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Fitness is beyond gym memberships and workout. It’s a way of life and has always been. In this space, we will profile people who’ve gone extraordinary lengths to pursue their passion. Kanishka, the first Indian to train in Shaolin temple of China and fight choreographer to the well-known movie personalities speaks about his growing years and his struggle to realize his dream in an informal chat with Archana Darshan

As a child, I was an introvert and was very shy, and quiet. Secretly, I was in awe with Bruce Lee and his movies. The year was 1986 when my father gifted me a cassette of 36 Chambers of Shaolin. I must have watched and re-watched the movie 400 times. Since, then began my passionate affair with marital arts. In 1987, my father enrolled me in master Murrugan’s class in Chanakyapuri in 1987 and he was a great teacher, already Fifth Dan (fifth grandmaster level after the Black Belt). I learnt from him for three years and then from several other teachers.

From corporate world to Shaolin temple

Believe me it was not as simple as it sounds. I have an MBA degree from Holland and I am a gold medalist. After returning to India, I joined Reliance, but, my heart was in marital arts and I chucked my high paying job to go and train at Shaolin. The course was going to be very tough. In China students train for as much as 49 hours a week as opposed to just three in India. My father had passed away but my mother, Neelima stood by me despite the emotional and financial crunch she was going through.

Shaolin was an expensive investment. I had some savings and my mother gave me the rest. Putting together just about Rs. 100,000 necessary for the training, I left for China for the first time for two months in 2001.Its been now more than 24 years of Martial arts experience

Master Shi Hun Jeng accepted me as his disciple in 2001 and later the Living legend of Shaolin Shi Yan zi accepted me as his disciple too. I also trained for the special combat of the armed forces from the legendary Bruce Lee’s elder brother.

Reverse swing

Learning marital arts was very expensive and I had to use my marketing skills learned during MBA days to furnish my training programmes. Thus, began my TV shows. Incidentally, my career’s stint began with Akshay Kumar whom I had trained for the National Geographic series on marital arts. Since then there has been no looking back. He has also choreographed the stunts of Shahrukh and Priyanka’s Don as well the action sequence of Goal. Hollywood is not far behind from his leaps and stunts and he is doing an action sequence for ‘The killing moon’. Kanishka has also trained corporates in de-stressing techniques and have been called in by companies like BHEL, Seagrams and Coca-Cola.

Kanishka also runs Programs for women and executives which is called -” Execute and women survival combat tactics:” This program teaches executive and women to knock out multiple opponents in 3 SECONDS using ball pen, credit card, pen-drive, magazine roll etc.