At the age of six,Kanishka Sharma happened to watch the movie,The 36th Chamber of Shaolin. He did not know then that this would be the first source of inspiration for what is today his lifes passion. That film gave a new direction to my life. Later on,will power and personal interest motivated me to pursue martial arts, he recalls.
Shifu Kanishka,as he is popularly known,is the first Indian to have trained at the famed Shaolin Temple Secular Discipline Union in China. Keen to promote martial arts in India,he has now started Indias first Martial Arts Training Centre and Temple at Malavali,Pune. Arguably the first and the biggest residential centre for martial arts in the country,it has 500 students on its roll even though it became operational a couple of weeks ago.
The 35-year-olds remarkable journey began when he decided to give up his cushy corporate job in favour of martial arts. Since his training at the Shaolin Temple that began in 2001,he has travelled across the world promoting the cause of the Shaolin Culture of Chan,Wu and Yi (Chan Buddhism,Martial Arts and Shaolin medicine).
He received initial training in Delhi,where he was born and brought up. He joined karate classes at the age of seven and followed this up with training in Kalaripayattu and Kung Fu Tao. In 2001,he passed the Gong Fu Foundation Examination which is the first step before starting on the nine stages of Shaolin Gong Fu Training.
Sharma,who had a stressful life,admits that the experience in Shaolin Temple was extremely good,but very tiring and that he had to come across many hurdles. But the end was worth it, he says. When asked if it was a challenge to live in China,he says,Overcoming the language barrier was a challenge,but it was done with patience and dedication. He has trained nearly 10 lakh students so far.
Drawing inspiration has not been the only form of association he has had with movies. Shifu Kanishka has trained actors such as Akshay Kumar for Khatron Ke Khiladi and other shows and films,Shah Rukh Khan,Priyanka Chopra,Zayed Khan,Boman Irani and Abhishek Bachchan in martial arts for their various roles.
Though age is not a major concern when it comes to training in martial arts,Shifu Kanishka feels youngsters learn faster than adults,as their abilities are developed using traditional and modern conditioning techniques. Understandably then,Shifu Kanishka urges all to learn marital arts owing to its overall physical and emotional benefits.