Having learnt a rather modern version of martial arts, there was indeed an inert desire to understand the truth behind some of the most ancient defence techniques known to mankind.
Thus began my quest for learning the oldest combat style in the world – Kalaripayattu.
North, south and beyond
The word ‘Kalaripayattu’ is derived from two words. ‘Kalari’ which means centre and ‘payattu’ which means fighting.
There are three distinctive styles of Kalaripayattu – the northern style of combat or Vadakkan Kalaripayattu, the central Kerala style of combat or Madhya Kalaripayattu and the southern Kerala style of combat or Thekkan Kalaripayattu.
Cinema and other forms of visual media have been instrumental in popularising the former two styles. The latter, however, is lesser known and has been influenced greatly by combat styles practised in Tamil Nadu.
Legend has it..
Parushurama, the sixth incarnation of Lord Vishnu, had introduced this art of warfare. Over a period of time, Sage Agastya had introduced certain unique elements, which led to the birth of the southern style of Kalaripayattu.
Literature, however, states that this art as several centuries old and its first documented evidence can be traced back to the 2nd century BC.
(… to be contd..)