South Asian form of combat-training in which wooden sticks are used to simulate swords in sparring matches. Fire fighting training pdf in hindi English, the terms gatka and shastar vidya are very often used specifically in relation to Panjabi-Sikhs.
In actuality, the art is not unique to any particular ethno-cultural group or religion but has been the traditional form of combat throughout north India and Pakistan for centuries. Attacks and counterattacks vary from one community to another but the basic techniques are the same. This article will primarily use the extended definition of gatka, making it synonymous with shastara-vidiya.
The sport form is played by two opponents wielding wooden staves called gatka. These sticks may be paired with a shield. Points are scored for making contact with the stick. The other weapons are not used for full-contact sparring, but their techniques are taught through forms training.
The ritual form is purely for demonstration and is performed to music during occasions such as weddings, or as part of a theatrical performance like the chhau dance. A practitioner of gatka is called a gatkabaj while a teacher is addressed as Guru or Gurudev. Gatka originated in what is now north India and neighbouring Pakistan where the regional system of fighting is today most commonly termed shastara-vidiya, originally a classical Sanskrit word for armed combat. Its creation is attributed to the god Shiva and his devotees.
The oldest manual on the northern Indian fighting system was said to have been the Shiva Dhanurveda, at present no longer extant. The sage Vasistha is said to have based his own work, the Dhanuveda Samhita, on the aforementioned manual.
Early Shaivite sages and Kapalika are credited as progenitors and disseminators of the art of combat, even the most peaceful of whom are recorded as being fierce when confronted by enemies. By the 6th century BC, ten fighting styles were said to have already been in existence, developed in different regions for use in different terrain.
Their convergence is traditionally traced to the city of Takshashila in present-day West Punjab, Pakistan. Held in high regard by the eastern janapada for its connection to the ancient epics, Takshashila quickly became a hub of trade and higher education. Known particularly for its schools of law, medicine and military sciences, the city attracted students from throughout South Asia.
Takshashila provides the earliest tangible evidence of the teaching of systemised combat in the Panjab region, especially but not exclusively archery. But as a city built on scholarship with little in the way of natural defences, Takshashila witnessed a string of foreign conquests throughout its history before finally being sacked by the White Huns in the 5th century AD. The rest of India was spared from the Huns in large part due to the efforts of various Indian kings who rose up against the conquerors.
Beginning in the 10th century Muslim raiders began invading northern India, resulting in violent confrontations which would continue for centuries. Gurjaras and their Rajput successors. In one famous battle, Govinda-raja of Delhi duelled Muhammed of Ghor. Each on horseback, Govinda lost his front teeth to the Ghorid’s lance, but eventually won the contest by piercing his opponent’s arm with his spear.