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Thread: Indian Martial Arts

  1. #31

    The Mother of All Martial Arts?

    For a while now, many people have been hearing that martial arts had its roots in India. But where in India... what art would it have been? Some tried to link the grappling art of Vajramushti as Kung-Fu's predesessor even though it resembles Greek Pankration wrestling. Others with the Punjabi art of Gatka which is a sword fencing art. However, during the 1990s the Kerala art of Kalaripayattu has came out from the dark. Many people seeing this art with its martial arts type of kicks, punches, and weaponry have were convinced that this must be the art which Kung-Fu has originated from. There are a lot of web sites and articles stating that the art of Kalaripayattu was the martial arts introduced by an Indian prince turned monk by the name of Daruma Bodhidarma to China. As a matter of fact many have jumped to the conclusion that it was the mother all martial arts.

    First of all, there is no connection whatsoever between Kalaripayattu and Kung-Fu. Kalaripayatttu was formed around the 13th century and Daruma Bodhidarma was alive around the 6th century who traveled to China. There is a 700 year gap between him and the formation of Kalaripayattu. Also, Daruma Bodhidarma was born in the ancient Pallava kingdom of Kanchipuram which is situated in the state of present day Tamil Nadu where Kalaripayattu is not a native art of the state. As a matter of fact Tamil Nadu itself has several martial arts which predate Kalaripayattu thousands of years and are even mentioned in the ancient Tamil literature such as the Silappadikaram during the Sangam Age of the 1st century A.D. Another piece of Tamil literature which mentions of these martial arts is called the Purunaruru (Four Hundreds songs on War and Wisdom) written around 500 B.C.E. The source on Kalaripayattu can be found in Phillip Zarilli's When the Body Becomes All Eyes: Paradigms, Discourses and Practices of Power in Kalarippayattu, a South Indian Martial Art .

    Another thing I would like to point out is that India was not in existence before the arrival of the British around the 1600s. Before the British colonized the former numerous countries and kingdoms of the sub-continent and called it India, the present day southern states of Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and even parts of Sri Lanka were originally called Tamil Akkam. It was one Tamil (Dravidian) administration with three major dynasties being the Pandyan, Cholas, and the Cheras. The Pallavas were also part of Tamil Akkam at one time. However, their empire was divided by Tamil Nadu and Andra Pradesh. The land where the Cheras ruled later came to be known as Kerala where they formed their own language out of Tamil called Malayalam. The latest parts of the sub-continent to be brought into the Indian Union were the 5 French territories of Pondicherry in 1956. Before that, it was Assam, Manipur, and the other Eastern states which came under the British rule and became part of their India during the late 1800s which can be found at Thang Ta: Martial Art of Manipur.

    As a Matter of fact, Tamil Akkam had such a powerful infantry, cavalry, and navy, that not even the Mauryan Empire of Asoka could over power it. This was probably due to the Tamils martial expertise as well. Much information can be found along with a map of the Mauryan Empire of Asoka in K.A. Nilakanta Sastri's Age of the Nandas and Mauryas. Another good book to read on this would be Asoka and the Decline of the Mauryas by Romlia Thapar.

    The Martial Arts of Tamil Nadu and Northeastern Sri Lanka, are Kuttu Varisai (empty hand combat), Varma Kalai (pressure point attacks), and an array of weapons arts. Kuttu Varisai resembles a mix of both Karate and Kung Fu having its own animal forms too. As for Kalripayattu of 13th century, it resembles a lot like ninjitsu.

    There are many weapons arts and each weapon is a mastery of its own. One of the most famous one is called Silambam which is similar to the Bo staff fighting in Japan. There are a total of 96 Katas for this art. Another weapon is the Erathai or the double stick similar to the Filipino Kali or Sinawali. There are two unique weapons which are not found outside of Southern India which is the Surul Pattai (steel blade whip) and the Madhu (deer horns). Other weapons arts of the Tamil country are the Val Vitchi (single sword) and the Eretthai Val (double short sword).

