Gatka Shashtars

Paintra (pai-ant-da) (ਪੈਂਤੜਾ) – It is a warmup technique by martial art practitioners before playing Gatka and starts with synchronous footwork and swift bodily movements. This is the foundation of martial art which refers to the form, coordination and method for moving the feet, body, arms and weapons correctly, in unison. It is necessary to have a Paintra before presenting weapons demonstration and various skills like Flexibility, Footwork, Uniform, Speed, Technique, Accuracy and Synchronization (FUSTAS) were considered during the warm up martial moves.

The details of approved Shashtars (Weapons) by ISMAA are as follows which were to be used during Gatka weapons demonstration.

  1.   Laathi (laa-thi)/(Daang) (daa-ng) – It is a straight wooden or bamboo stick/club as tall as the warrior or having 5-1/4 feet length. The Gatkabaaz showcases sparring moves with martial techniques for self-defence and attacks by clasping this shashtar (weapon) from one end.
  2.   Marhati (mar-hatti) – The Marhati is also a wooden or bamboo stick/club having cloth knots on its both ends. Gatka practitioner holds it from the middle and spins it in fast circular motion. Its’ length is usually measured from toe to earlobe of a warrior. Usually Gatkai swirls twin Marhatis holding them in his both hands.
  3.   Chakkar (ch-akkr) – The Chakkar looks like a cycle wheel with small solid balls at the end of each spoke/string. The Chakkar is swiveled in a circular motion by grasping it from central hub. Its diameter varies from 2.1/2 feet to 3.1/2 feet according to age and height of a Gatkabaaz. In earlier times the Chakkar had iron spokes having iron weights at each end and was used to proceed further during war as arrows can’t pierce through it during its fast gyration.
  4.   Sword (Kirpan) (kir-paan) – The Kirpan have a curved blade made of iron or steel having handle to clasp in hand. Its other end is pointed and kept in a sheath. Its size may vary from 4 inch to 3.1/2 feet accordingly while using it as self defence, weapon demonstration or wearing as a compulsory Kakkar as all Sikhs are required to carry it by tradition. The Gatkai showcases defensive and offensive techniques by sparring, whirling this weapon during demonstration.
  5.   Talwar (tl-waar) – Also called backsword/sabre and is usually curved with a thin and sharp blade of iron or steel having a handle to grip it tightly at one end. Its other end is pointed and kept in a sheath. Its size may vary from 2.1/2 feet to 3.1/2 feet and greatly respected and treated with care. The Gatka player showcases defensive and offensive techniques by sparring, whirling this weapon during demonstration.
  6.   Jamdhar (jm-daarh) – It is alike Talwar but having curved blade that broadens towards point.
  7.   Shield (Dahl) (dha-al) – It is always round, convex and varies in diameter from about eight inches to about twenty-four. It is made of iron or steel and edges may be flat or rolled back in the reverse curvature of the shield. It is held by twin handles fastened to its interior side for safeguarding form sword attack or during hand to hand fight. The shield made of leather, Rexene for the purpose of competition is called Farri.
  8.   Khanda (kh-andaa) (Broadsword) – This is a typical Indian broadsword and has a broad, straight double edged blade, usually widening towards the point, which is blunt. It is made of iron or steel and having length from 2.1/2 feet to 3.1/2 feet. It is often moved with defensive and offensive techniques while clasping with both hands during demonstration.
  9.   Barchha (bar-chha)/Nagni (naag-ni) (Spear) – It is a long shafted wooden weapon with hook at the spearhead used to pull away the opponent’s shield. The length of stick may vary from 5 feet to 6 feet. Earlier it was also used to attack the opponent by holding it or throwing it while riding the horse.
  10.   Gurj (gu-rj) (Mace) – Indian maces have great variations in their shape, length, weight and size of rounded head.
  11.   Katar (ka-taar) – The Katar is a small double-edged and straight bladed dagger with pointed end used to pierce armour. The handle has two sidebars to provide protection and a better grip. Its length may vary from one feet to 1.1/2 feet and is usually carried in belt (Kamarkassa) (kamr-kassa).
  12.   Kamand Toda (ka-mand-toda) – This weapon was made of iron or steel used to seize Soti, Daang, Gandasi, Khanjar etc from the opponent. Also called “T.T. Sudhar” it has long iron handle with two or more loose chains having solid balls attached at the end. It was sparred with a motive to disarm the opponent.
  13.   Safajung (sa-faa-jung) (Tabar) – It consists of a short curved blade made of iron with a long wooden handle, or haft and may have a sharp edged point on other end.



The Gatkebaaz or Gatka teams shall have to use the following approved and prescribed equipments/weapons (Shashtars) during all types of traditional Gatka demonstrations. If any player or team uses or exhibits equipments and weaponry (ਸ਼ਸ਼ਤਰ) other than the ones listed below, ISMAA or the organisers have the right to disqualify the player or team from the event or tournament.

  1. Individual Event : Sword (ਕ੍ਰਿਪਾਨ), Shield-Sword (ਢਾਲ ਕ੍ਰਿਪਾਨ), Bow Staff (ਬਰਛਾ) (one sided or two sided –ਇੱਕ ਮੂੰਹਾਂ ਜਾਂ ਦੋ ਮੂੰਹਾਂ), Saffa-Jung/Gandaasi (ਸਫਾਜੰਗ, ਗੰਡਾਸੀ), Kamand Toda (ਕਮੰਦ ਤੋੜਾ), Daang/Laathi (ਡਾਂਗ, ਲਾਠੀ), Shield-Kataar/Dagger (ਢਾਲ ਕਟਾਰ), Gurj (ਗੁਰਜ), Two-Swords (ਦੋ ਤਲਵਾਰਾਂ), Khanda (ਖੰਡਾ), Tega (ਤੇਗਾ), Jamdarh (ਜਮਦਾੜ).
  2. Team Event : Khanda, (ਖੰਡਾ) Sword, Shield-Sword, Two Swords, Bow-Staff, Safa-Jung/Gandaasi, Kamand Toda, Daang/Laathi, Shield-Kataar/ Dagger, Marhati (ਮਰਹੱਟੀ), Double Marhati (ਦੋ ਮਰਹੱਟੀਆਂ), Chakar (ਚੱਕਰ), Soti (ਸੋਟੀ), Soti-Farri (ਸੋਟੀ-ਫੱਰੀ).