Learn More About Indian Martial Arts
Jayanagar, Bengaluru Feb 9, 2017
It refers to the fighting systems of the Indian subcontinent. In Sanskrit, it is called as ‘Yuddhakala’, ‘ayudhavidya’, ‘viravidya’, ‘sastravidya’, ‘dhanurveda’, ‘tarkappuk kalai’ in Tamil. The Vishnu Purana text describes dhanuveda as one of the traditional eighteen branches of ‘upveda’, along with shastrashastra or military science.
Dhanurveda is found in the Vedas contains references to martial arts. The oldest recorded unarmed fighting art in South Asia is ‘Malla-yuddha’ or combat-wrestling, codified into four forms and pre-dating the Vedic Period.
Between 3rd to 10th centuries, ‘Vajra-musti’ came, it is an armed gripping style. The Sushruta Samhita identifies 107 vital points on the human body of which 64 classified as being lethal if properly struck with a fist or stick. Sushruta’s work formed the basis of medical discipline Ayurveda which was taught alongside various martial arts.
In the 11th century, Kalaripayat was developed during an extended period of warfare between the Chera and Chola dynasties. After 1857, Martial Arts underwent a period of decline after the full establishment of British colonial rule in the 19th century. The use of firearms increased and the need for gradually combat training was gradually eroded. The British colonial government banned Kalaripayat in 1804 in response to series of revolts.
In Agni Purana there are nine asanas (stances) in the fight are listed below:
1. Sampada (holding the feet even): Standing in closed ranks with the feet put together.
2. Vaisakha: Standing erect with the feet apart.
3. Mandala (disk): Standing with the knees apart, arranged in the shape of a flock of geese.
4. Alidha (licked, polished): Bending the right knee with the left foot pulled back.
5. Pratyalidha: Bending the left knee with the right foot pulled back.
6. Jata (origin): Placing the right foot straight with the left foot perpendicular, the ankles being five fingers apart.
7. Dandayata (extended staff): Keeping the right knee bent with the left leg straight, or vice versa.
8. Samputa (hemisphere)
9. Swastika (well-being): Keeping the feet 16 fingers apart and lifting the feet a little.