View my complete profile. To trace the tradition of an art is an effort of many lifetimes, and these words are merely my beginning. Stepping back in time, where history meets mythology, I often wonder if the elders of yester years foresaw this quest, and deliberately blurred any line of separation. Yet, with a myopic understanding I continue my journey, riddled with questions. The symbolisms that have ornate karate are seeped in tradition. And I cannot but wonder, if these traditions were art specific or more a product of culture and time.
D , from a kalaripaiyttu warrior to the patriarch of Zen Buddhism 28th patriarch of Buddhism and the introducer of Shaolin kungfu. Chinese martial arts are the foundation for Okinawan karate, to a large extent. Zen is the sanctum sanctorum of budo i. Honestly,most of them have gone beyond the need to explain and they don't care as long as you learn it and experience it yourself. Thank you, and regards.
I have an interest in the art read Zarilli. Thank you.
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Believed by many to be the progenitor of Shaolin Qan Fa. I'm showing off now. My understanding is that what is currently taught is more of a synthesis, a re-invention of what might have existed before the British were there. I did a workshop with some guys from an Indian theatre group. It has empty handed forms, swords, clubs and sticks a bit like kali sticks.
Phillip Zarilli teaches it to his theatre students and uses it as a form of actor training. Another interesting art is Indian wrestling Joseph Atler; the wrestler's body. There is no association historically between kalaripayattu and shaolin kung fu. This only came about recently and has been propagated by practitioners of kalaripayattu as an association i guess to try and generate interest.
Unfortunately, the general pracitioners of kalaripayattu are unwilling to admit although Zarilli's book and almost all other books reference this that the earliest suggested birth of kalaripayattu is around 11thth century a. The association is between the legend of Bodhidharma an Indian or Central asian monk, depending on the legend you use who founded the Shaolin temple. The rumor began in the 's and was written by a Chinese Taoist monk who did not like the Shaolin monks The first explicit association of Bodhidharma and the Shaolin martial arts is made in a text from no earlier than written by Zining Daoren literally "Zining, the Taoist" and it states in the text that Bodhidharma created the exercises that developed into Shaolin quan in a cave in China after staring at a wall for nine years without moving.
Between the founding of the Shaolin temple A. Unlike with Indian Martial arts, there is physical and written evidence in China that martial arts as practiced by the Shaolin monks predate the 6th century A. The "Extensive Records of the Taiping Era" record that, prior to Bodhidharma's arrival in China, monks practiced wrestling for recreation. Shaolin monastery records state that two of its very first monks, Hui Guang and Seng Chou, were experts in the martial arts years before the arrival of Bodhidharma.
Interesting post. Welcome to the forums! Thats all very nice and spritual, but the question is In one corner, the economist with an attitude.. I'm a red belt second degree in tae kwon do and have some knowledge in shotoken. I've got to start learning about grappling though.
The spiritual bit isn't something tagged on. It comes from these guys studying in kerela sp in a Hindu enviroment where they were brought up. I've seen pictures and spoken to people from that area and they agree, these guys are tough. There is no connection whatsoever between Kalaripayattu and Kung-Fu. Kalaripayatttu was formed around the 13th century and Daruma Bodhidarma was alive around the 6th century who traveled to China.
There is a year gap between him and the formation of Kalaripayattu. Also, Daruma Bodhidarma was born in the ancient Pallava kingdom of Kanchipuram which is situated in the state of present day Tamil Nadu where Kalaripayattu is not a native art of the state. As a matter of fact Tamil Nadu itself has several martial arts which predate Kalaripayattu thousands of years and are even mentioned in the Tamil literature such as the Silappadikaram during the Sangam Age of the 1st century A.
Another piece of Tamil literature which mentions of these martial arts is called the Purunaruru or which is basically Four Hundreds songs on War and Wisdom written around B. Another thing I would like to point out is that India was not in existence before the arrival of the British around the s. It was the British who unified the states and other regions into India along with Burma and Pakistan.
Before the British, the Indian sub-continent consisted of many countries and kingdoms. The latest parts of the sub-continent to be brought into the Indian Union were the 5 French territories of Pondicherry in Before that, it was Assam, Manipur, and the other Eastern states which came under the British rule and became part of their India during the late s which can be found at Thang Ta: Martial Art of Manipur.
It was one Tamil administration with three major dynasties being the Pandyan, Cholas, and the Cheras. The Pallavas were also part of Tamil Akkam at one time. However, their empire was divided by Tamil Nadu and Andra Pradesh. The land where the Cheras ruled later came to be known as Kerala where they formed their own language out of Tamil called Malayalam.
Going back to Kalaripayattu, it resembles a lot like Ninjitsu. This art may have been modified over the years to its present state. Kuttu Varisai resembles a mix of both Karate and Kung Fu having its own animal forms too. There is one stance in Kuttu Varisai which resembles the horse stance which is found in Kung Fu and Karate. However, it is called the Bear stance. There are many weapons arts and each weapon is a mastery of its own.
