Originated in the South Indian state of Kerala, Kalaripayattu is a disciplinary art form of weaponry that originated in India. It is also the most ancient Martial Art form ever. Kalaripayattu means to get trained for the battleground. The fighting art is based on the science of Yoga and Ayurveda, Yoga for the exercise and Ayurveda for the healing and treatment. Kalaripayattu Training is a great way to imbibe mind-body discipline, build inner strength, improve flexibility and endurance, build confidence and patience, increase concentration and focus, and relieve stress.
There are different levels and weapons of Kalaripayattu that take the practitioner through a stage-wise process until perfection is achieved.
List of Weapons of Kalaripayattu Primarily Used:
Weapons play a major part in the training of this form of martial art and are of many types. Even though the weapons of Kalaripayattu have a major role, the art form can also be performed barehanded where the warrior fights without weapons and uses their body parts to defend and attack.
Nedy Vadi or Kettukaari (Sticks or Staff)
There are many sizes of sticks used, but the short stick is the most common and is known as Kuruvadi. Generally made of Bamboo or cane and about 2 meters long, there are around 10 types of attacks that can be done with this.
Val Parija (Sword and Shield)
Sword and shield are two of the oldest weapons used during Kalaripayattu Training. The sword is around 40 inches long and the shield is round in shape.
A weapon with a double-edged blade, long forearm guard that is around 9 inches long, and a wrist guard is of 8 inches. Total 1 feet and 5 inches, this weapon is highly dangerous.
About 1.5 meters long with an arrow-like pointed front. Primarily used to attack the lower body parts and nerves centers of the body.
Mainly used to attack the stronger parts of the body — head and ribs. The practice of Gada increases body strength.
Dhanush-Baan or Ambum-Villum (Bow and Arrow)
Another popular and oldest fighting weapon combination, Ambum-Villum is used while chanting the Mantras. Great for increasing concentration, focus, vision, and attention.
Urumi (Flexible Sword)
One of the dangerous weapons of Kalaripayattu, Urumi is 5-7 feet long and needs high-end techniques to handle it.
Apart from these weapons, there are certain other important weapons of Kalaripayattu including- Kathi (Knife), Otta- curved staff, and Trishul (Trident)
5 Major Kalaripayattu Training Levels
The basic level of Kalaripayattu begins where the students learn majorly about the unarmed techniques. They get trained about how to balance the body, get control over their body movements, and increase flexibility. The techniques include Salutation form, how to throw, lock and combat without weapons.
With the achievement of body balance and flexibility at the beginner level, in Intermediate level of Kalaripayattu training, students learn more advanced techniques. Also, they learn about the basic of Neduvaali and Rad weapons.
The advanced level of practice includes many weapons like using different swords, bow and arrow, sticks, dagger, etc. They learn the techniques, methods, and engage in fighting.
At this level, the students acquire an advanced level of weapon practice and fighting techniques and also learn sword fighting using different types of swords.
The final stage in which a warrior achieves perfection and proficiency- be it in using weapons, fighting techniques, and other methods of Kalaripayattu.
Kalaripayattu Training is ideal for those willing to center their body and mind with discipline, strength, and proficiency while embarking upon a healing spiritual journey.