As I have often stated, it is the goal of this site to bring visibility to, and discussion around as many of the martial arts as possible. One of our readers recently brought to my attention (and was helpful enough to provide the following article and video about): Kalari. As MMA has become more mainstream (which I’m not lamenting… I love a good cage fight), it’s easy sometimes to forget some of the real finesse and the spiritual aspects of so many of the martial arts. To that end, and so we all can say, “oh ya, I’ve heard of that,” about one more martial art I present Kalari for you, as submitted by Patrick Commiskey (Thanks Patrick!)
Kalarippayat (Kalari) is a powerful, flowing and beautiful practice that is new to the west, having been kept secret during the time of British Colonization. Kalari is an intact oral lineage as old as Yoga and Ayurveda, and utilizes many of the same principles and wisdom that Yoga and Ayurveda have to offer. A Warrior tradition, Kalari is a powerful meditation in movement, developing strength, coordination, and cardiovascular fitness.
An average practice consists of the following:
1. Lohars: Warm-up exercises from the Buddhist tradition of Kalari, to warm & prepare the body for the more challenging practices to follow.
2. Kalari Surya Namaskara A unique and challenging version of the familiar Sun Salutation.
3. Kalugal: Leg Swings, a unique exercise where the body learns to breathe, balance and ground. The nadis (energy lines of the body) are stretched and cleansed.
4. Vadivu: Animal postures, dynamic conditioning and strengthening. These postures have shamanic qualities, as the student embodies the animal spirit, actually taking on the animal’s attributes, rather than mimicking its shape or posture.
5. Forms: There are countless body and weapons forms practiced in Kalari. Body forms include series of both Shiva (masculine) and Shakti (feminine). Weapons include long stick, short stick, dagger, sword and shield, spear, and many more. These forms are taken from Northern, Central and Southern regional traditions of Kalari in Kerala, India.