ancient martial art of Kerala
Kalarippaayattu is the most ancient martial art, born in Kerala State,
India. One form of it is practiced in Auroville by a few of the
According to the legend, Bodhidharma went to China in 5th
century A.D. and taught Buddhism and Kalarippayattu for self-defense.
Even now, we can see ancient images depicted on the walls of the Shaolin
Indian masters teaching the Chinese hermits both Kalarippayattu and
Kalarippayattu develops swiftness and concentration and leads to
rightness of action.
Recognising that the Body is the bridge between Spirit and
Matter, it is important to strengthen and develop physical
As the Mother says:
"We want to come in contact with the supreme consciousness, the
universal consciousness; we want to bring it down in ourselves and to
manifest it. But for that we must have a very solid base; our base is
our physical being, our body. Therefore we have to build up a body
solid, healthy, enduring, skilful, agile and strong, ready for
everything. There is no better way to prepare the body than physical
exercise: sports, athletics, gymnastics, and all games are the best
means to develop and strengthen the body."
There are 3 types of Kalarippayattu in Kerala: Northern, Southern, and
Mid-Kerala. They all work from a 'Kalari' (gymnasium, dojo), which has
traditional measurements of 42 feet long by 21 feet wide. It must be
built in the direction from East to West, with the entrance from the
East. The prayer-place, consisting of 7 steps, is in the southwest
corner. Before starting the classes, every student is required to bow
There are five stages in Kalarippayattu's northern style, which is
practiced in Auroville. The first three cover extensive body fitness
training, stick training and weapon training. The fourth gets into
bare-hand training, and only those who have thoroughly studied and
practiced the previous stages will be taught this 4th lesson, since it
is the most secret part of the Kalarippayattu training. A student must
be very obedient, trustworthy, good-tempered and master of himself to
move to this stage.
The fifth stage deals with Ayurvedic treatment for body and mind. After
successfully completing the first four stages, a student will get plenty
of exercises and will have a good physical condition. He will then
obtain the ability to treat others physically and mentally.