Shifu Kanishka Sharma the youngest achiever ever so far, has introduced martial arts in India and has been widely known to bestow this form of ancient art to the generations to come. His subtle touch towards martial arts makes him the perfect guru, with whom aspirants can learn this form of art, with utmost dedication, focus and passion. According to him learning martial arts, is the only art form that gives complete neuromuscular coordination along with endurance, strength and stamina. Apart from self-defence, martial arts training increases confidence, reduces anger, stress and anxiety, teaches respect, self-discipline and improves focus.

For Shifu Kanishka, the martial art was love at first sight. Having a keen interest in sports and fitness right from the days of his schooling, Shifu Kanishka began his passion to learn this ancient art since his childhood. His immense dedication led him to quit his job at Reliance, allowing him to travel to the prestigious Shaolin Temple China, where he excelled in his ambition thus becoming one of the best in this form of art globally.

In an exclusive interview with Rajeev Biswas, from Sportz Business Fitness Magazine, Shifu Kanishka Sharma vehemently shares his Shaolin journey from a dedicating student to a widely acclaimed Shaolin Master. Nevertheless, our very own martial art guru, Shifu Kanishka has been credited as a 34th generation warrior monk and also has been the first and the only Indian to have gained the title of Shifu from the famous 1500-year-old Shaolin Temple China.

Let’s read him what he has to say regards to his remarkable and inspiring journey so far.

ShifuQ Shifu Kanishka Sharma, kindly tell us about your journey so far from your initial days of learning at Shaolin Temple of China till now?

I had always been passionate about Martial arts, ever since the age of 6, I had been training with various masters in India but it was the movie the 36 chambers of Shaolin which inspired me to travel to China and live and train there. My parents were apprehensive about what my career path would be, my father requested me to at least complete my post-graduation and then pursue martial arts as a career, in 1999. I attained a gold medal in MBA and started working with Reliance but my dream of Training in China lead me resign and travel to China in 2001 My love for martial arts was that intense and there was a risk too what would happen if I failed?

It was not an easy decision; my father had just passed and I had resigned from a job which did not add meaning to my life. Travel to China costed money and the language barrier. Nevertheless, I arrived at the Shaolin temple China and began training with Shi Heng Jun a 36 generator Shaolin Warrior monk. I kept traveling to and fro and in India I began my own classes. With the money that I earned through my classes I headed back to China to continue my training I did a lot of research and trained with the best masters of Shaolin Kung fu each of who had their own specialisation I wanted to unlock all the Shaolin Secrets such as.

  • Shi Yanzi – Shaolin San Shou
  • Shi Heng jun – Shaolin Qinna (grabbling and locking and Close quarter Combat)
  • Shi Yan Fang – Shaolin Weaponry and Cui Zhong Wu- Shaolin Xin yi ba (Hightest level of Shaolin Combat) to name a few.

Q According to you what is the impact of learning Martial Arts on the human body, as far as fitness is concerned, and why it should be pursued by individuals?

Martial arts training develops your personality and trains your mind and body to face any situation in life. It is the only art form which gives a complete neuro muscular coordination along with endurance, strength and stamina. It also has the healing side like Qi Gong which helps revitalise the five major body organs. It is scientifically proven, apart from self-defence martial arts training, it increases your confidence, reduces anger and stress and anxiety. It will help you counter any attack. It’s a complete self defence system. Improves your body’s energy, strength as well as mental and emotional state. It teaches respect, self-discipline and improves focus

Q Shed some light towards setting up Shaolin Temple India and what are the necessary things that you offer to your students? Shaolin Temple India is the only Martial Arts School which has the authority to teach Shaolin Kung fu in India from the Venerable Abbot Shi Yong Xin of the Shaolin Temple China. I am a credited 34th generation warrior monk and the direct disciple of Venerable Abbot Shi Yong Xin of the Shaolin Temple China, who gave me the title of “Shi Yan You”, which means “perfect”. I am the official Indian ambassador of the 1500-year-old Shaolin Temple of China. We offer regular classes at 4 major cities of India and every year we organize several martial arts events like seminars, camps and workshops in India and abroad. So, whether you’re completely new to martial arts, an enthusiast, semi- professional or a professional martial artist, we have a class for you.

