Sikhism - History Of GATKA - Sikh Martial Art

  • Gatka is the martial art of the Sikhs and is tied in with the religion Sikhism. It's a weapons-based martial art, which was imparted to the Sikhs in the time of Guru Hargobind Ji (the sixth Guru of the Sikhs) in the 16th century, in gratitude for their release from imprisonment by the fledgling Sikh army of that time. The Sikhs at that time opposed the Mughal Empire, which violently oppressed both Sikhs and Hindus in the name of Islam.

    The Tenth Guru of the Sikhs, Guru Gobind Singh Ji, was an extremely proficient martial artist. He continued to encourage the Sikhs to train seriously in the martial arts, and in 1699 founded the Khalsa, a special Order, to which all Sikhs would thereafter aspire to joining. The Khalsa was subject to strict military and personal discipline, and were enjoined to, inter alia, always carry 5 kakar with them: the Kanga (a small wooden comb), Kachhehra (long drawers instead of a loincloth), Kara (a steel bracer worn on the right wrist), Kesh (uncut hair) and Kirpan (curved sword). The Khalsa was enjoined to train to fight, and to vigorously resist the oppression of any religious community, including Sikhs and Hindus. The wearing of the kirpan represented the martial character of the Khalsa, and all Sikhs, men, women and children, were encouraged to resist their Mughal oppressors, and to train diligently in gatka. Gatka was used succesfully by the Sikhs throughout the 16th and 17th centuries, in numerous battles against the Mughal forces. Eventually, the Sikhs succeeded in deposing the Mughal overlords, and in creating a new, tolerant rulership in the Punjab (the "Land of Five Rivers", a region in modern-day India and Pakistan).
    The Sikhs mastered Gatka and perfected its use in battle. Many hundreds, if not thousands, of battles were decisively won by the Sikhs, despite almost always numbering far fewer than the opposing forces. The techniques within Gatka were combined with the spiritual practices of the Sikhs to create a perfect fighting system. Opposing forces are documented to have cursed the awesome Warrior Saints that the Sikhs were!
    The Sikhs actively used Gatka in warfare for over 200 years, until they finally enjoyed peace under their own rule, free from persecution from the power-hungry Mughals who rested only when they were defeated. 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,USA,CANADA,GERMANY,SINGAPUR, Gatka has grown again in the hearts and minds of the new generation of Sikhs. Now, in the 21st century, western martial artists are slowly beginning to recognise and enquire about Gatka. Such interest has forced the need for websites such as 1 CALIFORNIA GATKA DAL 2 Warrior Saint 3 Kalgidhar Gatka Dal 4 Miri Piri Gatka Dal to educate the world about the formidable art of Gatka.
    Gatka is an ancient battle-tested martial art, which uses the KHANDA, TABAR,TALWAR(Sword), DAHL(Shield), BARCHA, TEER KAMAN , KATAR,as its primary weapons. Today, it exists exclusively amongst the Sikhs who have passed down the flamboyant techniques through generations. Gatka is, and has always been, taught as a spiritual exercise in Sikhism. Sikhism requires its followers to become absorbed in honouring the Name of God, and this is taught through the ecstatic exercise of gatka.