Martial arts in India is still in a very nascent stage. Though quite a lot of people get into various forms of martial arts in the country, a lot of them drop out as soon as they feel they have learnt enough for self-defence. This is how it has always been in India, with not many looking at martial arts as a professional sporting career.
However things seem to slowly changing and one of the names at the forefront during this change is the Delhi based, Chinmay Sharma.
Aged 21, Sharma is a 'Tang Soo Do' or a Korean Karate practitioner. Tang Soo Do is a Korean martial art based on karate, subak and some northern Chinese martial art.
Tang Soo Do is certainly not as popular as Karate, Taekwondo or Mixed Martial Art (MMA) in India, but Chinmay Sharma's achievements might just change it.
Just a couple of months back in July 2021, Sharma broke a Guinness world record held by Pakistan's Muhammad Rashid – a feat that went largely unreported in media.
Eyeing to break Rashid's record of 'Most full contact alternate elbow strikes in one minute', Chinmay not only emerged triumphant but did so in some style. He registered a total of 334 full contact elbow strikes, going past the Pakistani star's 292 which was set just a month before in June 2021.
What makes this achievement even finer is the fact that Muhammad Rashid is nothing short of a martial art legend. He has more than 40 world records against his name and is a serial world record-setter.
"It was a big milestone for me breaking a national record, and it was even sweeter that I was able to break the record of someone like Muhammad Rashid who has around 45 world records against his name," said Chinmay Sharma to The Bridge.
To think that the youngster set this record after recovering from a career-threatening back injury makes one admire him even more.
"I had suffered a lower back injury in 2017. I forgot to remove my ankle weights and started practising my kicks. Just five minutes into the session, everyone in the academy heard the sound of something cracking. It was scary. The doctor told us I won't be able to run even, let alone get back into martial arts," Sharma explains.
However, with firm determination and family's support, he was able to recover within a year and defended his School Games Federation of India (SGFI) for the fourth consecutive time, winning his fifth title in a row.
Having started his martial arts career when he was just 4-year-old, Chinmay Sharma has his eyes set on even bigger things. He wants to break another world record.
"In the next one and a half months, I will attempt to break another world record. This time I will be attempting to break the world record for 'Most backward lunges in a minute'. It is currently held by an Egyptian and I am confident of making it in India's name in a two-month time."