Martial arts expert Satyaki Gupta believes learning the art isn’t only useful but also necessary
Warriors often lead a double life. Like the rather geeky Clark Kent who throws off his glasses, gets into his multicoloured outfit and becomes Superman. Or the brooding Bruce Wayne who stalks the roads of Gotham protecting it from the evil that lurks within. Or perhaps even Price Adam (He-man) who sheds his inhibitions and clothes to defend the realm of Eternia from the evil Skeletor.
Satyaki Gupta’s alter ego is perhaps quite not so flamboyant but is nevertheless necessary. This mild mannered IT professional is also a seasoned martial artist with over 25 years of experience and heads a martial arts organisation called 7CASP (Seventh Chakra Arts for Self-Preservation) which trains people in arts such as Jeet Kune Do, Kali and Silat. “Martial art is something that I just have to keep doing. It isn’t just the physicality of it; it has also helped me a lot mentally. It isn’t just a passion but a need - I would go so far as to say it is the reason why I am alive today.”
His induction into martial arts happened as a result of a friendly rivalry between classmates when he was 11. “There was this classmate of mine who did really well in fights. I was a calm, quiet child but it fascinated me so I followed him after school one day to see where he went to learn these skills and discovered that he was taking karate classes. That is how I stumbled upon karate and I joined there before moving to other art forms like Taekwondo, Kung Fu and Aikido. Then while I was working in the US I discovered Jeet Kune Do and I was hooked.”
Jeet Kune Do, popularly called JKD is an eclectic system developed by actor and martial artist Bruce Lee and later propagated by his student Daniel Inosanto who also happens to be Satyaki’s teacher. Talking about the art, “It has movements derived from almost 27 other art forms. In keeping with Bruce Lee’s adage to take what is useful, reject what is useless and add your own, JKD takes the best of all the arts. For instance Kung-Fu and Wing-Chu use a lot of straight-forward punches and combine it with Taekwondo which has a lot of kicking. You get something even better.”
“It is a fluid art which constantly evolves and changes every six months. You need to research your own experiences and understand what works and what doesn’t. We offer street effective combat strategies rooted in traditional art forms. We don’t just teach various art forms but also demonstrate how it can be used practically. For instance, in kickboxing we teach a variety of kicks but we will also caution our students that high kicks are not good in practical.”
Satyaki firmly believes that like swimming or driving, a martial art is a life-saving skill and needs to be propagated more widely, “Not enough people are taking up the arts but it is very important that they do. It isn’t about strength but agility, efficiency, stamina, practicality and common sense. You need consistent training to achieve that. You have to constantly prepare for the worst-it may not happen but you need to be prepared. After all in a combat, there is no second chance.