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In the previous article, You read about the kalaripayattu martial art origin, history, and other interesting things. Now we will get deeper into kalaripayattu training.
It is a native art of Kerala which is very ancient. It is transformed through generations through gurus to other generations.
The overall purpose of this training is not only to hurt anyone but to heal others.
The whole development is to make an individual uplift them mentally, physically and spiritually. It is a traditional art and great science.
“Kalaripayattu training is one of the easiest martial art forms to learn. “All you need is a determined mind,” — Mr.Gurukkal Kalaripayattu trainer
People who seek Kalaripayattu training they should follow some basic steps.
It is a holy way of learning which is in the form of guru-shishya tradition. They should stay in gurukul centers .so strict niyamas are proposed.
- Alcohol consumption, smoking must be avoided and bad company at night.
- They should take rest at night time but day time sleep should not be there.
- Trainees should enter into Kalari with the right leg and bare feet.
- Practitoners should consider the Kalari center as a temple, respecting others.
- A few basic rituals to poothara (the seven steps platform)is a must.
- After that, they should touch the bhoomi (earth)
- After that, they should take blessings of guru and should start the training.
Shortly we can say the yamas and niyamas are found in ashtanga yoga of Patanjali will be followed for personality development.
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Kalaripayattu training School-
The training school for kalarippayattu art is called as Kalari. It is constructed as per Vaastu and that enclosure is 21” width and 42” length and mud are dug up to 3 feet deep.
The Poothara is seven steps platform located in the southeast corner of the of every Kalari. The seven steps resemble strength, patience, posture, expression, commanding power, training, expression, and sound. Poothara is consists of oil lamps and flowers and god photos.
Kalaripayattu dress –
It is called Katcha or loincloth which is a long strip of cloth and there is a method to wear. The wearing provides tightness to hips, abdomen and improves the movements, stiffness.
How to wear kalaripayattu dress-
Kalaripayattu Training levels-
They are 3 styles in kalaripayattu northern, central and southern styles. Northern style name is vadakkan and southern style name is adimurai or varma kalai.
Now coming to training Kalaripayattu training it consists of five levels. They are basic, intermediate, advanced, senior and instructor levels.
The training duration will take 3 months to complete the basic level and after basic intermediate will take 6 months’ time to complete. The advanced and senior-level may take 1 to 2 years training period depending upon the student caliber and finally, the practitioner who wants to become an instructor should complete 5 years of daily practice.
But to become a warrior or a great trainer it may take up to 12 years. I met a guru and he said he is still learning deeply about kalari and he has 20 years of experience. One should know how the body works and the energy flow.
They are short term courses duration also ranging from 1 month to 1 year also.
Kalaripayattu training is not an easy thing to explain on paper and through images and videos we may explain up to some extent but, finally, we have to watch and experience this Ancient kalari martial arts training. It needs a lot of dedication, discipline and rigorous practice to become an expert.
Training consists of Kalari massage training and body anatomy, vital points also taught..
Kalaripayattu training is divided into 4 categories. While explaining the training the names of the Deadly weapons used also explained.
Category 1 – MEITHAI (Physical, Acrobatic exercises) –
It is also known as mei payattu . The training starts with smearing the body with Kalari massage oil (uzhichil). This will make your body flexible and strengthens the wrists, hands, palms, legs and core body.
It is the first stage which involves a set of exercise for hips, hands, legs, upper body. It also has breath control exercises (pranayama) , Neuromuscular training.
The kalaripayattu workouts which they do on the ground with hands is called kaikuththiippayattu. It has leg moves, punches, muscle stretches, and body twisting. They are a total of 18 types of exercises in Kalari training.
It was done by the instructions of the trainer and called vaythari which are rhythmic.
It is to attain mental and physical balance.It makes to understand each organ of the body. These will help the learner to get a toned body.
These kalaripayattu exercises will make teach you alertness and you can observe a lot of these exercises are related to yoga.
Once the learner becomes perfect in this The next step will be called kolthari and in this self-defense techniques are taught with the help of wooden sticks and weapons.
Category 2- KOLTHARI (Wooden weapons category weapons and sticks)-
It is also called as kettukari.
The first step which is taught is kettukari weapon and it is 5 feet height so almost a full body size. It is base to learn the art of spear fighting.
In the second step they will teach with a weapon cheruvadi which is 2.5 feet height stick. The fighting techniques will be very intense. Very fast blows are delivered and it should be done with great caliber which is 100 blows per minute.
The use wooden Mace(Gadha) (4kg to 9kg of weight.) which we saw in puranic stories and one strict rule is not to attack the opponent below the waist.
The next step will be Otta (Curved stick) and this is the master weapon and it is related to marmas. This is used to thrust the body marma with the knob and it is not taught to all students. It will be taught by the gurus only to well-skilled, disciplined and trustable learners. This very tough to learn.
The other weapons also included like bamboo sticks, deer horns.
