Various forms of Martial arts in India

Kalaripayattu – Kerala

  • Kalarippayattu is a famous Indian martial art from the land of attraction Kerala and one of the oldest fighting systems in It is practised in most of the parts of south India.
  • A Kalari is the school or training hall where martial arts are taught
  • It includes strikes, kicks and some weapon-based practised
  • Footwork patterns are the most important key in this art form
  • Legend says: Parashuram started this
  • There is no song or drumming involved with his

Silambam – Tamil Nadu

  • Silambamis a weapon-based Indian martial art from Tamil Nadu. Every state has it own style of martial arts.
  • A wide variety of weapons are used in silamban, some of which are not found anywhere else in the Majorly used “Silambam staff” as a weapon.
  • Silambam art also used animal movements of the snake, tiger, eagle forms and footwork patterns is play a key role here as
  • Another part of Silambam is Kuttu varisai, it is the unarmed kind of martial
  • Associated Legend: This martial art was developed by Lord Muruga (son of Lord Shiva, other name – Kartekeya) & sage Agasthya
  • Travelled from Tamil Nadu to Malaysia.

Gatka – Punjab

  • Gatka is weapon-based Indian martial art basically created by the Sikhs of Punjab. Gatka means – “One whose freedom belongs to race”.
  • There are many weapons used in Gatka like, Stick, Talwar, kirpan and
  • The attacking and defense methods are based upon the positions of the hands feet and nature of weapons
  • It is also displayed during the different celebrations or at fairs in Punjab

Musti Yuddha

  • It is an unarmed martial art from the oldest city of India “Varanasi.
  • The technique used in this martial arts are punches, kicks, knees and elbow
  • This style is a complete art of physical, mental and spiritual
  • This art is very rarely visible but was very popular in the middle
  • It makes proper utilization of punches and elbow strikes; kicks and knee strikes are comparatively less used in Musti Yuddha, as punches mostly dominate the fight.
  • Musti Yuddha tournaments were mostly held in Benares on a regular basis, but due to increased agitation and fights amongst the supporters of the Musti Yuddha boxers, the sport was eventually banned

Malla -Yuddha (South India)

  • Malla-yuddha is the traditional form of combat-wrestling originating from the Indian
  • The unarmed type fighting, body to body, that unites taken, throws, levers and which is intended to subdue the opponent on the ground has very ancient
  • Malla-yuddha incorporates grappling, joint-breaking, punching, biting, choking and pressure point
  • It is closely related to Southeast Asian wrestling styles such as naban and is the ancestor of Indian wrestling is described in the 13th century Malla Purana.
  • Malla-yuddha is divided into four categories. Each yuddhan is named after Hindu gods and legendary fighters :
    • Hanumanti – for technical superiority
    • Jambuvanti – focuses on locking and holding till opponent gives up.
    • Jarasandhi – breaking limbs and joints
    • Bhimaseni – focuses on sheer strength

Thang Ta – Manipur

  • Thang Ta is a popular term for the ancient Manipuri Martial Art also known as HUYEN LALLONG.
  • “Thang” means “Ta” means spear. Other weapons used are shield and axe.
  • Manipuri martial arts with swords and spears are strong yet gracefully sophisticated
  • Huyen Langlon martial art from Manipur consists of two main components, armed combat and unarmed fighting
  • Sword and spear are the two primary weapons of huyen langlon
  • It is practised in 3 different ways :
    • Firstly, ritualistic in nature linked with tantric practices,
    • Secondly, the mesmerising performance of sword and sword dances and
    • Thirdly, is the actual technique of fighting

Lathi Khela – West Bengal

  • Lathi is an ancient armed martial art of India. It also refers to one of the world’s oldest weapons used in martial arts.
  • Lathi or stick martial arts practised in Punjab and Bengal region of India
  • Lathi still remains a popular sport in the Indian villages
  • A practitioner is known as lathial

Cheigi Gadd-ga

  • One of the oldest martial arts of the northeast Indian state Manipur
  • Original fighting instrument: sword and a shield
  • Current modified version: a stick enveloped in soft leather and a shield, also made of leather
  • Cheibi refers to the stick which has a length of 2 to 5 feet while the shield has a diameter of 1 metre.

Mardani Khel – Maharashtra

  • Mardani Khel is an armed method of martial art created by the Maratha
  • This traditional martial art of Maharashtra is practiced in Suitable for hilly regions.
  • Was popular during the early and later medieval era and during the time of Maratha regime
  • It is particularly known for its use of the uniquely Indian “pata” (sword) and “vita” (corded lance).
  • Uses sword mainly & needs rapid movements

Pari Khanda -Bihar

  • Pari-khandaa style of sword and shield fighting from Bihar. “Pari” means shield & “Khanda” means sword (according to Chhau rulers).
  • This art is created by the rajputs
  • Pari-khanda steps and techniques are also used in Chau dance

Inbuan Wrestling (Mizoram)

  • Inbuan wrestling is a form of wrestling and combat sports that emerged in Mizoram, India
  • It is believed that Inbuan form of wrestling emerged in the village of Dungtlang in 1750.
  • It was recognized as a sport after the “Mizo” people migrated from Burma to the Lushai Hills.
  • The “grappling” techniques are used in this combat form, the main weapon would be the “arms” of the wrestler
  • Has strict rules prohibiting kicking, stepping out of the circle and bending of the knees
  • Aim is to lift the opponent off his feet from the ground 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

