Saturday, November 1, 2008

Fight Quest Kalarippayattu

Fight Quest on Discovery India Discovery's Fight Quest travels to India this week, to learn the 9th Century martial art Kalarippayattu. This art form survives to this day in the south Indian state of Kerala, various variants of this art form can also be found in other south Indian states. It is also known as 'marman' or 'marma kala'. This ancient art form was patronized by Nairs sect and aft quoted as the source of martial arts like kung fu.

This art form has almost mythical status in Indian culture on par with magic, this is reflected in popular Indian cinema. I remember watching a black and white Malayalam film on national television 15 years ago. The film tells the folk tale of a kalarippayattu master. I was instantly stuck by the grace and beauty of this martial art. The 'flexible sword' which is the weapon of choice of the hero is fatal to his foes, it is however the musket bullet that kills him. Just like the hero of the film the art form itself suffered greatly after the colonization of India. It is now in revival and subject this week's Fight Quest episode. Don't miss it!

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