The World Gatka Federation is an international sports organization constituted in the year 2009. This global body has affiliated more than 32 national Gatka Federations. The Gatka Federation of India has taken up various historic initiatives to introduce this martial art Gatka as a recognized sport national and international level.

The Gatka Federation is managing, standardizing, promoting and reviving Gatka as a game. The Gatka Federation and its affiliated Gatka Associations are organizing Gatka Sports Championships, Gatka tournaments and Virsa Sambhal Gatka competitions to perpetuate the rich legacy of age-old martial art Gatka amongst the future generations on one hand and to revive this dying art on the other.

The office bearers of this Federation have full commitment and utmost dedication to promote this game at international level and desirous of Gatka to be included as a game in the Olympics. The Gatka Federation calls upon all commonality to earnestly cooperate, support and help in attaining the desired goal that is the Sikh Sangat longing for utmost since decades.

The Federation cordially invites all Gatka players, sympathizers and supporters to all assist this historical martial game by joining/sponsoring/helping in furtherance of selfless pious cause. This game will certainly help to keep away the youngsters from the menace of intoxicants & narcotics and encourage them to revert to our strong traditional values.
Let come forward.

Regards,
Dr. Deep Singh
General Secretary

INTRODUCTION

Indian martial art 'Gatka' is associated with the Sikhs history and an integral part of an array of Sikh Shastar Vidiya developed during 15th century for self-defence. It was a battle technique of Sikh warriors during the martial period of great Sikh Gurus. The present form further perfected into a sport in the later 19th century. Gatka is performed & played in two sub-styles called Rasmi (traditional) and Khel (sport) respectively in the Northern India since 1920.

EFFORTS

Gatka was generally at public display during religious processions but Punjab Gatka Association (PGA), Chandigarh Gatka Association (CGA) and Gatka Federation of India (GFI), under the aegis of World Gatka Federation, have taken major initiatives for its revival and promotion by putting this rare martial art into practice as a sport in India and worldwide. It is a humble effort to revive this forgotten and dying art having a historical significance. In order to preserve, promote and showcase this rare Sikh martial art at national & international level, these Gatka sports organizations are producing a documentary film on Gatka.

METHODOLOGY

Gatka is a style of stick fighting between two or more practitioners, with wooden sticks (called Soti) intended to simulate swords. In Gatka, the "Stick" and "Farri" are also used to substitute the sword and shield respectively for practice and safety purposes. When one exponent attacks, the opponent blocks it and then counter-attacks the player. It entails a sequence of maneuvers involving pattern of footwork coupled with offensive and defensive skills.

REVIVAL & RULES

The World Gatka Federation with a visionary quest, is managing, standardizing, promoting and reviving this traditional art as a game at international level that was in vogue for self-defence since times immemorial. The Gatka Federation has formulated and standardized in-depth Gatka rules and regulations for playing of Gatka game at all levels and providing trainings to the budding Gatkebaaz through workshops, seminars and camps under the prescribed new Gatka rules book. Gatka weapons demonstrations includes Stick and Farri, Chakar, Chain, Dhal, Kirpan, Khanda, Katar, Talwar, Mace, Tir, Dang etc.The Gatka Federations are passionately longing from all the States as well as Central Government to award due gradations to Gatka game certificates at par with the certificates of other games.

BENEFITS

Gatka is a unique art to defend & display fighting skills and exercise self-control which is the best part of this time-tested martial art. Gatka practice also meant to enable youth to stay healthy and agile by keeping them away from the menace of drug abuse and other intoxicants to lead a disciplined and pious life.

RECOGNITION

The Punjab Government and School Games Federation of India (SGFI) have also incorporated the Gatka game into the school games. Various colleges and universities have also included Gatka into their sports calendars on our persistent appeals. Punjabi University Patiala has hosted 2nd All India Inter-varsity Gatka Tournament in January 2014. The Sports Authority of India (SAI) have also recognized Gatka and providing all support to Gatka Training Academy at Amritsar.

Gatka Federation of India (Regd.) has finalised and fixed allowances/fees for its certified Gatka officials and players associated with the apex Gatka sports body. It is submitted that all educational, religious, social or other institutions or programme/events/sports organisers in India will have to adhere to the prescribed allowances/fees for payment to Gatka Coaches, Referees, Technical Assistants, Judgement Council and team players involved in conduct of Gatka events/tournaments/demonstrations/coaching services etc.

