Fondly known as the “Mother of Martial Arts”, Kalaripayattu is one of the ancient forms of Martial Arts. The term derives its origin from the Sanskrit word “Khalurika”. It means “Battlefield”, “Threshing floor” or “Military Training Ground”. The earliest evidence of Kalaripayattu is in the palm leaf manuscripts of Kerala. According to Dhanurveda, it is among the 64 art forms of Indian Mythology. Thus, making it so important in the history of ancient India. Lord Parasurama is the “Founder of Kalaripayattu”.
Lord Parasurama was the sixth avatar of Lord Vishnu. His father, Jamadagni was a Brahmin sage. His birthplace is Janapav hills in Indore, Madhya Pradesh. A Brahmin by birth, he carried the attributes of a warrior. So, he stopped the kshatriya class, those with weapons and power, from misusing it. He corrected the cosmic equilibrium by destroying them. Thus, regarded as the Hindu God of Cosmic Balance. Bhishma, Dronacharya, and Karna where all his disciples.
When Parasurama threw his Axe into the sea, a small piece of land rose. This land is Kerala, God’s own country. He taught the art Kalaripayattu, to his 21 followers. Because this will help them to protect the newly formed land. For teaching kalarippayattu, he started 108 “Kalari”-the place where it taught. So, he called the “Founder of Kalaripayattu”.
BODHIDHARMA AND KALARIPAYATTU
Bodhidharma, a Buddhist Monk believed to have brought Kalaripayattu to China. According to evidence, he was born in Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu to king Pallava. He learned Buddhism. He trained in Kerala style Kalaripayattu. At a young age, he left his prince title and went to China. There he established Shaolin monastery. He developed a system for intense physical and mental training. After that, he taught it to the monks. So, the evolution of Kung-Fu revolves around the exercises which he introduced to the Monks in China. His exercises were very much similar to the moves in kalarippayattu. Thus, this marked the beginning of Shaolin Kung-Fu.