KALARI PAYAT FROM KERALA
of Kalari payatt
Martial art Kalari Payatt - the most ancient tradition of Martial art.
the ancestor, "mother" of all
kinds of single combats, a pearl kept up to our time in the south of
India, in state Kerala.
Kalari (a word in the Malayalam language spoken in Kerala, S.India)
word, for a special kind of gymnasium, in which the
martial art known as Kalari Payattu, is practiced.
In 5 century Chineses, interested in an establishment of trading
connections in India, establish connections with
Southern India. Having visited Kanchipuram - a kingdom of silk, they
were conquer art of Bodhidharma and invite him in
Shaolin monastery for training the Chinese monks. So Martial
art has come to China.
During board in India of Englishmen, kalari Payatt was forbidden. After
acquire by India of independence, this art was
revived. In 1949 association Kalari Payatt was created. Now in state
Kerala total about 500 registered schools and about
1000 schools which till now follow a traditional way of training.
Kalari payattu is divided into 4 stages. They are meipayattu or
(body), kolthari(sticks), angathari(metal weapons),
verumkai (without weapon or empty hand). If one desires to become
a teacher (Gurunathan) of Kalaripayattu,
further 3 more stages have to be completed viz. Chiktsavidhikal
(treatment) , manthrathantra (rememberane of God etc),
marmagnanam (knowledge of Marmas or pressure points). The student who
excells himself in the 7 qualities will be normaly
selected for the training of Guru.
Body exercises or Maippayattu includes the twists and turns of the body,
leaps and jumps, and poses, designed to gain
control over various parts of the human body.
Puliyankam (Sword Fight)
Wielding the sword in an efficient manner, is considered to be the peak
of perfection in Kalari Payattu. Various methods
in the use of the sword, as a weapon of offence and defence, are being
practiced today, but the most awe-inspiring of
these, is the Puliyankam, where the combatants fight like tigers,
propelled by powerful fuels - extraordinary elan and
Uzhichil, or the massage with the Gingli oil, is used for imparting
suppleness to the body, but only persons with a
thorough knowledge of the nervous system, and the human body, conduct
Sticks of Kolthari
This is the next stage where training in handling various staves of wood
or canes of different lengths are imparted. The
long stick is kettukari and the short one, kuruvadi.
Otta - a Weapon for the 'coup de grace'
The otta is an 'S' shaped staff, with a knob at one end, made of the
toughest portions of the tamarind tree.These sticks,
which are about 2 feet long, are specially suitable for attacks on the
Metal weapons or Anga Thari
Weapons of various metals are used in training and combat sessions, like
the sword, sword and shield, two types of
knives, daggers, the spear and the 'urumi'. Various exercises are
performed with these weapons.
The Spear vs the Sword
In this combat, one contestant is armed with a sword and shield, and the
other with a spear. Due to the length of the
spear, the swordsman faces a disadvantage, but if he knows how to
exploit all the weak points of the spear-man, and take
advantage of all the opportunities, that come his way to get under his
opponent's guard, he can easily triumph over his
Barehanded Fight or Verumkai
In unguarded moments, there are some special ways of getting out of a
tight situation, by using one's hands or a piece of
cloth or a rope. Locks and blows are in vogue. Attacks on the nervous
system by the edge of one's palm, are enough to
paralyse the opponent. Various types of blows with different effects
are, therefore, practiced to perfection.
Character, fitness and sheer courage - these are the demands of Kalari
Payattu, which has about it a distinct spiritual
and mythical aura. To succeed in this martial art, one needs plenty of
fire in the belly, energy, drive and fierce
Bodhi Dharma a Buddhist monk spread Kalari payatt to China. This art
reached its zenith in the 16 the century under
different small kingdoms.
Presently Kalaripayatt is practised in many parts of Kerala. Different
styles / methods of Payatts exists, among them
Vadakkan style's Thulunadan is considered as the highest.
The “Urimi” is the most extraordinary weapon of Kalari, unique in
the world. This double-edged flexible sword which the
old-time masters used to wrap around the waist to keep coiled in one
hand, to suddenly whip at the opponent and inflict
mortal blows, is hardly used today in trainings, for it is much too
This indigenous martial arts, under the name of Kalari
or Kalaripayit exists only in South India today.
said to be the world's original martial art.
India's Kalaripayit is the oldest martial art taught
Originating at least 1,300 years ago, It is also
the most potentially violent, because students advance
from unarmed combat to the
use of swords, sharpened flexible metal lashes, and
peculiar three-bladed daggers. More than 2,000 years
old, it was
developed by warriors of the Cheras kingdom in Kerala.
Training followed strict rituals and guidelines. The
the 14 m-by-7 m arena, or kalari, faced east and had a
bare earth floor. Fighters took Shiva and Shakti, the
goddess of power, as their deities. From unarmed kicks
and punches, kalarippayat warriors would graduate to
swords, spears and daggers and study the marmas—the
107 vital spots on the human body where a blow can
kill. Training was
conducted in secret, the lethal warriors unleashed as
a surprise weapon against the enemies of Cheras.
