15th Annual Smithsonian.com Photo Contest
India, Kerala, Vadakara, Flying warriors, Regarded as « the mother of martial arts », Kalaripayattu, commonly referred to as Kalari is a physical combat sport deeply rooted in religious rituals and moral values. The strength, flexibility and focus required to master the numerous techniques (wooden and metal weapons and bare hand combat), require unwavering discipline, teamwork and years of training under an experienced Gurukkal (master). In depth knowledge of anatomy and vital points of the body must be learned as well as massage techniques and the use of traditional Ayurveda medicine to maintain flexibility and treat injuries. Training sessions are often followed by massages enhancing camaraderie between students. Wearing a simple cotton loincloth and covered in herbal oil, training takes place in the Kalari a 21’ x 42’ foot enclosure with a packed dirt floor and traditional thatched roof. It is sport in its most primary form. Practice and combat begins and ends with a series of salutations to numerous deities related to Kalari and the Gurukkal who is revered by his/her students. From the age of 7, both boys and girls practice this explosive martial art that molds both body and mind producing young adults with exceptional moral and spiritual values.
© Alain Schroeder.
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||Nov. 30, 2017, 12:56 a.m.