Kalaripayattu is an ancient form of martial art of Kerala dating back to almost 2000 years. It is from Kerala kalaripayattu martial art that other forms of martial arts were developed in China. This martial art derives its name from two words, "kalari" which means arena of the fighters and "payattu" which means practice. In ancient times, warriors used to tackle opponents by kalari payattu martial art of Kerala. Many times, conflicts between landlords and other chiefs were settled by swift attacks of kalaripayattu.
Kalaripayattu is not kicking and punching. It requires a unique
synchronization of mind and body. Along with energy, there should be
flexibility of the body and sharp focus of the mind. One should be
aggressive but not angry. A person performing kalaripayattu needs to
have agile muscles and for that, massage with ayurvedic oils is a must.
Also, one should not go to the aggressive movements all at once. One
should start slowly with yoga and other exercises that warm up the body
and make it easier to perform the aggressive movements with swiftness
Kalaripayattu is learnt in four stages. The first stage involves
increasing the flexibility of the body. The student learns to twist,
jump and flex his/her arms that will help when learning the next stage.
The second stage involves learning how to handle wooden sticks and other
wooden weapons. The third stage involves handling metal weapons. The
final stage involves fighting with bare hands. The students are taught
arm locks, wrestling and defense. Not only does one master the art of
fighting, but also learns how to treat injuries and heal bruises and
cuts by learning Ayurveda.