Page 9 of 9 FirstFirst ... 789
Results 121 to 133 of 133

Thread: Indian Martial Arts

  1. #121
    Greetings Oso,

    That definitely was a great big story.

    Thank you for bringing that to us.

    mickey

  2. #122
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Location
    Fremont, CA, U.S.A.
    Posts
    44,476

    Interesting article

    Marxism and Martial Arts


    Marxism and Martial Arts


    Madhavi as Unniyarcha in Oru Vadakkan Veeragatha


    BJP activists forcibly close down shops in protest against the killing of a party activist in Kannur

    by Ullekh NP

    The death of fear in Malabar

    FOUR-YEAR-OLDS hate being woken up at 4.30 am and taken through morning ablutions by force, especially when they see most grown-ups in the joint family snoring away. But then a short walk that follows to a kalari session in the rain could lift your spirits. Petrichor is a feeling you experience long before you discover the word, and you can’t have enough of it. Soon, it is time to climb down the steps into a large pit that resembles a threshing floor, lit by a few oil lamps and a handful of unrecognisable photographs, framed and revered.



    I remember doing whatever others did: my older cousins would immediately strip, apply coconut oil all over their bodies and change into langotti, a diaper-like loin cloth—a laughable sight for sure— and start off with the prayer to mother earth before saluting the kalari devi, who is Durga herself. We often had to fight back mirth at seeing cousins underdressed because the aasan (master) of the kalari was a strict man who brooked no nonsense. We were all there because we had to learn Kalaripayattu, step by step, and had to shape our mind and body to suit the practice of this ancient martial art form, which, we were told, was the father of all martial art forms, including Karate, Kung Fu, Judo and others. It wasn’t just a morning ritual, it was a way of life, like yoga. The elders at home who had the luxury of enjoying their morning sleep never hesitated to offer gratuitous pieces of advice—that if you become a fine practitioner of Kalaripayattu, you become fearless and far more mature for your age. All of us cousins, with hardly two or three years age difference between us, wanted to be grown-ups pretty soon. We also wanted not to fear the bullies in school or kindergarten or the football ground, and for that matter, anyone. It was around this time we came across Vadakkanpaattu (Northern Ballads), a collection of fables worn around exceptionally skilled warriors and Kalaripayattu wizards such as Aaromal and Unniyarcha and others—we were also told we trace our lineage to them. It was the early 1980s and purist masters had begun to rue how youngsters were going astray, joining Karate and Kung Fu classes run by failed stuntmen from Kodambakkam, the nerve centre of the southern Indian film industry, who were inspired by movies such as Bruce Lee’s Enter the Dragon, and the global trend that the short-lived Chinese icon spawned. Karate senseis spread the word that regular practice would help them attain physical and mental maturity. You also overcome fear just as in Kalaripayattu, a besotted cousin, who soon shifted his loyalty to Kung Fu, told me.

    Overcoming fear had been an obsession in my childhood spent among Marxist revolutionaries of Kannur, in northern Kerala, which had in previous decades seen massive repression of Leftists by Congressmen, police and the state. It is true that Kalaripayattu exponents did throw their weight behind the fledgling band of communists; in many parts of the region, small groups of party cadres would batter landlords, Congress rowdies and their police lackeys into submission. “The communists had to resist attacks on them, especially on hapless women in their households who were singled out for attack because the men were mostly away, underground. It was thanks to those Kalaripayattu wizards who organised squads of volunteers and trained them to resist that the opponents backed off,” says P Jayarajan, district secretary of the Communist party of India (Marxist) whose right-hand was chopped off by suspected RSS killers in an attack on Onam day in 1999 at his home in Kizhakke Kathiroor, a place that was once home to the great warrior Kathiroor Gurukkal.

    Babu, a Kalaripayattu aasan from Eramam, Payyannur, in North Kannur, tells me that his father, martial arts expert Narayanan Nambiar, like various other practitioners before him, had helped the undivided Communist Party in the face of relentless attacks from goons hired by the Congress to crush the party at a time it had launched several peasant movements in the district. “Back then, force was used for positive purposes by Kalaripayattu gurus and there was overwhelming popular support on one hand for the party, which, on the other hand, earned the wrath of all anti-socials and lawbreakers in society,” he notes.
    continued next post
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  3. #123
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Location
    Fremont, CA, U.S.A.
    Posts
    44,476

    continued from previous post

    We came across Vadakkanpaattu (Northern Ballads), fables around exceptionally skilled warriors and Kalaripayattu wizards such as Aaromal and Unniyarcha—we were told we trace our lineage to them

