Kalaripayattu or “Payattu” is an Indian martial art from the southern state of Kerala. One of the oldest fighting systems in existence, it is now practiced in Kerala and contiguous parts of Tamil Nadu and among the Malayali community of kerala thumbnailthumbnail . It was originally practiced in northern and central parts of Kerala and the Tulunadu region of Karnataka.
Kalaripayattu includes strikes, kicks, grappling, preset forms, weaponry and healing methods. Regional variants are classified according to geographical position in Kerala; these are the Northern style from Malabar region in north Kerala, the Central style from inner Kerala and the southern style from Travancore region of south Kerala. The southern Payattu system is now extinct and the Tamil style of “Adi Murai” is classified as the southern kalarippayattu.
The northern style was practiced in Kerala primarily by the Nairs and Yatra Brahmins, as well as the small Chekavar subcaste of the Thiyyas, some Muslims and Christians. The southern style, called Adi Murai, was practiced largely by the Nadars and similar castes and has features distinguishing it from its other regional counterparts.Northern kalaripayattu is based on elegant and flexible movements, evasions, jumps and weapons training, while the southern “Adi Murai” style primarily follows the hard impact based techniques with priority in empty hand fighting and pressure point strikes. Both systems make use of internal and external concepts.