One of the most famous one is called Silambam which is similar to the Bo staff fighting in Japan. There are a total of 96 Katas for this art. Another weapon is the Erathai or the double stick similar to the Filipino Kali or Sinawali. There are two unique weapons which are not found outside of Southern India which is the Surul Pattai steel blade whip and the Madhu deer horns.
Other weapons arts of the Tamil country are the Val Vitchi single sword and the Eretthai Val double short sword. It is possible that the Pallavas may have had contact with Japan during their seafaring naval expeditions. A good source on that would be in the book titled Traditional Cultural Link between India and Japan During the 8th and 9th centuries written by Dr. Kalpakam Sankarnaryan and Dr. Motohiro Yoritomi. There is a possibility the inhabitants of the islands of Japan may have adopted certain forms of Kuttu Varisai and Silambam by the Pallavas.
Silambam which might be precursors to Kendo, Ken-Jutso, and Karate. During the Chola Empires zenith between the 10th and 12th centuries they had conquered much of Southern India and Eastern parts going through Manipur, Assam, and Southern Burma. Their martial arts must have been one of their exports along with various other arts like dance, architecture, and the Tamil version of the Ramayana.
There are a huge variety of weapons used in this fighting system which can easily be seen in many Chola bronze statues of various deities. Some resemble those used by the gladiators of ancient Rome. Weapons include the trident, sticks kali or kaji short, long, or double sticks , swords val and shield, double swords, daggers kuttuval simple or double , knuckle duster kuttu katai , and whips with several flexible and metallic blades surul pattai. Silambattam Silambam :. Silambam is an ancient art of staff fencing. This was patronized by the Chola, Chera and Pandiya Kings, who ruled the country of Tamilnadu and other parts of the sub-continent.
According to research this form of martial arts has been in existence for over years, even before the arrival of the Indo-Aryans. Silambam is said to be the oldest in the world since the use of the stick was the first weapon used in pre-historic times. The soldiers of the King Veerapandia Kattbomman — relied mainly on their prowess in Silambam in their warfare with the British Army. The Silappadikkaram of Tamil literature, dating back to 2nd century A.
The ancient trading centre at Madurai city, renowned globally, was said to be thronged by Romans, Greeks, and Egyptians among others who had regular sea trade with the ancient Dravidian kings. The silambam staff was one of the martial art weapons, which was in great demand with the visitors. Some records trace the origin of this art to the Tamil deity Murugan.
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Silambam is believed to have traveled from Tamil Nadu to Malaysia, where it is now a popular recreational sport and also a mode of self - defense. Four different types of staves are used. One produces a swishing sound, another involves lighted balls of cloth at one end of the staves, called 'torch silambam', a third is quite short in length but powerful, and finally a non - elastic staff that produces a clattering sound. Malytham Grappling :. Malyutham is similar to western wrestling.
Greek Pankrathon wrestling may be related to this art since there have been much sea-trade between the Tamil country, Greece and Rome yavanas. The art reached its zenith in Tamilnadu during the Pallava period. The temples of Mamalapuram were constructed by the Pallava king Mammala. He is said to have been a master at Malyutham wrestling.
During mid-Chola period mallas artistes went to various parts of the sub-continent and Sri Lanka to participate in tournaments. The art was taught in ancient days by persons belonging to the Malliga Chetty community. Here, the opponents wrestle with each other, attempting to push the other down. Various rules of the game apply to the procedure. In a tournament, wrestlers travel far and wide, challenging local wrestlers, and if they win, the name and fame of their own town or area is multiplied hundredfold.
Adithada Kick Boxing :. Adithada is very similar to Muay Thai kickboxing. Fighters use their feet, hands, knees, elbows, and the forehead. Grappling is incorporated as part of combination moves in this fighting art for take downs. Pressure points are also targeted during dueling. During the British Raj, it was the Gurka regiment who used the Brumese martial art called Bando which incorporated kickboxing in this system called Lethwei. Tamil Martial Arts in Southeast Asia:. Various countries periodically came under Tamil rule.
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The fighting arts and styles can be clearly seen on these walls. At the Prambanan and Borobodur temples of Java Indonesia the same can be seen in the bas reliefs of the Tamil martial arts fighting skills used by ancient warriors.
During the 10th century A. Much of the elements of Tamil culture introduced there were dance, cuisine, writing, literature, architecture, and the martial arts. In conclusion to this topic, Martial arts were introduced by the Tamil civilization to China and Southeast Asia. Proof of the Tamil navy venturing into Southeast Asia introducing various arts can be seen on the bas reliefs of numerous temples in places like Cambodia and Indonesia. The ancient city of Kanchipuram where Daruma Bodhidharma was born is located no where else other than in Tamil Nadu. The fact that there are similar martial arts on the African continent which was brought to Brazil from West Africa also proves the fact of the origination of the Thamzhars and other Davidians through the Lemurian continent.
