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Kalaripayattu the ancient martial art

Kalaripayattu is a deadly martial art of India originating from the southern state. It is one of the oldest martial arts and is revered in English as Mother of All Martial Arts which means mother of all martial arts. This art is prevalent among the Malayali communities of Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka as well as Sri Lanka and Malaysia. It was practiced by the warrior castes of Kerala like Nair's, Ezhavas. Kalaripayattu art includes special attacks, foot hitting, wrestling, predetermined methods, arsenals of weapons. Chhetri forms of this art The geographical location of Kerala is classified as Northern style of Malayalees, Southern style of Tamils, and Central style of inner Kerala. This style is based on principles like Northern Kalaripayattu hard technique while Southern style is based on soft technique | However, both the systems use internal and external concepts.

focus - mixed
Country of Origin - India (Kerala)
Creator - Lord Shiva, Parashuram
Famous Practitioners – Bodhidharma, Simhalan Madhav Panikkar

the origin of the word

The word Kalaripayattu is made up of two words. Like the first Kalari means gymnasium or school and the second payattu means war or exercise.


Professor Philippe Zarrilli of Exeter University, who was one of the authorized experts, believes that this art is at least more than the 12th century. The same historian Elamkulam Kunjan Pillai says that the birth of this art is given to the long war between the Chera and Chola dynasties in the 11th century. This art was practiced by the kings for the safety of their kingdoms. In the 11th and 12th centuries this art was divided into small princely states of Kerala. In the 19th century, the British banned this art due to rebellion and anti-colonial sentiments. Due to which this art remained confined to many Indian rural areas.

There are many styles of this art, but they are divided into three main styles. Which is known to attack and protect you. These styles are Northern, Southern and Central Kalari.

1. North Kalaripayattu
The northern style is mainly practiced in northern Malabar. This style especially emphasizes the arms rather than the hands. Parashurama, who was the sixth incarnation of Vishnu, is considered the founder of this style, both oral and written. The northern style is recognized for its special physical training and body massage, which is the use of massage to increase the flexibility of the body or muscle injury during practice, which is called Chavutti Thirumal, which means 'foot massage'. is |

2. Southern Kalaripayattu
The emphasis is on special hand techniques in this style. This style is known for Varma Ati (law of inflicting injury), Marma Ati (to inflict injury on important places). This style was especially practiced by Nair and Nadar warriors.

3. central kalaripayattu
This style is a confluence of both northern and southern styles, it is mainly practiced in the districts of Kozhikode, Palakkad, Malappuram, Thrissur in Kerala.

Students are given training from the age of seven. In which they are taught Dichha rituals by Gurukakal and touching their feet in respect to the gurus is repeated everyday.
The specific invocation associated with all the exercises is called Vayatri.

1. Kalkal
The word Kalkal means foot. In Kalari it is used for hitting with feet and increasing flexibility.

  • Pada Chakram (Curved foot strike - from inside to outside)
  • Pada viranam (curved foot - from outside to inside)
  • ner kaal (direct injury to the leg)
  • Kona Kaal (Right to Left, Left to Right, Foot Injury)
  • Vithi Kaal (Curved foot injury - from inside to outside)
  • Ner - kona veethi kaal (joint leg injury)
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2. kaikuththippayattu
They mean Kai (hand), Kuththi (die) and Payattu (exercise). In this exercise, kicking, leg movements, stretches, twists and jumps are all done after the body is warmed up. The Kaikuththippayattu exercise is divided into 18 steps which keep on increasing with the steps.

3. Chumtadi
This exercise is taught to attack and defend the opponents coming from all four sides. This exercise is done with very high speed and strength. It is also divided into 18 phases which include kicks, cuts, jumps and stops.

4. meipayattu
This exercise is based on flexibility. This makes it aggressive and the exercise is done with speed and agility.

5. adithada
This exercise requires two or more trainees. In this one attacks, the other stops and then attacks.

The phase is divided into four parts. Mithari, Kolthari, Ankathari and Verumkai

1. Mithari
This stage is important not only for the learner of martial arts but for all the people. It includes physical exercises to develop strength, flexibility, balance and stamina. These include jumping, low to the floor posture, rotation, kicking with the feet. This practice increases the alertness of the mind.

2. Kolthari
In this phase the students are given a show of arms. If the student becomes physically disabled, then they are taught the first weapon Ballam Kettukari which is 5 feet long, the second weapon Muchan which is two and a half feet long and the third otta which is a wooden stick resembling an elephant's trunk. happens |

3. Ankhari
If the students become proficient in all the wooden weapons then they are taught Ankathari (meaning war training). In which they are shown a deadly metal weapon. In which the Kadhara, the curved-edged dagger, the sword (Val), the shield (Paricha), the spear, the Kunyam, the trident, the ax and lastly the most dangerous weapon taught is the Urumi (Flexible Sword).

4. verumkai
After all the students have mastered the weapon, in this stage the master teaches them bare hand techniques for self-protection, which include arm bandaging, grappling and hitting pressure points (marma). Guru gives the knowledge of the meaning only to a few trusted students.

In this art technique (atavu), there is a combination of padas (chuvatu) and postures (vadivu). It consists of a total of five posts and ten mudras. And all the ten northern mudras are based on animals. Like elephant, horse, snake, cat and fish.

However, now the use of these weapons is less at the time of training. But weapons are an important part of this art. The northern style is based mostly on weapons in particular.
This weapon -
Chuvadu (Salutation Forms)
Adithada(Unarmed Combat)
Pootu (Locks)
Valivu (Throws)
Neduvadi (Long Stick)
Kuravadi (short stick)
Cheruvadi (medium stick)
Maru (axe)
Urumi (Spring Sword) Dangerous


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