To download complete details and conditions in PDF format, click on the following link.

Details of Fees for Gatka Officials & Players-Signed

Gatka sport is being played with wooden sticks and requires two or more practitioners. In Gatka, the 'Stick' and 'Farri' are also used to substitute the sword and shield respectively for practice and safety purposes. When one exponent attacks, the opponent blocks it and then counter-attacks the player.

The traditional Gatka was generally at public display during religious processions but Punjab Gatka Association (Regd.) and Gatka Federation of India (Regd.) have standardized the Gatka as a game in India and continuously promoting, popularizing and reviving it as a game in Punjab as well as in India similar to other amateur games.

It is a unique art to defend, display fighting skills and exercise self control which is the best part of the martial art Gatka. It is also meant to enable youth to stay healthy and agile by keeping them away from the menace of drug abuse and other intoxicants to lead a disciplined and pious life. Earlier, only the boys could be seen performing this art but now girls have also adopted it and are performing well.

The present martial art form, Gatka, now a sport in India, is a style of fighting only with sticks between two Gatka players, intended to simulate the sword and focuses on infusing physical, spiritual and mental fitness. No sharp edged weapons are used in the transformed Gatka game. The martial art, in which Gatka (wooden stick) is used as a weapon, is called Gatkabaazi. Because the main weapon used in this martial art is Gatka, so people often call this martial art Gatka itself, instead of Gatkabaazi.

The Panjab University at Lahore, now established at Chandigarh, is the pioneer university in Gatka sport as it had been organizing inter-college and inter-varsity Gatka tournaments in sports costume regularly before partition of India. Mr. K.S Akali had drafted Gatka rules for the University in 1936 for playing Gatka as a game. Gatka was being played as a game in the colleges of Punjab till 1972 but after this the Gatka suffered a lot as all the colleges & universities of Punjab discontinued its regular competitions. It was the Punjabi University Patiala that initiated to host its inter-college and university level Gatka competitions in the year 2001.

On the pattern of 1936 rules, the Gatka Federation of India, a registered apex body, has for the first time, formulated and standardized the in-depth Gatka Rules and Regulations with pictorial guidelines in September 2009. It adopted the conventional sports costume (i.e. Track Suits or T-shirt with lower, Sneakers and a Headgear for protection) as a new dress code to play Gatka game in all competitions to make it a 'Cosmopolitan Sport' which was earlier almost on the verge of extinction.

The Gatka Federation of India has been providing training to the budding Gatkebaaz through workshops, seminars and camps under the new Gatka rules. It's a humble effort to revive a forgotten and dying art having a historical significance. It is informed that the Punjab Olympic Association has recognised the Punjab Gatka Association. The Education Department, Government of Punjab has also incorporated the Gatka game into the Punjab schools and universities sports calendar on the persistent appeals of Punjab Gatka Association.

The Punjab Gatka Association had constituted a Sikh Martial Art Research and Training Board (SMART Board) to grant scholarships to the aspiring research scholars doing Ph.D in the field of martial art, especially on Gatka in order to enrich the historical literature on Sikh martial art. Prominent personalities have been included into the SMART Board to verify and accept the research projects.

The Gatka organisations are passionately desiring from the Punjab as well as Central Governments to award due gradations of Gatka game certificates at par with the certificates of other games.

The natives captivated by martial art devised and developed fighting or defensive techniques with sticks on their motherlands as a method of training intended to simulate the swords such as the cavalry sabre or cutlass. In the USA during the early years of the 1900s, fencer, self-defence specialist and military engineer Andrew Chase Cunningham developed a unique system of stick-fighting using a walking stick, which he recorded in his book 'The Cane as a Weapon'.

Single-stick was a popular pastime in the UK from the 18th to the early 20th century and was an event at the Summer Olympics 1904. With the passage of time, despite the interest in the art declined but competitions in stick-fighting was re-introduced into the Royal Navy in the 1980s by commander Locker Madden. The art continued to gain a following amongst the martial art community in the UK, Australia, Canada and the US.

