The ancient martial art form was mainly practiced for self defense.
Kalaripayattu, a brief history
Ever since 600 years, this martial art form had been handed over from generation to generation. This could also be one among those few martial art forms in the world which has the combination of distinct martial culture, different exercises, martial feats, defensive techniques and spiritual and philosophical thought patterns.
Dating back to centuries, the exact period of origin of Kalaripayattu remains uncertain. When Kerala remained a collection of nucleus states, the then kings recruited pupil from Kalaris into their armies. These kings popularized this self-defense technique to many, far and wide regions. Today this marital art gains visibility by its own effective impact on people who look for self-discipline and upright life.
Overview of Kalaripayattu
Kalari is a health science which is built on the motto ‘Prevention is better than cure’. Kalari is an integrated system of excercises that helps to achieve sound mind and sound body. Kalari is a combination of martial arts, treatment practice for injured as well as meditation.
Disciplined mind and keen intellect are essential for kalari exercise. Only a peaceful mind can recollect the steps that have learned at the appropriate time to use it. In short ‘kalari’ is the training to merge the mind, body and intellect and keep them in a harmonious rhythm. Disharmony of personality leads to ill-health and is the root cause of many diseases. Ill-health of the mind is worse than that of the body. In ‘kalari’ there are exercises that safer to mind, body and intellect. When the body, mind and intellect become healthy, they lead to a spiritual satisfaction. It is necessary to purify these three elements through the gratitude for the ‘guru’ and the thought about ‘guru’.
A pupil undergoing Kalari training is initially trained to come in union with the mind, body and intellect to further the ancient art of Kalari to the further techniques of defense and attack. Kalari is primarily a self-defense technique, it does not include the teaching of attack and defense methods openly at the earlier stages of training. But the completion of a year’s training boosts the strength and speed of the trainee to a large degree.
Meypayattu is the basic course of Kalaripayattu involves a slew of attack and counter attack tactics. The uses of each tactics are only understood by the trainees with the right approach. The candidates who lack patience and insight are unlikely to take it to the next level and stop short of advancing to the further stages.
This way of culling out the weak of candidates is a part of the philosophy of this practice. The candidate who survives the vulnerable phase goes ahead with the training, which in turn shapes him into a man of selflessness. Training for a year has its benefits too as the trainee who goes through three modules of Meypayattu and Vadipayattu in a year’s period end up 50 per cent stronger, faster and with better reflexes than a normal person.
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.
DR. E. P SHAJI VASUDEVA GURUKKAL
Dr. Shaji Vasudeva Gurukals (son of E.P Vasudeva gurkal), A traditional healer who has specialised himself in Marma massage treatment and also certified as Ayurveda Doctor at Madras University in B.A.M.S. (Bachelor of Ayurveda, Medicine and Surgery)