Kalari Training

Kalaripayattu or Kalari practice begins with Pranayamas, a physical movement with rhythmic breathing which fuels the energy level and autonomous nervous system.
When charged with sufficient energy, one is invited for kalari vandhanam, the salutation followed by Meypayattu, the movement of 600 muscles of the human body.Once these three steps are over, the trainee is invited to use vadi, muchann, Otta, kadaari, puliyankam vaalpayattu and Urumi. Other than Urumi, all other techniques go with voice command (vaythari).
Thus the trainee trains himself/herself with multiple concentration and absolute concentration.

The dayís practice starts with light breathing exercises which are yogic Pranayamas with physical movements. It not only stretches muscles and nerves but also lets in a large amount of oxygen to all cells. The continual inflow of oxygen to the brain activates two types of autonomic nervous systems and it reflects positively on the energy level, concentration and the fighting spirit of the person.

Kalari Vandhanam (Salutation)
The pupils seek the blessings of Kalari deities, gurus, forefathers ashtadhipalakar (guardians of eight directions) and nature by offering salutation before they begin the martial practice.

After Salutation comes the Meypayattu. Meypayattu of Northern Kalari is the best exercise routine that involves the movement of more than 600 muscles. The strength and flexibility of the body is increased by practicing moves that almost sweeps the ground, which makes the bare hand training done on an erect posture more effective. No other martial art forms boast of moves that sweep the ground like Northern Kalaripayattu.

Vadi (Stick)
The module kicks off with long stick sessions and later advance to the short stick. The movement of long stick is easy to make out compared to the short one. Short stick wields four times faster than the long stick. Therefore, the practice with short stick begins only after mastering the long stick.

Muchann (Short stick)
Muchann is a short stick 1 Ĺ feet in length and affords rapid movements to the rate of three strikes per second. The Muchann training increases the hand speed to a large degree. It is possible to deal blows on almost the entire body in three to five seconds time with Muchann.

Otta is a stick with two bends. This is mainly a pressure point based attack and a single session of Otta makes the trainee competent in attack and defense with or without weapon.

Kadaari (Dagger)
Kadaari is a type of short knife with two bends like Otta and is held in a different way than the normal knife and other weapons of similar kind. Kadaari training helps to enhance the speed and strength of punching, hitting and defense tactics in the bare hand training.

Puliyankam Vaalpayattu
Puliyankam Vaalpayattu boasts of a blend of characteristics that resembles the tactics of a tiger in flexibility, swiftness and the way it pounces on its prey. Training with weapons helps to cast away the fear of weapons from the pupilís mind and makes the training easier in later stages when he receives lessons to resist armed attacks using bare hands.

Urumi is a long and flexible sword. Unlike other Kalari tactics Urumi does not follow a stipulated Vaythari (voice command) while in action. Negotiating Urumi while training improve the reflex action of the practitioner by leaps and bounds.

Dr. E P Shaji - BAMS

Dr. E P Shaji is the Chief physician at EPV Ayurveda Kalari. He took his BAMS from Madras University. He is a doctor cum therapist and son of a guru E .P. Vasudevagurukal who had 60 years