India has been a land of art since ancient times. It is widely known for its diverse culture and ethnicities. Different martial arts have been developed in India for ages. Earlier, these martial arts were used in warfare in the country. Let us discuss some of the major martial arts of India.
Kalaripayattu is the oldest martial art in India. It is widely practised in Southern India. It originated in 300 BC in the state of Kerala.
- The word Kalaripayattu got its Origin from the Malayalam word “Kalari”, which means a gymnasium or a training hall, where martial arts are practised.
- The drills are of two types: armed and unarmed combat.
- Any sound or song does not accompany the drills.
- The most important feature of this art is footwork; it includes kicks, strikes and weapon-based practice.
- The art is still performed in rituals and ceremonies.
- Pre-drillers are massaged with Gingili oil.
- Olta, an s-shaped stick, is used for fighting.
Silambam was originated in the 2nd AD in the state of Tamil Nadu. It is a kind of staff-fencing combat. This art was promoted during the reign of Pandyas, Cheras and Cholas. The bamboo stave of this art was popular trading good in ancient days.
Staff fencing is a group of combat that helps in the protection of a particular place.
- The most common techniques of Silambam include swift movements of the foot, use of hands to wield staff, chop and sweep to achieve mastery.
- The training includes mastery and development of force, momentum and precision at different levels of the body.
- The player should know how to diffuse an uncontrollable mob by using strokes and how to default stones thrown at them.
Thang ta is the martial art of the Meitei tribe of Manipur. It is one of the most lethal combat forms. It is an armed martial art of Manipur. The word Thang refers to a sword, and ta refers to a spear.
Sarit Sarak originated in the 17th century in Manipur. Sarit Sarak and Thang-ta together are called Huyen Langdon.
Chibi Gad-ga is the ancient martial arts of Manipur.
- It involves the use of a sword and a shield.
- The combat takes place in a circle of 7 metres in diameter.
- The length of the “Chibi”‘ stick is between 2 to 2.5 ft in length.
This art originated from Mizoram in 1750 AD.
Part Khanda art originated from the Rajputs of Bihar. The combat involves the use of swords and shields. This martial art form is widely used in Chhau dance.
Thoda originated from Himachal Pradesh. This martial art form is performed in the festival of Baisakhi.
Gatka originated from Punjab. The main feature of this combat is kirpan, Talwas and Katara. This form is displayed in different state fairs and celebrations.
Mardani Khel was originated from the Kolhapur district of Maharashtra. Shivaji even practised combat art. The unique feature of the art is Patta and Vita.
Lathi is an ancient art form of the northern states. Lathi refers to a 6 to 8 ft stick. This combat art is majorly practised in Punjab and Bengal.
Kuttu Varisai is also known as Empty Hand Silambam. The combat is mentioned in Sangam literature. It is the unarmed component of Silambam.
Musti Yuddha originated from Varanasi. The combat form resembles boxing. The fight is divided into four groups, Jambavan, Hanumanti, Bhimaseni, and Jarasandhi.
A Way Forward
Not only martial arts, but India is also famous for its other cultures. We have a variety of sarees, spices, languages, scripts, instruments, and other skills. Not only the mentioned martial arts, but there are many different martial forms in India. They are Paika Akhada, Sqay, Bandesh, Varma Ali and Kathi Samu. Martial arts not only preserve the ancient culture of the country but also a medium of self-defence too. These art forms are passed from one generation to another, depicting how beautifully the older generation has evolved with time.
Such art forms are the symbols of the intangible culture of India. And should be preserved with dignity and honour. The government of India should make the required efforts for the purpose. Like the government of India can annually organize a fair of martial arts. This measure can help India in achieving global status. It also will help the martial arts get the recognition it deserves. Youngsters should also learn about the importance and richness of the vast culture of our country.