Kalaripayattu is an ancient and probably the oldest martial art still in practice. Originated in the Indian province of Kerala, it is a hugely diversified art that needs immense courage, dedication, and skill to practice. The beauty of Kalaripayattu lies in the fact that apart from a set of physical abilities, the art is a collection of life lessons. Every step in Kalari is more or less associated with the journey of life. Different tiers of Kalaripayattu training resemble the stages of life where one has distinct roles and responsibilities to play depending on the ability. Let’s learn about the various levels and weapons of Kalaripayattu.
There are primarily five Kalaripayattu training levels that consist of an introduction to various sets of weapons in each tier.
The primary level of Kalaripayattu is mainly about the mind and body preparation. Trainees go through a number of physical and mental practices in the quest for attaining enough spirit prior to going for the intense training. Practices such as Warm up, Meditation, basic yoga session, etc., dominate the prefatory training of Kalaripayattu.
Training of Flexibility
After getting prepared, students go through a series of applications to make the body flexible enough for the rigorous training. In Sanskrit, this step is called ‘Mei Payattu’, meaning the ‘School of Movements’. Students learn the art of fighting using the body parts. The core of this training is the coordination of the body with respect to the mind. The art of moving the body quicker than a peregrine falcon is attained during the Secondary level of Kalari.
Training of Wooden Weapons
Introduction to weapons actually begins at this stage. Aspirants learn about different wooden weapons such as-
Staff: This training includes the art of rotating a long staff with a high speed. Along with long staffs, one also learns about Otta, Neduvaali (long stick), Cheruvadi (short stick), and Kuravadi (short stick).
Edged weapons: Use of sharp weapons like daggers, katara, etc., are also taught.
Gadha: Gadha is a heavy weapon with a sticky handle.
Training of lethal weapons
This step is called the Senior level. Students get introduced to the various deadly weapons like Valum (sword), Katar, Trishula, etc. In ancient days, soldiers were taught to use these weapons to fight with the enemies. In fact, the sword has long been associated with kings and mythological characters like Lord Vishnu, Goddess Durga, etc.
Trishula, another weapon is used in the training is the personal weapon of Lord Shiva.
The level of proficiency
The master level is the last and final stage of the Kalaripayattu training. Students study the application of multiple weapons at a time. They are expected to have complete mastery over the weapons of Kalaripayattu at this stage. Knowledge of the highest standard of war weapons like Shield and sword, Spear, Maru, Urumi, etc., is given to the trainees. After the training, a student becomes a prodigy in the art of Kalari and its weapons.
The coaching of Kalaripayattu is extremely structured and highly influential. The training is tough but enjoyable. One comes out with an extensive range of experiences after completing the program. If you are eager to learn about the beautiful weaponry art, you can opt for one of the numerous Kalaripayattu training Schools in Kerala.
India is a varied land that embraces diverse cultures, colorful traditions, and ethnicity. Universally known as the motherland of yoga, it is also the homeland to various martial arts that have developed since ancient times. Nowadays, Indian martial arts are welded in rituals, celebrations, and as a means of physical fitness. Also, many of the artforms relate to dance and traditional discipline of yoga. One of the riveting tributaries of yoga is the oldest and scientific Kerala martial arts of Kalaripayattu.
It is a well-established fact that the God’s own country-- Kerala is another heaven on the earth. The lush greenery, meandering lagoons, scintillating backwaters, spicy food, traditional elements, etc., draw national and international tourists to this country. Among these unique features, Authentic Ayurvedic treatments and Kalaripayattu also attract many globetrotters to this land.
What is Kalaripayattu?
Kalaripayattu-- Kerala treasure trove, a gift to the modern world and the mother of all martial arts. Eulogized as the pride of Kerala, it is recognized and respected across the globe. Crafted in South India, this martial form draws inspiration from sinuous strength and intense power of majestic animal forms: lion, tiger, wild boar, and elephant. The Kalaripayattu Kerala lays the down the battle codes of the Cholas, Cheras, and the pandas. The training begins with the ayurvedic oil massage of the body to make it agile and supple. Feats like jumping, turning around using weapons, summersaults form an integral part of the Kalaripayattu training. This martial art is not just about swaying weapons in fascinating ways but is deeply rooted in the principle of unification of mind and body. Another focus of this ancient martial art form is the Kalari. Kalari is an indigenous medicinal treatment for bone dislocation, cramps, bone fracture, muscle problems that occur during the practice of Kalaripayattu.
Understand the mystical Benefits of Kalaripayattu:
1. It amplifies Flexibility: The century-old South Indian martial art of Kalaripayattu involves rapid movements, flying leaps, and kicks that warm up the muscles, improves agility, reflexes and builds a higher degree of flexibility.
2. Builds Strength and Stamina: “A sound mind resides in a sound body." Kalaripayattu training begins with Meythasari which consists of physical exercises and helps a learner build strength, stamina, stable foot works, and supple body.
3. Improves Concentration Power: If you wish to boost your focus, do it naturally with Kalaripayattu training. Kalari is the art of becoming determined and self-disciplined and teaches you the power of focus.
4. It makes you active and energetic: While undergoing the Kalari training, you learn a lot of quick moves, and a combination of attacks and defense. These movements are done in the blink of an eye so that you do not sustain any injury but are able to hurt your opponent.
5. Activates the Energy: Kalari is a special training in “Marma”, the technique of activating all the 107 energy points within the body. These marmas are used to correct the energy flow and the nourishment of its resources. Therefore, it does not only make you a warrior but a self-healer too.
6. Helps in developing Patience: The Kalaripayattu training is carried out in an enclosure constructed according to the principles of Vastu Shastra and is considered sacred. The entrance faces the East, and Deity is placed to the South West and has seven steps: Patience, Posture, Training, Strength, Expression, Sound, and Commanding power. The training demands patience and commitment as it cannot be learned overnight.
Undertake the Kalaripayattu training and emerge as a stronger, wiser, and a disciplined Warrior in Life.
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