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Kalari, the Indian Way 2:4

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Doctors like Master Madhavi are very important to the community. They charge little, since most of their patients are very poor. It is a work of devotion rather than profit. When I was six years old I went to see a festival with my father. There some Kalari students were giving a demonstration. My father was looking and saw that some of the performers were students he had taught. I could not see - so my father put me on his shoulders and we went to the front of the stage. When the organisers saw my father, they made him sit with the guests and gave him a prize. That was the first time in my life I wanted to learn Kalari. I was then a six-year-old boy. So when did you start to learn it? That day - when we were returning I asked my father about Kalari. "They showed fights with sticks." "Won't that hurt them?" I asked. He said if we learnt the art fully, our bodies would not feel pain. The sticks of others will not fall on our body and we can keep ourselves fit and healthy by learning the techniques. Where did these techniques descend from and how old are they? The origin and age of Kalari? I started learning this art under my father and uncles' guidance. I continued the studies for years. During my higher schooling too I studied Sastras in my spare time the philosophy and higher techniques behind the art. I studied under so many people. Then I wanted to know the origin of the art. In the course of time, I came to know that the first Guru of this art was Agasthiyar who lived 2,000 years ago. Despite his preoccupation with medicine, Master Madhavi is still a fighting master. Every night in the cool season, practice starts with a salutation to the gods and another to the master. The students touch his feet as a sign of submission to his authority and guidance. Before the fighting exercises, there is a lengthy warming-up session. These movements are similar to those used in Yoga and in many of the Oriental fighting arts. One exercise, the crocodile walk, is probably unique to Kalari. It exercises almost all the muscles of the back, legs, neck, and arms at the same time. And can only be performed perfectly when the whole body is tensioned like a spring. The variations on it are even more difficult to do. At the heart of the Southern style of Kalari is the complex form or set of movements. Most fighting systems practise these set forms. The Japanese call them Katas. They are long pre-planned sequences of moves based on a series of attacks and defences against imaginary opponents. The series of actions are repeated in many directions. Master Madhavi uses his right arm to block twice, then punch to the face. Usually proceeded by a low kick from his right leg. It's as if he's being attacked from all sides by many opponents. He leaps and turns to avoid one attacker, or to prepare to take on another. When teaching the forms to students, the master breaks down his performance into individual actions. Turn and strike. Both sides. Turn here and come round this way then punch. Turn and strike. Now look in the opposite direction. Now back this way dropping down. Every movement must be learnt perfectly. Then practised until it's instinctive. Punch. Turn back. Strike and duck down low. Now, taking two steps, spin round in a circle and punch. After studying the forms, students pair up to practise the techniques which they contain. They are deflecting an incoming blow and leaping clear of an attack. They practise basic punching, blocking and kicking in pre-arranged sequences, so as to improve timing and balance. Spin round and kick. Strike. Don't put your hands like this. They must be loose. Strike. See? First this one and then this one. They are also taught ways of disarming an attacker with a knife, initially learning the techniques without a weapon. Wait, do it once more. Step over. Now step back and break free. The most spectacular weapons are the flaming balls of fire, probably used in battle to frighten advancing elephants and to turn them back into their own army. Master Phanika is manager of the best ice cream restaurant in Madras. He is also in great demand as a film extra, famous for his ballroom dancing. Yet, in his search for Kalari, Tilak Moses visits him, because he is the master of the deadly vital point system, Marma Adi. A technique of striking at particular points in the body, in order to disable or kill. They meet to practise secretly in a small Hindu shrine. Knowledge of the vital points is the most secret part of any martial art system. The exact positions of the points are known to masters in India, China and Japan. And also to forensic scientists, who confirm their deadliness. A blow to the exact point is devastating. But a blow that misses has no special effect. You cut him here and as soon as you have done that the enemy will go like this. Then within a few seconds you hold his arm like this and make him stand like this. The master always teaches the special method of resuscitation appropriate to the blow. I have been practising "Marma" for the last twenty-four years and I have not taught this to anyone so far. Now I am imparting this skill to you in confidence and trust. When practising this art, you should bear in mind God, your parents, your country, and you should bear no malice towards others. You should not teach this art to anyone else. Understand? You should use this art only when your life is in danger

Video Details

Duration: 9 minutes and 59 seconds
Country: Brazil
Language: English
Views: 132
Posted by: halfleaf on Apr 30, 2010

Kalari, the Indian Way 2:4

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