The Kalaripayattu history tell that it was born in the state of Kerala. There is a local legend that believes that Kerala’s territory was obtained by Lord Parasurama, who pulled the land from the ocean. Once conquered, he needed to take care of it, so he taught this martial art to 4 Brahmins (priest by heredity). This Brahmins started to pass this knowledge to other people and then they choose 21 masters to open their own training centers (Kalari) so they can spread this technic (Kalaripayattu). This is the most common version of Kalaripayattu history, but you can find different versions of it depending on the writer.
Best Moment of Kalaripayattu in History
Back in the days, landholders were engaged in constant fights with their neighbours, so they needed the service of experienced warriors to protect the little kingdoms. Physical fitness and efficiency in the handling of weapons became essential for everyone. It is believed that in this context Kalarippayattu reached the peak of its popularity. During this era, the battles only results in death and damage of property. In order to prevent this, they develop a strategy in which one warrior, each representing the rival feudal landlords, would fight with each other till one is defeated. It was considered the greatest disgrace to live after being defeated in a battle. The merit of the system was that it helped to avoid large-scale bloodshed and loss of lives.
Kalaripayattu distinctive style is due to Kerala’s geographic characteristics. Being a steep narrow land mostly covered with jungle, didn’t allowed the movement of numerous army with big heavy armours. That’s the reason they use small armies and they fight half-naked with no armor taking advantage of guerilla style assaults. Their success only relies in light-weight weapons, concentration, agility, braveness and speed.
The study and practice of Kalari also includes healing knowledge to treat any pain, injuries or wounds that happen during training or fights. This makes of Kalari an incredibly complete discipline compared to any other martial art.
It is believed that Kalaripayattu is the mother of every martial arts that was spread across Asia influencing other practices included in China, Japan or Korea.
“Kalaripayattu is a modern system of education. By mastering the energy you attain self-control and overcome life’s difficulties. The student of Kalaripayattu is inculcated with moral responsibility. In this ancient martial art, effectiveness and physical strength are supported by respect, attention, and non-violence so that order is maintained in oneself and in society.” Master Parameswaram Saraswathy Balachandran.