Tour with Shailesh: Kalarippayattu demonstration at Bekal Fort

Kalaripayattu (sometimes shortened as Kalari) is an Indian martial art and fighting system that originated in Kerala. Some practitioners claim that it is the oldest martial art in existence, with its origin dating back to the 3rd century BCE. According to ancient folklore, Sage Parasurama, who was an avatar of Lord Vishnu, is believed to be the founder of martial arts in India.

Kalari has Two main styles, namely Vadakkan (Northern) & Thekkan (Southern). While the Vadakkan style focuses more on the forms & postures due to the more ancient spiritual aspect and teaches the Weaponry & Combative aspect after finishing it, while Thekkan is more combat oriented from the beginning. From Strikes to Locks to Grappling to Takedowns, Kalari has everything in its spectrum.

Kalaripayattu techniques are a combination of steps (Chuvadu) and postures (Vadivu). Chuvadu literally means ‘steps’, the basic steps of the martial arts. Vadivu literally means ‘postures’ or stances are the basic characteristics of Kalaripayattu training.

Named after animals, there are eight postures. Gaja Vadivu: Elephant posture, Ashwa Vadivu: Horse posture, Simha Vadivu: Lion posture, Varaha Vadivu: Wild boar posture, Kukuda Vadivu: Rooster posture, Sarpa Vadivu: Snake posture, Matsya Vadivu: Fish posture, Marjara Vadivu: Cat posture are the eight postures.

Styles differ considerably from one tradition to another. Not only do the names of poses differ, the masters also differ about application and interpretation. Each stance has its own style, power combination, function and effectiveness.

Watch a magnificent demonstration of Kalarippayattu at the premises of the Bakel Fort in Kasargod, as part of the “SMiLE Ambassador Tour,” which was a three-day programme of BRDC. The participants of the event are the members from the travel and tourism industry. The event has been organized in association with the Association Tourism Trade Organizations India (ATTOI).

Shailesh Nair

Shailesh is the Managing Director of Kochi-based Mystikal Holidays and Director of Green Earth Hotels and G E Ventures.

Tour Operator, Hotelier, Tourism Technology Enthusiast, Speaker on Tourism, Vlogger & Voice Over Artist