Once the learner becomes proficient in the kolthari and now they will move to more lethal weapons.
Category 3 – ANKATHARI (Metal Weapons category)-
The first weapon is dagger which is 1 foot long. It is very sharp and any lack of attention will cut the opponent’s body. It is used to defend, cut, thrust any body part and no shield is used.
Another weapon is udaval ( personal sword) to fight.
The awesome stage is puliankam and the combats will fight in a fierce manner which looks like 2 tigers fighting each other. The combats will have sword and shield. Here quick eye contact and observation, body control are very important.
Kuntham (spear to spear category) Here combats will fight each other with a spear.
Marapidicha kuntham (sword and shield against spear) –
Here one combat will hold sword and shield and another combat will hold a spear . This is very tough to win the fight for the combat who is fighting with the spear and he has disadvantages because of spear size is short and no shield also. This will make you deal with any tough situations.
Another more tough fight is kathiyum thalayum which one combat will hold a knife and other defends with a cloth which is the most crucial self-defense technique. But here I feel the person with the cloth means very risky and if he wins it means he is very efficient.
Urumi (flexible sword) Spring sword-
It is a 6 feet long very sharp weapon both sides and it can be folded like a wire also. In olden days they used to tie around the waist like a belt and whenever any threat comes they use this urumi to defend. So we can say it is like a small invisible tactic of hiding the weapon.If it is not handled properly it will cause a lot of damage.
Urumi consist of jumps,rotation, forward and backward movements.
The other kalaripayattu weapons are ax, metal shaped otta, double-edged sword, and trident.
Category 4 – KAITHALLU OR VERUMKAI-
After becoming an expert in all the weapon forms then the master will teach this category which is purely bare hands. ‘Kai’ means Hand and ‘Thallu’ means hitting. It is most advanced in Kalari training.
Here we should able to disarm the armed person with your bare hand. So it is self-defense from the armed or unarmed person.
This includes combats fighting with empty hands.this includes arm locks, grappling, kicks, Thrusting the marma points (vital points). It is taught only to the few trusted students by the gurukkal.
So now coming to the most important step marma shastram.
Marma art or marma kalai-
Marma means in Sanskrit “secret or hidden”
This art can be used to kill the opponent by merely touching any of the 108 vital points of the body.
Marma comes under sidda vaidya which is southern kalaripayattu which is given by sage agastya. Information about this can be found in atharvana vedam.
Sushrutha Samhita mentions about 108 vital points and Tamil medical science of Ayurveda says 25 marma in face and head, 12 in the neck,3 in the chest, 14 in the abdomen, 14 in pelvic and 44 in legs and arms.
In our body prana (life)passes through 72000 nerves which are nadis and 3000 marmas which is connected to the body chakras.
The effects of attacking Marma-
- Sadhyo pranaharam-When 17 points are attacked in the body death is immediate.
- Kalanthara pranaharam– They are 33 points. The attack may not cause death immediately but it takes some time.
- Visalaya pranaharam- If the 3 points are attacked with weapon death is immediate.
- Vikalaya pranaharam- These re 44 points and with the attack we can make disable any part of the body, handicapped and make them dumb or make them unconscious.
- Rujakara pranaharam– If these points are thrusted immediate pain will occur.
In Indian Film Kamal Hassan thrusts some opponents and their body parts become disabled and some become dumb and some loose consciousness also.
He disables the police officer and when he was on the bed the gurukkal from Kalari center comes and again set right his body parts perfectly. I think no doctor or physiotherapist can cure these types of injuries perfectly. Please watch the film once again for those interesting scenes.
This shows and gives a pride feeling how our ancestors knew about the Human body anatomy and nerves system.
Marma massage or marma therapy-
Through marma therapy a lot of mental issues, injuries, bones or heart issues, physical stress, etc. They use fingers, palms to cure. They know where and how to stress the Nadi points with the fingers. Here they use ayurvedic oils and a lot of massage techniques.
Actor Mahesh Babu has a migraine problem and he consulted a lot of doctors and took good treatment in allopathy but he didn’t achieve the proper results. After that he took this marma therapy and now is issue is solved.
Important thing is they do this treatment during morning and evening time not in the afternoon because there is planets and stars influence on marma points so the influence of cosmic rays on our body. In afternoon the sun heat is more.
The marma practitioner knows abt Nadi points, Ayurveda, astrology and Kalari chikitsa. The guru teach the students these techniques also to the kalaripayattu trainers.
Kalari Marma vidya can heal your pain and create the pain.
They are so many ayurvedic treatment centres in India for migraine.
Techniques in kalaripayattu while doing they have some postures (vadivu) and steps (chuvatu). These eight postures are based on animals.
Elephant, Boar, Cock, lion, cat, fish, Horse, snake. Steps are circular steps, inside steps, moving steps, corner steps, one leg steps. Kalaripayattu draws inspiration from the power of animals
In Tamilnadu there is a martial similar to kalaripayattu called silambam.