The origins of Martial Art are lost in antiquity but its purpose was primarily of self-defence. All martial arts on the globe shares a common root with other stick-fighting arts such as Stick-Fighting (USA), Arnis/Eskrima/Kali (Philippines), Gatka and Kalaripayattu (Indian), Singlestick (UK), Quarterstaff (European), Garrote Larense (Venezuelan), Stockfechten & Dussack (German), Kendo (Japanese) and Jogo do Pau or Juego del Palo (Portuguese), Donga/Sagenai (Ethopia), Intonga (South Africa), Bataireacht (Ireland), Aontroim Bataireacht (Canada, USA, Germany), etc. It is believed that Latin American & European stick-fighting arts were influenced by Indian dances or Indian martial arts.

The B�ton Fran�ais, also known as French stick-fighting, is a European historical fencing discipline which uses a staff about 1.2 m long (4 ft). The techniques have much in common with Long-sword and Quarterstaff. The B�ton was systematized in France during the 19th century and is still part of a set of skills associated with the modern French martial art of Boxe Fran�aise (Savate).

Canne de Combat is also a French martial art. As weapon, it uses a cane or canne (walking-stick) designed for fighting. Canne de Combat was developed in the early 19th century as a self-defence discipline and standardized in the 1970s for sporting competition. It is still being practised by French military and police forces.

Latin America also has its share of martial arts devoted to stick-fighting like Jogo do Pau (Portuguese) martial art focusing on the use of a staff of fixed measures and characteristics. El Juego del Garrote or Garrote Larense is a Venezuelan martial art that involves machete, garrote, and knife fencing.

Eskrima/Arnis/Kali is the traditional martial art of the Philippines, which emphasize weapon-based fighting with sticks, knives and other bladed weapons, and various improvised weapons. Knowledge of the Filipino fighting skills is mandatory in the Philippine military and police.

  • Gatka is like an art in life, it isn?t just about fighting. To advance oneself physically, mentally and spiritually through the study of martial art, a combination of diligence, dedication and proper training is the keys for Gatkebaaz. The greatest responsibility of Gatka coach is to instill a sense of discipline and a code of ethics in Gatkebaaz to inspire them to lead exemplary lives as leaders in the community.
  • Gatka promotes physical fitness and positive social interaction in a courteous and fun atmosphere. Gatka has very great character forming values. It also develops the humane qualities of self-respect, endurance, calmness, self-control, discipline and the ability to take punishment without whining.
  • It bestows the practitioner Gatkebaaz absolute control over body movements, the mind, and confidence in the self. In addition to the blows and guards, that constitutes a stock of most useful and important exercises, Gatka provides very inclusive armour of defence against the ordinary dangers of attack.
  • Gatka increases cardio fitness. It really gets you moving, whether it?s doing patterns, sparring, or practicing different techniques. Training sessions also usually include a warm-up at the beginning, to get your heart rate going.
  • Gatka improves muscle tone and strength. It requires you to use your entire body, which tones all your muscles, increasing your strength, too. It also tones and stretches your eyes’ muscles during constant gazing on the opponent thereby boosts your attentiveness and concentration of mind and vision.
  • Gatka teaches self-defence. It?s no secret that most martial arts are based on a form of combat, and defending oneself. It will help you to be prepared if ever you are in a dangerous situation?not necessarily to fight back, but at least to react in the best possible manner.
  • Gatka improves flexibility and coordination of muscles. Different techniques and exercises can greatly help to improve your balance, posture, flexibility and coordination.
  • Gatka puts emphasis on self-confidence and respect. Many types of martial arts, especially the Gatka is great for improving your self-discipline, as well as put the emphasis on being self-confident, and respecting oneself, as well as others.
  • Last not the least. Gatka reduces your weight during fights and training. A healthy mind resides in a healthy body. One can develop and maintain a healthy body by actively participating in Gatka. It keeps body alert, active, youthful and energetic. Gatka enhances boost metabolism, burn calories and improve the respiration and digestive system.
  • Gatka is so energizing and amazing that it provides recreation and enjoyment. Thousands of fans excitedly showers praise and enthusiasm to the Gatka players. It relieves their stress and anxieties.

