that there are very few original documents to use as source material pre-mughal era. Indian philosophical traditions are largely orally transmitted. Compounded by the fact that it is in poetic meter. 

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1 minute ago, Sukhvirk1976 said:

In addition, one problem with research within Indian tradition is that there are very few original documents to use as source material pre-mughal era. Indian philosophical traditions are largely orally transmitted. Compounded by the fact that it is in poetic meter. 

Both of your responses are much appreciated!

I've read the new illustrated Shastar vidya book by Harjit Singh Sagoo and it's backed by textual evidence from numerous Hindu epics, scriptures and treatises, such as the Mahabharat, Ramayan, Nitiprakashik, Shukraniti, Kamadakiya Nitisar, Agni Puran, etc. I got it from Amazon. There's also a trailer about the book on YouTube. This is pre-Mughal martial arts.

There are plenty of texts are out there, but it seems most people are not going through them the way Sagoo did. He's put the book title, chapter and section next to the excerpts and has even drawn illustrations to show the fighting techniques. I've also read in another book that there are unpublished dhanurvedas in Indian libraries, just sitting there. I intend to do something about that one day when I can gather some funds.

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1 minute ago, Ashtabhuja said:

Both of your responses are much appreciated!

I've read the new illustrated Shastar vidya book by Harjit Singh Sagoo and it's backed by textual evidence from numerous Hindu epics, scriptures and treatises, such as the Mahabharat, Ramayan, Nitiprakashik, Shukraniti, Kamadakiya Nitisar, Agni Puran, etc. I got it from Amazon. There's also a trailer about the book on YouTube. This is pre-Mughal martial arts.

There are plenty of texts are out there, but it seems most people are not going through them the way Sagoo did. He's put the book title, chapter and section next to the excerpts and has even drawn illustrations to show the fighting techniques. I've also read in another book that there are unpublished dhanurvedas in Indian libraries, just sitting there. I intend to do something about that one day when I can gather some funds.

Good luck to you my friend.. All knowledge and exploration is of value even if people disagree with the proposition? 

I'd be happy to make some suggestions and help with any fundraising if you so wished.. 

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2 minutes ago, Sukhvirk1976 said:

Good luck to you my friend.. All knowledge and exploration is of value even if people disagree with the proposition? 

I'd be happy to make some suggestions and help with any fundraising if you so wished.. 

Thank you for your good wishes, my friend.

Please feel free to make any suggestions.

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13 minutes ago, Ashtabhuja said:

Thank you for your good wishes, my friend.

Please feel free to make any suggestions.

I would suggest crowd sourcing as a possibility? 

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7 minutes ago, Sukhvirk1976 said:

I would suggest crowd sourcing as a possibility? 

Yes, that's probably the best way. I think that was how a Singh funded the creation of the Garja Singh statues.

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On 2017-6-12 at 3:54 PM, Ashtabhuja said:
 
There is a short booklet called Shastar vidya, by Baba Gian Singh (published by Budha Dal). I believe it was first published decades ago. Most of it is full of warrior philosophy and martial verses from the Dasam Granth. There are some dagger-fighting descriptions towards the end.
 
 

Post the scans up.

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2 hours ago, Ashtabhuja said:

Here you go, Destruction. Found the PDF on Gatka website:

http://docs.wixstatic.com/ugd/bd5529_0ad27fa7939c47ccb5faf521ecfb0ac4.pdf

Please kindly share your thoughts after reading it.

Ashtabhuja 

 

Whoever you are. Thank you! 

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On ‎17‎/‎06‎/‎2017 at 8:48 PM, Destruction said:

Ashtabhuja 

 

Whoever you are. Thank you!

No problem, Destruction. Glad to help.

Would you care to share your thoughts on the book? Comments on the combat section?

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