Indian teacher takes Shaolin culture and kung fu back home

Updated: 2014-08-13 07:40

By Hou Liqiang and Qi Xin in Dengfeng, Henan(China Daily)

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For the past decade, Kanishka Sharma has been dividing his time regularly between India and China.

The 37-year-old spends two months at a stretch taking care of his martial arts schools in India before staying two months in Shaolin Temple, learning its kung fu techniques.

Kanishka saw the movie The 36th Chamber of Shaolin when he was 6. He liked it so much he saw it 200 times.

 Indian teacher takes Shaolin culture and kung fu back home

Indian Kanishka Sharma practices Shaolin kung fu at the Shaolin temple in Henan province in July. He is planning to open a Shaolin cultural center in India. Hou Liqiang / China Daily

It also marked the start of the Indian national's lifelong fascination with Shaolin kung fu.

"I told my father I wanted to go to China. He said I was too young," Kanishka said.

When he first arrived at the gates of Shaolin in 2001, he burst into tears.

"I cried because it was just as I dreamed. ... I just wanted to be like a Shaolin monk," he said.

Kanishka said he was trembling when he called his mother to share his joy.

"My parents said I was crazy."

Kanishka trained in the temple the following two years and continued his studies at the Fawang temple and Shaolin Epo Kung Fu School.

In 2007, he established his first kung fu school in India. He has set up four kung fu schools since, with 15 trainers.

"I don't like modern martial arts. I like traditional kung fu. My trainers teach traditional Shaolin kung fu," he said.

Kanishka said he has trained more than 20,000 people in India. He has also trained up to 4,000 policemen and soldiers in the past six years.

"Now I am training female commanders who are in charge of metro stations. I teach them Shaolin qinna, or hand-to-hand combat," he said.

"If they face a guy who misbehaves, they can arrest him without handcuffs."

Kanishka also opened a security company with his Shaolin experience.

He plans to build a Shaolin cultural center in India and has acquired about 2 acres of land. Construction will start soon.

"Once it is done, I will invite monks from Shaolin to train the students," he said.

"Next year, I will invite (Shaolin abbot) Shi Yongxin to India. All the students can come to listen to him and receive his blessing.

"I will devote my life to spreading Shaolin culture. I'm so happy because Bodhidharma came from India to spread his teachings in China and here I am taking the culture back to India."

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(China Daily 08/13/2014 page7)