Central kalari is a combination of northern and southern styles and it is popular in central Kerala.
Kalaripayattu vs other martial arts
What separates kalari with other martial arts.
Kalaripayattu is based on tantra, mantra, marma, and balance of power. It includes spirituality, yoga, worshipping god, the blessing of guru.
It has slapping motions and karate has punches.
Here we use sticks, swords, bare hands and different self-defense techniques, marma points, astrology, Ayurveda. It takes a lot of time and the learners move with lightning speed.
The learners will have good timing, motion, High energy and stiffness of the body is like iron. Oil massage is done to the body before training.
The kathakali the drama also adapted techniques of kalaripayattu to train their students. Kathakali dancers who knew kalari will perform better than other artists.
Kalaripayattu Training Books –
“When body becomes the eye”
The book written Philip Zarilli a westerner who came to Kerala and did lot of research on kalaripayattu, visited so many centers. He is the first person in the world to get ph.d in kalaripayattu and the second person is Gangadharan who is from kerala.
“Kalaripayattu- A complete guide to Kerala’s ancient martial art”
This book was written by sridharan nair he observed every movement keenly and wrote this book. Actually in the review also one practitioner wrote this book was excellent and everything is in detail.
“Science and principle of marma therapy”
This book was written by Dr.sunil kumar joshi. This book explains about nonsurgical, nonmedicinal therapy for numerous diseases. So a wide range of information on marma science and therapy written in this book,
Kalaripayattu benefits in this modern urban life-
Kalaripayattu gives techies a big kick now
Nowadays people are learning Kalaripayattu in urban areas mainly corporate employees.
They are facing many challenges , stress, health issues, failures in life.
To come out of that they are learning some arts and sports.
They had chosen this indian martial art to come out of these problems.
Kajal srivastava an upsc aspirant had chosen this and it has changed her life. She has migraine, Thyroid and now she is no more using medicines and she is healthy now.
Kalaripayattu makes your mind sharp, logical, confidence and biochemical effects, weight loss, Good blood circulation.
South Actor Bhanu Chander he was a drug addict and he had learned martial arts and it has changed his life a lot. At the age of 65 he looks like a 40 years person.
In an interview, he only told how it benefited him in his life and career. He acted as kalari guru in the telugu film “manasaara”.
Famous Kalaripayattu training centers all over india-
So where can you learn kalaripayattu in india. So i mentioned below some few famous centers in urban cities
- Kalaripayattu training Bangalore –
- 1) http://www.kalaripayattubangalore.com/ 2) http://cvnkalaribangalore.in/ 3) http://chandrajivallabhattakalari.com
Kalaripayattu training in Mumbai
Kalaripayattu training in Hyderabad
Kalaripayattu training in delhi
Training center for Kalaripayattu chennai-
Kalaripayattu training in Ahmedabad (Gujarat)-
Kalaripayattu training centres in kerala
It is one of the best centers for kalaripayattu training in Kerala.
We have a lot kalaripayattu training centers in Kerala and in main cities like Palakkad, Kollam, Trivandrum, Thrissur, Kannur, and Kozhikode.
Kalaripayattu training in thrissur –
They are few centres in u.s and u.k and so many foreigners are coming to india to learn.
So we have centers for kalaripayattu training in india and the centers should increase more.
The First film on kalaripayattu-
Seeing the less popularity of kalaripayattu than other martial arts the students of kalari gurukulam came up with the idea to make a nice film.
So the first film on the silver screen and the name of the film is Dhehi.
Their idea is to make it popular in india and across the world.
This film depicts the achievements of a kalari artist and her guru.
Can we learn kalaripayattu online?
Nowadays online courses are increasing in education and so many are going for online. This course is not learned through online training. It needs guru guidance, blessings.
It is a martial art combined with spirituality and more practical approach needed. Everyone cant become an Ekalavya.
Even though 1-2 kalari online courses are there but I recommend we should learn in kalari centre that too only from a guru.
There is kalaripayattu training app in google play store. For kalaripayattu training in youtube they are lot of videos.
Kalaripayattu is a form of gymnasium. As it old it is more connected to our mind and spirituality. In my view, we should opt for this over the gym. It will give more happiness, self-confidence, fitness than any other fitness program.
It is the best program for women self-defense and Padma shree Meenakshi Amman gurukkal is an inspiration to so many female practitioners.
The Sad thing is this art is declining and authentic masters are also less. Govt support is also less. One happy thing is govt of Kerala included in sports quota.
So Indian govt must encourage this in all ways. It is our ancient heritage and pride. In UPSC exam also there is question-related to kalaripayattu.
Nowadays urban people are showing interest but that is not enough and if more students join it will save this art and become more popular than karate, kungfu.
We bharatiyagnanacharitra.in are trying to make aware of our present generation about the greatness of our Indian glory.