Kalaripayattu is the ancient martial art of the State. It is considered the forerunner of Karate and Kung-fu. The Kalari is treated as the temple of learning. Ancient traditions and customs are still practiced within the Kalari. The Gurukkal system consists of rigorous physical training in addition to training in self-discipline. The weapons used were the sword, dagger, shield, short sticks, spears, etc. In this art, maximum importance is given to the coordination of the body and the mind.
The treasure of the East, a gift to the modern world and the mother of all martial arts. Legend traces the 3000-year-old art form to Sage Parasurama, the master of all martial arts forms and is credited with being Kerala’s reclaimer from the Arabian Sea. Kalaripayattu originated in ancient South India. Kungfu, popularized by the monks of the Shoaling Temple, originates from Bodhi Dharma, an Indian Buddhist monk and teacher from Kalaripayattu.
Traditional kalari architectural design.
The art is trained in an enclosure called ‘Kalari’, which measures 21 feet by 42 feet. The entrance faces east. In the southwest corner there is a seven-tiered platform called “poothara”, which houses the guardian deity of the kalari. These seven steps sy
Symbolize seven skills that each person needs. They include Vigneswa (strength), Channiga (patience), Vishnu (power of command), Vadugashcha (posture), Tadaaguru (training), Kali (expression), and Vakasta – purushu (sound). Other deities, most of them incarnations of the Bhagavathi or Shiva, are installed in the corners.
The origin of the Kalaripayattu
Kalaripayattu is perhaps the oldest martial art in the world. Religions have incorporated Kalaripayattu into their kingdom. The origin of Kalaripayattu is still in the dark. Traditional Kalari masters attribute mythological stories and legends to the origin of art. Legend traces the 3000-year-old art form to Sage Parasurama, the master of all martial arts forms and is credited with being Kerala’s reclaimer from the Arabian Sea.
In the early 6th century AD, the martial arts were spread from southern India to China by Daruma Bodhidarma, an Indian Buddhist monk and Kalaripayattu teacher. From China, martial arts have spread to Korea and Japan. Kalaripayattu is derived from the words Kalari, which means “place, era or battlefield”, and payattu, which means “to exercise arms or practice”.
Kalari’s influence on other arts
Kalaripayattu has strongly influenced the evolution of several of Kerala’s forms of theater and dance, mainly Kathakali and Theyyam. Kathakali practitioners must train with Kalari masters to develop various attributes such as aptitude, stamina, and martial movements that are performed in their performances. Kalari practitioners claim that Bodhi Dharma, a Buddhist monk responsible for training Shaolin monks in kung-fu, was in fact a Kalari master.
After the collapse of the princely states and the advent of free India, Kalaripayattu had lost its meaning as a code of mortal combat. Fortunately, Kalaripayattu has successfully survived the steady and sad decline in popularity. Kalaripayattu now has a compelling global audience and its fame and glory have won the hearts of all.
In a resurrection like the Phoenix, Kalaripayattu is emerging today in a new avatar, an ancient art form, a source of inspiration for self-expression in dance forms, both traditional and contemporary, in theater, in fitness and also in dance. films.