Sunday, August 10, 2008

Indian Martial Arts - Martial Arts History

The movie, 'Enter the Dragon' made Kung Fu and the Martial Arts very famous. Many Indians also tried to learn "Kung Fu" and "Karate", but themselves did not know the whole story, like the rest of the world.

I also did not know till 1998, when Monks from Shaolin Temple came to the Bay Area and there was an article in the San Jose Mercury News. Yes they are monks practicing Martial Arts called Kung Fu. This is what I learned.

Around 400 AD, a Buddhist Monk called Buddhi Raja, from Kerla, went to China and established the Shaloin Temple. There the local king's men would harass these monks at the Shaolin Temple. He introduced Kalari which became Kung Fu.

These monks can do amazing tricks, including breaking a stack of bricks, lying on a bed of nails, and many people stamping his body and standing over him, and displaying unbelievable physical strength.

Kalari works on the same principle, as the Kundalini Yoga, Astana Yoga, and Hatha Yoga, and the non destructive part of it is in the Ayurveda to heal, and has the same principle used in Tai Chi, and Acu Pressure and Acu Puncture system of medical treatments. It is called Marmaadi, or the Marmara System in Ayurveda.

It was so destructive, that it was banned by the Britishers during the British Rule and it went to oblivion and a near lost art of martial arts. To many Indians, and the rest of the world, they did not know that Indians had their own Martial Arts and its connection with Kung Fu.

What you see is perhaps not the fullest potential of the art as it was lost and banned for long time, only to be revived in last few decade, and shrouded in secrecy and confided to a few individuals, families, and villages. Perhaps the most potent form remains to be seen in Tai Chi.