Sanatan Shastar Vidiya Gurdev (grandmaster) Nidar Singh Nihang


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.




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



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


Seminars, TV and Radio

2005 – Presentation of research to Buddha Dal, India

Pehalwani – Exhibition

The Sikh fortress turban – Exhibition, British Museum

Shastar Vidya, Canada

2008 – Budo Warrior & Shastar Vidya, Master Marc G Moor

2009 – Shastar Vidya and Established Martial Arts [1] [2] [3]

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

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



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