Kalaripayattu is the forefather of all Martial arts. It also consists of a holistic life style along with it, which keeps both body and mind, young and healthy, so it can be considered as an art of living.

    Kalaripayattu has a major role in India's heritage and it is considered as traditional martial art form of Kerala. During the period of gotra culture, ‘Nattuvaidhyas’ or village therapists systematically designed the lessons of Kalaripayattu in eight major modules or 'Ashtatharikal'. The practice of Kalaripayattu has immense benefits spread across various levels of an individual & society. It improves concentration, patience, self-discipline and self-awareness, ability to handle stressful situations, flexibility, strength, immunity & dynamism. It also improves the speed of reflexes of a person & makes him amazingly active. The names of eight major modules or 'Ashtatharikal' of Kalaripayattu is named below.

1) Vanakkathari

2) Chuvaduthari

3) Maithari  (physical method of fighting)

4) Kolthari  (wooden weapon fight)

5) Ankathari (Iron/metal weapons)

6) Verumkaithari  (unarmed combat)

7) Marma chikilsathari

8) Upasanathari

A detailed decription about Ashtatharikal


      Vanakathari is the first and foremost one in Ashtatharikal. Kalari masters systematically included the lessons of vanakathari into four segments, which are yeka dikku vanakkam ( body  movements only in one direction), Eratta dikku vanakkam (body movements in two directions), chathur dikku vanakkam (body movements in four directions) and ashtta dikku vanakkam (body movements in eight directions). These sequences are pre arranged combinations of body movements used for paying respect to the kalari masters of previous generations, for respecting 'Easwara' or supreme consciousness and to awaken the subtle, the inner body of person who performs it. Each kalari student used to start kalaripayattu practice after doing vanakkam in which special combinations are added for flexibility.  Kalaripayattu students touch the foot of master, kalari poothara & guruthara as a part of showing respect before learning or practicing inside a kalari. As per kalari masters instructions they moved their body in very pleasant manner. This is performed in front of poothara. People are not judged by cast, creed, religion, color, politics and culture inside kalari, apart from the discriminations of sex and age they consider only humanity. Vanakkathari is the key to regenerating body and staying young. It also develops the strength of the body to maximum and to develop immunity power. Vanakkathari helps to develops concentration level which will lead to protect the learner from every bit of accidents while learning the kalaripayattu. Moreover the kalari master would like to convince the Kalaripayattu practitioners that each and everyone one has equal importance in kalari


      Chuvaduthari is the second phase which consists of the training related to the ashtavadivukal or postures and 18 rythmic movements related to postures. Its practice will develop the body shape or body postures to the next level. The dedicated practice of chuvaduthari will develop the student's body flexibility, stamina and abilities to learn and perform well the lessons of meythari, kolthari and angathari more effectively.

Following are the names of Kalaripayattu chuvadukal (rhythmic movements related to postures)

1) Vattachuvadu

2) Yer chuvadu

3) Aakka chuvadu

4) Karadi chuvadu

5) Chatta chuvadu

6) Simha chuvadu

7) Kuthira chuvadu

8) Naga chuvadu

9) Neekka chuvadu

10) Pakarcha chuvadu

11) Therukka chuvadu

12) Anga chuvadu

13) Thancha chuvadu

14) Pokka chuvadu

15) Panni chuvadu

16) Koti chuvadu

17) Oothira chuvadu

18) Malakka chuvadu

Following are the names of kalaripayattu vadivukal (postures)

1) Gaja vadivu

2) Varaha vadivu

3) Simha vadivu

4) Ashwa vadivu

5) Kukuda vadivu

6) Mayoora vadivu

7) Marjara vadivu

8) Sarppa vadivu

Following are the names of Shareera Vadivukal (which is related to body shape).

1) Sheersha vadivu

2) Vadhana vadivu

3) Kanda vadivu

4) Maaru vadivu

5) Puram vadivu

6) Udhara vadivu

7) Omal vadivu

8) Hastha vadivu

9) Sandhi vadivu

10) Ara vadivu

11) Paadha vadivu

12) Sourabhya vadivu


      Meythari is the third phase of kalaripayattu training in which the lessons of kaaledupureethikal, meypayattukal, chumattadikal, kaikuthipayattukal, vettuchuvadukal, kalamchavittukal, chaattapayattukal etc along with a lot of complex exercises.  After learning all the lessons of meythari, a student can practice alone and develops his capabilities. So its training is most essential before kolthari, angathari and Verum-kai thari to develop immense flexibility, speed and strength and along with the complete co-ordination of both mind and body.  Moreover the practice of Meythari is helpful to stay healthy and young.


