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Kalarippayattu is an Indian martial art, one of the ancient temple arts that appeared in Kerala, South India. In Malayalam Language kalari means ‘place, open space, battlefield’, it also refers to the special place where martial exercises are taught. In Tamil ‘kalari’ derives from ‘kalam’, which means ‘arena, area for dramatic, gladiatorial, or gymnastic exhibitions’. The payattu in Tamil ‘payizhchu’ means ‘to practice’, ‘to exercise in arms’, ‘fencing exercise’.

The Sacred Dhanur Vedic texts are considered to be the original source of Kalarippayattu martial art system. The four Dhanur Veda chapters in Agni Purana appear to be an edited version of earlier manuals covering a range of instructions and techniques for the king who must prepare for war by training his soldiers in arms. Although the Dhanur Veda literally means the ‘science of archery’, it encompasses all the Kalarippayattu martial art. The Vishnu Purana describes Dhanur Veda as one of the traditional eighteen branches of knowledge. Both of India’s epics, the Mahabharata and the Ramayana, make it clear that Dhanur veda was the means (the methods) of education in warfare for all those called upon to fight.

Like the Purana as a whole, the Dhanur Veda chapters provide both ‘sacred knowledge’ – ‘paravidya’ and ‘profane knowledge’ – ‘aparavidya’, there is no knowledge without ignorance, there is no vidya without avidya. This knowledge was handed in secret form on "from mouth to mouth", from the teacher to the student. The Kalarippayattu is considered the ancestor of many of martial arts, the pearl that survived till nowadays. This is a unique art, which covers physical, mental and spiritual means of education.

The Kalari technique bases on the movements of wild animals:
1. Ajam – ram, goat (Lord Rudra Shiva)...
2. Gajam – elephant (Lord Ganesha)...
3. Ashvam – horse (Lord Ayyappa)...
4. Simha – lion (lord Narasimha)...
5. Varaham – wild boar (Lord Vishnu)...
6. Kukudam – rooster (Lords Skanda)...
7. Naagam – snake (Serpengod, Raahu, dragon)...
8. Maarjaram – leopard (Godess Durga Devi)...
However it’s not only the animal’s movements that constitute the base, but also its means of using the natural energy and the inner filling of such movements.

Almost 80% of the human body is liquid, and this so called ‘fluid’ body which consists of bodily moisture and juices is supported by the body as a frame of bones, muscles, ligaments, vessels, joints, as well as their junctures and vital spots. Making the body ‘flow’ occurs only as the student learns to assume the ‘correct’ position of the basic forms and techniques of practice. But what constitutes ‘correct practice’?’ Each movement, step and pose (and weapon) has its own ‘inner life’ Bhava (bhava), which must be exhibited when practicing kalarippayattu’.

Only when а student is physically, spiritually and ethically ready, is he supposed to be allowed to take up the first weapon. If the body and mind have been fully prepared the practice with weapon becomes an extension of the integration of the body-mind in action. The student begins his training with the wooden weapon and as improving his skills proceeds with that of metal. Urumi – a flexible sward is considered one of dangerous weapons. Weapon has one or more basic poses to and from which the practitioner moves, and through which the weapon becomes an extension of the body. All weapons teach attack and defense of the body’s vital spots – Marma spots; one acting upon them can either kill or cure a man. This constitutes the supreme knowledge of any martial art…

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