Which is the World’s First Martial Art?

The first references of Kalaripayattu can be proved by the mention in Sangam literature era 300 BC. But, Kalari was first officially recognised as a martial art of Kerala in 1362 AD.

Sage Agastya is considered to be the creator of Kalaripayattu. Speculated to have lived sometime around 15,000 BCE, Agastya is one of the ancient saptarshis, a revered Vedic sage. He is considered to have fathered the ancient form of warfare which is speculated to be either a direct translation or parent form of Kalaripayattu. From this account, there seems to be no doubt that Kalaripayattu is the oldest art form of war. The word kalaripayattu is a combination of two words, namely, ‘kalari’ and ‘payattu’ which mean training ground and fight.

During its peak, kalaripayattu was used as a code of combat by Indian dynasties. Kalaripayattu reach its zenith during the years of war between the Cholas, Pandyas and Cheras. The constant fighting between the states helped fighters in refining the art into a martial art form.

Many movements and postures in Kalaripayattu are believed to be inspired by the raw strength of animals and are also named after them. There is a strong belief that this art was developed in the forests when hunters had observed the fighting techniques of different animals.

In 5th century, a Buddhist monk Bodhidharma took Kalaripayattu from India to China, Kalaripayattu is also the predecessor of Chinese martial arts. Once it was brought to China, practitioners of Kalaripayattu merged it with existing forms.


Credit : Quora

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