Kalaripayattu is one of the ancient martial arts of Kerala and is considered as the forerunner of all martial arts. Kalaripayattu aims at nurturing a way of ‘non-violent life’ and is structured more towards introspective self-analysis and self-control.
Kalaripayattu is practiced inside a kalari, which is an arena. Religious worship is done inside the kalari before the performance begins. Rigorous physical training together with training in self-discipline is must for an exponent of this martial art. The weapons used are the sword, dagger, short sticks and spears. The co-ordination of the body and the mind is of maximum importance in this martial art.
Malabar is considered the home of Kalaripayattu. The folklore of Malabar is full of ballads depicting the heroic deeds of men and women, who were exponents of this marital art form.
Elements of Kalaripayattu can also be seen reflected in the repertoire of modern dance and theater.