| Pankaj Kambli trains youngsters in a sword fighting class in Patna on Monday. Picture by Nagendra Kumar Singh |
Karate kids have now set their eyes to become Shanghai Knights — not on the reel but real.
Pankaj Kambli has started sharing his knowledge and techniques of Chinese sword fight he mastered at Wudang Daoist Traditional Internal Kung Fu Academy this spring.
Pankaj, 31, is also the general secretary of Sports Karate Do Association of Bihar.
Pankaj said: “In the past couple of months, I have got around 40 students who learn sword fighting from me. You can gauge the charm of this Chinese sport with the fact that recently six students from Gopalganj and Gaya districts are coming to me to learn this skill. They got to know about me from somewhere that I have learnt this art from China. So when they came to me, they asked, ‘Kya aap hi hain jo China se sikh kea aye hain (Are you the one who has returning after learning from China)’.”
Wudang Daoist Traditional Internal Kung Fu Academy in south-central China’s Hubei province is considered to be one of the best martial arts training centres in the world.
About his experience at Wudang Daoist Traditional Internal Kung Fu Academy, Pankaj said he had a wonderful time at the academy but things were not so easy for him there. “Language was the main problem. The instructors used to speak in Chinese and broken English and I did not know Chinese at all. The food was another big problem. There, non-vegetarian food used to be served and I, being a vegetarian, had to cook my own,” he said with a smile.
Pankaj said low temperature also made him uncomfortable at time during the training period. “I received training from February 26 to March 26 there. The temperature used to be there between -4 and –6 degrees Celsius which is totally contrast to Patna. The low temperature made my training more challenging,” added Pankaj, who had the distinction of taking part in a television reality show, Hindustan Ke Hunarbaaz, aired on Life OK channel in 2012.
He even brought four swords from China for his students enrolled to his training centre at Shaligram Complex, Ashok Rajpath.
Each of the sword, which is not available in the state, costs Yuan 200 (around Rs 2,000). “Right now, I offer training to youngsters. But anyone between the age group of 10 and 50 years can join the 15-30 days’ training,” said Pankaj, who also runs martial arts training classes. While the martial arts class package costs Rs 600, someone who wants to be a master of Chinese sword fighting has to shell out Rs 5,000.
Pankaj’s students cited different reasons for learning sword fighting. Arya Vaishnavi, a Class IX student of Litera Valley School, said: “I saw sword fighting in some Chinese movies and since then I wanted to learn this sport. When I got to know about Pankaj sir, I did not wait for a second to come to him to learn the skill.”
Kushagra Prabudh, a Class VII student of Delhi Public School, said: “Sword fighting is a different form of martial arts. It’s uniqueness is that in it we use a weapon (sword). Weapon always attracts us and doing something with it really needs courage and it’s quite adventurous also.”
Pankaj was elated at the response back home to share the skill he imbibed at Wudang Daoist Traditional Internal Kung Fu Academy where the Jackie Chan-starrer Karate Kid was shot.