What is Gatka

The word Gatka is of Indian origin and refers to a defensive weapon, technique or martial art. The martial art, in which Gatka is used as a weapon for self-defence, is called Gatkabaazi or Gatkebaazi. Gatka is an integral part of an array of vast Sikh Shastar Vidiya. It is very common to use word Gatka for all sports and traditional martial arts.
‘Mahan Kosh’ edited by Bhai Kahan Singh Nabha, explains; ‘Gatka – a three-hand span stick, is used to teach the first part of club fighting. It has a leather covering. In the right hand holding a Gatka and in left hand a ‘Phari’, two men play with each other. Persian – Khutka. Thus, Bhai Nabha believes that the words ‘Khutka’ and ‘Gatka’ are used for same meaning.
‘Urdu-Punjabi-Hindi Kosh’ published by the Language Department, Punjab illustrates the word ‘Khutka’ as ‘Kutka’, ‘Mota Danda’ (cudgel), ‘Thhosa’ (thumb) etc. Therefore, according to this ‘Urdu-Punjabi-Hindi Kosh’, the word ‘Khutka’ is synonymous with ‘Kutka’. The word ‘Kutka’ has been translated into ‘short cudgel’ by ‘Punjabi English Dictionary’ Published by Singh Brothers, Amritsar. According to ‘Mahan Kosh’, ‘Kutka’ is short thick stick (Chhota Ate Mota Sota).
Whereas ‘Punjabi English Dictionary’ Published by Singh Brothers, Amritsar, describes that word ‘Gatka’ stands for ‘a leather covered club used in fencing’. According to ‘Standard Illustrated Dictionary of The Hindi Language’ compiled and edited by Prof. R. C. Pathak, the word ‘Gatka’ means ‘a leather-covered club used in fencing, a truncheon, a mace, a club. This ‘Standard Illustrated Dictionary’ illustrates the word ‘Gadaa’ as ‘a club, an Indian club, a mace’.
Thus, comparatively the terms ‘Khutak’, ‘Khutka’, ‘Kutka’, ‘Gatka’, ‘Gadka’, and ‘Gadaa’ are close to one another, if not completely the same. These words are translated into, ‘Chhota ate Mota Sota/Danda’, cudgel, truncheon and club.
This can be compared to ‘Kirpan’ and ‘Talvaar’. Both words have been used for sword. At the same time, the word ‘Khanda’ is used for a particular kind of double-edged sword also. In the same way, ‘Saif’ is a sword, but of a different kind. Well, after this discussion given above, we reach conclusion that the word ‘Gatka’ stands for cudgel, club or short thick stick.