    He also brings in a controversial anthropological argument as a cause of the violence that continues to grip the region as cadres of opposing political groups fight each other over either retaining or winning political turf in one of the most blood-stained killing fields of modern Kerala’s history. While law-and-order cases are higher in other Kerala districts, Kannur is often in the news thanks to frequent eruptions of mindless violence among Marxists and cadres of the RSS, Muslim League and radical Islamic outfits such as Popular Front of India (PFI). Babu says that as a Kalaripayattu aasan, like his father before him, he had noticed that the numerically preponderant Thiyya community in North Kerala exhibits what he calls higher levels of rajogunam, or ferocity, compared with other castes, including his own of Nambiars, who have also traditionally practised and taught Kalaripayattu. “I am saying this from my experience of interacting with my students and by generally observing society from the point of view of someone who knows a bit about physical and mental aggression and the role of martial arts in it.” While anthropological studies on caste-group peculiarities are rare in the country, several others, including politicians and scholars, tell me on the condition of anonymity that this perception could be true. However, historian Rajan Gurukal disapproves of using references from the Northern Ballads to explain away what he considers a law-and- order issue.

    Whatever he may say, the ankam (duel) culture of yore is zealously invoked by writers and political analysts to put a finger on Kannur’s unending saga of political skirmishes. Such ankams are fixed if two chieftains or kings have a dispute. It could be over an issue as trivial as who must wait for the other to cross a narrow bridge over a stream that allows only solo passage. Chekavars, or mercenaries, mostly from the Thiyya community, often fight in an ankam to defend the honour of the princeling or local ruler they work for. This had been the practice for centuries, and the chekavars had just one function: to train in martial arts and fight to the death if need be. According to SRD Prasad, a Kalaripayattu teacher and the author of an encyclopaedia on the martial art form, it was the judicial system of the day. He argues that chekavars played a significant role in societies those days. “Thanks to them, the rest of the subjects of two kings who had fallen out over an issue did not have to fight each other. Nor was there a scope for a war in which many people would get involved. Chekavars alone fought in a duel and decided the outcome, who wins and who loses (like the samurais of Japan, chekavars believed in honour and would choose death over the humiliation of losing). There is an absurdity in that when we look at it from the current human-rights point of view, but the system of the time minimised deaths.”

    VARIOUS SPIRITUAL GURUS and astrologers contend that the violence in the region is an outcome of long years of that tradition—which allowed young, able-bodied men to martyr themselves for frivolous reasons. A section of them also peddle a strange theory that has takers among some believers: that the disquiet in the district is due to the ‘wandering souls of the dead’ who have found no redemption. A senior Congress leader in the district tells me that he has requested the help of a few mystics to perform rituals to address the problem.

    Of course, such claims and pronouncements are the stuff of superstition, yet at least two temples in Koothuparamba, the epicentre of violence lately, have begun to do ‘rites’ to “contain the negative effect of the long- observed tradition”, says M Radhakrishnan, an office-bearer of a Shiva temple in the area.

    Various Marxist leaders such as Jayarajan and scholars such as Gurukal have dismissed such talk as rubbish. Meanwhile, Kalaripayattu practitioners blame it on the ‘dilution’ of the martial art—the way it is taught by gurus interested only in making a quick buck. “Everyone knows that human nature is unpredictable, but Kalaripayattu has to be taught to a student who is discerning and who appreciates that it is not to be used to settle petty personal scores,” Babu avers.

    For most masters, being choosy about students makes for poor economics. Besides, the martial art form has degenerated since British colonialists clamped down on the teaching of various forms of Kalaripayattu, especially the chuvadukal (steps) and adavukal (tactics) that are said to give superhuman strength for the well-trained. After the setback in the 1797 battle in Wayanad in northern Kerala when British forces faced initial defeat against Pazhassi Raja of Kottayam kingdom in North Malabar, intelligence officers inquired into the causes of the setback at Periya Pass. They found that men of exceptional strength and skills who could perform ‘miracles’ were behind Raja’s success. They were all Kalaripayattu warriors and had trained in Tulunadu, now in Karnataka. Kalaripayattu historians say a lot of ‘treasured knowledge’ of the martial art was lost over the next century following the partial ban on it. Over time, lack of discipline that is integral to ‘pure’ Kalaripayattu and the rise in indoctrination of trained youth by various political parties became a ****tail for disaster, contends Babu.

