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Nidar Singh Nihang, who claims to be the last remaining master of Sikh martial art Shastar Vidiya is seeking an apprentice to keep the ancient art alive.

Nihang, who learned his skills from an Indian guru, insists that any budding warrior wanting to follow in his footsteps must travel to his home in Wolverhampton. The 45-year-old former factory worker is looking for someone to inherit both his unique knowledge and his armoury of weapons. Nidar said: "I am the last known remaining master - it is my mission in life now to find a successor to carry on this great martial art. If I die with it, it is all gone."

He conducts a rigorous daily routine, awakening at dawn to recite ancient mantras followed by seven hours of writing and study, as reported by a newspaper in the UK. Shastar Vidiya - the 'science of weapons' - is a five-step movement: advance on the opponent, hit his flank, deflect incoming blows, take a commanding position and strike. It was developed by Sikhs in the 17th century when their fledgling religion was coming under attack, but it was forced underground when the British banned Sikhs from using arms after the first Anglo-Sikh War.

In 1984, while working on his aunt's farm in India, Nidar met his guru Mohinder Singh, from whom he learnt the art. He is now the ninth gurdev (teacher) of a school called Baba Darbara Singh Shastar Vidiya Akhara, the paper reported.


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