To what said, is said less about Aniket Gupta. The trouper since the age of seven choosing karate as his life is now making India live its pride with it. Badging as the Captain of Indian National Karate Team “SSKI”, Chairman Athlete Commission
at Karate Association of India, 4 / Four Time Consecutive Medalist at Commonwealth Karate Federation, 2/ Two Gold Medal – USA Open Championship 2015, 2018 & 2019, Black Belt 5th Dan from JAPAN, WKF, CANADA & NF, this martial artist have kicked-out every challenge throughout his career. To unknown, Aniket is an affable person to have alongside and a humble personality resonating. Niloy Banerjee from Sportz Business got alongside Aniket to unravel his journey in Karate and also jotted his first-hand notion dictating Karate in-front alike every other sport in India. Also, Aniket told us about his academy and how his academy medal-holder players are getting jobs in income tax, ITBP and Assam Rifles and other Government Dept. Edited Nub.
1. Since when and from what age have you been learning Karate?
Though I got attracted to the Martial Arts at about the age of 7 years but seriously started practicing under coaches Hanshi Bharat Sharma (Black Belt 8th Dan and currently World Karate Federation, Technical Commission Member, Asian Karate Federation EC Memeber, South Asian Karate Do Federation President and Karate Association of India 1st Senior Vice President), Shihan Yashpal Singh Kalsi (Black Belt 7th Dan and WKF Certified Coach) and Adv. Sensei Amreesh Sisodia Black Belt 6th Dan (Advocate Delhi High Court) since the year 2003.
2. You have recently been felicitated under the Mission Excellence Scheme by The Government of the National Capital Territory of Delhi (Directorate of Education Sports Branch). Tell us how this scheme has benefitted you and your student and at large to encourage Karate across the capital?
I take this opportunity to appreciate and express my sincere thanks to Delhi State Government for taking maiden and most effective steps for uplifting the standards of various sports including Karate. Normally Governments at various States and at the Centre announce cash incentives and bestow various awards/certificates to prominent sportspersons in recognition of their commendable sports achievements in prestigious National / International events. But Delhi Government is probably the first Government in this country who has taken initiative to extend financial support to the talented but financially weak sportspersons of Delhi State to meet huge expenditure on their requisite professional training and coaching. It is a matter of great satisfaction for me that out of the 12 Karate players selected by Delhi State Government for grant of financial assistance, (10) ten Karate players belong to my training academy (my student). This essentially shows that the training imparted to them under my guidance has made their hidden talents and strengths quite visible before the expert selection committee of State Government.
The endeavor made by the State Government will definitely go a long way in enhancing the hidden talents of not only these budding Karatekas but also act as immense encouragement to other youngsters in Delhi State to nourish their love for different sports activities.
However, the financial grants provided to players are not sufficient to take care of their required training/ coaching under professional coach and meet the expenditure of their participation in International level sports events abroad. The additional funds to fill up the gap will naturally have to be now arranged by way of sponsorship.
Presently, Karate is included in School Games, University Games, SAF Games, Youth Olympic Games, World Games, Asian Games, World Games, Commonwealth Championship etc. and is further being included in forthcoming Olympic Games. So popularity of the sport is definitely enhancing day by day and unlike past days, a good player in the sport of Karate may nowadays look forward for his recognition in the world of sports. The changed scenario will therefore make it a strong ground for sponsoring the Karate players. Media may come up to extend help in finding suitable sponsors by writing about the players and their struggles.
3. Karate will be part of the Summer Olympics for the first time in 2020. How are you looking forward to this mega event?
In my case, I was earlier at Olympic Standings rankings for 2020 Olympic games at WKF rankings of 374 and 625 in individual Kata and Kumite respectively. But now, my positions in Olympic Standings rankings for 2020 Olympic Games rankings have improved to 117 and 300 respectively consequent to my taking part in a number of international Karate events abroad. As the only male player from India (Karate Athlete), I intend to compete in OlympicQualification Tournament by WKF in both events i.e., Kata and Kumite and accordingly, preparing myself since 1/2 years. In order to further improve my ranking, I am taking part in as many International tournaments as possible. My next destination is Santiago, Chile where World Karate Federation WKF Karate League Series A World Championship is scheduled to be held. This will be the last WKF Series A Karate event of 2019 for Qualification for 2020 Olympic Games (More than 2000 Karate players from 100 and above countries participate in this events). After my participation in that event, I will come to know how my ranking has improved. Final selection for Olympic will be held in Paris, France in 2020 whereupon I will come to know whether I am going to take part in 2020 Olympic Games or not.
However, two other Karate players from Delhi, India are presently at much advantageous positions for Olympic 2020 Ranking. Among them Deepika Dhiman (4 time Commonwealth Karate Championship Medalist, 3 Time USA Champion and 10 Time National Champion) is the first female karate player of both events Individual Kumite-55kg and Individual Kata with world WKF Olympic Standings rankings of 127 and 196. The other player Pranay Sharma (2 Time Commonwealth Karate Championship Medalist, 2 Time USA OpenMedalist and 4 Time National Champion) is holding best WKF Olympic Standings rankings of 82 in Individual Kumite -67Kg event from India.