    Prabhakaran (name changed), who has trained in Kalaripayattu and later became a CPM henchman, confides that he did everything the party asked him to do. “I used to attend party classes regularly,” he says, “I still don’t regret finishing off political rivals because they were a hindrance to the growth of the party and a menace to society. They needed to be stopped.” Like the RSS, the CPM, too, has bomb-making squads and assassins trained at select camps. Since the 1990s, says a former RSS worker who has now quit active politics, both the CPM and the RSS depend on gangsters for getting their “work done”. Which is why it so happens that there has been a spurt in “quotation teams” (or hired killers) in the region as elsewhere in Kerala. “These are young people with no political orientation. They see an economic opportunity as political parties kill each other. There is no ideology in these killings.” Both the CPM and RSS have blamed each other for fomenting violence to “crush each other ideologically and physically”. While the CPM claims that the RSS, which started off in the region as a private army for the beedi barons of Mangalore, is frustrated at not being able to beat the CPM electorally, RSS leaders state that the CPM is unleashing violence because it is worried about the prospects of losing its traditional voters—Kerala’s Hindus— to the Sangh.

    Prasad warns against linking the ongoing blood battle with Kalaripayattu. He feels that promoting the discipline as a sport could, on the contrary, be an antidote to combating political crime. “Unlike earlier when Kalaripayattu was a way of life in these parts, these days there are very few practitioners. Young people have no avenues to channelise their excess energy.” Northern Kerala, especially Kannur, is home to abrasive sport forms such as adiyutsavam, an annual event held at the Mavilayi Kavu, a place of worship, in which people engage in seemingly mock fights that can inflict terrible injury. Incidentally, Mavilayi is the birthplace of the great Marxist leader AK Gopalan.

    In its purest form, Kalaripayattu is considered a meditative and reflective practice that is supposed to develop the ultimate spiritual powers of a human being. Which is why a day at a kalari begins with a salute to planet earth, a mark of shedding the ego and bad motives. Those rain-drenched mornings of my childhood are a far cry from the ruthless games of vendetta that politicians play today in the name of ideology. They give the ancient martial art a bad name.
    The author shares a lot of insights and terminology for Kalari. Good stuff.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  4. #124
    20 odd years ago. I asked the owner of a local dunkin donuts about this in his former country. He said he knows of it but there is little interest anymore. He is now a multi millionaire and sold his stores to sell cars in Jersey.

  5. #125
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Location
    Fremont, CA, U.S.A.
    Posts
    44,476

    Meena Raghavan

    Meena Raghavan = Meenakshi Gurukkal = Meenakshiamma, yes or no? The 'amma' in Meenakshiamma means 'mother' if I'm not mistaken, but she looks different in the vid. Gurukkal means teacher, like Guru. Raghavan is an Indian surname. Pardon my Hindi.

    Great Big Story

    January 14 ·
    ..
    At 74, Meena Raghavan is the oldest known practitioner of Kalaripayattu, an ancient martial art from southern India. Since she was 7 years old, Raghavan has trained with the best of them. Now, she runs a school where she proudly trains boys, girls, men and women alike.


    https://www.facebook.com/greatbigsto...8738503095243/
    Play
    -2:18
    Mute
    ..

    1.4M Views
    7.3K Likes 301 Comments 6.1K Shares
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  6. #126
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Location
    Fremont, CA, U.S.A.
    Posts
    44,476

    Our latest sweepstakes. Enter to WIN!

    Enter to win KungFuMagazine.com's contest for The Lost Warfare of India: An Illustrated Guide by Harjit Singh Sagoo and Anthony Cummings, Autographed by Harjit Singh Sagoo! Contest ends 5:30 p.m. PST on 3/30/17.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  7. #127
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Location
    Fremont, CA, U.S.A.
    Posts
    44,476

    History's Deadliest Weapons - The Haladie | Man At Arms: Art of War



    This was last week's episode's extra reel. I'm not in that episode or this week's episode (but you can see me for a millisecond at 0:16 in this extra reel).

    Man At Arms: Art of War & Indian martial arts
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  8. #128
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Location
    Fremont, CA, U.S.A.
    Posts
    44,476

    Our latest sweepstakes. Enter to WIN!

    Enter to win KungFuMagazine.com's contest for Shastra Vidya: The Ancient Indian Martial Art of the Hindu Kshatriyas Autographed by Harjit Sagoo Singh! Contest ends 5:30 p.m. PST on 7/20/2017.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  9. #129
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Location
    Fremont, CA, U.S.A.
    Posts
    44,476

    Nat Geo coverage

    Pictures Reveal Ancient Mud Wrestling Tradition
    Despite declining popularity, the sport remains a way of life for some men. Tuesday, 16 January
    By Catherine Zuckerman
    Photographs By Matthieu Paley



    Far from the slopes of Pyeonchang, South Korea, and the buzz of the approaching winter Olympics, India and Pakistan for centuries have been hosting a sport few people have heard of today. A form of competitive mud wrestling known as kushti or pehlwani, its roots may date to as far back as the 4th century B.C., though interest in the sport has been declining for at least two decades.


