Fit For Life
Vispi Kharadi’s journey from a banker to a martial artist
Four times Guinness World Record holder in martial arts feats, Vispy Kharadi is the first Asian to hold the maximum Guinness World Records. Currently, a full-time fitness and martial arts tutor, Vispy is also a sports nutritionist and strength trainer. He has also been imparting training to the Surat police since the last five years and conducts selfdefense camps for women across Gujarat, free of cost under the banner of ‘Suraksha Setu’ for the Gujarat Government. He also runs Akshay Kumar’s self-defense academy for women in Surat and has been part of his movie ‘Brothers’. Along with that, he has also acted and trained (in stunts) the star cast of the movie ‘Naam Shabana’, and imparts VVIP protection to eminent people across the city. Excerpts from our interview…
How does it feel to be a fourtime Guinness World Record holder? I always wanted to represent India in a sport but couldn’t do it. Being a Guinness record holder is definitely a matter of pride but the number of records is only for selfaccomplishment. It helps me expand my own limitations and discover new strengths.
What inspired you to pursue martial arts? My dad was a wrestler; I grew up seeing him work out every single day and I liked when everyone used to appreciate his physique and personality. He made me watch movies so that I get inspired by characters played by Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sly Stallone, Van Damme, Bruce Lee, and Jackie Chan. All these movies had a great impact on my mind since childhood. I liked action, karate or kick boxing movies but there was a myth those days that a bodybuilder cannot move fast and a martial artist cannot have a good physique. I wanted to bridge the gap and be a martial artist but with a good physique.
From banking to choreographing and acting, your journey has been an adventure. Describe a moment during this time you will never forget. Being born in a Parsi family, the focus was always on education but since school days, I was known by most as a sportsman and martial artist. I did my MBA in marketing from Gujarat University and specialized in Portfolio Management from IIM, Bangalore. I worked in corporates and my major tenure was with Kotak Mahindra Bank for 10 years. Alongside my job, I practiced and trained people in martial arts and strength training. I enjoyed this part though and always thought of what could be done to help people live a healthy life. Then, in 2015, I decided to convert my passion into my profession. I left my job and started a small class where I taught kids KUDO (a Japanese mix martial arts) and also started training my clients in strength and weight training. I’m still doing the same but now I have multiple classes and have my own fitness centre in Mumbai named ‘Athletica.’
How did you come up with the idea of starting selfdefense classes for women? This idea was put in me by my Sir, Mehul Vora, who happens to run a self-defense academy in Mumbai with support from Akshay Kumar and Aaditya Thackeray. Since the past eight years, we have been teaching self-defense to women for free.
How was your experience working with actors like Akshay Kumar and Tapsee Pannu? Akshay Sir was, again, a big inspiration for me and I will always cherish my days of working with him. His punctuality, devotion towards fitness, humility and vibrancy on the sets was closely experienced by me and it touched me deeply. Working with Tapsee Pannu was fun too. I had to train her for the shoot of the title song; she got hurt many times but she was very resilient and focused on what the director wanted.
What was it like to perform on an international stage of ‘America’s Got Talent’? We were very excited to receive a mail from AGT about the auditions as this was one more platform to showcase our (my team) efforts - we were the first Indians to be on that stage. Our stunt was risky as we played with Japanese Katana; unfortunately, there was blood shed and the judges felt it was very risky to allow us to perform in the next rounds. But for the first time, we all got a standing ovation from one person, Mr Simon, who seldom appreciates. So that was our win. Even after the show, when we came out of the studio, people were standing outside in a queue to appreciate us, which was an overwhelming experience.
What is your personal fitness routine and mantra? My fitness routine is pretty consistent since years now and follow these five mantras in my life: l Love yourself. l Be happy in the present. l Work hard. l Think and talk positive. l Who do you want to be? Ask this question to yourself every day.
There was a myth those days that a bodybuilder cannot move fast and a martial artist cannot have a good physique. I wanted to bridge the gap and be a martial artist but with a good physique.
Akshay Sir was, again, a big inspiration for me and I will always cherish my days of working with him. His punctuality, devotion towards fitness, humility and vibrancy on the sets was closely experienced by me and it touched me deeply.