You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection. ~ Buddha
Kalaripayattu is a form of martial art that is native to the state of Kerala in Southern India. Originating way back in 1,000 B.C, it is believed to be one of the oldest methods of Asian martial arts, and is the basis for many martial arts practices in Asia and around the world including Kung Fu.
The trainers of Kalaripayattu are called Kalaris. It is one form of martial art that aims to separate the ego from the soul where one becomes valiant and experiences the joy of being on a spiritual path.
It gives one a psycho-spiritual experience that’s transformative to the being. The philosophy and poetry of this form of art is based on the concept of synchronising the mind with the body.
The practice of this art form involves four progressive stages of training – Physical-mental exercises (Melthari), Wooden weapons (Kolthari), Metal weapons (Ankathari), and Unarmed combat (Verumkaiprayogam). Martial art has never been just about kicking and physical fitness, it also means exploring and knowing your own body. Kalaripayattu is founded on a set of cultural assumptions about the body-mind relationship, health, and well-being that are similar to the assumptions underlying yoga and Ayurveda.
It involves the art of knowing and activating 107 energy points in the body, which are used for correcting the body’s energy. It aims to make the practitioner not just a warrior, but also a self-healer, and the one who can also help others with his knowledge of healing powers.
Kalaripayyatu involves a special kind of body-healing massage called “Kalari”. The Kalari massage helps patients suffering from ailments like Rheumatism, Paralysis, Back pain, Blood pressure, muscular problems, asthma, agitation, depression etceteras. Massage improves the self-defense mechanism of the body and increase immunity from environmental changes, giving one poise and will power.
Kalari massage works on the principle of applying pressure where there is a high concentration of life energy in the body. It includes the techniques of balancing the chakras, resulting in infusion of the divine universal energy (Sky, Wind, Fire, Water and Earth) within the body (Prana). The benefits of Kalari massage are life-changing and mind-enhancing.
Modern urban lifestyle makes one forget that the body is capable of doing so much more if treated holistically. We have heard of the phrase that your body is your temple, but seldom do we take this statement seriously. Most of the time you shuffle between the lives you want to live and the life you have to or must live.
Teachers of Kalaripayattu are found in many regions around the world. Depending on one’s interest, you can either focus on the physical and self defense aspects or explore the spiritual aspect of Kalaripayattu that includes meditation, massage and traditional curative practices.
Like Lucius Annaeus Seneca puts it, “The wish for healing has always been half of health.”