“Kalaripayattu”,?a prominent Indian martial art is considered to be one of the oldest traditions of martial training and self defence techniques in the World. Originated from the Malayalam words ‘Kalari” and “Payatt”, Kalaripayattu means a place where this unique art form is taught or exercised. In the ancient period it was widely popular in the northern and central regions of Kerala.
According to ‘Vadakkan paattukal’ (traditional folk songs about brave warriors of north Kerala), Kalari payattu was used to settle conflicts between groups;?and the fighters were popularly known as ‘Chekavar’?.??? ?This vibrant traditional martial art has been a vital part of the history and culture of Kerala from olden time?s. Influence of Kalaripayattu is evident in the native art forms of Kerala such as Kathakali, Kolkali, Teyyam, Poorakkali, Velakali etc.
Some of the traditional weapons used in ancient times include Urumi (a long flexible blade with spring like action wrapped round the waist),Otta (Curved Staff), Gadha (Mace), Val Parija (Sword and Shield), Kattari (Dagger), Kuntham (Spear) etc.? It is? ?a spectacular sight to observe men and women, fighting dramatically with pre-determined steps similar to dance moves. ?