One of the oldest martial-art forms in India, Kalaripayattu of Kerala, is picking up pace in the city with many taking up this rigorous form of art. Having heard of several benefits of practicing Kalari, Hyderabad is seeing a momentous increase in students of various age groups practicing Kalaripayattu.
Several workshops, training camps, and performances have been organised this year, unlike the previous years. Kalari has garnered massive popularity particularly among fitness enthusiasts, who are taking up to it in hordes for the health benefits it offers, both physical and mental. As a result, the number of Kalaripayattu centres too is increasing. The centres in the city are trying to spread awareness among youngsters, mainly focusing on people working during night shifts. Due to stress at work and odd working hours, youngsters are prone to several health issues and sleep disorder has become a major concern over the years. Experts say that practicing Kalari for an hour each day can help them overcome health challenges.
Currently, around 300 students are a part of Kalari training in the city. At the physical level, Kalari helps in improving body strength, flexibility, immunity and overall health of an individual. It also helps one develop quick body responses and reduces laziness. Concentration, receptivity, ability to deal with stress, patience and self-discipline are the other benefits for an individual.
While it is difficult to explain the techniques of Kalari on paper, Kalaripayattu exercises can also help lose weight, stay fit and prevents the risk of suffering injuries in later life.
Dr Siva Ram said that they have five Kalari centres in Hyderabad. Nitya Chaitanya Kalari, which started holding classes last year, has experienced a brisk rise in people opting for Kalari training. “We started off with three centres in the city. But due to the demand rising, we have recently launched two more centres. There are about 80 students’ practising Kalari now. We are also working with a few schools and will soon pitch into the Tollywood Film Industry and the corporate world”, he adds.
Dr Kannan Pugazhendi, founder of Sparrc Institute, who established several centres in the country, too has started a new centre in Hyderabad. Dr. Kannan is also organising workshops and counselling sessions on Kalaripayattu. Is there any age limit to learn Kalari? No. There is no age limit for learning Kalari or any form of martial arts. But the benefits derived from them will vary for different age groups. Kids can start learning from the age of six but will benefit in a much different way when they turn adults. It will help them increase their stamina, flexibility and energy. They can then chan- nelise their energy in the right direction. For performers between 15-27 years and those undergoing training, the benefits are much greater. Those above the age of 50 can benefit a lot through the pain relieving ability of the art form.
Why should one learn Kalari? A research scholar from Kerala, Meedhu Mariyam, explains the importance of why one should take up Kalari. She says, “be it lifestyle, eating habits or fitness forms, we Indians are more inclined towards the Western culture. People are aware of karate and few show interest in learning Capoeira and Tai Chi. But there are hardly any who know about Kalaripayattu, the Indian martial art form from which every martial art form is derived.
We should be proud to have preserved the knowledge so far and should continue to do so.” According to recent reports, several Bollywood stars like John Abraham, Deepika Padukone, Ranveer Singh, Katrina Kaif, Ranbir Kapoor, Hrithik Roshan have taken up the practice of Kalaripayattu.
:S. Praneeth Simon