    Between the 2nd to 12th century AD the Pallavas and the Cholas have done intensive sea trade with Southeast Asian kingdoms like that of Angkor (Cambodia), Sri Vijaya (Indonesia) and even as far as China. It is possible that the Pallavas may have had contact with Japan during their seafaring naval expeditions. A good source on that would be in the book titled Traditional Cultural Link between India and Japan (During the 8th and 9th centuries) written by Dr. Kalpakam Sankarnaryan and Dr. Motohiro Yoritomi. There is a possibility the inhabitants of the islands of Japan may have adopted certain forms of Kuttu Varisai and Silambam by the Pallavas. Silambam which might be precursors to Kendo, Ken-Jutso, and Karate.

    Beween the 10th and12th centuries A.D., the Cholas conquered much of Southern India and Eastern parts going through Manipur, Assam, and Southern Burma. There empire stretched to as far south as Sri Lanka & Maldives, and to the East was Sumatra, Java, and Malaysia (Kadaram). Their martial arts must have been one of their exports along with various other arts like dance, architecture, and the Tamil version of the Ramayana. The Ramayana (or Ramayanan, Ramavataram) was re-written from Sanskrit to Tamil by the sage Kavicakravarti Kamban of the 9th century A.D. of the Chola kingdom of Tanjore, Tamil Nadu. There are certain moves which are in Muay Thai which are called the Hanuman or Lim Lom. Hanuman was a warrior in the Ramayana epic. Three sources on this can be found in Cholas by K.A. Nilakanta Sastri, Mystery of the Maldives by Thor Heyerdahl, and Muay Thai: The Most Distinguished Art of Fighting written by Panya Kraithat and Pitisuk Kraitus.

    As for the Shaolin, it may be possible that Daruma Bodhidarma did go there and introduced Dhyan [Zen (in Japanese), Chan (in Chinese)]. The absence of fighting forms in China before Daruma Bodhidarma is absolutely false. If there was no fighting form in China, then how did there armies fight which most definitely predates the arrival of Daruma Bodhidarma? There were fighting forms in China. It was Daruma Bodhidarma who introduced his concept of breathing exercises, the arts of the vital points and the 18 Lohan which can be seen in Kuttu Varisai of present day Tamil Nadu. His introduction of these Dravidian combat forms and exercises was adopted by the Chinese which later evolved into Kung - Fu. However, Bodhidarma was also not the only Sage who went to China.

    There was another Tamil sage who travelled to China well before him around the 5th century B.C. by the name of Boghar Siddha. He was accompanied by Lao Tse the founder of Taosim and who was the first Chinese to propound the theory of duality of matter -- the male Yang and female Yin -- which conforms to the Siddha concept of Shiva - Shakti or positive-negative forces. In Tamil, Yin and Yang translates to Idai Nadi (female, moon) and Pingelai Nadi (male, sun). The unification of the two becomes Lingam which is a symbol of Siva. The Sanskrit adaptation of the Yin and Yang is Shiv and Shakt (or Siva and Shakti). The Sanskrit translation of the unification of Shiv and Shakt is called Prana. Prana is "breath" and is understood as the vital, life-sustaining force of living beings and the vital energy in all natural processes of the universe.

    In Southeast Asia the arts of Krabi Krabong in Thailand and Silat in Indonesia bear a lot of resemblances of the Dravidian warfare arts of Southern India. The animalistic styles and even forms of animism found in Silat are also found in Kuttu Varisai where invokes a specific animal spirit or energy into ones body. Many Chola and Pallava Naval and Merchant ships landing in parts of Southeast Asia have not only brought with them the Hindu and Buddhist religions, but the martial arts as well which fused with the indigenous fighting styles of Southeast Asia. Source Tamil Merchant Guild in Sumatra written by K.A. Nilakanta Sastri.

