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Indian Martial Arts

Indian FlagIn this article and the more specific Indian Martial Arts below, we are only talking about martial arts from the current borders of India. Sri Lanka, Bangladesh are covered in their own sections.

Indian text, from 1700BC onwards, contain the some of the earliest records of different types of Indian martial arts. Including empty hand fighting styles and weapons practice. Many Hindu and Buddhist deities carry weapons and are related to fighting in some way.

A with most countries whose martial arts dates back 1000’s of years, wrestling is the first indian martial art to be systemised and have formed training regimes and patterns.

In the 3rd century, many different Indian traditions had merged into one another. There were elements of yoga, ayurvedic medicine and indian traditional dancing mixed into the martial arts practice.

By the 4th century, the depth of the understanding and train g had reached to levels where 107 vital points had been identified on the human body of which 64 were classified as being lethal.

By the 10th century many of the major styles known today were starting to form. Styles such as Kalaripayat had developed into its present form helped by an extended period of wars.

Indian Martial ArtsWhen the British was expanding their empire and took control of India in the 19th century, martial arts was outlawed, expect for certain communities who were classed as martial races. These martial races were used throughout the British empire as guards and soldiers. As the British rule receded the popularity in traditional Indian martial arts grew again into what it is today.

Currently there are the following major styles of Indian Martial arts

– Gatka
– Kalaripayit
– Inbuan Wrestling
– Mardani Khel
– Musti Yuddha
– Pehlwani
– Silambam
– Thang ta
– Vajra Musti

References and sources of this Indian Martial Arts article


Inbuan Wrestling

Inbuan Wrestling is a form of wrestling native to the people of Mizoram in India. Inbuan Wrestling is said to have originated in the village of Dungtland in 1750 A.D. It was recognized as a sport after the Mizo people migrated from Burma to the Lushai Hills. Inbuan Wrestling involves very strict rules prohibiting kicking, Read more


Gatka is commonly referred to as an India Martial art. Specifically Gatka refers to the martial art used by the Sikhs of northern India. Actually Gatka is the name of a stick used to practice sword fighting. The word Gatka is a slang expression coined in the nineteen hundreds to describe a number of stick, Read more


Kalaripayittu is an ancient Indian martial art that uses pressurepoint strikes, yoga stretching and venous strangely shaped weapons. Its name literally means “battlefield training.” Many researchers theorize that it was the basis upon which the Chinese martial arts developed because they contend that Bodhidharma, the Chinese Buddhist monk who taught at Shaolin Temple, would have Read more

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