India is a nation that boasts of its rich cultural heritage. One such richness is also found in the state of Kerala when we look at the traditional martial arts for self defense that was created many years ago and it is still in existence. Kalaripayattu is the only form of most ancient traditional systems of physical, culture, self-defense and martial techniques still in existence. It was originated in Kerala. There is a story behind it; it was believed that the ‘Nayakanmar’ were given the charge of Kalaris. These Nayakanmar were then called as Nayars. They were given the responsibility of training the Kalaris and also their upbringing in a place called gurukul. They lived in a complete disciplined life and their motto was to fight during the times of war or external aggression. This was how this form of martial arts came into existence. It is very unique and the best thing is that Kerala people have maintained this ancient culture of Kalaripayattu of Kerala.
In Sanskrit the term Khaloorika means a place where weapon training is practiced. It is believed that the term kalari came into existence from it. There were institutions in ancient times that used to impart martial arts knowledge to people and the Kalari got its name from such institutions. This Kerala Kalaripayattu were of two different forms. One was northern type called the Vatakkan and the other one was the southern type called the Tekken. Both were different from each other in distinct nature and yet had similarities. But due to use of exaggerated weapons Vatakkan became most famous. These were again of two types, the first one was smaller and it was called Cherukalan and the second one is bigger and it was called Ankakalari. The former one needed the ground to be dug and get the required depth than the surroundings. This was done for impaling physical and weapon training. The latter one was a kalari constructed temporarily for the purpose of fighting duels to decide any quarrel between the local rulers or for a cause of revenge for some reason or other. This kalari would be constructed to such a place as to enable all persons in the locality to arrive witness the duel conveniently.
Kerala Kalaripayattu has become a very important part of Keralian culture. Today in almost all important festivals a glimpse of Kalaripayattu is shown. Tourist find it very amusing and they like and appreciate the people of Kerala for maintaining their ancient martial arts. Kalari includes kicks, strides, strikes, grappling, preset forms, weaponry and healing methods. However, these differ according the regions in the state of Kerala. This style of martial arts has many medical benefits too. Children are and adults are encouraged to learn this form of art in order to have a fit body and mind. It is famous all over India and Keralian have long been praised for such unique style of art that they have managed to retain even in this high-tech world.