Saturday, May 12, 2012

Kalaripayattu - Indian Martial Arts

During my visit to India, I was fortunate to experience the beautiful ancient art of Kalaripayattu.  In my daddy's hometown of Kudduthuruthy, I walked to the Kalari Payattu center to watch, learn, and discover this incredible art form.  This is the oldest known form of martial arts that is said to have derived from ancient Vedic Times, and has its base in Kerala, India.  Tracing back over 3,000 years the name translates into "field of battle". The style if martial art is said to have inspired Kung Fu and most every other style of battle.

Students are required to find the raw power from majestic animals like the lion, tiger, elephant, wild boar, snake and crocodile, in the art of Kalari payattu.  The entrance of every Kalari establishment faces the East, the South West area is the "poothara", is a 7 their platform meant to house the guardian deity, and be an place of worship and prayer before every lesson.  Students touch the ground, the poothara, and the Guru's feet to symbolize respect and submission to their Guru.  The Teacher is also known as the Asan guides the students to develop the 4 powers of the practice.

· Meikaruthu: power of the body.
· Manakaruthu: power of the mind.
· Ankakaruthu: power to combat.
· Ayudhakaruthu: power to wield weapons.

The four stages of learning are meipayattu or maithari (body), kolthari (sticks), angathari (metal weapons)verumkai (without weapon or empty hand).  Students learn how to wield over 13 different types of weaponry.  Though the movements require committed practice and determination, I quickly realized I need more time to study this art, and I was teaching and studying yoga at the time, so it was not going to happen.  It was amazing to watch how this discipline is still being taught my my fathers local hometown.  

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