Massage Around the World visited and interviewed some of the most important Gurus (also referred to as Assan or Gurukkal) and schools of the ancient South Indian martial art Kalaripayattu and its healing methods, including the renown Marma Kalari massage.
Preserving and spreading Kalaripayattu and the Marma Kalari massage
It is striking how keen the masters and practitioners of Kalaripayattu are to preserve their authentic techniques. But, luckily for us, they are also happy to share their valuable knowledge and experience in this ancient art, that encompasses martial art as well as a healing system in which massage as well as herbs are used for correcting both physiological and neurological problems. The most popular treatment method outside of India that stems from the Kalaripayattu tradition is the Marma Kalari massage, also called Chavitti Uzichil, in which the therapist mainly uses his/her feet to perform the massage, while keeping the balance with the help of a rope tied to the ceiling. Marma refers to the energy points (marma points) that we have in our body and that are stimulated during the massage session. The massage was formerly practiced before the fights, but is nowadays applied also in other contexts.
The story of Kalaripayattu
Kalaripayattu is believed to be one of the oldest martial arts and is said to be the mother of Kung-Fu, Judo, Karate etc. It originated during a period of many wars around the 11th century AD, and the so called Kalari schools became popular meeting points where youngsters learned the martial art as well as other subjects before the educational system was established. At the time of British colonial rule the martial art was banned as it was seen as a threat to the ruling class. However, it had its revival in the 1920 when there was a growing interest in South Indian traditions and art forms, as well as in 1970 when martial arts became popular on a global scale. Kalaripayattu includes strikes, kicks, grappling, preset forms, weaponry as well as healing methods, such as the Marma Kalari massage and the use of medicinal herbs and oils. It is beautiful to look at and at times resembles a dance. This is why it is also nowadays practiced by theatre and dance companies throughout the world.
Want to learn Kalaripayattu and Marma Kalari massage?
We had the pleasure to visit and interview the renown Kalari master Dr. C.S. Suchith from the Buddha Kalari center in South Kerala, and had the chance to visit his beautiful school and treatment area where he performs and teaches Marma Kalari massage, herbal balls massage (kizhi) and other treatment methods, as well as of course the Kalaripayattu art itself. We were also thrilled to be able to meet and talk with the famous Kalaripayattu Guru Thankappan Assan and his son Ajith Kumar at the Maruthi Kalari school in Trivandrum, Kerala. They shared their knowledge about the martial art and the Marma Kalari massage, and gave us a live demonstration of the massage as well as the Kalaripayattu. We feel very thankful to all the experts that want to share their knowledge with Massage Around the World for the aim of preserving and spreading these ancient healing methods.
If you or your school are interested in knowing more about these techniques please do not hesitate to contact us!
Wishing you a meaningful day ahead,
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