Kalari
An ancient Indian system of martial arts that appears to
predate the systems of China and Japan. It includes all kinds
of barehanded and weapons techniques. It is said to have been
taught by the sage Agasthiya some two thousand years ago and
has been kept alive by the traditional method of personal instruction
from teacher to pupil. It is thought that kalari may be
even older in origin, brought from the Middle East by Buddhist
monks to India, China, and Japan through trade routes, where
it was an essential safeguard against the dangers of such travel.
In kalari the pupil learns warm-up exercises rather like yoga
postures, but active rather than static. Some of the postures and
movements of kalari are also paralleled in Bharata Natyam, the
ancient system of Indian dance. Kalari is also associated with
the healing techniques called marma, involving specialized
techniques of massage with the feet and the use of aromatic
vegetable oils (see also aromatherapy). (Marma is concerned
with pressure points in the body and is also part of the deadly
barehanded martial art in which a blow to various vital points
can cause serious injury or death.)
The kalari system is regarded as a religious exercise and is
taught with rituals associated with gods and goddesses.

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