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Striking  a defensive pose in KalarippayatKerala is known for its ancient martial art Kalarippayattu that is believed to be the oldest form of martial art in the world. It is also probably the source of the world famous Karate of Japan. The word Kalarippayattu is derieved from the Sanskrit words 'Kalari' which means 'Kholoorika' military training centre and 'payattu' meaning the fight.

The idols and the respective Gurus are worshipped before the beginning of the practice with all rituals and singing of hymns. The pupils are trained in self-discipline and physical culture. Before the pupils are initiated into the techniques of warfare, their bodies are toned by regular massage with medicated oil. These massages help the dexterously tuned bodies to achieve remarkable movements and postures.

There are customarily eighteen 'adavu' (tricks) in this warfare. Seventeen, fighting with all the weapons one by one, the eighteenth being 'Poozhikkadakan', a feat producing a cover of whirlwind of dust around the combatant by stamping the earth in swift circular movements to camouflage him from the opponent and to take him by surprise with a sudden blow.

A training session in Kalarippayat (ancient form of martial arts) under progress at Vadakara Practising the martial arts against the backdrop of the Vadakara beach Practising the martial arts against the backdrop of the Vadakara beach

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