    In the Bible in the book of Solomon and Esther it mentions about trade and contact with India. The term India was used in the King James Version which was translated from Hebrew and Greek during the 1600s and the rise of the British Empire. The King James came about after the British took control over many kingdoms and countries forming it into one British Administration and giving the name India. India is actually a Latin word for Indo or Indus in Greek which is Hindu in the Persian language of Farsi near Iran and Pakistan. In the Tamil texts it mentions about King Solomonís trade and contact with the Chera, Pandya, and Chola kingdoms of Tamil Akkam. King Solomon was not the only one in contact with the Dravidian kingdoms but Rome, Greece, and Egypt. This information can be found in Foreign Notices of South India: from Megasthenes to Ma Huan written by K.A. Nilakanta Sastri. Other than spices, precious stones, silk, and exotic animals being exported to Rome, Greece and the Middle East, weapons and fighting styles were exported as well. The Romans and the Greeks who traveled to Tamil Akkam were known by the ancient Tamils as the Yavanas. Weapons like the trident amongst others were imported to Rome including certain fighting forms which were used in gladiatorial fights in Rome. More information can be found in Silambam fencing from India by Manuel J. Raj and The Commerce Between the Roman Empire and India by E.H. Warmington.

    TO BE CONTINUED. . .

  2. #32

    Mother of All Martial Arts?

    . . . CONTINUATION

    There are even older fighting styles found on the African continent which may have found its way to the Indian sub-continent and from Australia. These are known as Dambe of Nigeria which one hand is bound for punching, and kicking and head butting are allowed. Similar arts to Dambe are Adi Thada of the Tamils, and Muay Thai of Thailand. The Ringa wrestling of Madagascar is similar to the Tamil wrestling called Malyutham. Amongst the many fighting styles and sports of Africa is the Savika bull fight which can also seen in the Tamil Nadu and parts of Northeastern Sri Lanka bull fights known as Jalli Kattu. Ancient Tamil texts mention of an ancient land mass connecting India with Australia and Madagascar. It also mentions names of cities and rivers which lie beneath the Indian Ocean today. The Indian sub-continent and Australia both lay on the same tectonic plate called the Indo-Australian plate. The tsunami of December 2004 also proved the Lemurian theory when it washed back a couple of miles exposing temples and artifacts in the Bay of Bengal near Mammalapuram, Tamil Nadu. That was the fourth tsunami recorded in the history of South Asia. The third was during the early 1900s. In the Tamil Silappadikaram it also mentions of a great flood or tsunami which wiped out an ancient Pandyan city. An interesting book which goes into detail is called The Lost Land of Lemuria: Fabulous Geographies by Sumathi Ramaswamy. The resemblances between Tamils, Malayalees, Australian aborigines and East African are very close. There is an ancient weapon that was used in Tamil Akkam called the Valari which resembles the Boomerang of Australia. The Velari was shaped like the boomerang, but was tipped with a metal blade. Here is an article written by Dr. S. Jayabarathi Jaybee on the Valari Weapon.

    In conclusion, martial arts of India today were actually the martial art of Tamil Akkam thousands of years back and not ancient India. India or the Indian Union did not come into play until after the arrival of the British around the 1600s. To be more exact these arts are considered Tamil Martial Arts or Dravidian Martial arts respectfully. Dravidian is a family of ethnicities in Southern India and Sri Lanka such as the Malayalees of Kerala, Tamils of Tamil Nadu & Sri Lanka, Telugus and Tulus of Andra Pradesh and so forth. However, thousands of years back, the term Dravidian was a Greek word for Tamilians or Tamils which was also adopted in the Sanskrit language. Kalari Payat is a very dynamic martial art with an array of weaponry including pressure point attacks and massage. However, it does not go any further back than the 13th century as quoted from Phillip Zarilli's When the Body Becomes All Eyes: Paradigms, Discourses and Practices of Power in Kalarippayattu, a South Indian Martial Art . Daruma Bodhidarma was also well alive almost 700 hundred years before the formation of Kalaripayattu. There were many other sages and monks who have travelled from present day Southern India to China well before Daruma Bodhidarma.