4. What is your daily routine(diet, exercises, etc.)?
A good performance in the sport of Karate demands not only perfection in flawless application / demonstration of knowledge in Karate techniques but also requires 100% physical and mental fitness. I never had been to a gym earlier but presently, I have been attending gym to ensure gaining cent percent perfect physical condition. In that direction, I am also taking guidance and advice from a well- qualified trainer. Further, meditation and practicing certain basic Yoga have now become essential parts of my daily routine to gain more control over my mind and body. In my daily diet, I have increased portion of green vegetables and fruits. So my strive for showing world-class performance in the mega event is already on.
5. What are the major styles of sports karate and how does those individually benefit students(Gakusei)?
In Kata, the different styles existing in India are Shito Ryu, Shotokan, Goju Ryu, Wado Ryu and others style Katas etc. But in Kumite, role of styles is nil as points are awarded to participants based on criteria of scoring technique performed by him or her in the scoring areas. Further, all the International and our national Karate tournaments are to follow the Kata and Kumite Competition Rules framed and made effective by World Karate Federation. As of now, the tournaments are organized following those rules as per WKF KARATE COMPETITION RULES.
6. Tell us about your Karate training academy facilitates and what benefits does it in-store?
I started my Training Academy in the year 2009. Hundreds of Karatekas have been trained by me in my Xtreme Martial Arts Academy India (XMA Academy India) out of whom almost 90% have won medals in the National and International (eg Official Commonwealth Karate Federation Championships, Oficial SAF Championship, US Open, Style Asian/World Championship and goodwill international) level tournaments.
The sport of Karate being my passion, I don’t charge any amount from my students either for trainings. In certain deserving cases, their tournament entry fees too are paid by me and my Xtreme Martial Arts Academy India (XMA Academy India). In a way, their winning medals become my reward for the effort and time I spend on them.
As mentioned earlier, 10 out of total 12 Karate players selected by Delhi Government under the Mission Excellence Scheme are from my Xtreme Martial Arts Academy India (XMA Academy India). However, after my joining Central Government job in the Income Tax Department, I have totally stopped any sort of commercial activity there and entrusted the responsibility of managing the Academy to my ex-senior students. Occasionally to advice and guide the students and for my own practice, I visit my Xtreme Martial Arts Academy India (XMA Academy India) and others Aacademy in india whenever I get time.
7. Being in National Capital where women security is a concern, are your working on any projects to help train women?
Martial Arts (Karate) as a tool for self defence is well known. During my almost years of Martial Arts training and Karate promotion career, I have given self defence training to not less than 50-55 thousands women and girls in certain Schools, NGOs, various multinational companys and even in Govt Sector departments. I don’t charge for the same as this needs to be done for a noble cause. Even today I am engaged in imparting self defence training to girls.
8. How do you think to promote Karate more in the mainstream alike other sports?
As already discussed, the sport of Karate has now been included in School Games, University Games, SAF Games, Youth Olympic Games, World Games, Asian Games, World Games, Commonwealth Championship etc. apart from in a number of International sporting events. With its inclusion now in Olympic, it is certain that the sport will gain tremendous popularity. But it is a fact that in India, media attention is confined to only cricket, football, tennis and few other games and sports like wrestling, golf, swimming etc. Even the National Karate Championships held every year by National Sports Federation/ Associations are not covered by the News media. Such events are never broadcast in India by even a single TV channel or radio station. So the achievements by Indian Karate players remain obscure from public notice and viewing.
The print media at least should now come forward to bring news on the sport of Karate to general public in order to make it more popular. They can further facilitate the players by publishing their stories and making appeal to general public and corporate houses for sponsoring in Karate.
9. Central & State Governments are giving thrust to various sports, how do you foresee the scene of Karate in India in coming years?
The praiseworthy steps taken by the Delhi Government and its effect on promotion of Karate has already been discussed. But Central Government is yet to take any initiative to promote the sport of Karate and recognize achievements made in national and international levels. It is, however, now presumed that Governments in other States and the Centre will also come up gradually to popularize and promote the sport of Karate. In certain Delhi Schools like St Paul’s School in Hauz Khas, Karate is being regularly taught to students in the form of extracurricular activity. This trend may be followed in other Government and Public Schools all over the country too.
10. Tell us something about your personal life, (Hobbies, daily life etc.)?
My personal life mainly revolves around activities relating to the sport of Karate which I took up at the age of 9 years. During my student life, my main attention remained directed towards developing my Martial Arts skill rather than excelling in my academic career. It is intimated that my appointment in the Government department is also attributable to achievements and my expertise in the sport of Karate. Therefore, sports is still my hobby as well as my passion.
11. Your few words to inspire young India?
Martial Arts (Karate) benefits the student in all areas of their life. Karate encourages proficiency and the keen coordination of mind and body. It is an activity in which advancing age is not a hindrance. The sport of Karate is also linked to improving cardiovascular health, stressing the heart and building strength. Karate helps to improve confidence and respect. Practicing karate also helps to improve discipline and mental toughness. These mental benefits can then be used in the everyday life. Therefore, practicing Karate is recommended especially for all youngsters of India.
About Aniket Gupta:
Aniket Gupta (Black Belt 5thDan from Japan & WKF), Captain of Indian National Karate Team “SSKI”, Chairman Athlete Commission at Karate Association of India, 3 / Three Time USA Open Gold Medalist, 4 / Four Time Consecutive Gold/Silver/ Bronze Medalist at Commonwealth Karate Federation, 3 / Three Time Consecutive Asian Gold/Silver/Bronze Medallist at Style Organisationand 14 Time National Gold/Silver/Bronze Medallist at NSF National SportsFederation “Karate”,and First Indian Youngest Certified Coach from WKF and AKF.