Types of Martial Arts

Martial Arts Schools and Information


Gatka is an Indian martial art that focuses on fighting techniques that use a range of weapons and is associated with the religion of Sikhism. Swords are the primary weapon of use in Gatka, but the master can use many different forms of weaponry. This fighting system originated during the 16th century and was passed on to the Sikhs by the Rajputs, who were Hindu warriors, in appreciation for releasing the warriors from imprisonment by the Sikh army.

During this time, conflict was inevitable between the Sikhs and the Mughal Empire that ruled India and oppressed the Sikhs and Hindus due to their non-Islamic religious practices.

Guru Gobind Singh Ji, the tenth master of the Sikhs, was an expert of martial arts as well and was the one who had encouraged the Sikhs to study and train in self-defense. Gatka was introduced to all Sikhs, both men and women, who would train in the martial art and be able to fight off aggression and oppression from the Mughal Empire. The martial art taught the Sikhs the value of service for collective and individual honor and dignity.

Gatka became a powerful fighting system that allowed the Sikhs to fight in a number of battles against the Mughal army. The Sikhs were ultimately able to defeat the Mughal and establish a new ruling power in the Punjab region.

Today, the Sikhs have revived the art of Gatka, as they have passed down many of the flashy techniques over the centuries. Despite the mass invasions and persecutions of the native Indian people for hundreds of years, Gatka has been well-preserved and passed down through generations.

The term Gatka refers to the "soti," which is the wooden stick that is used during training. The Gatka techniques consist of mental, physical, and spiritual properties which teach students self-defense skills. An integral part of combat training includes mastering the use of shastars (weapons) for offense and defense. These shastars include Marati (bamboo sticks), nun chucks, axes, lathis, and kirpan.

Masters teach their students how to properly use the marati by instructing movements and promoting the mental mindset required for use. As more experience is gained, other weapons are introduced to a student during training.

As the various techniques are mastered, students are slowly introduced to shields, which may come in many forms. Some shields are light, while others are heavy. Some are very plain and basic, while others have spikes and studs. There are different types of shields for both offense and defense.