History of Fari Gatka
History says that this martial art dates back to the Mughal era. It is said that initially it was practiced by the Sikh inhabitants of Punjab to protect themselves from Mughal invasion. It is also believed that a form of this art involving the use of sword and shield was practiced by Akbar.
Practice of Fari Gatka
It is practiced with a cane stick which is used as a Gatka or sword along with a small leather shield called Fari. The word Gatka is derived from the Sanskrit word "Gada", meaning Mace. The sword is usually around 3 foot, where as the shield is 9 inches in diameter. The Fari is made with sturdy leather and weighs around 1lbs. Fari Gatka is practiced in a 20 foot quadrangle arena. The sport involves the use of weapons by both hands, for it is believed that proper co-ordination of the two sides of the body is necessary for balanced development. The fighters could score points only when their swords would come in contact with vital pressure points on the opponent's body. The match ends when one of the participants has received 5 strikes in the body.
Benefits of Practicing Fari Gatka
Fari Gatka was mainly used as preliminary training to advanced sword fighting. However, this ancient art ensures various benefits to the practitioners. It ensures individual development by making the body agile and flexible. It also alerts the mind and the soul tranquil.
Popularity of Fari Gatka
This traditional sport is popular in the eastern regions of Pakistan, and in Punjab and Haryana. It is also practiced in several countries of Southeast Asia, such as Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore. Owing to its growing popularity, the sport has become a part of several festivals. Fari Gatka is performed during national celebrations like the Republic Day and the Independence Day.
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