Is this martial art truly the world’s oldest?
Kalaripayattu is a martial art which originated as a style in Kerala, Southern India (North Malabar). The word Kalari first appears in the Tamil Sangam literature (c. 300 BCE to 300 CE) to describe both a battlefield and combat arena. The word Kalari tatt denoted a martial feat, while kalari kozhai meant a coward in war.
Each warrior in the Sangam era received regular military training. It is considered to be one of the oldest surviving fighting systems still in existence in the world. It was originally practiced in northern and central parts of Kerala and southern parts of Tamil Nadu.
Kalaripayattu has three variants, which are distinguished by their attacking and defensive patterns. They are known as Arappa Kayy, Pilla Thangi, and Vatta Thiripp.
Kalaripayattu had developed into its present form by the 6th century during an extended period of warfare between the Chera and Chola dynasties. Kalaripayattu includes strikes, kicks, grappling, preset forms, weaponry and healing methods.
Regional variants are classified according to geographical position in Kerala; these are the Northern style from Malabar region in north Kerala and the southern style from Thiruvitankoor.
Northern Kalaripayattu is based on elegant and flexible movements, evasions, jumps and weapons training, while the southern “Adi Murai” style primarily follows the hard impact based techniques with priority on empty hand fighting and pressure point strikes. Both systems make use of internal and external concepts.
If all of that history found you a little bit confused then do not be alarmed as the history of the oldest parts of the world are often times a bit hard to follow; however, if you want to see a kickass martial art that quite possibly might be the oldest in the world then check out the video below.
Jacob C. Stevens is a lifelong athlete and cerebral martial arts enthusiast who is also skilled in the art of linguistic manipulation, his published work, Afterthoughts and Handgrenades, can be found here…