Kerala is the land of golden beaches, colorful festivals, misty mountains and traditional dance forms. But apart from this the Martial Arts of Kerala are also an ancient art of Kerala that adds to the rich cultural heritage of the state.
The history of martial arts of Kerala is more than 2000 years old and has also influenced the Chinese martial art. The martial art training centers of Kerala are almost like the Gurukuls where the students stay over and learn the skills and techniques of the martial arts of Kerala.
Martial arts of Kerala are different types and use knifes, bows and arrows and these items are even showcased during the temple festivals of Kerala. It is a complete physical training where you need a complete knowledge of nerves and joints. These martial art trainings were provided to the warriors while preparing themselves for the battlefield.
Kalaripayattu is a 2000 year old martial art of Kerala, and had already established itself. It is believed that the Buddhist monk Bodhidharma was influenced by this art and he sowed the seeds of Chinese martial art, after he was influenced by Kalaripayattu.
The history of Kalaripayattu can be traced to the Dhanur Vedic texts and it also has references in the Vishnu Puranas. Kalaripayattu is a Malayalam word. 'Kalari' means a school or gymnasium and 'payattu' means to fight or exercise. Kalaris were originally schools were the skills of this art were taught to the students. It is one of the unique and ancient martial arts of Kerala.
Besides this, the Parisa Kali of Malabar and Velakanni of Travancore are also two popular martial art forms of Kerala which are examples of traditional South Indian Martial art.