    Here are some additional links:

    Lost City Found off Indian Coast (BBC):
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/1923794.stm

    Tsunami Throws up India Relics (BBC):
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/4257181.stm

    Varma Kalai martial art of Tamil Nadu:
    http://perso.orange.fr/varmakalai/

    Silambam (staff fighting) of Tamil Nadu:
    http://silambam.com/

    Kalairpayattu martial art of Kerala:
    http://www.kalarippayat.com

    Gatka Sikh (sword fencing) of Punjab:
    http://www.atlantamartialarts.com/styles/gatka.htm

    Vajra Mushti (wrestling) of Gujurat:
    http://www.bjj.com.au/john_article_web_7.html

  3. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jingo
    There was another Tamil sage who travelled to China well before him around the 5th century B.C. by the name of Boghar Siddha.
    http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&l...22&btnG=Search

    Interesting, but a quick search of this sage's name as you have spelled it yield no results.

    so, what are the documentations supporting your arguments?
    dazed and confused

  4. #34
    Hope to see these indian MA appear in UFC in the future.

  5. #35
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    *cough* shuai jiao
    Master...Teach me kung fu.

  6. #36
    Quote Originally Posted by WanderingMonk
    http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&l...22&btnG=Search

    Interesting, but a quick search of this sage's name as you have spelled it yield no results.

    so, what are the documentations supporting your arguments?
    My documentations supporting my arguments are in the article itself names of books and authors. Also, here is an interesting link on Bogar Siddhar.


    Life of Bogar Siddhar: http://murugan.org/bhaktas/bhogar-life.htm

  7. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jingo
    My documentations supporting my arguments are in the article itself names of books and authors.
    You have some documentations in regard to some of the other claim. How rigorous they are, I don't know because I am not too interest in them, nor care to look into it.

    My main interest is in the claim regarding Lao Zi and Bogar Siddhar. Which your article really provide no documentation. Your article states it as a matter of fact without providing any documentation. The only justification was the comparsion between the similarity of Lao Zi's yin-yang duality doctrine and that of Shiva - Shakti.

    founder of Taosim and who was the first Chinese to propound the theory of duality of matter -- the male Yang and female Yin -- which conforms to the Siddha concept of Shiva - Shakti or positive-negative forces. In Tamil, Yin and Yang translates to Idai Nadi (female, moon) and Pingelai Nadi (male, sun). The unification of the two becomes Lingam which is a symbol of Siva. The Sanskrit adaptation of the Yin and Yang is Shiv and Shakt (or Siva and Shakti).

    Also, here is an interesting link on Bogar Siddhar.



    Life of Bogar Siddhar: http://murugan.org/bhaktas/bhogar-life.htm
    from: http://murugan.org/bhaktas/bhogar-life.htm

    It is said that as per the last wishes of his guru, Bhogar proceeded to China to spread the knowledge of siddha sciences and strangely enough his journey is said to have been made with the aid of an aircraft; he demonstrated to the Chinese the details of the construction of the aircraft and later built for them a sea-going craft using a steam engine. The details of these and other experi- ments demonstrated by Bhogar in China are clearly documented in the Saptakanda.
    need "aircraft" to fly, and actually "construct" an aircraft?

    Only if Guru Milarepa knew all he had to do was "construct" a flying vehicle.

    I would have used Liezi, which would be a better example, since he was a daoist master who came after Lao Zi. Separated by probably a couple hundred of years. He could fly too. Too bad, his writing doesn't speak of aircraft.

    Bhogar Siddhar might still be a real siddha, but this kind of article is really imposing modern world view bias onto "legendary" account which result in gibberish.
    Last edited by WanderingMonk; 07-19-2006 at 04:18 PM.
    dazed and confused

  8. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by GunnedDownAtrocity
    women are the mother of all martial arts.

    why else would we fight?
    Beer, dude. I would fight yo @ss over the last cold one!
    I have no idea what WD is talking about.--Royal Dragon

  9. #39
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    This thread is ancient and powerful.

