Kalarippayattu is the traditional Martial Arts form of Kerala. It has a history of 3000 years of existence. Legends say that Lord Parashurama is the founder of Kalarippayattu, and he instituted 108 Kalaries all over the land. Kalarippayattu is considered to be the forerunner of all other eastern martial arts forms like Karate, Kung-fu, Judo, Taekwondo, Wushu etc.
The term Kalarippayattu is the combination of the words KALARI – the arena or the training ground and PAYATTU – the fight.
Kalarippayattu is systematic training of offensive and defensive fighting techniques which includes a control over the body and mind. It helps to maintain physical fitness, and enhance mental strength and character of a person.
It is assumed that Kalarippayattu has the influence of crude behaviours of animals like lions, elephants, horses, wild boars, cats, fishes, cocks and snakes, as most of the postures and movements are named after the animals which they have derived.
Kalarippayattu is trained in the special arena called the KALARI – part school, part gymnasium and part temple. The master or instructor is known as ‘Ashan’ or ‘Gurukkal’. The ‘Gurukula’ system of teacher-student relationship is strictly followed in Kalarippayattu . Both boys and girls take training in Kalarippayattu. The best period to begin practice is at age nine.
There are four successive stages in Kalarippayattu training. The first stage is Meippayattu – it’s a series of body control exercises to make the body flexible. It is systematically designed and practiced according to ‘Vaithari’ or verbal instructions. The second stage is Kolthari. Kolthari is training with wooden weapons. The next stage is Ankathari – the fighting techniques with metal weapons. And finally the Verumkai prayogam – a training in empty hand fighting techniques.
After completing all stages of Kalarippayattu training, students those who are well disciplined and committed will be given training in ‘Marma Prayogam’ – attack on the sensitive parts of the body or critical junctures in the body, where multiple organ systems bridge and intersect.
KALARICHIKITSA (KALARI TREATMENT)
Kalari Chikitsa or Kalari treatment is an essential part of Kalari system. It has its base on the traditional Ayurveda. It was developed to treat accidental injuries during the Kalarippayattu training.
Kalari had its own specialised method of treatment known as the ‘Marma Chikitsa’ there are 107 ‘Marmas’ or vital points in our body. Out of these, 64 are considered deadly points. Injuries to these marma or vital points can cause death or paralyse some organs. In Marma Chikitsa, the effected vital spot is detected and restore them to normalcy
Kalari Chikitsa is based on Ayurveda and Sidha system of medicine, and is free from side effects. Oils, pastes, herbs and natural ingredients are used in this treatment for orthopaedic disorders, neuro muscular problems like spondylosis, back pain, arthritis, inborn imperfections, sports injuries, dislocations, fractures, disc prolapse, joint problems etc.
The different methods used in Kalari Chikitsa are Uzhichil, Kizhithirummu, Njavarakkizhi and Nasyam.