One Month Kalaripayattu Training Experience In Kerala – Part 1
This place turned out to be a hospital! Fortunately, closeby was a small building, where the kalaripayattu training takes place.
We were first foreigners, who came here to train Kalaripayattu in the last couple of years !!!
How the Kalaripayattu training was organized?
The kalaripayattu training takes place every morning (even on Sunday) at 6:30 till 7:40 for local children and adults. We received a private lessons afterwards at 7:40 (1h30min or longer), and in the evening from 5:30 till around 7:00.
When everything about the training was clarified, it was time to check out our room. The other surprise was awaiting us. Our room was in the hospital !!! It was not the nicest room, but it had everything we needed.
It was weird at the beginning to sleep in the hospital. However, pretty soon we saw many advantages connected with it, like:
- regular room cleaning,
- clean water and water with a herbal medicine (purifying a blood) available anytime for free,
- cheap, tasty food, which we could order directly to the room.
Next day we were ready to train.
But, not so quick.
KALARIPAYATTU INITIATION CEREMONY
Afterwards we gave respects to the Gods and past Gurus protecting the training place.
The left corner (south – west direction) is dedicated for Kalari Poothara, which means in Malayalam language “a platform of flowers”.
It is made of 7 semi-circular steps narrowing towards the top. The seventh step is a lotus-shaped Kumbha (pot) placed at the top.
- and Chamundi (AlsoChandrika).
- Vignesva (strength),
- Channiga (patience),
- Vishnu (power to command),
- Vadugashcha (posture),
- Tadaguru (training),
- Kali (expression)
- and Vakasta – purushu (sound).
The other interpretation says that 7 steps of kalari Poothara are relevant to 7 Chacras from Yoga system:
- The Root Chakra,
- The Sacral Chakra,
- The Solar Plexus Chakra,
- The Heart Chakra,
- The Throat Chakra,
- The 3rd Eye Chakra,
- The Crown Chakra.
On the left side is a photo presenting a son of C.V. Narayan Nair. Whereas the photo on the right side (the man sitting in the chair) represents the student of the previous and the founder of this kalaripayattu school (he is also a father of the main Gurukkal and Chief Physician of this place).
In the north – east corner is reserved for Mookambika – another form of Shakthi (Durga).
Whereas the east – south corner, the last place, where the respects are given, represents Ayyappa – God of growth, son of Shiva and Mohini (again another form of Shakthi – Durga).
APPLYING AN OIL BEFORE KALARIPAYATTU TRAINING
To be honest, if somebody would ask me what was the most difficult/ unpleasant part of kalaripayattu training, I would say – washing my clothes (sport bra, underwear and pants) twice a day, six days in a week. There was no washing machines and the clothes were all in oil. So you can imagine …
Daniel as a man didn’t have so much work. He was wearing langoti, special pants created for guys to train kalaripayattu “comfortably” (I am not sure if Dani would agree with that expression). Accordingly, he just needed to wash a small piece of cloth.
– Kalari means school, a place, where the person learns – he explained. – It’s synonyms can be Japanese dojo.
There can be cooking kalari, where you learn how to cook or dancing kalari, where you learn dancing.
– Payattu means practice.
Kalaripayattu is considered the oldest form of martial arts. Even kung fu has its roots in kalaripayattu. It was developed in Kerala. Kalaripayattu training in south Kerala differs from the one practiced in the north. Our teacher said that the most traditional kalaripayattu comes from the north, the place we were studying it.
We have learned that kalaripayattu is not only a martial art, but also a spiritual path with many rules and rituals, which we could already experience at our first class (the initiation ceremony).
Other, less controversial rule was entering the kalari. In order to reach the entrance, we had to go down the stairs and turn left. When we finished the class, we took right direction. In that way we were completing the circle. Every time going clockwise around the “dojo”.
At the beginning I was missing a warm up – running – that I have been doing in Shaolin School. However, already after two days, I got used to the new way of exercising and my body started to adapt.
The birth of Kalaripayattu dates back to those times, when people did not understand how to fight each other. They used martial arts to tackle animals. Once, when a group of people travelled across Himalayas to China, the wild men attacked them.
At that time, the travelers used the martial arts that they had learned to fight the wild animals. Once it was used on men, a complete transformation was seen in the martial arts. The art evolved into a standing up type and reached China and other parts of Asia.