Sunday, October 30, 2011

You Killed My Master, Sahib!

What must surely be one of the coolest stories ever on the BBC Web site tells the story of the last practitioner of a Sikh martial art that dates back centuries. It seems he is the last holder of the tradition, and he is having difficulty finding an apprentice to pass the art onto. He is afraid the skills may die with him. That would be a tragedy, indeed:

BBC: The Only Living Master of a Dying Martial Art:

This awesome graphic makes it even cooler.

The history of this Sikh martial art is fascinating. You hear a lot about Chinese maritial arts, which are world-famous, but very little about Indian martial arts, which is too bad. Many scholars think that Chinese martial arts actually descend from Indian martial arts and yoga practices brought to China. This is given credence by the legend of Boddhidarma (Ta Mo), the Indian Buddhist master who is credited with originating Zen (Chan) Buddhism teaching Kung-Fu to the monks of the Shaolin Temple. In India, they also practiced a martial art called Vajramushti (thunder-fist).

In any case, I hope Mr. Singh finds a worthy successor. The article should help. And I hope they make a film about this art. I can scarcely imagine what kind of dance numbers the Bollywood version would feature. And I'm sure the martial arts choreography would be great.

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