So, my constant pestering finally paid off and against their better judgement of not letting patients out of the centre I caught a lucky break. And boy, was I in for a treat. The training happens between 6 to 8pm every evening. In near darkness we made our way through the woods to a cleared patch of land near the paddy fields. That's where I met my panthers. Covered from head to toe in therapeutic oils were some muscled, some lean, some kids of the farmers, some kids of the masters and two boys of an autowala. In the beginning the auto rickshaw driver used to wait outside for hours for his sons to finish their training but then he decided it was a big waste of time and so he got himself enrolled too. If you ever use his services I would suggest do not haggle over the trip fare.
Early written evidence of martial arts is found in Dhanurveda a part of Athravaveda and Rig Veda and in Southern Indian work Sangam literature about Kalarippayattu in the 3rd century BC to the 2nd century AD. The Akananuru and Purananuru describe the use of spears, swords, shields, bows and silambam in the Sangam era.
Kalaripayattu techniques are a combination of steps (Chuvatu) and postures (Vadivu). Chuvatu literally means ‘steps’, the basic steps of the martial arts. Vadivu literally means ‘postures’ or stances are the basic characteristics of Kalaripayattu training. Named after animals, they are usually eight in number. Styles differ considerably from one tradition to another. Not only do the names of poses differ, the masters also differ about application and interpretation. Each stance has its own style, power combination, function and effectiveness. These techniques vary from one style to another.