Do not confuse marital arts with the drama that you see on TV in the name of fighting. That is not what martial art means. That is not how they developed and definitely not their purpose. And it might be interesting for you to know this, that these were never meant to be exploited in the form of fighting and competition. They were discovered in the ashrams as a way to improve the quality of human life, so they can live a strong life both physically and mentally. That is why they are referred to ‘art’, because there is an entire science behind their working. There is a well-established energy system that deals with the transformation or sublimation of the energy that can be used in a much better way. It can be utilized to unveil the higher dimensions of human life.
Taking references of our ancient mythology, Krishna is considered to be a great fighter. Most people associate his name to a lover, a philosopher, but he was a very skilled martial artist too. Shiva is also another name, and a lot of stories of him killing the demons are available. It is said that Shiva taught the martial arts to Parasurama, who became the founder of it.
Let’s have a look at some of the greatest martial arts forms, which are really good, not just in terms of physicality but for mental and spiritual growth too.
Kalaripayattu is considered to be the mother of all martial arts, and is the oldest martial arts of the world. All the other martial arts forms have been said to come out of this martial art. It is still practiced in Kerala and if you visit any Kalari ashrams, you’ll find the grace associated with it. It was quite vast, but due to invasions it has reduced a bit. But still it’s a treat to watch. The gym for practicing this martial art is prepared by digging the soil and preparing the ground which is 21 feet by 42 feet.
There are many other bodily sciences that is associated with this martial art. One of it is known as Marmachikitsa. It deals with human pressure points and also the energy system of a human being. Just like a doctor gives anesthesia to a patient, using this science just by touching you can make any part of the body numb and treat it that way.
- Kung Fu
Everyone has heard this name, but no one knows the history behind it. That the roots of Kung Fu trace back to India. It is an absolutely amazing martial art, one of the best. And China has preserved this martial art in a much better way than India. Shaolin temple is truly one of the best places to be if you want to train yourself as a martial artist.
One part of the history also says that Bodhidharma moved to China in order to spread meditation and spirituality. When he reached there, he found the people very weak and plagued by many diseases. Therefore, he imparted Ayurvedic sciences to cure them, and also taught them martial arts so they could live a fit and healthy life. And that became the foundation of martial arts in China. Slowly it evolved over time, they were able to capitalize on that better than anyone else, and China became a hub for martial arts all over the world. Then we see movies based on Ip man and other martial arts legends.
The meaning of the word Aikido is ‘unifying with life energy’, as a martial art should be. It’s a Japanese martial art developed by MoriheiUeshiba who synthesized religiousness and philosophy to create this martial art. If you look at some of the videos of Aikido then it looks absolutely phenomenal the way they use wrist manipulations, and throw their opponent down.
This is one of the greatest modern martial arts developed over time. It has developed from Judo and is an extremely strong martial art. Mostly for weaker persons or persons of small stature can throw their bigger opponent down and defend themselves against them using leverage, throw-down techniques, taking fight to the ground and then applying locks and choke holds.
When people hear martial arts, they associate it immediately with Karate, this is the most popular form of martial art that most of them know. And they tag it together like Kung Fu/Karate or Judo-Karate, but Karate is different from Kung Fu and Judo. It is an entirely different martial art. And it has a lot of different sub forms like GojuRyu, Shotokan, Kyokushin. Karate can be practiced by anyone and is not very complex like the other martial arts. Every martial art involves a set of breathing pattern and techniques. And that is the essence of martial arts. That is how the energy can be transformed into better forms. Another good example of energy form is Tai Chi and it’s quite effective for your health as well. So it’s good if you can add a touch of martial art to your life. It is a whole another adventure.