Kalarippayatt

Kalarippayatt is a martial art originating and practiced in Kerala. It incorporates strikes, kicks, grappling, martial dance and weaponry as well as healing techniques. Regional variances of the Kalarippayattu are classified into Northern, Southern and Central styles.


The term Kalarippayatt is formed from the words “kalari” meaning school or gymnasium and payattu meaning to fight or to exercise.


Kalarippayatt may be one of the oldest martial arts in existence. Masters of Kalarippayattu are known as “Asaan or Gurukkal.

Northern Kalarippayatt (practiced mainly in the northern Malabar region of Kozhikode and Kannur) places comparatively more emphasis on weapons than on empty hands. Northern Kalarippayatt is distinguished by its meippayattu (physical training and use of full-body oil massage) to increase the practitioner’s flexibility and to treat muscle injuries incurred during practice. The term for such massages is thirummal and the massage specifically for physical flexibility chavutti thirummal (massage using feet pressure over the entire body).

In southern styles of Kalarippayatt (practiced mainly in old Travancore including the present Kanyakumari district of Tamil Nadu), practice and fighting techniques emphasize empty hands and applications.

The central style (practiced mainly in Thrissur, Malappuram, Palakkad and certain parts of Ernakulam districts is a composite from both the northern and southern styles that includes northern meippayattu preliminary exercises, southern emphasis on empty-hand techniques and its own distinctive techniques.

Weapons used in Kalarippayatt are Long Staff, Medium Stick, Long Stick, Flexible Sword, Short Stick, Curved Stick, Club or
Mace, Knife or Dagger, Machete or Kukri, Short Sword, Long Sword, Round Shield Spear etc.

It is claimed that learned persons can disable or kill their opponents by a mere touch in a Marmam (vulnerable parts of the human body). Marmam is taught only to the promising and levelheaded persons to forbid misuse of the technique.


Influence of kalarippayatt can be seen in major classical art forms of Kerala, mainly Kathakali.

Watch the video of Kalarippayatt...

4 comments:

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Phone Info Tracer said...

Its an amazing art.I also like Kathakali dance very much.

Rajesh said...

That was a good account on Kalaripayattu.
BPO work from home

reshma M said...
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