Nidar Singh is the last known master of shastar vidya, a form of Sikh martial arts that involves lots of spinning blades flying around at the same time. It’s seriously impressive — and seriously endangered, unless Singh gets help.
Now living in England, the BBC reports, Singh has been travelling through India and Pakistan to find a disciple who can take on the burden of this rare, terrifyingly awesome form of combat (Shoes with toe blades! Daggers in turbans!)
So why would anyone want to take up shaster vidya? Singh recounted his first experience with the stuff, when he came across a frail shaster vidya master in his ’80s:
On his first day of training, the frail old man handed him a stick and instructed Mr Singh to hit him. When he tried, the master threw him around like a rag doll.
“He was a frail old man chucking me about and I couldn’t touch him,” he says. “That definitely impressed me.”
Not too bad. You can see why the British were scared shitless of it and banned Sikhs from arming themselves during their oppressive colonial rule. And unless Singh finds a pupil, it’ll be dead forever. [BBC]