DR Ambedkar IAS Academy

Indian Culture: Indian Martial Arts

1. Kalarippayattu (Kerala specially) & rest of south
  • Weapon based type
  • “Kalari” means arena. “Payattu” means combat/fighting.
  • Involves strikes, kicks, grappling, preset forms, weaponry and healing methods, the footwork movement
  • Kerala’s “Kathakali” incorporates greatly of this in their routines
  • Considered older than Chinese martial arts
  • Associated Legend: This art form was taught to early masters of this by Parashurama (an incarnation of Lord Vishnu) to protect the land he created.
2. Malla-Yuddha (South India)
  • Combat-Wrestling type. Unarmed type.
  • Four types:
     1. Hanumanti – for technical superiority
     2. Jambuvanti – focuses on locking and holding till opponent gives up
     3. Jarasandhi – breaking limbs and joints
     4. Bhimaseni – focuses on sheer strength
3. Silambam (Tamil Nadu)
  • Weapon based type
  • Variety of weapons used.
  • Majorly used “Silambam staff” as a weapon. (staff – a traditional pole weapon. It has many variants from just a stick to having knife at one end)
  • Foot movements plays a key role
  • Movements of animals like snake, tiger, elephant and eagle used
  • “Kuttu varisai” – a variant of silambam & uses no weapon
  • Associated Legend: this martial art was developed by Lord Muruga (son of Lord Shiva, other name – Kartekeya) & sage Agasthya
  • Travelled from Tamil Nadu to Malaysia
4. Gatka (Punjab)
  • Weapon based
  • Used by Sikhs mainly
  • Gatka means – “One whose freedom belongs to race”
  • Stick, Sword, kirpan or kataar used as weapon
5. Thang Ta (Manipur)
  • Weapon Based
  • “Thang” means sword. “Ta” means spear.
  • Anything from sword or spear can be used.
  • Other weapons used are shield and axe.
  • Used in three different ways
      1. As absolutely ritual in nature
      2. As spectacular performance
      3. As actual Fighting technique
6. Lathi (Punjab & Bengal)
  • Weapon Based
  • Cane Sticks used.
  • Popular more in villages
7. Mardani Khel (Kolhapur, Maharashtra)
  • Weapon Based
  • Created by Marathas
  • Suitable for hilly regions
  • Uses sword mainly & needs rapid movements
8. Pari-Khanda (Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha)
  • Weapon Based
  • Created by Rajputs
  • “Pari” means shield & “Khanda” means sword (according to Chhau rulers)
  • Gave birth to Chhau dance
9. Inbuan Wrestling (Mizoram)
  • Unarmed Type
  • Has strict rules prohibiting kicking, stepping out of the circle and bending of the knees.
  • Aim is to lift the opponent off his feet while strictly adhering to the rules 
  • Catching hold of the belt worn by the wrestlers around the waist; it has to remain tight all through the game.
10. Kuttu Varisai (South India)
  • Unarmed Type
  • “Kuttu Varisai” means empty hand combat
  • used to improve footwork and athleticism through gymnastics, stretching, yoga and breathing exercises
  • use of animal-based sets which includes tiger, snake, elephant, eagle and monkey
11. Cheibi Gadga (Manipur)
  • Weapon Based
  • Uses sword & shield
  • Victory depends more on skill than on muscle power
12. Thoda (Himachal Pradesh)
  • Weapon Based
  • Originated from the times of Mahabharata
  • Generally based on archery skills
  • “Thoda” is the round piece of wood fixed to the head of the arrow

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *