Guntur man brings due recognition to silambam

Having secured several medals at both national and international levels, K Sambaiah has seamlessly transitioned into the role of a Silambam instructor.
39 year old K Sambaiah, native of Phirangipuram of Guntur has been striving to ensure that Silambam gets its due recognition. (Photo | Express)
39 year old K Sambaiah, native of Phirangipuram of Guntur has been striving to ensure that Silambam gets its due recognition. (Photo | Express)

GUNTUR: A Guntur-based man has dedicated the past decade to lifting the recognition of India’s ancient martial art Silambam, which originated in Tamil Nadu. While Taekwondo, Karate and Kung Fu dominate the mainstream, the 39-year-old K Sambaiah, is on a mission to revive the art of stick fighting using bamboo as the primary weapon.  

Having secured several medals at both national and international levels, Sambaiah has seamlessly transitioned into the role of a Silambam instructor. In major cities, the common sight of parents enrolling their children in Taekwondo or Karate classes is evolving.

K Sambaiah. (Photo | Express)
K Sambaiah. (Photo | Express)

Silambam, once overshadowed by its more popular counterparts, is gaining interest among children and adults alike due to increased awareness. Speaking to TNIE, he said, “Educating people about Indian martial arts wasn’t a simple task. I used to conduct camps across various schools in the State, introducing children and parents to the combat form and instilling interest in them. With the rising need for self-defence, particularly among girls and women, this art is coming back to life.”

As technology engulfs the lives of students, parents seek alternative activities. Silambam, demanding both physically and mentally, offers not just fitness but also discipline. Its practice enhances alertness, and awareness, and channels energy positively.

While most of his contemporaries moved on to different jobs, Sambaiah’s unwavering love for Silambam and his desire to pass on these skills kept him as an instructor. Despite facing challenges, he persevered, witnessing a surge in awareness over the last three years.

Currently, around 150 students attend his classes conducted across various cities in the State. Guntur schools, responding to parental requests, have introduced stick fighting in sports and summer camps, further popularising the ancient art.

Beyond students, professionals such as doctors, teachers, and businessmen are also increasingly expressing their interest in learning this Tamil martial art. Sambaiah, not just an instructor but an active participant, recently secured the fifth position at the international Silambam championship in Portugal.

“However, joy for my personal victories surpasses when my students excel in the art and win medals. Many of his students have achieved gold medals at State and National competitions, setting their sights on international acclaim,” he added.

Looking ahead, he envisions establishing a Silambam training academy in the State to elevate the art’s prominence and encourage youth to embrace indigenous forms of martial arts. His journey is not only about personal achievements but about nurturing a new generation of Silambam enthusiasts.

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