Shastar Vidiya
Also known asSanatan Shastar Vidiya
HardnessFull-contact sport, semi-contact, light-contact
Country of originIndia
Famous practitionersNidar Singh Nihang (real name Surjit Singh Bains)

Shastar Vidya (Punjabi: ਸ਼ਸਤਰ-ਵਿੱਦਿਆ), also known as Sanatan Shastar Vidya (Punjabi: ਸਨਾਤਨ ਸ਼ਸਤਰ ਵਿੱਦਿਆ), is a centuries-old Indian battlefield art which translates to "the science of weapons".[1][2]


The battle art has existed in the subcontinent for thousands of years and been preserved by people from many different cultures and religions. [3] Since the mid-16th century, the Sikh tribes of the Punjab became the chief custodians and masters of this fighting system. [4] In North India it is believed that this art is the father of all martial arts.

After the Anglo-Sikh wars the art was banned by the new British administrators of India in the mid-19th century. [5]


The basis of Shastar Vidiya is a five-step movement which includes advancing on the opponent; hitting his flank, deflection of incoming blows, taking a commanding position and striking. As a full combat martial art it also includes both unarmed and armed combat techniques using swords, clubs, sticks, spears, daggers and other weapons. [6]

Principle of power

Shastar Vidya is a subtle art and does not rely on fitness, flexibility or strength like western fighting systems. Instead, it uses tactical positioning and body mechanics. [7] [8]


  1. ^ Hegarty, Stephanie (2011-10-30). "The only living master of a dying martial art". Retrieved 2019-04-11.
  2. ^ Myrvold, Kristina (2011). Sikhs in Europe: Migration, Identities, and Representations. Routledge. p. 241. ISBN 9781317055068.
  3. ^ "British Sikhs revive deadly art banned by the Raj". Reuters. 2009-07-23. Retrieved 2019-04-11.
  4. ^ "Ancient but deadly: the return of shastar vidiya". The Independent. 2009-05-05. Retrieved 2019-04-11.
  5. ^ "Ancient but Deadly: 8 Indian Martial Art Forms and Where You Can Learn Them". The Better India. 2017-01-10. Retrieved 2019-04-11.
  6. ^ Mitra, Rohit (2018-10-21). "Sanatan Shastar Vidiya: Ancient Indian Battlefield Art". indomitableindia. Retrieved 2019-04-11.
  7. ^ "Ancient Indian Battlefield Secrets Revealed: Sanatan Shastra Vidya, the Original Art of War". myIndiamyGlory. 2017-09-30. Retrieved 2019-04-11.
  8. ^ "WATCH: Nidar Singh Nihang Revives The Deadly Sikhs Martial Art Of Shastar Vidya Banned By The British Raj". Retrieved 2019-04-11.