Kalari Payattu

Kalaripayattu—The secret art of fighting and healing

Kalaripayattu is said to be one of the oldest martial art forms in the world, and some experts have gone to the extent of calling it the mother of all fighting systems. Perhaps there is some truth in it, as the influence of Kalaripayattu is discernible in the more well-known fighting art forms like Karate and Kung Fu.

Kalaripayattu flourished in the southern-most tip of India, thanks to the local rulers who were forever warring among themselves over petty issues. The more skilled Chekavars in the land—highly trained 'mercenaries' who would fight till victory or death on behalf of an influential person for a bounty—were celebrities whose exploits were narrated by the local singers—Paanans—wherever they went. Such songs were later classified under a genre called Vadakkan Paattu. Since the present-day Kerala was once divided into many small kingdoms, Kalaripayattu practised in the south differed from the one in the north. While the northern style of Kalaripayattu—Vadakkan—is noted for its leaps and jumps, the southern style—Thekkan—is more close to the ground.

The traditional Kalaris—where practitioners learn the art—were below ground level so that secrecy could be maintained. Nowadays, that practice has been mostly abandoned, but the martial art is still learnt within four walls. Violence is not part of the philosophy of Kalarippayattu. In fact, one of the often-repeated lesson drilled into a prospective Kalari practitioner is: 'One step backward and a family is saved.' A good Kalari practitioner is adept at keeping his emotions in check. In short, he can control his mind and his body. Kalaripayattu makes you mentally and physically aware. Once you attain the highest stage, once you master the craft, your body becomes your eyes. Close your eyes, and your body will see for you. Such is the power of concentration that you will possess.

Learning Kalaripayattu also involves learning about your body, the muscle movements and the bone structure. It was only natural that the Kalari Master—Gurukkal—became the local physician as well. In the course of learning a highly physical art which puts the body through a punishing schedule, injuries—minor and major—were an everyday affair and the Master often ended up treating his disciples in the absence of a strong health care system. Thus Kalari developed a healing aspect as well. Today, the Kalari way of attending to the wear and tear of the body is well-documented and widely respected. Modern lifestyle ailments like spondylosis and lower back pain can be easily cured by a Gurukkal in a matter of days. All without cutting open the temple that your body is.

About Us

We, at Kshetra Kalari, are skilled practitioners of this secretive and revered martial arts form. Trained under the legendary E.P. Vasudeva Gurukkal, we follow the more evolved Vadakkan style of Kalarippayattu.With fully equipped learning and healing  Read More

© Copyright 2014 All Rights Reserved