The Kalari or arena is a sunken pit packed with red mud. Early scriptures state that in the 6th Century A. According to Indian mythology, Parashurama, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, established Kalaripayattu in Kerala to protect the state and provide a service to the community. This, in combination with the Kalari healing system, allowed for practitioners to develop mastery of the mind, body and healing skills, using traditional Indian medicine. With the focus on discipline, Kalaripayattu training involves warm up and flexibilty exercises, strength and stamina training, step work, traditional forms as well as unarmed and armed combat techniques.

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Sarvagaya Samasthaya Shivaya Guruve Namath Historically, all Keralites of the Hindu community, men and women alike, would undergo mandatory training in Kalaripayattu beginning at the age of 7 or 9 and lasting until the end of their education. Generally, two styles of Kalaripayattu are acknowledged among Kalari practitioners: the Northern Style and the Southern Style.

The styles are variations that various masters have adapted and modified according to their understanding of the art. Development and mastery of Kalaripayattu comes from the tradition of constantly learning, adapting and improving the techniques by observing what techniques are practical and effective.

There is a great amount of respect and observation of tradition which allows the preservation of the art. The knowledge and experience gained by the practitioners is improved upon by subsequent masters who utilize keen observation, research of various techniques and variations to update the knowledge.

The adaptability of Kalaripayattu is largely due to Kalaripayattu being designed for use in warfare and combat. A Kalari practitioner might encounter new fighting techniques from an enemy combatant. The Kalari practitioner would need to learn how to anticipate, adapt to and neutralize these new techniques. This is especially seen in the Southern style of Kalaripayattu, which is believed to have been adapted and modified during wars with Tamil kingdoms to counter martial arts like Silambam , which was one of the main martial art forms practiced by Tamil soldiers at the time.

This system places more emphasis on physical flexibility exercises and strength training rooted on the slogan Meyy kanavanam, meaning, "make the body an eye. After that meypayattu a concept similar to kata in Karate is taught.

These are a combination of flexibility exercises with offensive and defensive techniques, however, the actual techniques are taught very much later. Traditionally, the number of meypayattu may differ as per the teaching methods of the Guru. After the student learns meypayattu, stick fighting is taught. Generally, the majority of the Kalaris schools that teach Kalaripayattu start training with weapons within 3 to 6 months.

Some Kalaris only allow one weapon to be learned per year. After long stick and small stick fighting, iron weapons are introduced. Training begins with the dagger, sword and then the spear. Not all modern schools use specialized weapons. Traditionally, bows and arrows were commonly used in Kerala and students were trained in these techniques, but is rarely taught today. The origin of Thekkan Kalari is a subject of much debate and controversy.

It is a style of Kalaripayattu that is said to have been altered and influenced by Sage Agastya. It may have been altered from the Northern style of Kalaripayattu to fight combatants trained in Adi Murai and Silambam from Tamil Nadu during various wars and skirmishes with Tamil kingdoms.

It is essentially a style which combines Kalaripayattu with certain elements of Adi Murai and Silambam. Other sources suggest that martial arts such as Varma Kalai and Adi Thadi may also have influenced the Southern style. While the Southern style is less commonly practiced in Kerala compared to the Northern style, it is revered in Kerala as a combination of the teachings of both Parashurama and Agastya.

It is predominantly practiced in some regions of the southern parts of Kerala, particularly in areas near Kanyakumari. While many of the exercises of the Southern style are identical to the Northern Style, it places heavy emphasis on hand-to-hand combat and hard impact techniques, and places less emphasis on weapons and combinations.

It starts with the training in Chuvadus: a system of various combinations of fighting techniques similar to Muay Thai and shadow boxing. Immediately after that, sparring with a partner is introduced as part of the training.

These pre-determined techniques are repeatedly trained. After a basic proficiency in unarmed combat is established, weapons training begins with a small stick.

Small stick training is usually done with two combatants, armed with a stick or dagger. These are primarily defensive techniques. Fighting techniques with two combatants having the same weapons include sparring with long stick, sword, etc. During the duration of this training, the refining of un-armed combat also progresses.

As the student gains more experience, a small amount of knowledge pertaining to the Marma points pressure points is also taught to the student if deemed appropriate by the Gurukkal. They are named after animals, and are usually presented in eight forms.

Styles differ considerably from one tradition to another. Each stance has its own style, combination, and function. These techniques vary from one style to another. Kalaripayattu performance.



The Marma points are located where the flesh, veins, arteries, tendons, bones and joints meet. They may also be described as the junctions where Vata, Pitta and Kapha meet; where Sattwa, Rajas and Tams meet; or where Eternity and Relativity meet. In the martial art of Kalaripayattu, the warrior is trained to attack particular Marma points in his opponent. It is claimed that an advanced Kalari Master can disable or kill his opponent merely by touching the correctMarma point. However, this is taught only to the most promising and level-headed persons to discourage the misuse of the technique. Marma points grouping Marma points are grouped according to the region of the body, Arms points; legs points 11 per lib ; abdomen-3 points, chest — 9 points, back — points, head and neck- 37 points. Traditionally marma points are grouped in to 3 categories: those on the legs and feet, sanakha marma : on the trunk Madhayamanga marma : neck and head jatrurdhara marma.


Secrets of Marma

Marma Chikitsa Marma Therapy At Kalari Ayurveda Centre, marma applications are an important part of our treatments for injuries and pain-related conditions. What is Marma? Marma pressure points are the vital energy points located throughout the body. They are often located at junction points, where two or more types of tissue meet such as muscles, nerves, tendons, joints, ligaments or bones. Any obstruction to these points creates an imbalance that results in disease, pain and discomfort.


The secrets of Marmas (Vital Points of Human Body)

A Life Style, more than a martial art Kalaripayattu. A Kalari Guru is not only a trained movement artist but also a professional in Ayurveda, a doctor who treats people of diseases and general ailments. Kalari has developed a traditional orthopedic system which is widely popular all over the states, especially for the setting of displaced bones. There are different types of Oils, pastes, herbs etc are used only by kalari masters to treat muscle and bone injuries.

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