Q Tell us more about establishing Shaolin Gurukul, which is India’s first residential training centre in the Himalayas?

 Shaolin Gurukul is a dream come true for martial artists across India and the world. It is the first and the largest residential martial arts training centre in India, located 20 km away from Nainital near a bird sanctuary on Pangot. Before Shaolin Gurukul opened, there was no place in India where one could train under a Shaolin Kung Fu Master, now students can stay and train where the entire focus in on the training. Shaolin Gurukul is a treat to the eyes and the soul. It has a large beautiful campus in the midst of nature. We have a large open fully equipped Martial arts dojo – open to students from morning. A spacious dormitory for Boys and cosy Jungle Safari tents for women. Recently we have added a Cafe too where students can hang out.

WingQ Kindly fetch us the details about the courses at the Shaolin Gurukul and across the branches of the Shaolin Temple India?

Basically, in our course we teach

1.) Shaolin Kung Fu, the oldest styles of Chinese martial arts.

2.) Kung Fu classes for Kids

Our children are our future and to help them build a better life for themselves is our responsibility. Martial arts teaches a way of life. Martial arts training is not about fighting, but about building the character of the fighter, using the three treasures of Shaolin Temple – Chan, Wu and Yi. Our kids’ program is based on 5 ANIMAL KUNGFU- which helps in developing neuro muscular co-ordination. Kung fu helps develop- speed, power, timing, accuracy and precision. Kungfu acts like a catalyst and enhances performance of students in whatever they do. They become better in studies, better in sports and gain a positive attitude in life.

3) Shifu Kanishka Combatives

This is a blend of six martial arts – Shaolin Kung Fu, Pekiti Tirsia Kali, Muay Chaiyya, Jeet Kune Do, Tai Chi and Wing Chun. It lays emphasis on Survival tactics, fighting multi opponents and weapons usage. The techniques incorporated in this system focuses on effective learning and its application. You don’t have to be a pro martial artist to learn Shifu Kanishka Combatives. We don’t train for belts, competitions or any certificates. We train to survive on street and we live by our motto, “Train like you fight, Fight like you train”

4) Pekiti Tirsia Kali India

 The Pekiti-Tirsia Kali (PTK) system is an authentic Filipino martial art founded in 1897. Pekiti Tirsia Kali is a close-quarter combat system against multiple opponents, based on use of blade. It offers a unique combat program and is widely used by the military operators, law enforcement and citizens across the world.

5) Wing Chun

Wing Chun is a form of self-defence that specializes in close range attacks. It is said to have originated from Southern Shaolin and holds a very special place in Kung fu. Wing Chun is more than a system of self-defence. Apart from its effective combative application it also has a lot of health benefits like physical fitness, coordination, better speed and power, improved focus and mental health.

6) Jeet kune do

 The art of Jeet Kune Do was created by Bruce Lee as a way of freeing martial artists of a ‘one size fits all’ doctrine and allowing them to explore and express their arts, freely.

7) Progressive Fighting Systems (Rapid Assault Tactics)

The system is designed to address violent situations involving single and multiple aggressors. This training will include: Stress Inoculation drills involving weapons, ground-recovery, stand-up fighting, and mass attacks.

Functional application of JKD-Kali and Wing Chun weapon and trapping tactics along with Dumog & Kino Mutai for ground threat neutralization.

Development of ‘killer instinct’ – responding to a threat with appropriate aggression following the force quantum principles.

8) Our Online classes

Special Edition Webinars, Guest Webinars are available for everyone. You can train directly under Tuhon Shifu Kanishka or his senior instructors, straight from your home, from anywhere in the world.

Online Classes covers the following 6 forms of martial arts. You can choose to train in any one of the arts.

  • Shaolin Kung fu
  • Shifu Kanishka Combatives
  • Wing Chun (only with Senior Instructor)
  • Qi Gong

Q How do you see Martial arts as a career for young aspirants, and what is the need for learning Martial arts in practical life?

Just like any other art form one needs to have relentless passion for it. The idea is to be the best in it as mediocre never survive. Secondly one needs to constantly upgrade your knowledge

Q Take us through the daily routine of your students at the Shaolin Gurukul, and how your teachings impact their life in the modern era?

