One of the Oldest Martial Arts

Kalarippayattu is a Dravidian martial art from Kerala in south India. Possibly one of the oldest fighting systems in existence, it is still practiced extensively in Kerala. The word is spelled variously as kalari payat, kalarippayatta, kalaripayatt and many others depending on the dialect and romanisation system used.

It includes strikes, kicks, grappling, preset forms, weaponry and healing methods.Regional variants are classified according to geographical position in Kerala; these are the northern style, the southern style and the central style. Northern kalari payat is based on the principle of hard technique, while the southern style primarily follows the soft techniques, even though both systems make use of internal and external concepts.

Some of the choreographed sparring in kalari payat can be applied to dance and kathakali dancers who knew martial arts were believed to be markedly better than the other performers. Some traditional Indian dance schools still incorporate kalari payat as part of their exercise regimen.