The following common Shastrs (Weapons) wre being used in traditional Gatka events:

  • BARCHA : The spear is a long shafted weapon and has a hook at the spearhead used to pull away the opponent's shield.
  • CHAKAR : The Chakar looks like a wagon wheel with weights at the end of each spoke. The chakar is wielded by grasping the centre and spinning it around, causing damage upon anyone coming too close to the spinning weights.
  • CHAKRAM : The chakram is a flat steel ring, five to 12 inches in diameter, from half an inch to an inch and a half wide, and with a sharp outer edge. While not being used, it is carried �fixed� to the Turban. Several of different sizes were often carried on a pointed turban, the �dastar ungaa� or behind the back. It is held between the thumb and index finger and thrown towards the opponent with an underhand flick. Thrown with sufficient force and accuracy it can cut off a green bamboo three-quarter of an inch in diameter at a distance of thirty yards.
  • DAHL OR SHIELD : It is nearly always round and varies in diameter from about eight inches to about twenty-four. Some are very nearly flat while others are strongly convex. The edges may be flat or rolled back in the reverse curvature of the shield. It is held by two handles fastened to ring bolds that pass through the shield and are riveted to bosses on the outside, sometimes formed to spikes. Between the handles there is a square cushion for the knuckles to rest against. The handles are so placed that, when tightly grasped, they force the backs of the fingers against the cushion giving a very firm and comfortable hold. These shields are nearly always of steel or leather.
  • GURJ OR MACE : Indian maces have great variations in their shape. From simply curved steel bars to Persian influenced maces with openings in the head which gives a whistling sound when the blow was struck to plane massive heads. They often have guard hilts like the Khanda.
  • KATAR : The Katar is a double-edged and straight bladed dagger used to pierce armour. The handle has two sidebars to provide protection and a better grip.
  • KHANDA : This is a typical Indian sword and has a broad, straight blade, usually widening towards the point, which is blunt. Sometimes it is also double-edged.
  • KIRPAN : The Kirpan is a short curved dagger and all Sikhs are required to carry it by tradition.
  • LATHI : The lathi or quarterstaff is a wooden stick as tall as the warrior and made of oak.
  • MARATI : The Marati is a bamboo stick with wooden or cloth balls on its ends. It is mainly used for training purposes but there are variations with blades or burning cloth on its ends, to attack and distract elephants and for psychological warfare.
  • SOTI : This is made from fire hardened bamboo or ratan, 1m long and usually has a hand guard. It is mainly used for practice and �playing Gatka�, the training fight. For combat they were replaced by oak ore ironwood sticks, without hand guards.
  • TAPAR : The battle-axe is very distinct from the normal axe and sometimes has a dagger concealed in the handle.
  • TALWAR : The sword is usually curved with a thin and sharp blade. The Talwar is greatly respected and treated with care.
  • TIR KAMAN : The bow and arrow is a potent weapon. The arrow is made of steel heads with reed shafts. The bow is also composite and made of layers of wood and steel.
     
  • The importance of martial art Gatka can hardly be overestimated. A cosmopolitan sport Gatka contributes al-round physical activity during playing or exercise. Every part of the body got involves during Gatka fight and the Gatka player has to move fast, run, squat, lunge, bend and twist his trunk in all directions. Very often, he has to dance on his toes swiftly. Even the eyes and mind have to exert hard to do their allotted tasks. Consequently, it strengthens muscles and nervous tissues, improves structures of joints, helps efficient functioning of all the seven systems of the body and thus imparts speed, agility and endurance to its participant.
  • It is also a splendid developer of lung capacity. Besides, playing of Gatka purifies blood and helps to drive away rheumatic germs that might be moving about trying to lodge in the joints. Lastly, it is enormously useful from sociological point of view. An exponent of this art can live with dignity and move in society peacefully and comfortably. Gatkebaaz can easily guard his life by defending a number of opponents at least in time of need due to this self-defence art. It comforts as an effective self-defence for womenfolk who could challenge the eve-teasers easily.
  • On the top of it, the Gatka game is comparatively less expensive. It requires much less space and facilities than are needed for many other major games which are far less important so for as imparting of carryover values are concerned. One can never hesitate to assert that proper exercises of Gatka are sure to result in strong physique, graceful posture, keen judgement and fearless mind.
  • Gatka sport also has the significance of an activity pursuing the ultimate limits of human potential. On a social scale, it is a significant element in the sound development of the young and the generation of a sense of solidarity in local communities. It would also contribute to the national economy and promote friendly relations.