    Rasheed Bukhari is an accomplished pehlwan who has traveled to Germany to compete. His fellow wrestlers massage him with oil after practice to increase blood flow in his muscles.
    PHOTO BY MATTHIEU PALEY, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

    That may be “because of the lifestyle and resources it demands” or because kushti is simply not as fashionable as it once was, says University of Oslo anthropologist Paul Rollier.

    Rollier characterizes the sport—which he writes about in his book, Wrestlers, Pigeon Fanciers, and Kite Flyers—as “a way of life, almost a devotional practice” that does require discipline. Sex, alcohol, and tobacco are forbidden. And a specific, dairy-rich diet is meant to provide the proper nutrition to support the wrestlers’, or pehlwans’, rigorous training demands.

    “Nowadays in urban Pakistan few people practice pehlwani,” says Rollier.

    Still, devotees exist. In Lahore, for example, a group of men gather routinely at an outdoor pit called an akhara to train. There they engage in an intense workout that involves climbing, pushups, and digging and leveling the earth into a flat surface. Afterward, the pehlwans critique each others performance, massage their considerable muscles with oil, and prepare for the next time they'll need to put them to use.


    Adil, center, trains with his fellow pehlwans.
    PHOTO BY MATTHIEU PALEY, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

    ...

    PHOTOGRAPH BY MATTHIEU PALEY, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC


    Pehlwans practice in an akhara, or outdoor earthen pit, on the edge of Lahore’s Walled city.
    PHOTOGRAPH BY MATTHIEU PALEY, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC


    A pehlwan prepares to train by climbing up a tree. This training area, near a Sufi shrine in Lahore’s Walled City, is next to a recycling station.
    PHOTOGRAPH BY MATTHIEU PALEY, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC


    A Lahori pehlwan glistens with oil, applied via massage to aid in muscle relief.
    PHOTOGRAPH BY MATTHIEU PALEY, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC


    Thread: Kushti (Indian Wrestling)
    Thread: Indian Martial Arts
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  10. #130
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Location
    Fremont, CA, U.S.A.
    Posts
    44,476

    Dia Mirza

    Kalaripayattu is Dia Mirza's New Fitness Routine, All You Need to Know About This Martial Arts Form
    News18 25-11-2020

    © Provided by News18 Kalaripayattu is Dia Mirza's New Fitness Routine, All You Need to Know About This Martial Arts Form
    Social media may have us chasing that perfect body image goal, but the path to personal fitness is not always through the gym. The fitness and nutrition industry has grown and evolved from that typical exercise routine of the eighties. Today we are seeing a revival of ancient forms of physical exercises like Yoga and Martial Arts. People have more options than going to the gym and lifting weights.

    Talking about traditional martial art forms, one such form is Kalaripayattu, which originated in the southern state of Kerala and can be traced back to the third century BC. Martial arts are quite challenging and require dedication. And Kalaripayattu is considered to be an overall mind and body fitness activity. Actor Vidyut Jammwal has been a strong advocator of it.

    Now, following this fitness routine is none other than actor Dia Mirza. The actor and social activist who is training for a film project shared a glimpse of the training session on her Instagram.


    If Dia's latest fitness routine is something that intrigues you then probably you should explore what Kalaripayattu is about.

    The traditional martial arts form is an overall body workout which helps build bodily strength and flexibility while improving focus and coordination. With continuous practice of this fitness routine, with a trainer, you might develop an improved posture, speed, stamina and self-control.

    The initial stage of Kalaripayattu is all about body conditioning exercises such as sequences, workouts and kicks to develop the pace of the body. By the second stage, you will learn fighting techniques with wooden weapons such as sticks. In the third stage, you will be elevated to use metal weapons, while the fourth and final stage includes bare hand fighting techniques, massage treatments and more.

    The kicks learnt in Kalaripayattu help you increase stamina and balance, that in turn, help improve the metabolism rate. While the correct postures engage different muscles in the core and body, which further helps the training like weight training, yoga and running.

