An Indian Traditional Martial Art In ancient days, pre-historic man used a bamboo stick to protect himself from approaching animals and inimical humans. Because of its usefulness, they always had the stick with them. When they went in search of food, they had to walk long distances. Playfully they swirled the sticks that they carried with them. As and when some inimical humans attacked them with sticks, they had to defend themselves with sticks. Thus, a kind of fighting with sticks began to develop.
Development of Art
Development of this art at the time of sieges and king About 5000 years age, Sieges age shier, a great devotee of lord Muruga, the Tamil god, lived in the hills of Pothigai in Thirunelveli District, which is situated in Tamilnadu in south India. It is said that it was Agasthiar who invented this art of Silambam. Later on the chera, Chozha and Pandiya kings introduced this art in their warfare and made it compulsory for all the soldiers in the five wings of their military. In the recent past, at the time of Pulidevan and Veera Pandiya Kattabomman (1760–1799) this art was resurrected and was used in the fights against the British. So the British passed orders not to practice Silambam. As for the Tamils, Silambam is not only a weapon but also a traditional Martial art. So they practiced it for the sake of physical fitness. From the south India, Silamabm spread over the rest of India and it called in different name in different part of the country. Silambam is called as Nedu Vadi in Kerala; karra saamu in Andhra Pradesh; Dhanta Varisai in Karnataka, Lathi in Uttar Pradesh; Marithani in Maharashtra; Dhal Lakadi in ujarat;Patta Pachi in Punjab & Haryana; Kathga in Jharkhand and Bihar depending upon their language spocken in their area. Nowdays, Silambam is played in festivals like Moharram, Ram Navami, etc.
Techniques and Weapons
Silambam is a weapon-based Indian traditional martial art originated from Tamil Nadu in south India but also practiced by the traditional community of Malaysia, Singapore, Sri Lanka and Indonesia. The word silambam refers to the bamboo staff which is the main weapon used in this style. Other weapons are also used such as the Maduvu (Deer horn), Kathi (Knife) and Vaal(Sword). Unarmed Silambam called Kuttu Varisai, utilizes stances and routines based on animal movements such as the Snake, Tiger and Eagle forms.
The length of the staff depends on the height of the practitioner. It should just touch the forehead about three fingers from the head, although different lengths are used in different situations. It usually measures roughly 1.68 meters (five and a half feet). The 3 feet stick called sedikutchi can be easily concealed. Separate practice is needed for staves of different lengths. The usual stance includes holding the staff at one end, right hand close to the back, left hand about 40 centimeters (16 inches) away. This position allows a wide array of stick and body movements, including complex attacks and blocks. There are numerous sub sects in silambam like nagam-16(cobra-16), Kallapathu (Thieves ten), Kidamuttu (goat head butting), Kuravanchi, kalyanavarisai(similar to quarterstaff), Thulukkanam, and so on. Each is unique and may differ from one another in grip, posture, foot work, method of attack, length of the stick, movement of the stick etc.
The bamboo staff, one of the first weapons used in Indian martial arts, was in great demand with the visitors