Kalaripayattu
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Mother of Martial Arts - This form of armed, hand-to-hand combat is known as the mother of all martial arts. It is an intricate blend of physical agility, discipline of mind and spirit, and Ayurvedic medicine. At one time a graduate student of Kalaripayattu could render an enemy motionless through the mere pointing of an index finger. This practice is forgotten today due to the tough discipline required. Believed to have been introduced by Lord Parasurama who is said to have retrieved Kerala from the sea, this martial art was taken across to China by a South Indian Buddhist monk, Bodhi Dharma who incidentally, invented Zen Buddhism. 

Kalari teachers or Gururs of the past enjoyed a respectable stature in the society. He was given the title "Panikkar"; derived from the term 'Parinayaka'. According to Buddhist literature, he is a teacher of weaponry or Ayudha Vidya Guru. Later the title holders identified themselves as a separate sub-caste of the Nairs.
 

The origin of Kalarippayattu is still in the midst of obscurity. Traditional Kalari masters attribute mythological stories and legends to the origin of the art. According to them, Parasurama the mythical creator of Kerala, instituted 108 Kalaries all over the land. This legend on the origin of the institution propagated by Keralolpathi, still lingers in the minds of the Keralites. Some masters believe that the Kalari system originated out of the wrath of Lord Siva while in his fury, to destroy Dakshayaga. Parasurama, Lord Siva's disciple, is supposed to have studied this art from him and have handed it over to his 21 disciples in Kerala. All such legends, propagate the theory that this martial art was brought to Kerala by the Brahmins.

Kalaripayattu is taught by the “gurukkal” or master who is an exponent in the field. It is taught by the master to the students and is considered to be a sacred art form of Kerala. Kalaripayattu developed during the 9th century was practiced by the warrior clan of Kerala, the Nair community to defend the state and the king. The Nair community considered it an honour to die for the nation and the king. Karate and Kungfu are believed to have originated from Kalaripayattu when Bodhi Dharma took the art of Kalaripayattu to China. This martial art is as much a spiritual  discipline, as it is physical. Kalaripayattu helps the students in character build up, self-confidence and adoptability to circumstances. Kalaripayattu helps systemize the flow of energy in the body. 
 

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