    There is no particular diet that you would have to follow while training for Kalaripayattu. It is subjective from person to person. However, one needs to follow a healthy, balanced diet to support the intense training of this martial arts.
    Threads
    Bollywood-Kung-Fu!!
    Indian-Martial-Arts
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  11. #131
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Location
    Fremont, CA, U.S.A.
    Posts
    44,476

    Khelo India Youth Games

    Four native martial arts are now part of Khelo India Youth Games
    PRIYADERSHINI S
    KOCHI, JANUARY 22, 2021 15:23 IST
    UPDATED: JANUARY 22, 2021 15:23 IST


    Beyond physical prowess A Thang-ta artiste; students Kalaripayattu; Mallakhamb and Gatka performers in full form | Photo Credit: K_K_Mustafah

    Four indigenous martial art forms walk a tightrope to maintain their core culture and the need to modernise, after their inclusion in 2021 into the Khelo India Youth Games
    Every morning before sunrise, Narayanan Embranthri steps into the kalari, a rectangular training space, with his right foot first.

    He reverently touches the mud floor, a gesture to God and the gurus of the ancient martial discipline of Kalaripayattu. Before his students arrive, he lights the lamp, oils his body and dons the arakacha or tight loincloth. He then goes to the southwest corner of the kalari (which means battlefield) where seven steps, representing the seven power points in the body, are built, and offers a prayer. “That’s the poothara. Every student who learns this art follows these rituals: the prayer, the dress, the techniques,” says Narayanan, who teaches Kalaripayattu at the ENS Kalari built by his father in 1954 in Nettoor, Kochi.

    Culture vs Sports
    In a recent move, the Sports Ministry inducted four indigenous martial art forms — Kalaripayattu of Kerala, Mallakhamb of Central India, Gatka of Punjab and Thang-ta of Manipur — into the Khelo India Youth Games (KIYG). As practitioners, coaches, students and federations who have kept these ancient martial arts alive rejoice, they also voice concern over a possible dilution of the culture and ritual that is at the core of these regional forms, when modified to a sport version.

    “It is a moment of great joy and pride for all of us who are continuing this 3,000-year-old tradition,” says Narayanan, who is also the secretary, sports of Kalaripayattu Association of Kerala. “Despite the British banning it, we have nurtured this native form of battle and defence. There are roughly 1,000 to 1,500 kalaris in Kerala. This recognition is as gratifying as much as it is a challenge, for teachers and practitioners.”

    He is wary that this new-found scope as a sport may overshadow the essence of Kalaripayattu, if not formatted with care. While he accepts that it will make the art form more popular and recognised, he adds, “We have to take care that it does not lose its traditional element. It has rituals and philosophy.”

    Kalari and yoga guru Sharath S Achari states, “This is the mother of all martial arts. Judo, Kung Fu, karate are its children. These are world famous but Kalaripayattu has remained inside Kerala. Why?” He explains that there are several grades of Kalarippayattu like meythari, which is practice of body flexibility and leg movements, followed by kolthari or fight using short and long sticks and an advanced state of sword play with shield. “As of now, we are not clear what will be included in the Khelo India competitions, and how will it be marked and graded.”

    For the 50-year-old Narayanan, who began learning the art from his father at the age of 14, “A sporting career is only between the age of 7 to 21. What will happen to the sports practitioners after that?” He adds that the kalaris, registered and unregistered, have so far received little support from the Government.

    However, advocate Poonthura Soman, Secretary General Indian Kalaripayattu Federation, Thiruvananthapuram, differs: “Technically Kalaripayattu is a sport. It consists of 18 different warfare techniques. In 1958 the Government of Kerala recognised the Kerala Kalaripayttu Association and affiliated to the Kerala State Sports Council. It was considered a sport then itself.” In 2015,Indian Kalaripayattu Federation was recognised by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, Government of India, as a National Sports Federation. Since then we have been conducting National Championships. This decision is a boost for the Kalaripayattu fraternity,” he says. According to him eight events ranging from basic steps to sword and shield play have been included in the Khelo India sports format.


    Ramesh Indoliya, president, Mallakhmabh Federation of India, is elated. Mallakhamb is a traditional form of gymnastics performed with a wooden pole (made of wood from sheesham or Indian rosewood and polished with castor oil), a cane, or a rope.
    “This is a huge step for Bharatiya [Indian] games. Till now only Olympic games were given importance. Now indigenous sports will get respect. Earlier it was a demo game but now it is part of the mainstream; it’s a big honour,” he says, adding that they have contemporising an ancient art is required for it to remain relevant. Ramesh points out that girls are now allowed to perform with the pole, which was not the case earlier. “We have introduced that,” he says.

    Though Madhya Pradesh declared Mallakhamb the State sport only in 2013, it had been developed as a competitive sport since 1981, with rules and regulations introduced at the first National Championship that year.

    Future forward
    Harjeet Singh Grewal, president of the Chandigarh-based National Gatka Federation of India, is thrilled at the new platform accorded to Gatka. He does not fear the dilution of the cultural aspect. “It is in our hands how much we keep and how much we forfeit. We have to change with the times.”

