Health & Wellness

Learn Kalaripayattu for self defense and flexibility

Ranjan Mullaratt, a Kalaripayattu professional speaks about the various steps in mastering this profound form of Martial Art.

Kalaripayattu is an ancient form of martial art form which has its roots in the state of Kerala. Kalaripayattu draws its inspiration from the raw power, imposing strength and natural fighting techniques of innumerable animals like the lion, tiger, elephant etc. “The ancient masters codified eight types of vadivus after watching the crouching attack positions of various animals. The eight vadivus are: Varaha - Wild Boar, Gaja - Elephant, Marjara - Cat, Simham - Lion, Sarpam - Snake, Kukkuda - Cock, Mayura - Peacock and Haya – Horse,” says Ranjan Mullaratt from Kalari Gurukulam.

Ranjan started his training at a very young age in Kerela. After learning the basics he moved to his mentor’s school to hone his skills and learn the advance forms of Kalaripayattu. “It took me twelve years to master Kalaripayattu.  And once I was confident I moved to Bangalore and started teaching here,” he says. The basic course on Kalaripayattu introduces a person to various poses, movements and actions. It also introduces them to stances, and stepping. This exposure is extremely essential for the beginners who want to go to the advanced levels in future.

The Basic poses from Kalaripayattu are:
Body Toning Exercises:
A Kalaripayattu trainee who masters the basic postures goes on to body toning exercises. The practice of these exercises leads to maximum agility, suppleness, the ability to twist or turn the body in every conceivable manner, and to the ability to suddenly leap in the air with ease.
Meipayattu (exercises with the body):
It is a series of exercises, in 18 different lessons designed to achieve peak physical fitness and flexibility of the body. They include specific exercise for legs, hips, hands and the torso.
Marichilukal (Acrobatics):
In today's day and age, these acrobatic moves help an individual to stay fit. It serves as a good exercise regimen, helps in building concentration, and helps a trainee to gain self confidence. “Acrobatics also tones the body and helps develop instinctive movements which improves agility and reflexes. The different acrobatic techniques can be extensively used in any situation of self defense,” says Ranjan.

All these elements of Acrobatics are used extensively in weapon based as well as bare-handed attacks and self-defense.
Meaning exercises with hands on the floor. All Kaikuththippayattu exercises are based on the snake movement - punches, leg moves, stretches, twists and jumps.
Meaning stances and attacks. Each Chuvattadi exercise is based on a particular Kalarippayattu technique, and is performed in all four directions to respond to attacks from any direction. Chuvattadi is practiced with intense speed and power.
Meaning blocks with hand. Kaithada comprises of bare handed fighting sequences and helps the trainee to develop his/her instincts. Kaithada features blocks to fearlessly defend against armed and unarmed attacks. Kaithada can be deconstructed into the following - Blocking attacks using physical power, avoiding or dodging attacks and utilising the opponents speed and power and turning these attributes to defend oneself.

After the acrobatics the trainee is then trained in an advanced version of Kalaripayattu which teaches them the use of weapon movements. “Training with weapons commences with cane weapons.  The trainee graduates to the Short Stick (Cheruvadi), Curved Stick (Ottakkol), Mace (Gada), Dagger (Kattaram) and Spear (Kuntham),” says Ranjan who further adds that, “Once a trainee is completely through with the weapon movements in wooden and metallic we teach take them to another higher lever where they are taught to focus on the Marma points.”

The final training of a student includes in identifying the Marmas (deadly spots) in the human body. Marmas are energy points or the sacred points in the body, comparable to acupressure points. There are 108 Marmas which are associated to the nadis and charkas of yoga. Kalari chikitsa or kalari treatment is also an integral part of the kalari tradition. “It is mainly used to treat sprains, fractures, cuts and similar injuries and was originally used as a form of treatment for the trainee's injuries." says Ranjan.
Kalaripayattu classes at the academy will cost you Rs. 800/- To know more log on to

Kalari Gurukulam

#102, Maple Meadows, Chikkagubbi
Yelahanka, Bangalore -562149 Map


Kalari - academy of performing arts

#25, V N Plaza, Brigade Cross Rd. Bazar Str.
Brigade Road, Bangalore -560 025 Map

Tags: martial arts, ranjan mullaratt, kalaripayattu in bangalore

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