  10. #40
    Quote Originally Posted by WanderingMonk
    from: http://murugan.org/bhaktas/bhogar-life.htm

    It is said that as per the last wishes of his guru, Bhogar proceeded to China to spread the knowledge of siddha sciences and strangely enough his journey is said to have been made with the aid of an aircraft; he demonstrated to the Chinese the details of the construction of the aircraft and later built for them a sea-going craft using a steam engine. The details of these and other experi- ments demonstrated by Bhogar in China are clearly documented in the Saptakanda.
    First of all, after posting the above web address I noticed that it was not up and running and it is still not up and running...

  11. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jingo
    First of all, after posting the above web address I noticed that it was not up and running and it is still not up and running...
    so?

    Just because a website is defunct, it doesn't mean the information contained in it cannot be retrieved via some other means.

    I assure you this quote is from that page you linked to. I can repost the whole page for you if you want to verify it.
    dazed and confused

  12. #42
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    Here's the complete content of page that was linked minus some formatting and misc menus, links, etc:

    Bhogar was a South Indian by birth, belonging to the caste of goldsmiths, who became a siddhapurusha under the guidance of Kalanginaathar. In Bhogar's Saptakanda he reveals details of various medicinal preparations to his disciple Pullippani (so named as he is believed to have wandered in the forests atop a puli or tiger) and at every stage he quotes his guru as the authority. Also Pulippani must have been a young man then, as he is often referred to as a balaka.

    It is said that as per the last wishes of his guru, Bhogar proceeded to China to spread the knowledge of siddha sciences and strangely enough his journey is said to have been made with the aid of an aircraft; he demonstrated to the Chinese the details of the construction of the aircraft and later built for them a sea-going craft using a steam engine. The details of these and other experi- ments demonstrated by Bhogar in China are clearly documented in the Saptakanda.

    Bogar's guru, Kālāngi Nāthar, is believed to be a Chinese who attained siddhi in South India and thus became included among the Eighteen Siddhars.

    Lao Tse - the founder of Taoism (5th century B.C.) was the first Chinese to propound the theory of duality of matter -- the male Yang and female Yin -- which conforms to the Siddha concept of Shiva - Shakti or positive-negative forces. This very same concept was first revealed by the adi-siddhar Agasthya Rishi, whose period is as old as the Vedas, which have been conservatively dated at 3500 B.C. Also alchemy as a science was practised in China only after B.C. 135 and was practiced as an art until B.C. 175 when a royal decree was enacted banning alchemical preparation of precious metals by the Celestial Empire; these details are recounted in the two existing Chinese books of alchemy Shih Chi and Treatise of Elixir Refined in Nine Couldrons, both dated to the first century B.C.

    The emergence of Lao Tse with his theory of duality of matter and the journey of Bhogar to China seem to have taken place about the same time and it is even possible that Bhogar himself went under the name of Lao Tse in China, like another Siddharishi Sriramadevar, who was known as Yacob in Arabia.

    This seems likely considering that:

    1. before Lao Tse the concept of duality of matter finds no mention in any Chinese treatise;
    2. alchemy as a science emerged only after B.C. 135, i.e. four centuries after Lao Tse;
    3. there was a sudden spurt of alchemical practice aher the emergency of Lao Tse; and
    4. the duality of matter and alchemy have been mentioned in South Indian scriptures that antidate Lao Tse by centuries.

    The shrine at the top of the hill, though later than the Tiru Avinankudi temple, has overshadowed the older temple in the present century due to its popular appeal. Created by Bhogar, it was maintained after him by sage Pulippani and his descendants almost as their personal and private temple.