    Gatka is a style of fighting with wooden sticks that originated in Punjab in the 15th Century. Originally called Shastar Vidya, it began as a means to defend righteousness and is considered both a spiritual and physical practice. The bana and chola are worn for the ritualistic performances but, when performed as a sport, the practitioner wears track pants and T-shirt. “The techniques remain the same,” he says emphatically. Besides, the stick is no longer the size of a man, he points out.


    Gatka originally began with a display of over two dozen equipment used in battle and self-defence. “Of these, only the gatka has been taken into the sport. Our aim is to take it till the Olympics,” he says, adding that this may necessitate redesigning the format.

    “Look at how far the T20 version took cricket. Similarly, the sports version of Thang-ta will rejuvenate it,” says Vinod Sharma, secretary-general, Thang Ta Federation of India. This Manipuri art form combines ritual, demonstration and combat and involves a variety of dance forms and warrior drills. Training begins with stepping patterns and basic sword strikes. Spear techniques are taught later.

    “It is a moment of great pride that Thang Ta has been made a part of the Youth Games. It would have passed into oblivion in the recent decades had the national recognition not come,” he says, adding that it can be compared to the Chinese Wushu, the Japanese Ninjutsu and the martial arts of the Filipinos. Thang Ta, which has eight to 10 types of punching and 12 types of kick techniques, is “the best form of self-defence,” says Vinod.It was converted into sports version 25 years ago, and 25 National Championships and five International championships have been conducted so far. “If a newer format is required for Khelo India Youth Games, so be it,” he adds.


    HYDERABAD, TELANGANA, 27/03/2015: Artistes from Manipur display ‘Thang- Ta’ dance during the inauguration function of “Parv Purvottar” festival at Shilparamam in Hyderabad on Friday, March 27, 2015. Thang means sword and Ta means spear. Thang-Ta is the martial art of Manipur practiced with sword and spear such as sword fight, spear fight and wrestling style of fight (Mukna). These were not originally a performing art but a serious form for self-defense event, acts of aggression against the enemy in martial tactics. Thang-Ta provided basic training of warfare, and kings of Manipur maintained Than-Ta experts in their courts. Photo: Nagara Gopal | Photo Credit: NAGARA GOPAL
    Interesting inclusions.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  12. #132
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Location
    Fremont, CA, U.S.A.
    Posts
    44,476

    Silambam

    Silambam: An unlimited martial art form faces uncertain future
    Players learn much more than just competitive sport
    CultureJune 24, 2021/ By Susanti Sarkar / Gurugram

    Many Silambam players learn to perform the complicated art of fire blowing (Photo: N.Silambarasan)

    Martial arts have existed in India since the Vedic period and have been documented in Sanskrit texts, each regional form known for being used in different wars throughout history. Silambam is an ancient Indian martial art of fencing that originated in Tamil Nadu.

    Karthik Ajay, a self-defence trainer from Tuticorin in Tamil Nadu, had first thought of Silambam as simply an old tradition that did not hold any value in modern times. But after going through some difficult times in his personal life and feeling lost, it suddenly came into his life and inspired him towards on the right path again.

    “I felt like I didn’t have any identity. I thought of consuming alcohol and even tried to smoke like many other boys over here, but luckily my friends were very supportive during this tough phase. And there I found a golden gem amongst my friends who was a Silambam player. He was the one who taught me the beauty of Silambam as a sport and martial art rather than just a forgotten piece of the past,” Ajay tells Media India Group.

    According to Sangam literature, the history of Silambam dates back to 4th century BC, when it was used for self-defence and to ward off dangerous animals with the sport’s main weapon, a 3-foot-long bamboo staff, known as “Silambambu” in Tamil.

    Later, it evolved into present-day martial art and was notably used by Tamil kings and their armies to successfully fight the British army from 1760 to 1799, causing severe losses. Before the British period, awareness about Silambam had spread internationally, throughout southeast Asia and some parts of Europe and North Africa, and the staves, along with pearls, swords, and armour were in great demand while trading with these kings. Eventually, when the colonists triumphed, they banned Silambam and other martial arts and traditional weapons in India during the British Raj, instead focusing on modern military training with firearms. After the end of the British rule in 1947, the ban was lifted and silambam was revived in India.

    Although the main focus of the martial art is the bamboo staff, there are some variations. One type of staff that is very popular as well as weighted or lighted balls of cloth on each end of the stick, called ‘torch Silambam’ or ‘Panthukol’. This is the weapon mostly used by fire dance performers at events or festivals that showcase Silambam.

