Kerala is well known for its martial art forms. Various martial art forms in Kerala are Kalaripayattu, Paricha Kali, Velakanni, Valeru, Kunderu and Njaninmelkali. Kalaripayattu is one of the oldest martial art forms in the world. The original form of this martial art is originated in Kerala, in specific North Kerala. This ancient art form is said to be the most scientific art form and is thus called as the the mother of all martial arts.
The beauty and elegance of this art form lies in the harmonious synergy of art, science and medicine. The various movements in Kalarippayattu are based on animal movements. That is why it is believed to have developed in the forests by hunters observing the fighting techniques of animals. Kalaripayattu training is in an enclosure called Kalari. An arc shaped seven stepped platform is constructed in the south west corner in the Kalari called Poothara. This seventh step is used as the platform on which the lotus bud shaped idol is kept. The training instructor of the Kalari is called as Gurukkal.
Before starting Kalarippayattu training the Guru will give a special kind of massage using medicated oil. This massaging helps to achieve ease of movement. Discipline is most important thing in Kalarippayattu. Kalaripayattu practice instills a sense of discipline in the minds of trainees.
A kalaripayattu trainee need to know so many important details of human physiology. They need to know about the vital points in the human body called Marmas. Besides the physical fitness and strength, this martial art form is good for our mind also. Superior qualities like concentration, confidence, discipline, bravery and fearlessness are attained by constant training of Kalarippayattu. Trainee obeys the commands of the guru inside and outside of the Kalari.
In the olden days the person who is practicing Kalaripayattu are supposed to risk even his life for a noble cause. Before starting practicing, the trainee first worships the deities irrespective of their religion, caste and creed. Kalaripayattu is an art of physical culture and self- defense which will bring amazing changes in the body and mind.