    During the time of Tirumalai Nayak, his general Ramappayyan handed over the puja rights to newly brought Brahmin priests. The descendants of Pulippani were compensated for the loss of this right by being given:

    * Certain duties of superintendence
    * Right to some annual presents
    * Right to shoot off, at the Dasara Festival, the arrow which symbolises Subramanya's victory over asuras.
    * Right to be buried at the foot of the steps leading to the hill, if some of them so chose.
    dazed and confused

  13. #43
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    Cool Lao Zi,

    Lao Zi was the librarian of Zhou dynasty royal court. He was "classically" trained. Back in his time you would have to be a nobel family to be able to get that kind of education. This is why Confucius push for education for all. I don't think it's possible for an Indian Guru to become a royal court librarian who's incharged of records, documentation, and such things all required superb classical Chinese literary skill.

    BTW, the concept of Yinyang went back way further to prehistoric kings period (approx c 2852 - 2738 BCE) especially Fu Hsi who is attributed as the first person who put the foundation of the Yijing (classic of change) together. Today's researches show that it's not possible for just one person to come up with the Yijing. Fu Hsi, who would be the trible leader, is kind of the creationist myth to explain the obscure beginning of the Classic of Change. After Fu Hsi, it went through the second stage of evolution by the hand of King Wen of Zhou dynasty (approx c 1066 - 256 BCE). We know by his time there were at least 3 type of divination methods available which are also sanctioned by the royal courts throughout the previous dynasties. It is believed that Confucius (c. 551-479 BCE) or rather his disciples complied the Yijing into the version that is in print today. But different versions of the Yijing have also being discovered in tombs that dated back to Qin and Han dynasty.


    Mantis108
    Last edited by mantis108; 07-20-2006 at 12:08 PM.
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  14. #44
    Quote Originally Posted by WanderingMonk
    so?

    Just because a website is defunct, it doesn't mean the information contained in it cannot be retrieved via some other means.

    I assure you this quote is from that page you linked to. I can repost the whole page for you if you want to verify it.
    I was only wondering how you would have got into that web site if it were up, that's all. Anyways, I managed to get into there by other means too. You're right, that is exactly what it says.

    If that is the case about inventing ideas about flying , are we going to deny that Leanardo Di Vinci of the 15th century came out with ideas for the helicopter, armored vehicle, multibarrel missile launchers, the parachute, and the hang-glider? Or even the steam engine for ships? He may have invented these ideas, which may not have worked at the time otherwise we would have heard of this part of the world using steam powered ships and jet engined chariots to Singapore... lol...

    Anyways, historical facts often get mixed up with religious myths. Take for example the Ramayana. There exists an actual Ayodiya in Northern India and of course a Lanka otherwise known as Sri Lanka. There was a king by the name of Ravanan who ruled the Eastern part of Sri Lanka which is called Trincomalee. It is also said at the famous Koneswaram temple of Trincomalee, Sri Lanka that Ravana had a flying machine or flying chariot of some sort.

    There lies a strong possibility that people like Daruma Bodhidarma, Boghar Siddhar and many others may have travelled to China by sea, instead of crossing through the Indian sub-continent and over the Himalayas. Also, Indian union was not in existence back then. Not even the word Indian or India is used in any ancient Sanskrit, Prakrit, Pali, Bengali, or Tamil texts or literature. The concept of an Indian country is not mentioned either othe than the different countries that were in existance of the region back in those days. It would have been difficult for citizens ruled by the Cholas, Pallavas, and Pandyas of the Southern country of Tamilakkam to thravel through enemy territory (ie. Chalukyas, Guptas, etc.). Not to mention the most rigorous and dangerous route over the Himalayas. However, it is realistic that the early Buddhist from the Northern part of the sub-continent have travelled directly by land to China which was not too far for them.

    It would have been much more easier and faster to go by sea to China than by land coming from the southern part of the sub-contintent.

    Anyways, thank you for taking the time to read my article and for you inputs. It is much appreciated.

  15. #45
    Quote Originally Posted by KC Elbows
    This thread is ancient and powerful.
    In the beginning, it is probably grappling, pushing and throwing. OR wrestling and Shuai Jiao.

    Then the animal forms or mimicking the way the "beasts" fight.

    And this all happened before any language, or philosophy arrived.

    --

    It is only a conjesture/guess.


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