By Sheela Chandran | The Star | Malaysia |
LAW student Gurkiran Kaur, 22, is proud to be one of the few Malaysian women skilled in gatka, an ancient martial art form that’s still practised in the Sikh community.
Gurkiran spends much of her free time trying to master the art of gatka, a martial art system that combines spiritual, mental und physical training and uses various shastars (weapons) such as bam-boo sticks, axes and kirpan (a sword or knife).
“I spend about one or two hours practising different gatka self-defence techniques. What’s interesting about gatka is that it relies on feet movement as well as body and arm strength. Gatka, just like other martial arts, is a good all-body workout which helps build both my upper and lower body strength.
“As a girl, it is important to learn the art of self-defence so I can protect myself without having to rely on others for help,” says Gurkiran who lives in Subang Jaya.
Gurkiran also wants to learn gatka because it is a part of her culture and heritage.
“Not many Sikh youths are keen to learn gatka. They prefer to sign up for martial arts that are deemed trendier like muay thai, karate or mixed martial arts.
“I choose gatka over the other forms of martial arts because it’s a part of my religion and culture. I want to go tie to learn this martial art as it can help me to increase my spirituality as well as my knee of self defence,” explains Gurkiran.
Gatka – based on the Indian martial art shastar vidyaa (the science and art of weapons) – is an ancient north-western Indian martial art developed by Sikh priest Baba Budha Ji in the 17th century.
Read the full story, ‘These Malaysians are giving the dying Sikh martial art gatka a fighting chance’ (The Star, 9 April 2021), here.
Gatka-trained lady chases away 3 knife-wielding attackers from father’s store (Asia Samachar, 22 Jan 2021)