Gatka – Martial Art of Punjab

Sikh Gurus Founded Gatka Martial Art

The Sikh Gurus founded Gatka martial art to defy the Mughal threats to save their community generations. Guru Nanak was born into a Kshatriya family and founded the Sikh religion. All his first disciples also belonged to the Kshatriya family. So that besides following the peaceful preachers of their Gurus, they also practise the martial art Gatka for self-protection and physical and mental perfection. Especially Guru Angad Dev encouraged his followers to train their bodies physically and mentally by practising martial arts. Generally, one believes that the Gurus asked their disciples to follow spiritual speeches. Even though, in those days, there was a need to protect the Sikh community from the attacks of Mughal rulers.

Contribution of Guru Hargobind Sahib

Later Guru Hargobind Sahib Ji turned into a warrior saint to become a shield to his community. He was the first Guru who encouraged the disciples to fight for self-defence. After the martyrdom of Guru Arjun dev Ji, Guru Hargobind Sahib called the Sikh community to take up arms to protect future generations and fight against the tyrant Aurangzeb. Once Mughal generals captured 52 princes, Guru Hargobind Dev Ji assembled a group of efficient warriors in Martial arts and sent them to free the prices and succeeded. This led to the exchange of techniques among the Martial arts of Rajasthan and Punjab.

How the Khalsa Ritual helped Gatka’s evolution

At first, Guru Nanak founded the Sikh religion on peace and brotherhood. However, the Sikhs continuously fought against the Mughal rulers to protect their faith. In 1699, Guru Gobind Singh, the master of Gatka martial arts, founded the Khalsa brotherhood. This was a ritual of baptising his disciples by dipping a sword in the Khalsa, filled with the Nectar of immortality. At first, five of his disciples were baptised, and later all the community was baptised and added the ‘Sikh’ word at the end of their names. In the later years, the Sikhs formed the Khalsa army and the Sikh Empire. The central concept of the Khalsa army was worshipping one God, fighting against evil and helping the poor. This army practised the martial art of Gatka for hundreds of years and easily defied the conquerors of the enemies.

Techniques of Gatka

Gatka is based upon Single movements of body parts. Which is called ‘Panthra’; these movements are practised for long hours to develop the accuracy of footwork. This footwork balances the entire body while using the weapons. This Panthra can be practised in different directions. One who learned these various footwork movements could efficiently perform using 18 other weapons. Now Gatka Martial art is trendy in the world.