    Originally a martial art that was taught by the guru to the student and practiced without formal levels, Silambam has now transformed into a competitive sport. As this was only a recent development, it could be one of the reasons why Silambam hasn’t received as much attention as established martial arts like karate. Players compete in state and nationwide competitions, and a Silambam match is usually three minutes long with two 90-second fights.

    Footwork techniques, 16 positions in the sport in total, are vital in the sport, and practitioners must learn how to maintain a proper fighting stance while simultaneously employing various moves with the stick and continuously blocking attacks. Flexibility, hand-eye coordination, kinaesthetic awareness and a combination of balance, strength and speed are crucial skills learned during fighting.


    A variety of weapons are used in Silambam (Photo: Arunachalam Mani)

    “The very first time I held the stick in my hands, everyone made fun of me and discouraged me, but I have never thought of giving up on this since it has turned into my life’s passion. At my first state level tournament, I was scared but I managed to win a gold medal! The medal was awarded in my own college, which was truly a moment of pride. It was a really remarkable and unforgettable memory and with it I was able to create a new identity for myself,” says Ajay.

    Ajay went on to win more gold medals in three consecutive state matches and then won another at his first national-level match. It was a turning point in his life and further inspired him to become a coach so he could pass on his dream to other aspiring players.

    Although Silambam has become a lifelong passion for many players, some agree that it lacks proper recognition as a sport in India. In 2019, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) recognised Silambam Asia and the World Silambam Association and gave it Special Status in the United Nations. Silambam has also been approved and recognised by other international sports organisations such as TAFISA (The Association for International Sport for All) and ICSSPE (International Council of Sports Science and Physical Education), but strangely, despite being such an ancient Indian martial art form, it has not received its due from the Central government.

    In 2020, the Sports Ministry approved the inclusion of four indigenous sports – Gatka, Kalaripayattu, Thang-ta, and Mallakhamba in Khelo India Youth Games 2021, but Silambam was left out. Situations like this make it difficult to procure funding for matches and Silambam is often seen as more of a performance art rather than a competitive martial art form.


    N. Silambarasan, a 4-time National Gold Medalist, participates in a touch and take match

    This is why players like Ajay find it important to spread the message. Some players have started popular Instagram pages to promote the sport, such as @silambam_vicky_ which has more than 20,000 followers.

    In particular, Ajay emphasises the idea that there should be more female Silambam players, because aside from being a competitive sport, it also teaches self-defence techniques, which is a necessity especially in India.

    “My utmost thought is that young girls and women should show more interest towards this self-defensive art which will be highly beneficiary for them. It will increase their level of self-confidence and they will be able to go around places at any time without fear. I have witnessed my female students possessing these features and the variations within them after getting proficient and many of them have won in National level tournaments too! So, I think it is very important to introduce girls to martial arts right from their schooling, because it’s something apart from sports that is highly helpful in maintaining a coherent brain functionality level and staying fit and healthy,” explains Ajay.

    Silambam has also been heavily encouraged by Tamil movies, such as M G Ramachandran’s films from the 1950’s and 1960’s which featured Silambam in an attempt to popularise the sport, and was most recently highlighted in the martial arts film 7aum Arivu (2011). Nowadays, it is often a training mandate for aspiring action heroes in Tamil cinema and those preparing for stunt scenes, as its range of techniques are perfect for performing fight sequences and improving agility and strength.

    Ajay aims to expand his knowledge of techniques in Silambam, and take it to the next level by incorporating skating as well. He hopes that Silambam will eventually become more accepted, as this would greatly encourage and improve opportunities for aspiring players.

    “Silambam should be recognised in India and as well in the world and I hope that eventually, it can be added in the list of Asian and Olympic tournaments, where people all over the world might come to know about this energetic sport!” says Ajay.
    Nice rack!

    ...weapons rack.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  13. #133
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Location
    Fremont, CA, U.S.A.
    Posts
    44,476

    Kalaripayattu

    Kalaripayattu probably deserves its own indie thread

    Kalaripayattu: Indian Martial Arts Harnessing Female Power
    ARUN SURENDRAN20 JUL 2021FEATURES, HEALTH & WELLNESS

    Gopika practicing Kalaripayattu.
    Shakthi! Power! Feminine Energy!

    In today’s world women have broken the frontiers of space, air, and water. There is no mountain that they have not climbed, no desert they have not explored. Women have become world leaders; they hold important political and corporate posts. Take our very own Kamala Harris, a woman of Indian descent from California, who has broken the male legacy in our political system in the United States!

    Is this just a modern phenomenon? Or has the world failed to see the power of the woman in legends, history, and mythology the world over?

