Kalari / Kalaripayattu

"Also your own duty demands that you should not hesitate, for Kshatriyas there is nothing more fruitful than a battle fought in the path of duty.

O Arjuna, such Kshatriyas are very satisfied who get such a good opportunity to join a war coming to them like an open door to heaven.

If you do not join this lawful battle, you shall fail in your duty and renown will not be gained and you will commit sin."

--Bhagavad Gita

 

Kalaripayattu is the oldest existing martial art form, dating back more than 2000 years and said to be the forerunner of popularly known Chinese martial arts, as the Buddhist monk Bodhidharma took this knowledge from India to China.

The practice of Kalaripayattu is said to originate from the Dhanur Vedic texts encompassing all fighting arts and described by the Vishnu Purana as one of the eighteen traditional branches of knowledge. Kalaris are the schools where training in this martial art form is imparted by Gurukals or masters.

This martial art form is indigenous to the Southern Indian state of Kerala which, legend has it, was created by the warrior saint Parasurama, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, by throwing his axe into the sea which receded till the point where it fell. Parasurama then established forty-two kalaris and taught twenty-one masters of these kalaris to protect the land he created.

Kalaripayattu is a traditional psycho-physiological discipline emanating from Kerala's unique mytho-historical heritage as well as a scientific system of physical culture training. The historical antecedents of this martial art form combines indigenous Dravidian systems of martial practice such as 'varma ati' or 'marma adi' with an influence of Aryan brahman culture which migrated southwards down the west coast of India into Kerala. There are two distinct traditions in Kalaripayattu-the Northern and the Southern schools.

In the Northern tradition the emphasis is laid on progressing from body exercises to combat with weapons and last of all to unarmed combat. In the Southern tradition the patron saint of Kalaripayattu is the sage Agastya whose strength and and powers of meditation are legendary. It is said that when the Lord Shiva married the Goddess Parvati at Kailasa in the North, all gods and goddesses went to attend the wedding and with this shift in weight the world tilted, so much so, that Agastya was sent to the South to restore the balance.

Lord Rama, legend has it, was mentored by Agastya to acquire the weapons, which defeated the demon king Ravana. In the southern tradition the emphasis is primarily on footwork, movement and the ability to strike at vital points or 'marmas' in the opponents body of which 108 points are considered lethally vulnerable.

Kalaripayattu training is given free to every student. Those who are interested must first register, and then places will be issued according to availability. Spiritual Guidance can be received through Satsangs on Thursday evenings, or by personal appointment with our Guru. There is no charge, but appointments must be made in advance.