Father and founder of Zen Buddhism (called C’han in
China), Boddidharma, a Brahmin born in Kacheepuram in
Tamil Nadu, in
522 A.D. arrived at the courts of the Chinese Emperor
Liang Nuti, of the 6th dynasty. He taught the Chinese
Kalaripayattu, a very ancient Indian martial art, so
that they could defend themselves against the frequent
bandits. In time, the monks became famous all over
China as experts in bare-handed fighting, later known
as the Shaolin
The Shaolin temple
which has been handed back a few years ago by the communist
Government to the C’han
Buddhist monks, inheritors of Boddhidharma’s spiritual and
martial teachings, by the present Chinese Government, is now
open to visitors. On one of the walls, a fresco can be seen,
showing Indian dark-skinned monks,
lighter-skinned Chinese brothers the art of bare-handed
fighting. On this painting are inscribed: “Tenjiku Naranokaku”
which means: “the fighting techniques to train the body (which
come) from India…”
Causes of its degradation : Kalari payatt was banned by British
in 1793. Secrecy is maintained in regard to many things ,
because of selfishness due to narrow view point (involves own
relatives ,castes, politics, religion etc.) Or because of
the incompetency of man to pursue it properly.
Culmination: Psychic powers invoked by using certain mantras was
also used to fight against the enemy, called choondu
marma (Choondu means to index, they can even transfer subtle
powers through their index finger pointing it to the major
marmas, through which enemy can be made motionless) was mastered
in the past is now totally ignored because of its tough
Presently Kalaripayatt is practised in many parts of Kerala.
Different styles / methods of Payatts exists, among them
Vadakkan style's Thulunadan is considered as the highest.
Kalarippayat, southern Indian state Kerala's martial art form,
aspires to spiritual transcendence, disciplining and
stretching the combatant's mental and physical resources to
Combat situations demanded an extremely agile, strong and supple
body, which would instantly obey the signals of an alert
and sharp mind. For the ancient martial arts exponents, uzhichil
orkalari massage was one way to prime the body and
Today, this form of massage is the focus of renewed interest as growing
numbers of people are attracted to its healing
and rejuvenating effects. There is a whole science behind the unique
techniques employed by skilled masseurs trained in
the art of kalari massage based in ayurveda. Ayurveda works at
stimulating the self-healing mechanics of the body, using
herbal medicines, medicated oils and massage. Kalari massage, which not
only affects the body but also the mind, involves
physical exercises, yoga therapy, pranayama and meditation.
Kalari massage includes techniques of balancing the chakras or energy
centers and saptha dhatu (seven tissues in the
human body—plasma, blood, muscle, fat, bone, bone marrow and semen),
stimulation of nadisuthra points (ayurvedic
acupressure), working with marma or vital points, and the awakening of
Regular kalari massage increases body flexibility and reduces fat. The
veins and arteries become more elastic, the skin
begins to glow and the body becomes more efficient. Massage improves
blood circulation and clears the body of toxins.
Organs like kidneys, rectum, and lungs are strengthened and work more,
efficiently, as is the case with digestive organs
like liver and small intestines. Bone, joint, muscle and nerve centers
also work better after massage.
The inability to handle stress can cause a breakdown in the body's
defense system, leaving one prone to illness and
disease, By reducing tension and calming the mind, kalari massage can
improve mental alertness and attention span, and by
body organs function efficiently, it can keep one disease free and in a
state of positive health.
"Marma Shastra" & Choondu Marmam :
Marma points are the specific places along the body surface where the
application of pressure or insertion of needles
(Bhedan Karma) will effect the flow of vital energy or Prana along a
complex system of subtle channels called Nadis.
There are about 350 therapeutic Marma points within our body and there
are over 100 lethal Marma points in the body, the
injury to some of these can lead to instant death.
Choondu Marmam :
Art of striking on the marmas with concentration,
'Marmam' means pressure points attacks. It in itself has three
divisions, according to their toughness, effect, and
expertise, being Thodu Marmam (attacking by touching), Choondu Marmam
(attacking by pointing)and Noku Marmam(attacking by
looking). Psychic powers invoked by using certain mantras was used to
fight against the enemy, which fall under the
category of the Choondu marmam and the Noku Marmam,through which they
could transfer subtle powers through their index
finger and eyes pointing it to the major marmas, through which enemy can
be made motionless, was mastered in the past is
now totally ignored because of its tough practices.
This is quite controversial and dangerous..
It was considered as the ultimate in martial defence and was very very
Very few know this and are very secretive about it..
ATMA REKSHA YOGA TRUST is formed to promote and propagate the new
theory and practice of Spiritual Martial Art named
'ATMA REKSHA YOGA' founded by Dr. A.K. Prakasan Gurukkal and to promote
and flourish the therapy system of alternative
medicine. It is so called Atma Reksha Yoga because it unites the powers
of body, mind and soul for one's self defence. It
is an internationally acclaimed charitable institution that cuts across
all barriers of nationality, sex, religion,
politics and beliefs. It is a combination of physical, mental and
spiritual knowledge of the ancient wisdom and modern
science. It is the shortest and most righteous path of self realisation
through the teachings and practical training of
Atma Reksha Yoga. The object of the Atma Reksha Yoga is saving ones life
in adverse situations and from dangers by
achieving its aim of long life and the promotion of alternative
medicines such as traditional Marma treatment, Kalary
treatment, Massage therapy, Yoga therapy, Nature cure, Herbal medicine,
Ayurveda medicine etc. in Holistic way. It is
preventative and curative branch of Indian traditional medicine and the
divine system of martial arts.
Kalarippayat as it survives today is also more than the sum of its
mutated progeny. It was designed, in the first place, to be more than
just a narrow-focus, single-purpose martial art: "Kalari" is an arena
for combat, "payatt" stands for a system of combat. The arena—terra
firma—is more or less common to all the martial arts; the "payat" always
follows the ground rules and martial imperatives of the multifarious
societies where this martial art has taken root.