  • Typical Day Schedule: 5 Hours of Training daily
  • 5.30am — Wake Up
  • 6.00am — Tea with biscuits/fruit/light snacks
  • 7:00 am to 8.30am — Training
  • 8.30am — Breakfast
  • 10:30 to 12.00pm — Training
  • 12.45 PM Lunch
  • 3.30pm — Tea with biscuits/light snacks
  • 4.00pm to 6.00pm — Training
  • 7:45 PM – Dinner

The training at the Gurukul helps to develop your personality and trains your mind and body to face any situation in life. Learn to defend yourself. It will help you counter any attack. It’s a complete self defence system. To improve your body’s energy, strength as well as mental and emotional state. The Training at the Gurukul teaches respect, self-discipline and improves focus .There is no age limit to learning and everyone is treated equally.

Q You have also got the opportunity to train the Indian Army and Special forces, kindly share your experiences regards to that?

I started training Combat to Police in 2003 and later got opportunity to train Indian Elite Special Forces in 2006. In the year 2010 I was given contract to introduce pekiti tirsia kali to Special Forces training school as Close combat mentor. Over years till now we have trained various Para Military Forces, Elite counter terror forces like NSG Commandos and various Special Task Forces.

We train the armed forces on techniques which are tested and proven through generation in wars. Shifu Kanishka Combatives training is a unique combat program for Military and Special Forces. Whereas most systems follow empty hands process and then graduate to weapons which are generally not applicable in real combat scenario, making it very easy for commandos to learn the Military Survival combat system. The commandos are taught to fight multiple opponents in comparison to other systems which are based on one-on-one fighting. The Experience has been an honourable one brings me immense pride in training these Indian forces and commandoes.

Tai ChiQ You have spent 32 years of your life training in various martial arts and hence created your own system called Shifu Kanishka Combatives, tell us more about that?

I started my martial arts journey when I was six years old. I have spent almost all of my life training in various martial arts, Shaolin KungFu, PekitiTirsia Kali, MuayChaiya, Jeetune do. I believe there is always a lacuna created when one decides to stick to a particular fighting style and is not ready to accept the changes considering the modern times and today’s needs. Keeping in mind a real street survival for a fight scenario one needs to understand the significance of combat application, range at which a particular style operates, survival tactics, efficient techniques against multi-opponent etc. Shifu Kanishka Combatives is a specially curated blend of six martial arts; these include Shaolin Kung Fu, Pekiti Tirsia Kali, Muay Chaiyan, JKD, Tai Chi and Wing Chun. This system is all about Street Survival tactics for real time fights such as fighting multi opponents and weapons usage. The techniques incorporated in this system focuses on effective learning and its application. You will learn to operate in all ranges long, Medium, Close, extreme close, ground combat and specializes in edge and impact weapon.

KungFuQ Share with us some of your Bollywood experiences as an action choreographer, and who has been your favourite personality during instructing action stunts?

I have got the privilege to train Shahrukh Khan and Madhuri Dixit. All were hardworking, humble and down to earth.

Q In this era of the ongoing pandemic, how you have managed to keep your training centres as an institution healthy?

Due to the Pandemic, we started the Online Academy – Our Online classes are a Special Edition Webinars, Guest Webinars are available for everyone. You can train directly under Tuhon Shifu Kanishka or his senior instructors, straight from your home, from anywhere in the world. Our online classes covers 6 forms of martial arts as mentioned above. You can choose to train in any one of the arts.

Q Any message that you would like to give to the aspiring students who wants to learn Martial Arts?

Martial arts is the need of the hour and there are no age limits to start learning. My Moto is “Train like you fight and Fight like you train” Go on and start training with focus and dedication from the right trainers, not from social media videos but have a trained instructor guide you. The right training not only makes you strong but develops your personality. The training positively affects your mind and body to face any situation in life besides building strength as well as mental and emotional state. Martial art teaches respect, self-discipline and improves focus.


The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as a health advice. We would ask you to consult a qualified professional or medical expert to gain additional knowledge before you choose to consume any product or perform any exercise.


A journalist who has been grilling Health, Technology and Politics beat for years. He has compelling experience in Digital media and currently shelling out his expertise with leading Sports and Fitness Convergence portal Sportz as a Senior Sub Editor

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