Top 6 most famous ancient Martial arts in India

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  • Martial arts invented by – Lord Parshuram
  • Origin – India
  • state – Kerala (Origin state )

Brief Introduction

Martial arts in India is much older than what we imagine .India is  beautifully defined as a country of cultural heritage and Martial arts . We are living in a country where common people of India know thousands of years of ancient knowledge through the lens of  western talk . Martial art is one of them .

Believe me or not but many of the Indian  residents or outside India  know the martial art having its origin in  Northern Asia . KarateKung Fu ,Wrestling,  boxing  are the common names through which we know martial arts . 

Our great warriors  had the expertise in Martial art and that was the reason ,  they  were so powerful And determined .  The Indian government should encourage these martial arts and show the world the greatness of our great warriors through martial arts. Otherwise all these martial arts will be patented by the so -called Western world And lose our traditional knowledge .

We have  stuck  ourselves in such a situation  where we are losing our ancient knowledge   to Western world. The Western world is presenting these ancient knowledge of India as their own  and taking the patent of it . So it’s very necessary to preserve our knowledge and  embrace it . Let us  talk about the martial arts which originated in India thousands of years ago and spread all over the world .  


Kalaripayattu is the mother of all martial arts . Historically , kalaripayattu originated in the third century BCE . kalari  means  Arena and payattu means  martial art .  It has been believed that kalaripayattu  invented by Parshuram ( one of the incarnations of Lord Vishnu) .

According to a popular story Parshuram asked the sea for some part of the earth And that part of the Earth is now  known as Kerala . After which he established 108 temples and 42 kalaris .


This great martial art practice is done on a special kalari . In Devi Purana ,  martial arts are described in great detail .  Kalaripayattu has a great  scientific base .When it’s been practised ,  it controls  our mind ,  body and soul due to which the body gets more healthy and the lifespan of a person increases . 

The trace of the kalaripayattu is found in Atharva Veda  and Rigveda in which Marma therapy is mentioned . According to Marma  therapy, There are some points in the human body. According to Ayurveda there are 160 Marma  points in the human body But according to  kalaripayattu  there are 48 points .  when someone attacks on these Marma Points ,  it can lead to death . There are two forms of kalaripayattu.  One is southern style and the other one is Northern style . 

There are many animal poses which  are practised in  kalaripayattu to make the body much more flexible and stretchable . Like the poses of a peacock,  horse, elephant, Lion ,snake, cat and so on . 

You may like to read about Lord Parshuram :👇

Lord Parshuram :Fierce incarnation who killed all kshatriyas


Gatka originated in Punjab  in 326 BC . Gatka is a wooden stick and a leather shield in the left hand . The first step to learn Gatka is  through paintra  which is done by hand and legs So that the co-ordination between hands and legs can be maintained And can be balanced  while using weapons .


When  someone becomes an expert in paintra  only then the next upper level training can be given . The first weapon used in gatka is Kirpaan . Other weapons like  Goliya , Teg , Neja , Bhala , Pech kavach  are also used in gatka . Gatka martial art is one of the main reasons for the victory of Sikh warriors  during fighting with the Mughal

But in the 19th century ,  gatka martial arts was banned by Britishers .  With the help of guns and Rifles , the Britishers won the battle against  Ranjit Singh But this victory wasn’t a great victory for Britishers because they  were frightened With the gatka martial art form . That’s the reason they banned the gatka martial art . 



Silambam Martial art originated in Tamil nadu .  In Tamil Nadu ,   mountains are called silam and this is how this martial art got the name of silambam .

How your feet should be  is the first lesson during learning silambam .  and this first lesson is  known as Kaladi . Your body should be flexible  before learning  silambam .  That is why this first step is a crucial  step being followed by a practitioner .


When a Student becomes an expert in Kaladi ,  he/she  proceeds to the next level which is called Kuttuversai .

In this  kuttuversai , Students practised through  a stick in their hand Which makes the body much more flexible , the consciousness level increases and the overall fitness . 

Silambam is based on Different kinds of weapons like : Uttraikam vichu Which is played by  using a single stick. The attack and the defence both are done through this single stick.  The movement of the stick is very sharp . 

Ittraikamvichu in which There is use of two sticks  through which a person can attack his/her enemies . With the help of silambam martial art ,  the Warriors of Bharat  had saved it  from the British ruler for the longer period . 

Vajra Mushti 

This Martial art originated in Karnataka traced back to the 5th century . Vajra  means hard And Mushti means Fist . It gives a single meaning of thunderbolt fist . It’s hand to hand combat In which they use Knuckle Duster .   Vajramushti is a weapon which is made from elephant teeth .  This is hard as diamond .

Mujra Musthi  is described in Buddharta Sutra . This martial art is also explained in Manosollasa of Someshwara III ( 1126 – 1138 ) . It’s been practised By some specific group of people who are known as Jyesti Malla . 

The fighters  usually loincloth during practice And have Kumkum on their forehead .

Mardani Khel 

This martial art originated in Maharashtra and was inherited by Marathaas . There are a variety of Items used  like :  laathi- kaahti , Dagger ,  Bhala , Dandpatta  and so on. The grip on the weapon Should be strong only then you can get the victory in Battlefield . 

Shivaji was an expert in mardaani Khel . Women were also trained in mardani khel .  Rani Lakshmibai  bhai , Tarabai  were experts  in this martial art . 

Shivaji Maharaj ruled India in  17 century ( 1646 – 1680 ) . He was known for his expertise in mardani khel . Bagh Nakh is also a weapon used in Mardaani khel . This is the world’s smallest weapon but can take life in a second . Shiva ji killed Afzal khan with the help of this Bagh Nakh . He had also trained his army with this Mardaani khel . He made it mandatory for his army to carry spear and had to bear a shield . And also carry a four feet long Dhop ( weapon of Mardaani khel ) .

This is how Shivaji Maharaj had won multiple battle against mughal . 


Malkhamb is an ancient martial art Which is practised   all over the world for fitness . The word Malkhan came from malla and khamb . Malla means wrestler and khamb means pole . Gymnast perform their yoga  posture on this  mallakhamb .

There is a wooden pole Which is made from sheesham or Indian Rosewood and before doing the yoga posture the pole is coated with oil so that due to friction no harm happens to the body and can be easily performed the Yoga posture .  By this way the gymnast get the massage from the Pole also . 


 Malkhamb originated in the twelfth century . During the rule of Chalukya Kings a text named “ Manasholhas “ Explain Mallakhamb martial art In detail . But as the Chalukya rule came to an end ,  mallakhamb  also became extinct . It again came into existence when BalamBhatt Dada Deodhar re-introduced it  to his Soldiers.

He Used this martial art For the fitness of their soldiers And make them strong .

Related Post which can provide you knowledge about ancient India :

1.Bhaskaracharya : Great mathematician and astronomer of 12th century
2.Takshashila – World’s first most ancient Hindu University
3.Guliga daiva : Kantara stone worshipping powerful tradition
4.Dwarka :excavation of Krishna’s lost city in India

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