Did you know there are 13 types of ancient Indian martial arts?
The authentic core of martial arts sprawl in the journey of self-discovery that one undertakes – mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually. In real life, martial arts are more often associated with karate, kung fu and Shaolin monks.
Embedding back to our roots of Indian martial arts, there are 13 varieties of forms and techniques that you can explore and dive deeper into.
This is the list of Indian martial arts that have persisted through the years in waning light:
Adimurai is a Tamil martial art which is regarded as one of the oldest and most important martial arts to have been practised in the ancient south Indian Subcontinent. It is also considered the origin of certain martial arts techniques. It is a subset of Varmam and it is believed that Adimurai originated from Southern Parts of Tamil Nadu.
Dhanurveda derives from the words for the bow (dhanushya) and knowledge (Veda), the “science of archery” in Puranic literature, later applied to martial arts in general. The significance of archery in Indian culture is well-known to everyone who has read Indian literature. Archers were held with great respect in society and this skill was a must for a warrior of those times. Some of the great archers in Indian history are Bhishma, Arjuna, Karna, Rama, Lakshmana, and Bhargava Parashurama.
This is the traditional form of combat wrestling that originated in the Tamizh region in South India. This art is the ancestor of Kushti or Indian mud wrestling. Malla-yuddha incorporates grappling, punching, biting, choking, and pressure point striking. Matches were traditionally codified into four types which progressed from purely sportive contests of strength to actual full-contact fights known as yuddha.
This literally means fist combat. The fighters get into the ring with their bare fists and fight until one of them is knocked out, they are thrown out of the ring, or submitted. This martial art form is the ancestor of many arts like Muay Thai, Lethwei, and also boxing.
Kushti or Indian Mud Wrestling
This art is derived from Malla Yuddha. Kushti became very famous during the times of the Mughals who had brought down wrestlers from Iran as well to conduct competitions. This art requires great amounts of stamina, physical fitness, the ability to lift, and also very quick muscle refluxes. As someone who learnt this art from an orthodox Akhara, I’m proud to say I’m a mud wrestler.
This weapon-based martial art has been mentioned in literature since the time of the Tamizh gods. Many among the present generation conclude that Silambam is limited only to performances using the staff. There are nearly more than 30 weapons used in this martial art and it is very hard to find people who trained in the vintage orthodox method.
Fact: The first documentation of this great art is the Kamba Suthiram by Sage Agastya.
Come back for Part 2!