First Sikh Martial Arts (GATKA) Competition in California
(CHAKRA) The Sikh community is holding its first martial arts competition in the Silicon Valley. The Sikh community is not unfamiliar to battle—both physical and political—in California and is ready to take on this competition with skill and strength.
The event is taking place at the San Jose Gurdwara Sahib in the Evergreen hills.
The competition will be over who can master the use of a sword, a shield and a stick to be named the “gatka” expert. The proud winner will be heir to the reputation of being the best combater as per the ancient rite of Sikh combat.
Sukhdev Bainiwal, a member of the San Jose Sikh Temple said that this will be the first competition of its kind in California. He has taken part in the organization of and is in charge of the battle taking place. The first battle of this type was held in Toronto, nine years ago and was a great success.
About 200 competitors from California, New York, Maryland, Houston, New Jersey, Toronto, Calgary, Vancouver and India will be participating in four different age group categories that have been created. The four age categories are from the under 7 age group, with two other groups comprising of participants up to 60 and a group for participants over 60.
The prize that will be granted to the winners is a shared prize of $9000 in a variety of prizes.
The martial arts of the Philippines called the eskrima, is most comparable to the “Gatka” battle. Bainiwal said the Gatka form of martial arts is very influenced by the Sikh religion. The sixth guru used this type of technique on the battlefield. Many competitors attend for the significance, meditative and spiritual aspects of the battle rather than for the prizes.
The members of the Sikh community had to lobby their global community to be granted permission to host such a competition. In April, the second phase of construction of the Sikh temple was completed making it the most expensive and largest Sikh temple in the country. The temple is a 110,000-square-foot complex and is large enough to host such an event.