In the traditional Sikh understanding of life, one’s conduct has a great bearing on building character. In order to judge any individual’s character, Sikh elders would traditionally observe their daily routine (nit nem) alongside their words (kathni) and deeds (karni). My master (gurdev) Baba Mohinder Singh would contend that although a warrior needed to be flexible and adaptable in practice, observing a consistent daily routine was nevertheless essential for ingraining study and training as natural, everyday habits.
07:00Ablutions, recitation of morning akhara liturgy from Adi, Dasam Granth
08:30Gentle body loosening and stretching – Sreer Shandna with Garur Namaskar
09:00Drop off my son to school then start writing, with news and current affairs in background
11:00Light breakfast (porridge), continue working and do any chores required
15:00Pick up my son from school, continue working
16:45Cook a meal. This will be my main meal of the day, high in protein and carbohydrates
18:00Late siesta, listening to light classical music like Gazals or classical Indian music
19:00Train my son
20:30Martial yoga (Sanjam Kiriya Viriyam) coupled with traditional resistance exercises
22:30Shastar Vidya training The Pentras, and Kal Natch Rudar Shaia
01:00Late meditation beginning with sujaap
02:00Battle the daughter of Dharmraj (Sleep)
It is worth adding that throughout the day, no matter what I am doing, Shastar Vidya is always in my mind. The beauty of this art is that its seemingly nonchalant footwork can be easily integrated with everyday walking, so in effect even as one walks, one is always training. Similarly, weapons are everywhere to hand in my house, always beckoning me to ponder their use, pick them up and train with them. Indeed, such is my mindset now that even in my dreams, the Vidya is always popping up.
The current custodian of the ancient north Indian battlefield art Shastar Vidya (Science of Weapons).
Through twenty-five years of intense study and demanding physical training, Nidar Singh has managed to preserve this closely guarded art that has teetered on the brink of extinction for the last 150 years. He is the sole-surviving master and ninth teacher (gurdev) of a classical school of learning established in 1661, called the Baba Darbara Singh Shastar Vidya Akhara, which is the last remnant of this ancient tradition.
Born and brought up in the UK, Nidar Singh was a teenager who knew virtually nothing about the religion he was born into when, in 1984 , left his home in the backstreets of Wolverhampton to live with relatives in a sleepy Punjabi village. It was there that his mundane life was changed forever following a chance meeting with an enigmatic septuagenarian Akali-Nihang warrior.
“I was fascinated by the old man’s claim that he was the last in a lineage of Sikh warriors who had secretly guarded the Guru’s art of war. I was immediately drawn on a journey of discovery into a world that has now all but vanished.”
Nidar Singh lives and breathes the technical aspects of the physical art, but reflecting the Indian tradition of all-encompassing learning, he is constantly striving to discover more of the art’s history, traditions, and martial philosophy, as passed on by a lineage of masters stretching back to the dawn of Indian civilisation.
Nidar Singh’s journey to reconnect people with their martial traditions continues and he has dedicated his life to preserving and sharing this precious heritage for the benefit of current and future generations.
I and the whole of the Baba Darbara Singh Akhara offer our deepest condolences to our Namdhari brothers and sisters upon the passing of their Satgur Jagjit Singh. The passing of such a great Sikh holy man and human being who did so much good for humanity and Sikhi leaves the world all the poorer. I count it as a great honour that I was able to have the blessed sight of the holy one and get his blessing. May Satgur keep showering his blessings from Sach Khand upon all those who love him.
2004 – Shastar Vidya, Martial Arts Illustrated Vol. 17 No.4
2009 – Shastar Vidya, Martial Arts Illustrated Vol. 21 No.12
2009 – Ancient But Deadly: the Return of Shastar Vidiya, The Independent
2009 – A tale of survival, Tribune India
2009 – British Sikhs revive deadly art banned by the Raj, Reuters
2009 – Brite genopliver ældgammel kampkunst [Danish], Politiken
2009 – UN ART MARTIAL SAUVÉ DE L’OUBLI [French], Courrier International
2011 – The only living master of a dying martial art, BBC News
2011 – Meet the last surviving master of the Sikh warrior art, Daily Mail
2011 – UK factory ex-worker is last Sikh martial art master, Tribune India
Boomerangs to Ballistics, Discovery Channel
Weapons Masters – The Chakar, Discovery Channel
Twisted Weapons of the East, Discovery Channel
2011 – The last Sikh warrior, BBC World Service
2011 – The last living Master of Shastar Vidya, BBC Midlands Today
1999 – Warrior Saints: Three Centuries of the Sikh Military Tradition, I. B. Tauris
2004 – Sicques, Tigers or Thieves: Eyewitness Accounts of the Sikhs (1606 -1809), Palgrave Macmillan
2008 – In the Master’s Presence: the Sikhs of Hazoor Sahib Vol. 1, Kashi House
2011 – Golden Temple of Amritsar, Kashi House
Consultation – Prem Sumarg: The Testimony of a Sanatan Sikh, Hew Macleod
2005 – Presentation of research to Buddha Dal, India
Pehalwani – Exhibition
The Sikh fortress turban – Exhibition, British Museum
Shastar Vidya run by Shagrid Nanak Dev, Europe (Berlin)
Shastar Vidya, Canada
2008 – Budo Warrior & Shastar Vidya, Master Marc G Moor
2009 – Shastar Vidya and Established Martial Arts   
2011 – Joint with Philippine martial arts master Tuhon Pat O’Malley
2011 – Abode of Warriors, At Golden Temple Exhibition – SOAS
2011 – Golden Temple book launch, Nehru Centre
1995 – Shastar Vidya Akhara, Wolverhampton
Shastar Vidya Akhara, London
Sanjam Kirya (Yoga), Birmingham
Savya Raksha (Self defence), Slough
Annual Shastar Vidya Camp, Birmingham
Shastar Vidya is nothing less than the Guru’s martial legacy. Learning its vast repertoire of devastating techniques combined with its underlying paradoxical warrior philosophy, as well as undergoing its demanding training methods, are all crucial for developing the true psyche of a Sikh warrior.
Shastar Vidya Class
Tuesday 18:00 – 22:00 @ London
Central Gurdwara (Khalsa Jatha)
62 Queensdale Road, W11 4SG
Thursday 19:00 – 21:30 @ Wolverhampton
Blakenhall Community and Healthy Living Centre
Bromley Street, WV3 3AS
Friday 18:00 – 20:00 @ Smethwick
St Albans Community Association
St Albans Road, B67 7NL
Saturday 12:00 – 16:00 @ Slough
St Francis of Assisi Church
Off London Road, SL3 7NE
Saturday 10:00 – 16:00 @ Leeds
GNNSJ Sikh Temple
78 Lady Pit Lane, LS11 6DP
Sunday 10:00 – 13:00 @ Birmingham
1199 Coventry Rd, B25 8DF
Sunday 15:00 – 18:30 @ Leicester
Guru Amardas Gurdwara
219-227 Clarendon Park Rd, LE2 3AN
Sanjam Kiriya Viriyam Class
Monday 20:00 – 21:00 @ Birmingham
143 Lodge Road, B18 5BU.