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 56339409 Sikh Warrior624X510

BBC News – The only living master of a dying martial art.

A former factory worker from the British Midlands may be the last living master of the centuries-old Sikh battlefield art of shastar vidya. The father of four is now engaged in a full-time search for a successor.

The basis of shastar vidya, the “science of weapons” is a five-step movement: advance on the opponent, hit his flank, deflect incoming blows, take a commanding position and strike.

It was developed by Sikhs in the 17th Century as the young religion came under attack from hostile Muslim and Hindu neighbours, and has been known to a dwindling band since the British forced Sikhs to give up arms in the 19th Century.

Nidar Singh, a 44-year-old former food packer from Wolverhampton, is now thought to be the only remaining master. He has many students, but shastar vidya takes years to learn and a commitment in time and energy that doesn’t suit modern lifestyles.

Mr. Singh is searching India and Pakistan for a young successor, I thought I’d help get the word out. Toe blades, chain mail, tridents – it’s very tempting.

Phillip Torrone

Editor at large – Make magazine. Creative director – Adafruit Industries, contributing editor – Popular Science. Previously: Founded – Hack-a-Day, how-to editor – Engadget, Director of product development – Fallon Worldwide, Technology Director – Braincraft.


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Comments

  1. Looks like the ancestor of Klingons

    1. Anonymous says:

      does my butt look big this? you can tell me, really – don’t pay attention to the toe blades.

  2. Kris says:

    Toe blades, chain mail and tridents may be tempting but there is a catch – you have to wear that hat any time in your life.

  3. haqn says:

    Ah the sheer inspirational power of murder and mayhem.

  4. Daniel Kim says:

    Those eyes! He can just paralyze you with his gaze, and then cut you down. 

  5. As a Sikh I will tell you that Niddar is a fraud.

    He is not a Sikh and further more he made up the so called martial
    art that he practices. It is not main stream nor recognized by Sikhs.

    This guy has also had allegations that he molested and raped women who will not step forward
    publicly. I have personally dealt with this issue and have helped expose
    him on numerous occasions. Unfortunately, he is trying to get himself
    into the mainstream western consciousness and bypass any legitimacy
    within Sikh/Indian mainstream.

    Please stop giving him publicity.

    1. Anonymous says:

      I’m not doubting you, but I can’t seem to find any of these accusations on Google news. I’d be the last person on Earth to support someone like you mentioned, but without proof I can’t in good conscience deface this guy.

    2. VRAndy says:

      Well, obviously he’s not mainstream. If he was, he wouldn’t describe himself as the “last” practitioner of this art. That’s clear enough.

      It’s also clear that a martial art of the same name is real enough and goes back at least centuries.

      Although it doesn’t take much googling to discover that there’s been a popular revival of this in the 80s and 90s. Complete with tournaments and stuff.   So I wonder exactly how he determined that he’s the “last master” of this art.

      1. Manny Tiwana says:

        You’re mistaking it with “Gatka” – unfortunately a number of Gatka practitioners have now copied the name.  They could easily have called what they do “Judo”, but we would all pick up on it being a lie.  Unfortunately because no one in the mainstream is aware of Shastar Vidiya to the average joe bloggs it’s the same thing.

        There have been absolutely no real Shaster Vidiya tournaments in modern times…

      2. Manny Tiwana says:

        You’re mistaking it with “Gatka” – unfortunately a number of Gatka practitioners have now copied the name.  They could easily have called what they do “Judo”, but we would all pick up on it being a lie.  Unfortunately because no one in the mainstream is aware of Shastar Vidiya to the average joe bloggs it’s the same thing.

        There have been absolutely no real Shaster Vidiya tournaments in modern times…

    3. I also heard from a friend of a friend of a guy who heard from another guy that he loves marmite…Marmite!!!!

    4. I also heard from a friend of a friend of a guy who heard from another guy that he loves marmite…Marmite!!!!

    5. Bal says:

      I have been to a few classes by Nidar Singh! The martial art he teaches is not made up! It would be impossible to make up an art that is so effective, it is recognised by masters of other arts as being effective! If it were fraudulent surely someone would have picked up on that.
      As for Nidar Singh not being sikh? Who are you to decide this? He is an honest man! With an ocean of knowledge regarding northern indian martial arts! I have been practicing martial arts for the last 25 years! Nidar Singh is definately amongst the best I’ve seen.

  6. Daniel Kim says:

    Toe-blades and a matchlock are all very well and good, but he really needs a . . .
    Laser-guided wrist crossbow and a set of Wolverine Claws.

  7. Didn’t anyone read the patch notes?

    The Steam Punk Holy Warrior class is significantly underplayed and will be removed from version 2012 going forward to make room for new class types.

  8. Anonymous says:

    He is NOT the only surviving MASTER read Nidar Sikhs owns words

    KG: Are there many masters of this art?
    NS: As guns became more popular the emphasis on this art decreased in the itinierant Akali Nihang armies. Today there are not many masters of this art alive. The ones I know, if still alive, are Nihang Baba Ram Singh in UP, India and Bhai Ranjit Singh of Patiala who has partial knowledge of this art. There are no doubt others in Budha Dal (oldest Sikh martial order established in 1606) but they being itinerant mendicants of secretive nature, are not easy to track down.

    Frank Levin, Martials Arts Magazine, USA

  9. Nihang Singh says:

    The quote from Frank Levin is from the Martial Arts
    Illustrated Magazine Vol17 No4 during an interview between Krishna Godhania and
    Nihang Nidar Singh in 2004.  At that time
    Nidar Singh was still hopeful and looking for other Gurdev’s of Shastar Vidiya.
    Regards Baba Ram Singh, who he had desired to bring over to the UK, he had
    heard unverified rumours he had suddenly passed on.

     

    Next year on a trip to India Udaey Singh (Secretary of
    Shriomani Akali Budha Dal) would verify that Baba Raam Singh had passed away
    unexpectedly in 2002. As for Ranjit Singh his knowledge of the art was limited
    to simple self defence techniques and he had little knowledge of the higher
    elements of Shastar Vidiya such as the forms and battle formations.

     

    Amongst itinerant Buddha Dal Nihangs Nidar Singh hoped there
    may be another master but up to this date he or others who have searched have
    found none after 11 years of searching for them. Until another master is found
    and evidence of his skill and knowledge produced, Nidar Singh remains the last
    individual with the knowledge of the classical Sikh battlefield combat arts.

     

    Readers should not confuse exhibitionist Gatka with Shastar
    Vidiya even though many of its teachers claim their shenanigans are Shastar
    Vidiya. We have to accept Nidar Singh, who is openly teaching and exposing his
    art to the scrutiny of the world, is the only master of Sanatan Shastar Vidiya.
    If it can be proven otherwise Nidar Singh says he will bow to such a fellow
    Gurdev and be all the happier for it; so as the burden of preserving this
    wondrous art is not on his shoulders alone. Gurfateh/God bless.

  10. anonymous says:

    i remember 13 years ago I met Nidar and he used to say that he didnt know his master as he did not tell him his name, then slowly he started to change the names and add in other ones. although he may have a decent martial art now but it is not ancient or centuries old. He also spent some time in singapore learning silat. maybe he watches too many kung fu movies.