Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Martial Arts Traditions of India

‘Martial Arts’, as the name suggests, are popular art forms that give training in different kinds and dimensions of fighting — fighting with a spear or a sword, physical combat, resisting cavalry attack, single combat or combat with many, etc. As such, the martial arts apart from being sources of popular entertainment also provide training in skills required by professionals, including soldiers.

India has an ancient tradition in diverse martial arts. Nearly every part of India has evolved one or the other form of a popular martial art. One most essential feature of the martial art form that developed in India is that, this too was linked to spirituality and there was a strict tradition of Guru Parambara and Gods to be invoked in order to excel in this field. The fabric of divinity was such deep rooted in our culture that even a physical fighting technique was associated to the Supreme power. We should be grateful to have born here!

Traditional Weapons of India
The Japanese and the Chinese trace the origins of their popular martial arts, karate and kung-fu, to India. Notably, according to Chinese texts and tradition, an Indian sage, Bodhidharma (5th or 6th century CE), who travelled from south India to north China and settled at the Shaolin Monastery in the Sung Mountain, meditated there for nine years and imparted some early techniques of Indian martial arts to his follower monks.

Bodhidharma Faces the Wall
Following is an incomplete list of martial arts from various parts of India

  1. Adi thada - South India
  2. Aki Kiti - Nagaland
  3. Bandesh - Various parts of North India
  4. Binot - Various parts of Central India
  5. Chedi Talimkhana – Andhra Pradesh
  6. Cheibi Gad-Ga - Manipur
  7. Gatka- Punjab 
  8. Inbuan -Mizoram
  9. Kalari Payattu – Kerala 
  10. Lathi- Various parts of India 
  11. Malla Yuddha – Different parts of India
  12. Mardani Khel - Maharashtra 
  13. Marma / Varma vidya- South India
  14. Mizo Inchai -Manipur
  15. Musti Yuddha- Utter Pradesh 
  16. Paika Akhadha - Odisha 
  17. Pari-khanda – Bihar 
  18. Sarit – Sarak – Manipur
  19. Sqay- Kashmir 
  20. Silambam - Tamil Nadu 
  21. Thoda - Himachal Pradesh 
  22. Thang - ta – Manipur 
  23. Vajra Mushti- Various parts of India
Examples of the various Vajramushti – the two smaller weapons are used for the sporting aspect, whilst the larger, complete with spiked ends, were used in warfare.

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