Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Martial Arts Safety Initiative: Protecting Lives, Preserving Heritage

by Manjari Singh

In the wake of alarming videos showcasing perilous stunts performed during Gatka and other martial arts demonstrations at Nagar Kirtans, Sikh festivals, and rural sports fairs, international bodies devoted to the promotion of these arts have launched a concerted effort to raise awareness about the grave risks involved.

A particularly shocking incident, captured in a viral video, depicted a group of martial artists and onlookers, including children and women, narrowly escaping harm during a fiery stunt performance at a Nagar Kirtan in a village of Malwa. This disturbing footage served as a catalyst for proactive measures to address this concerning trend.

Pardeep Singh, President of the Malerkotla Gatka Association, along with other officials from Gatka associations in the region, revealed that they have devised a comprehensive plan aimed at conducting workshops and seminars across educational institutions, playgrounds, and religious establishments. The objective is to enlighten stakeholders about the potential consequences associated with the reckless execution of stunts during martial arts exhibitions.

Expressing deep concern, Harjeet Singh Grewal, President of both the World Gatka Federation and the National Gatka Association of India, lamented the proliferation of ‘stunt-bazi’, or stunt performances, which endanger human lives and defy the fundamental tenets of Gatka, a sacred martial art. Grewal emphasized that the World Gatka Federation has already implemented stringent rules and regulations, expressly prohibiting stunt-bazi within the practice of Gatka.

The coordinated efforts by these apex bodies underscore a commitment to safeguarding the integrity and safety of martial arts demonstrations while preserving the rich cultural heritage they represent. By promoting responsible practices and adhering to established guidelines, it is hoped that future events will prioritize the well-being of participants and spectators alike, ensuring that the spirit of Gatka and other martial arts remains untainted by unnecessary risk-taking.

Manjari Singh

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