list of martial arts of India

Martial Arts of India: India is a land of diverse cultures and ethnicities and has a rich history of traditions, customs, and art forms. Since ancient times Indians have been very fluent in expressing their emotions through dances, music, paintings, and so on. India has a rich history of martial arts that have developed since ancient times.

India has a rich and diverse cultural heritage, and one aspect that stands out prominently is its traditional martial arts. These ancient combat practices not only emphasize physical prowess but also embody the spiritual and philosophical aspects of Indian culture. From the snowy peaks of the Himalayas to the coastal regions of the south, various martial arts have thrived for centuries, passed down through generations as a testament to India’s martial prowess and discipline. In this article, we will explore some of the most prominent martial arts of India and their significance in preserving the nation’s historical legacy.

Nowadays these art forms are used in rituals, celebrations, sports, as means of physical fitness, and as self-defence but earlier it is used for warfare. Many of the Arts are related to dance, Yoga, etc.

Below is given a table of famous Indian Martial Arts.

List of famous martial arts is given below-

S. No.Martial ArtRegionDetails
1KalarippayattuKerala (specially) & rest of southWeapon based type“Kalari” means arena. “Payattu” means combat/fighting.Involves strikes, kicks, grappling, preset forms, weaponry and healing methods, the footwork movementKerala’s “Kathakali” incorporates greatly of this in their routinesConsidered older than Chinese martial artsAssociated Legend: This art form was taught to early masters of this by Parashurama (an incarnation of Lord Vishnu) to protect the land he created.
2Malla-YuddhaSouth IndiaCombat-Wrestling type. Unarmed type.Four types: 1. Hanumanti – for technical superiority
2. Jambuvanti – focuses on locking and holding till opponent gives up
3. Jarasandhi – breaking limbs and joints
4. Bhimaseni – focuses on sheer strength
3Silambam  Tamil NaduWeapon based typeVariety of weapons used.Majorly used “Silambam staff” as a weapon. (staff – a traditional pole weapon. It has many variants from just a stick to having a knife at one end)Foot movements play a key role movements of animals like snake, tiger, elephant and eagle used“Kuttu varisai” – a variant of silambam & uses no weaponAssociated Legend: this martial art was developed by Lord Muruga (son of Lord Shiva, other name – Kartekeya) & sage AgasthyaTravelled from Tamil Nadu to Malaysia
4GatkaPunjabWeapon basedUsed by Sikhs mainlyGatka means – “One whose freedom belongs to race”Stick, Sword, kirpan or kataar used as weapon
5Musti YuddhaVaranasiunarmed typePunches, kicks, knees and elbow strikes used
6Thang Ta  ManipurWeapon Based“Thang” means sword. “Ta” means spear.Anything from sword or spear can be used.Other weapons used are shield and axe.Used in three different ways 1. As absolutely ritual in nature
2. As spectacular performance
3. As actual Fighting technique
7LathiPunjab & BengalWeapon BasedCane Sticks used.Popular more in villages
8Mardani KhelKolhapur, MaharashtraWeapon BasedCreated by MarathasSuitable for hilly regionsUses sword mainly & needs rapid movements
9Inbuan  WrestlingMizoramUnarmed TypeHas strict rules prohibiting kicking, stepping out of the circle and bending of the knees.Aim is to lift the opponent off his feet while strictly adhering to the rules Catching hold of the belt worn by the wrestlers around the waist; it has to remain tight all through the game.
10Pari-KhandaBihar, Jharkhand OdishaWeapon BasedCreated by Rajputs“Pari” means shield & “Khanda” means sword (according to Chhau rulers)Gave birth to Chhau dance
11Kuttu VarisaiSouth IndiaUnarmed Type“Kuttu Varisai” means empty hand combatused to improve footwork and athleticism through gymnastics, stretching, yoga and breathing exercisesuse of animal-based sets which includes tiger, snake, elephant, eagle and monkey
12Cheibi GadgaManipurWeapon BasedUses sword & shieldVictory depends more on skill than on muscle power
13Sarit-Sarak  ManipurUnarmed TypeUsed to fight with armed or unarmed opponent Perfect in its evasive and offensive action
14Thoda  Himachal PradeshWeapon BasedOriginated from the times of MahabharataGenerally based on archery skills “Thoda” is the round piece of wood fixed to the head of the arrow
15MuknaManipurUnarmedWrestling Type Two men with their hands holding clothe bands on each other waists wrestle with one another and attempts to throw the other down, and the victor should always be on top of the one falling down
16Lakna-PhanabaManipurUnarmedWrestling Type
17Karra SamuAndhra PradeshArmed TypeBasically stick fighting
18Kathi Samu  Andhra PradeshArmed TypeBasically sword fighting
List of Martial Arts of India

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