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Martial arts grand master sets world record in Pines

Photo courtesy Sunil Shakya
Grand Master Sunil Shakya demonstrates kenjitsu, the Japanese art of the sword, during a recent world record setting performance at Chesapeake Martial Arts in Ocean Pines.

By Greg Ellison

(Sept. 10, 2020) Grand Master Sunil Shakya, head instructor at Chesapeake Martial Arts in Ocean Pines, set a world record for longest tai chi performance last month after notching a comparable achievement earlier this summer.

“I am a multi-martial artist and master of 10 different styles of martial arts,” he said.

Born in Kathmandu, Nepal, Shakya, 43, relocated to the U.S. in 2008, three decades after beginning a lifelong study of traditional Asian forms of self-defense, including kung fu, wushu, taekwondo, tai chi, kickboxing, Krav Maga, jeet kune do, close-combat weapons, pankration and kenjutsu.

“I started teaching martial arts back in 2000 all over Nepal, India, Europe,” he said. “I came here for martial arts seminars in New Jersey.”

Although recent record-setting endeavors had to be judged remotely due to covid-19 considerations, on Aug. 21 Shakya qualified for the longest performance of tai chi in the High Range Book of World Records after hitting the two-hour mark.

“Actually, I wanted to go to Guinness World Records but the process was so long,” he said.

This was the second entry in the High Range Book of World Records for Shakya, who also made the pages after performing seven different styles of martial arts back to back on June 30.

Both feats were accomplished at Chesapeake Martial Arts with High Range officials viewing a live stream and nary a spectator, save for Shakya’s wife, Susmita Lama, and 7-year-old son, Syalwon.

“Just me and my family,” he said.

Although only a witness last month, Syalwon Shakya is following in his father’s discipline.

“He’s also a martial artist learning kung fu and taekwondo with me,” he said.

Since beginning martial arts instruction at age 4, Syalwon Shakya quickly excelled and more recently has begun echoing some of his father’s achievements, which have included stints competing, coaching and judging national, international and world championships.

“Last year in 2019, he got a lot of trophies,” he said. “This year we had planned to go to a championship in Virginia but they’re all cancelled, so maybe next year.”

While proud to speak about his son’s recent achievements, Shakya also took first place for taekwondo, kung fu and weapons competitions during the 2019 Mid Atlantic Martial Arts championship in Delaware.

The father and son also placed second in taekwondo team forms and took home a martial arts champion family award.

In lieu of in-person events, the Shakyas continued their winning traditions virtually in 2020.

“This year we did the team forms for an online championship,” he said. “We got first place.”

Sunil Shakya, who was certified by the World United Martial Arts Federation as an eighth-degree Black Belt in March, also took top honors for kung fu, taekwondo and tai chi during the World Martial Arts E-Championship this June.

“Every championship, fortunately at the age of 40-plus, I’m still winning,” he said.