Kalaripayattu, Kerala’s ancient martial art form, has garnered significant attention and recognition after making its debut in the 37th National Games held in Goa. Often referred to as the mother of all martial arts, Kalaripayattu represents a unique blend of physical prowess, cultural heritage, and spiritual depth.
With its origins tracing back over 3,000 years in Kerala, Kalaripayattu has experienced a revival in recent times, both in India and internationally. The combat sport, which was historically used for self-defense and combat training, was banned during British rule but regained popularity with the establishment of the Indian Kalaripayattu Federation (IKF) in 1955.
Adv. Poonthura Soman, Secretary General of the Indian Kalaripayattu Federation, expressed gratitude for the sport’s inclusion in the National Games, emphasizing its significance as a deeply rooted Indian tradition. He highlighted the sport’s holistic approach to wellness, integrating elements of Ayurveda and yoga, making it appealing to individuals seeking a balanced mind-body-spirit connection.
Soman credited the global interest in holistic wellness practices as a driving force behind Kalaripayattu’s resurgence. He also noted the sport’s inclusion in the National Games as a pivotal moment, indicating a step towards preserving its traditions. Kalaripayattu’s representation at the national level is expected to encourage more young athletes to engage with this ancient art form.
Additionally, Vice President Jagdeep Dhankhar commended the organizers for including traditional sports in the National Games, emphasizing the importance of supporting and adopting sports to benefit the nation. He highlighted the transformative power of sports, both in terms of showcasing human genius and impacting geopolitics. Dhankhar expressed confidence in India’s economic growth, attributing it to strong leadership and continued support for sports.
With Kalaripayattu’s newfound recognition, the ancient martial art is poised to inspire a new generation of practitioners and enthusiasts, preserving its rich legacy for years to come.