      Kolthari is the fourth phase and is consisted of Kettukaripayattu,  Muchaanpayattu, Otapayattu, Pondhipayattu, Chottichanpayattu, Erattavadi payattu, Perundhallu etc in which fighting techniques are performed using either canes or wood crafted weapons of different shapes and sizes. There are almost 12 or 18 numbers of basic fighting combinations or 'adavukal' specially designed by Kalari masters along with 6 numbers of complex combinations of fighting combinations named as 'payatukal' related to each weapon. It’s all round practice will increase the efficiency of a Kalari student to attain qualification for the next level of training which is angathari along with a lot of qualities to handle weapons.


      Angathari is the fifth phase of kalaripayattu training in which the courage & physical strength of a trainee is used to be developed to its maximum. A Kalari practitioner will attain extra ordinary courage, the extreme powers of termination, ultimate honesty & extra intelligence from the training of Angathari. Mostly combats using metal weapons are used to be trained in Angathari. It consists of Neetukadarapayattu, Kathipayattu, Kunthappayatu, Marapichakunthapayattu, Udavaalpayattu, Churikapayattu, Gadhapayattu, Puliyankam, Neettuvaalpayattu, Erattavadipayattu, Churuttuvaalpayattu, Ambumvillum, Venmazhupayattu, Vettukkathipayattu etc are the various weapons training included in the Angathari. Each of them has around 12 basic combinations & 6 complex combinations of fighting tactics are included. Kalaripayatu stage programs are included with angathari fightings which is highly attractive & mind blowing one.

Verum kaithari

      Verumkai is the sixth phase of kalaripayattu training in which anybody can notice infinite number of self defense techniques.  The following self defense segments are included in verumkaithari. They are Kalari kettukal, Ozhivukal, Ayudha kettukal, Thala prayogangal, Akramana prathyakramana syilikal, Prathirodha murakal, Kayattangal, Marma prayogangal, Thattukal, Thadakal, Neetukal, Mushti proyogam, Adi prayogam, Vettu prayogangal, Kuthu prayogangal, Parakka prayogangal, Aakka prayogangal, Valivukal, Churuttu prayogangal, Oda prayogangal, Chavittu reethikal, Chatta varavukalum, Puram thiriyal prayogangal, Viral prayogangal, Drishti reethikal, Sthanbana prayogangal, Valicherukal, Marachil reethikal and Malakkangal.

      Its purpose is only for self defense and not to attack any one for one's personal benefits. Its training will improve mental stability and intelligence. A person can also attain ability to response very quickly whenever it is needed. Its practice will also improve the ability to take accurate judgments in various situations related to daily life. So a lot of physical and mental qualities will be developed during the training of Verum-kai thari. Kalari masters teaches several tactics of self protection along with the several possible ways to defeat enemies without severe damages. If any tactic used while fighting to the enemy which may cause any risk to him then that person is supposed to inform it to the master & do essential treatments or he is supposed to apply treatments by himself if he is an expert in Kalari marma treatment in order to rescue his life. Verum-kai thari is one of the most important phases and needs a lot of patience to complete its training successfully.

Marma chikilsathari (Kalari Marma treatment)

      Marma chikilsathari is the seventh phase of Kalaripayattu training which is also known as the backbone of kalaripayattu. Prana or vital energy flows through the body channeled through Marmas . There is a lot of treatment techniques in Marma chikitsa thari or kalari marma treatment for the issues related to marma points, psycology, joint positions, nutritional deficiencies, air passage routes, nerves, external and internal organs. The Kalari masters used to provide both theoretical and practical training of marma treatments for those who have sufficient qualities to learn it along with the complete lessons of anatomy and physiology of human body related to Kalari marma treatment. This phase of training is possible to be completed only by highly dedicated students of Kalaripayattu. A person who is supposed to expose he learnt Kalaripayattu, only if he had completed the training of Kalarimarma treatment. There is a lot of situations in which some other treatment systems fails where kalari marma treatment acts as a savior.


