Kalaripayattu is an ancient martial art indigenous to Kerala, a small state on the southern tip of India, but is known and practised throughout the globe today. The earliest documented evidence of kalarippayattu is in the form of palm-leaf manuscripts with drawings of fighters, found in Kerala in 200 BCE. The Dhanurveda, tells us that Kalaripayattu is one of the 64 art forms existing in Indian Mythology. Kalaripayattu has acquired the title, “Mother of Martial Arts.” There are mainly two styles in Kalaripayattu 1-Northern style, or Vadakkan Kalari, and 2-Southern style, or Thekkan Kalari. The northern style of Kalaripayattu, or Vadakkan Kalari, is primarily practised in the Malabar region of Kerala and is based on elegant and flexible movements, evasions, jumps and weapons training. The southern style of Kalaripayattu, or Thekkan Kalari, is primarily practised in the southern regions of Kerala and specializes in hard, impact-based techniques with an emphasis on hand-to-hand combat and pressure point strikes. According to legend, Parashurama is believed to have learned the art from Shiva and taught it to the original settlers of Kerala shortly after bringing Kerala up from the ocean floor. A song in Malayalam refers to Parashurama's creation of Kerala, and credits him with the establishment of the first 108 kalaris throughout Kerala, along with the instruction of the first 21 Kalaripayattu gurus in Kerala on the destruction of enemies.
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