Shaolin master trains the stars

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There are times when Kanishka Sharma forgets his own name, for people refer to him as Shifu. “Not many people know that Shifu means master in Chinese. I am called by this name so many times that at times I forget my original name,” says the martial art expert, who happens to be the first Indian to get formal training in martial art at the Shaolin Temple.
It all started when Kanishka was six years old and his father got him a tape The 36th Chamber of Shaolin. “I showed interest in martial art at the age of three. I watched that movie every day, again and again till I made it my goal to train at the Shaolin Temple,” says Kanishka, who watched that movie more than 300 times.
His childhood obsession took him to China but for that he had to let go of his career. “I did an MBA from Netherlands and took up a corporate job in one of the leading companies in India. But my heart was not there and I always felt a misfit. Finally, I let it all go to pursue my dream of becoming a martial artist and applied at Shaolin. Once accepted, I spent nine years training there,” says Kanishka. With his training, he has brought the deadly combat system of Pekiti Titsia Kali besides other forms including Jeetkunedo, Muay Thai and Taichi to India and trains Special Forces, military personnel and film stars.
Till now, Kanishka has trained Akshay Kumar, Shah Rukh Khan, Abhishek Bachchan for their films and is now working with Madhuri Dixit for Gulaab Gang and Anil Kapoor for special season of 24. “It is fun but not something that I want to do. I get better satisfaction in training police forces, special units and running women empowerment programmes. Films are secondary,” confesses Kanishka, who will conduct a workshop at Zambhala festival in Goa on December.

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