      Upasanathari is the eighth phase of kalaripayattu in which kalari masters ask for students to sit in a round wooden platform & teaches the lessons to develop their inner consciousness. This training is helpful to memorize all that tactics studied before & also to utilize systematically at proper timings in every situations of life. It also helps the students to be aware and conserve cycles of nature & transfer the heritages to the younger generations. It helps the student to complete the actual life span of a person according to nature in healthy manner.  Master conveys the most important & extraordinary 'Pathinettadavukal' to each of the students at the very end of kalaripayattu training. The kalaripayattu student becomes a kalaripayattu master after successful completion of upasanathari. After that he will start a new kalari where he likes and hand over this precious system of knowledge, practice & experiences to the next generation.

Benefits of learning kalaripayattu

      It is a holistic training program to protect one’s own body, to improve mental power and to reach the higher level of honesty. The life of a person can be protected in almost all cases at the time of accident, through kalari marma treatment. The learning of kalaripayattu helps to make a proper and meaningful human culture.

Names of various practical trainings involved in Kalaripayattu.

Dhakshinaveppu (Method of offering to Kalari)

Ennatheppu (Method of oil applying)

Kachakkettal (Wearing Kacha)

Vanakkarethikal -  4 Numbers (Physical practices of respecting Kalari)

Kaaleduppurethikal - 64 Numbers (Various leg movement exercises)

Vadivukal - 8 Numbers (Various Poses)

Chuvadukal - 18 Numbers (Combination of various movements)

Meyyabhyasangal (Complex exercises) - More than 1800 Varieties

Meypayattu - 56 Numbers

Chummattadi - 18 Numbers

Vettuchuvadukal - 32 Numbers

Chattangal - 24 Numbers

Marachilukal - 18 Numbers

Kaithadakal - 64 Numbers

Ulakkavali - 6 Varieties

Muchaanvali - 6 Numbers

Thallavali - 12 Numbers

Kathiyeru - To 64 Spots

Muchaneru - To 8 spots

Kunthameru - To 18 spots

Ambumvillum - 3 models

Vadiveeshal - 72 Numbers

Urumi veeshal - 24 Numbers

Vaazhavettu - 4 Varieties

Vaalvali - 12 Adavu (Different versions)

Thallakettukal - 360 Numbers (Applications of long cloth as weapon)

Kaalenkuda Prayogangal - 36 Numbers (Applications using long Umbrella)

Vettupreyogangal - 96 Numbers (Applications of knife hand strikes)

Viral prayogangal - 72 Numbers (Applications of Fingers)

Mushttiprayogangal - 46 Numbers (Applications of fists)

Adithada - 64 Numbers (A version of bare hand fighting techniques)

Verumkaikettukal - More than 3000 numbers

Aayudhakettukal - More than 800 numbers

Kaikkuthipayattu - 6 + 6 Numbers

Vaayusthampanarethikal - 24 Numbers

Swasanareethikal - 18 Numbers

Kallamchavittukal - infinite series

Kettukaripayattu - 6 Numbers

Kettukkariadavukal - 12 Numbers

Muchaanpayattu - 6 Numbers

Muchaan Adavukal - 12 Numbers

Neettukadarapayattu - 6 Numbers

Ponthipayattu - 6 Numbers

Udavaalpayattu - 6 Numbers

Udavaaladavukal - 12 Numbers

Otapayattu - 18 Numbers

Irattavadi (using long cane) - 3 Payattukal

Irattavadi (using short stick) - 3 Payattukal

Marappidicha Kunthapayattu - 6 Numbers

Marapidicha Kuntham Adavukal - 12 Numbers

Perumthallu - 6 Payattukal

Kathipayattu - 6 Payattukal

Vettukathipayattu - 9 Numbers

Ulakkapayattu - 6 Numbers

Irattavaalpayattu - 6 Numbers

Kathiyumthalayum - 6 numbers

Puliyankam (Vaalum Parichayum) - 6 numbers

Puliyankam (Vaalum Parichayum) - 12 Adavukal

Churuttuvaal (Urumipayattu) - 6 Numbers

Thrishoolapayattu - 4 Numbers

Chottichaanpayattu - 18 Numbers

Churikapayattu - 6 Numbers

Churika Adavukal - 12 Numbers

Verumkaipayattu - 84 numbers 

Kayarukkayatam - 18 Numbers

Thalakkayatam - 18 Numbers

Panthamveeshal - 32 Numbers

Vaalveeshal - 24 Numbers

Neettuvaalpayattu - 6 Numbers

Kunthapayattu - 6 Numbers

Kunthamadavukal - 12 Numbers

Pootharasangalpam (Everything related to Poothara)

Kalari marma treatment

Kalaripayattu lifestyle

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