Kuttu Varisai – South India

  • It is an unarmed Dravidian martial art used to advance athleticism and footwork through yoga, gymanstics, breathing exercises etc
  • Mainly practised in South India and also popular in the north-eastern part of Sri Lanka and Malaysia
  • This art was first mentioned in Sangam literature in the first or second century B.C.
  • Kuttu Varisai means ‘empty hand combat’.
  • It also uses animal-based sets including snake, eagle, tiger, elephant and monkey
  • Techniques used: Grappling, striking and locking techniques are used in this art

Thoda – Himachal Pradesh

  • Thoda name is derived from the round wooden piece attached to the head of an arrow to minimise its lethal potential.
  • It is a mixture of martial art, sport and culture
  • It takes place during Baisakhi every year
  • This martial art relies on a player’s skill of archery and can be dated back to the time of Mahabharata where bows and arrows were used in the valleys of Kullu and Manali
  • In the game, there are 2 groups of 500 people each. All of them are not archers but dancers also who came with them to boost the morale of their respective teams.
  • The two teams are called Pashis and Saathis, who believed to be the descendants of Pandavas and Kauravas of Mahabharata
  • Techniques used: Wooden bows, arrows are used

Paikha Akhadha – Odisha

  • Paikha akhada or paika akhara is an Odia term that means “warrior scholl”.
  • Served as training schools of the peasant militia in Odisha, eastern India
  • Used for practising the traditional physical exercises
  • Performance art with rhythmic movements and weapons being hit in time to the drum
  • Acrobatic maneuvres and use of the khanda(straight sword), patta(guantlet – sword), sticks and other weapons

Malla Khamb

  • A traditional Indian sport in which a gymnast performs aerial yoga postures
  • The word Mallakhamb refers to the pole used in the sport
  • Three popular versions of Mallakhamba are practised using a sheesham pole, cane, or rope
  • The name Mallakhambha derives from the terms malla meaning wrestler, and Khamb which means a pole
  • On April 9, 2013 the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh declared Mallakhambha as the state sport

Vajra – Mushti

  • Vajra Mushti is a unique Indian martial art that incorporates various techniques of hand-to-hand combat like grappling, wrestling and striking techniques
  • Vajra Mushti, which literally means Thunderbolt Fist, is characterised by the utilization of a knuckleduster, a small metal weapon
  • The knuckleduster, also known as Vajra Mushti, usually made of animal horns, is worn on the knuckles of the fighter
  • The main objective of this Indian martial art form is to neutralize the opponent and counter his weapon
  • The weapon is sometimes called Indra-musti which means Indra’s fist
  • The vajramusti is usually made of ivory or buffalo horn


  • Bandesh is one of the ancient Indian Martial Arts forms.
  • It is basically a collection of martial techniques mainly used to disarm and defeat an armed opponent without taking his life
  • Different types of lock holds are utilised against different kinds of weapons like daggers, swords, long staff etc
  • In the competition of this ancient martial art, the conqueror is the one who takes the weapon from the other

Sqay – Kashmir

  • Sqay is a Kashmiri martial arts form of sword-fighting.
  • Armed sqay makes use of a curved single-edge sword paired with a shield, or one sword in each hand.
  • Unarmed techniques incorporate kicks, punches, locks and chops. Sqay have different techniques single sword double sword free hand techniques and lessons of both freehand and sword.
  • Sqay has two events :
    • Combat(Loba) – One to one
    • Artistic event, in artistic there are two events one without music and other is with
  • The best fighters of sqay in world Arena are from Kashmir.

Saldu – Nicobar

  • Saldu, a form of wrestling, is one of the prominent sports of the Nicobarese tribe
  • It does not require a court, only vacant land
  • The field is divided by a line in the centre, and there are no boundary lines
  • The number of players is as desired, but each team is to comprise an equal number of players
  • Usually, a maximum of 20 players are allowed in each team

Kirip – Nicobar

  • Kirip is an indigenous form of wrestling quite popular with the Nicobarese tribe
  • In this sport, before the bout begins, wrestlers grip each other from behind with their hands, and this grip is not to be slackened till the very end of the competition
  • The wrestler, using various parts of the body, including the leg, tries to thrust the opponent to the ground
  • If a contestant’s back touches the ground, he is declared the loser

Insu Knawr – Mizoram

  • Rod pushing sport is an indigenous game of Mizoram, a state in North – East India
  • A circle of 16 ft diameter with a straight line across the circle at the center is drawn.
  • Suk or a wooden rod or bamboo rod shall be approximately 8 ft long and 2.5 – 3 inches in diameter

Kathi Samu – Andhra Pradesh

  • Kathi Samu is one of the ancient martial arts of Andhra Pradesh, practiced by the royal armies
  • This prestigious martial art employs various kinds of swords
  • The place where Kathi Samu is performed is known as ‘garidi.’
  • Stick fight known as ‘vairi’ has an important role in Kothi Samu and it is the prelude to the actual swordfight. The fighting takes place between two persons brandishing long and curved swords
  • ‘Gareja’ in which a participant holds four swords, two in each hand and ‘Dal Farri Khadga’ are other important aspects of the sword skills