However, the martial arts of the Tamils are slowly vanishing. Anyone who is interested in joining a discussion group to learn, teach, and promote these arts are welcome. The origin of this incredible martial art is poorly recorded and often subject to many debates especially by scholars studying the Indian arts who claim inaccurately that it is a direct descendant of the South Indian martial art Kalaripayattu.
I feel it is a shame that despite the advent of Wikipedia and YouTube, people still entertain inaccurate notions about kung fu and its origins. In this post, I would like to debunk the belief that kung fu came from kalaripayattu, especially the accounts pertaining to Bodhidharma or Bodhidharman if you prefer and his contributions to the Shaolin monastry based on all available information.
I request the reader to read the article completely before making comments.
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Guess Again! When I viewed these videos, I found many logical inconsistencies and historical anomalies. Tao Te Ching. In order to counter the hypothesis that kung fu originated in India than in mainland China, we need a thorough understanding of what kung fu is, how the art originated and flourished and its various techniques and philosophies.
I will give a brief account on all these aspects and then move on to attacking this inaccurately expressed theory. The video shows practitioners of Contemporary Wushu and Kalari performing a few movements which according to the creator of the video, are similar. However, those few movements portrayed probably are the only forms of resemblance to wushu has to Kalaripayattu.
Shaolin Monastry. The story originated probably with the knowledge that Bodhidharma, an Indian monk traveled to Northern China in the 6th century AD, where he established the earliest form of Zen Buddhism in the Shaolin Monastery. This combined with the fact that Shaolin has been a famous branch of Chinese Wushu led people to believe that Bodhidharma had experience in Kalaripayattu which he taught the monks of Shaolin thereby giving birth to the Chinese martial arts as we know today. This theory led people to analyze Shaolin systems and compare the movements with kalaripayattu. But those comparisons are often skewed and inaccurate.
Besides, resemblance, if at all any, is not proof of origin since it is poorly recorded whether Bodhidharma had any sort of martial arts training at all. Hence it is not clear whether he introduced martial arts to Shaolin or someone else did after him. Even if we buy into the premise that Bodhidharma indeed taught Kalaripayattu to the monks of Shaolin, it still cannot be attributed as the mother of all modern martial arts, especially Chinese wushu.
We know this by looking at the evolution of the art and its various styles which not only pertains to just Shaolin as we shall see later but also spread throughout mainland China. Incredible Kung Fu! Kung fu, also known as Gong fu or Gung fu is a generic term used to refer to the many styles of Chinese infighting though the original meaning of this word is unrelated to martial arts and refers to any type of skill achieved through hard work and practice. In this article, both kung fu and wushu are terms used interchangeably since they are basically the same thing please do not confuse with Contemporary Wushu, which is a sports variety of the traditional systems developed for athletic purposes.
Numerous styles of wushu developed over many centuries of Chinese history and it is estimated that the number of kung fu styles may range between and It is impossible to fully classify and label all the different fighting systems of China since a single style may fall under multiple categories.
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It is however possible to approximately classify most of them into certain groups as follows:. These styles flourished in closed groups or families and were passed on from one generation to the next. Based on whether it is a mimic boxing or not which means whether the style has adapted the movements of a bird, beast or an insect or arachnid. Such styles are influenced by movements of birds like eagle, peacock and crane, animals like tiger, snake, monkey, leopard, elephant, horse and fox or insects and arachnids like the praying mantis and scorpion.
Based on what type of philosophy the styles follow. Almost all Chinese fighting systems have a spiritual aspect influenced by philosophies like Confucianism, Taoism and Zen in addition to various religions, myths and legends. Styles like Wing Chun, White Crane etc fall midway because they include aspects from both extremes. Based on the geographical location in China, the styles originated. We need to pay particular attention to the concept of mimic boxing here because there is an assumption that the concept of mimicking animals in fighting came from Kalaripayattu.
That is also far from the truth because the animal concepts taught in Kalaripayattu speaks only about certain postures, jumps etc. The animal systems in Chinese martial arts are much more advanced since they mimic the animals and adapt from it in highly refined manners which includes fist positions, stances, footwork, shouting etc. Further, the concept of birds, insects etc are unique to Chinese fighting systems and have no relation whatsoever to any Indian fighting system.
In addition to that, there are weapon systems unique to these animal styles like the monkey staff and the straight sword and spear in snake style. Apart from all these, the Chinese Dragon style kung fu is a highly unique animal kung fu style totally based on the philosophies and myths pertaining to the mythical and legendary Chinese Dragon found in folklores. The Yellow Emperor. Like any other martial art, wushu evolved because of the need for self defense, hunting and military training.