By | 9/12/2008 11:29:00 AM 1 comment

Kalarippayattu (Malayalam ്കളരിപയറ്റ) is a martial art originated in Kerala,India.It incorporates strikes,kicks, grappling, martial dance,and weaponry,as well as healing techniques. Kalarippayattu is the only form of the most ancient traditional systems of physical, culture, self-defence and martial techniques still in existence.It combines the dynamic skills of attack or defence and the power of the secret knowledge of the body,with a scientific system of healing and therapy based on allied disciplines like Ayurveda.
In Kalaripayattu,there are four stages of practice.
1.Meythari - a sequence of body controlling exercises to master balance in air and on the ground.
2.Kolthari - involves training in wooden weapons.
3.Ankathari - involves combat training in metal weapons.
4.Verumkai - self-defence with empty hands.
Here a student learns how to face an armed person,using only his limbs,and also learns vital points and locks.
There are two forms of Kalari.
1.Vatakkan ‘Northern’
2.Tekkan ‘Southern’.
In Vatakkan,Three types viz Arappukkai,Pillattaanni and Vatteel tirippu were the most important and they had wide publicity. It is believed that Sage Agastya was the Guru of Tekkan form of Kalari.The Tekkan type was more important than Vadakkan.But the use of different kinds of weapons and the beauty of performance made the Vadakkan Kalari become famous.In Sanskrit language,the word ‘Khaloorika’ denotes a place where weapon training is practiced.It is believed that it was from the Sanskrit term ‘Khaloorika’,that the word ‘Kalari’ came into use in Malayalam for similar institutions imparting training in martial arts. Such institutions were there throughout the country where similar training was imparted. In each region, they are known by different names according to the differences, in the regional languages as ‘Akhad’, ‘Garadi’ etc.All these terms are believed to have originated from the Sanskrit term ‘Khaloorika’ as in the case of the ‘Kalari’.The system of physical and weapon training imparted within the Kalari came to be called ‘Kalarippayattu'.
Kalaris were primarily of two types.
1.The first being smaller known as ‘CheruKalari’ (cheru means small) or KuzhiKalari
It is called KuzhiKalari because the floor of the Kalari is built at a level lower than the surrounding land by removing soil to achieve the necessary depth.
2.The second one known as ‘AnkaKalari’ (Ankam means fight).
CheruKalari or KuzhiKalari was built for the purpose of impailing physical and weapon training. It was in this Kalari that systematic training in scientific exercises in Kalarippayattu was imparted.Remnants of such ancient ‘Kalaris’ are seen at some places in Kerala even now and the similarity in size and shape they bear to each other is ample proof for the existence of this type of Kalaris throughout the region from very ancient days.
‘AnkaKalari’ was a Kalari constructed temporarily for the purpose of fighting duels to decide any quarrel between the local rulers or for a cause of revenge for some reason or other.This Kalari would be constructed in such a place as to enable all persons in the locality to arrive and witness the duel conveniently.‘Ankathattu’ meaning a platform for fighting duels also used to be constructed for the purpose and it belonged to the same class as ‘AnkaKalari’.The platform would be constructed four to six feet above the ground level engaging famous carpenters for the work.Before the date fixed for the duel,the Ankakathattu would be handed over to the fighters after elaborate rituals.
It was believed that the ‘Nayakanmar’ were given the charge of Kalaris.These Nayakanmar gradually came to be called the ‘Nayars’,in some regions, special titles like ‘Kurup’, ‘Nambiar’, ‘Panikar’ etc.The ‘Nayar’ who had charge of a particular Kalari or group of Kalaris for the training and upbringing of warriors was called the ‘Gurukkal’,Gurukkal is the teacher or instructor of the Kalari or Kalaris.Kalaris were established in all the ancestral homes of those Nayars to impart training in the methods of welfare.

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Anonymous said...

will u please post some pics of Kalarippayattu.