    Bringing this power to the fore in every woman is Shakthi — a special self-defense program for women that focuses not just on the training of the body, but the mind as well. It helps women find that inherent deep spiritual power that made women like Kaplana Chawla, Kamala Harris, Indira Gandhi, or Mother Teresa had in order make a mark in the world.

    Offered by Dr. S Mahesh Gurukkal of the Agasthyam Kalari, Shakthi is a program that is not geographically limited. It is within the reach of every woman who wants to discover her inner strength. Not just for self-defense, but to transcend that inner barrier to rediscover herself. Dr. S Mahesh designed this program to capture the fearless feminine essence of women that has been celebrated in folklore and ancient texts. This half-day workshop with hands-on Kalari-based techniques focuses on the mind as well as the body. Confidence and presence of mind are just as important as the lightning-fast reflexes that the trainees are equipped with.


    There is one such story of Ahalya, a demure 18-year-old, who enrolled in Dr. Mahesh’s class three years ago. It was a balmy summer evening when she first set foot in the Agasthyam Kalari in Thiruvananthapuram. Demure Ahalya stood silently staring at the floor. Her father was talking to Dr. S Mahesh about admitting her along with her two younger brothers to regular Kalaripayattu training. She did not think it was going to work.

    Today, Ahalya has transformed into a vivacious, vibrant 21-year-old who is the National Champion in the senior category of Kalaripayattu Chuvadu. She receives a monthly scholarship from the government of India and is treated at par with the national champions in all other sports. The dynamic transformation that Kalaripayattu training has brought about has incited her interest in training those all over the world and of all ages via online classes offered by Agasthyam Kalari.

    Coming from a very prestigious and traditional lineage of Kalaripayattu maters, Dr. S Mahesh carries a deep spiritual connection to this ancient martial art created by Sage Agastya. His grandfather Krishnan was an extraordinary exponent of the ‘choondani viral marma vidya’, a technique using yogic powers through pointing a finger at opponents that immobilized them. His father is the legendary Kalari master and Sidha expert Sanal Kumar Gurukkal.

    “Fear and alertness cannot coexist actually,” admits Suchitra, a Kung Fu blackbelt in her student days who has recently taken up Kalaripayattu. “Fear shrinks our sense of space. It leads to freezing when there is an actual danger. Martial arts help the mind become fearless. Kalaripayattu is considered the mother of martial arts. Such training must be included in schooling.”


    Suchitra practicing Kalaripayattu.
    “Thanks to many popular movies, everyone knows about Unniyarcha, the legendary female warrior of Kerala,” Dr. Mahesh Gurukkal smiles, “But the fact is that boys and girls were trained together in Kalaris centuries ago. The gender gap appeared only after the British crackdown on Kalaris and the subsequent revival in the 20th century. But we are quickly gaining lost ground. It is important not just from a physical preparedness point of view, Kalaripayattu transforms the mind to deal effectively and calmly with today’s working woman’s professional stress and work-family imbalance.”

    Other than Shakthi, Agasthyam Kalari offers Nalludal, a unique Kalari-based health and fitness program for all age groups; Prana – a breathing-based energizing and rejuvenating program; Akam – Agasthyam kriya for awakening the mind; and Nithyam – a daily program based on authentic Kalaripayattu techniques.

    Sreedevi Pillai had worked in the IT industry around the world for over two decades before taking a break. “Though I had continued by Bharatanatyam training, I wasn’t sure I could start Kalaripayattu training in my 40s,” she says. “So I was surprised at the meticulously individual attention with which the Aashans (trainers) eased us into the different steps and routines in the Nalludal program. Kalari has helped me with my dance as well.”


    Sreedevi as part of the Nalludal program.
    The online classes are conducted in small batches so that individual attention is not compromised. There are participants from all over the world. The rising popularity of Kalaripayattu, along with the opportunity to start at any age, has led to the opening of Agasthyam offline city centers in different locations.

    A lasting testimony to the power of the Shakthi program is Ahalya. In the Kalaripayattu performances that Agasthyam Kalari regularly gives at different venues, Ahalya fearlessly confronts three male opponents armed with swords with her bare hands. Though the action is choreographed, the danger is every bit real. As she brings down the opponents one by one into a pile and takes the victor stance in the end, there is a glimpse of a great future of fearless women being born in Kalaris across the world.

    Shakthi! Onward!


    Dr. Arun Surendran is the Director of Agasthyam International Kalari. He holds a Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering from the Texas A&M University and is the Principal of Trinity College of Engineering Trivandrum. He is also the founder of Adcy.io Cybersecurity Solutions. He was awarded the prestigious Eppright Outstanding International Student Award, the highest honor given by the Texas A&M University to any international student.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •