Kalaripayattu is one of the oldest living traditions of Martial training, Physical culture and self defence method in the World. The Kalaripayattu is derived from two words in Malayalam, Kalari and Payattu. Kalari means the place, where any particular art form is taught. Payattu literally means practice or exercise. It is the Martial Art form of Kerala, the Southern most state of INDIA.
The hall or ground exclusively prepared for training kalarippayattu is known as Kalari. Constructed based on vastu sastra ( science that describe principles of design, layout, measurements, ground preparation, space arrangement and spatial geometry), it has an entrance facing east and a main door located on the centre-right. There is a puttara (seven tiered platform) in the south-western corner. Kalari practitioners usually worship avtar of Bhagvathi, Kari or Shiva.
Parasurama is the founder of Northern style of Kalarippayattu.Northern Kalaripayattu emphasizes on flexible movements, evasions, jumps and weapons training, physical training, which is called as ‘meipayattu’, and full-body oil massage are the main elements of this style.The oil massage that includes stamping massage (Thirummal) and foot massage (Chavitti thirummal) helps increase the flexibility of practitioners. This system of treatment is based on Ayurveda, the traditional Indian medical science.
Agasthya is the founder of southern style of Kalaripayattu.Southern Kalaripayattu is mainly prevalent in southern Kerala.It includes several stages of training such as chuvadu (solo forms), Jodi (Paired training), kuruvadi (Short stick), Neduvadi (long stick), Kathi (knife), Katar (Dagger) and Valum Parachayum (Sword and shield) Chuttuval / Urumi (Flexible sword). Siddha vaidyam (Siddha medical system), which is distinct from north Indian Ayurveda, is used in southern styles of Kalaripayattu.It is traditional Dravidian system of medicine.
Kalaripayattu has its root in the vedic culture. This art form is considered as the most comprehensive because it involves Physical training, self defensive techniques with and without the use of weapons, treatment using the ayurvedic, marma chikilsa principles and a philosophy based on India’s vedic culture. All these features make it distinct from the rest of the martial art forms.