Kalaripayit Jan 1, 2005 8:01:55 GMT -5
Post by Nataraya on Jan 1, 2005 8:01:55 GMT -5
In ancient times big landlords had their own kalaris. In the course of time, if they were not used for practice of kalari, they- would not demolish them. But, instead, they were converted into temples.
Even if there are no students to practise, a kalari will never be demolished. A sacred lamp will be lit there every day. If there is anyone with good knowledge of kalaripayit they will be able to use it, but if there is no-one to use it, the kalari will remain surrounded by trees, shrubs and creepers. Here it was so when I came.
Then the ,Vaster spoke ref the importance of students in kalaripayit:
The students should be of obedient nature. If they fight with others inside or outside the kalari we expel them at once.
The kalari can be compared with the body of a human being and the students are like the spirit of the being.
Without the body, the spirit cannot exist; without the kalari, the students cannot be. The students cannot study except in the kalari. Without it, they would be like the spirit which is without the body. . Similarly, kalaripayit without the students is useless. It is like the body- without spirit. Both are essential. Students must respect the Goddess of war, Kali, and always show respect to their master. That is where our strength of mind comes from. If we receive the blessings of our master and the Goddess. half, we receive power. It becomes our habit and we have faith in it. We believe that we get power from our master and the Goddess. Sometimes students will engrave the mantras (sacred passages, usually from the Vedas, the Hindu scriptures) on a piece of metal and carry this around, or tie it around the wrist with a small packet of turmeric powder, kumkum, camphor, or some other medicinal herb, twisted into a kind of bangle.
When I begin teaching a student with a stick or a weapon I pray that he should not use this thing for any evil purpose, that no ill should befall him because of it and that it should be a protection for him from all evil forces.
But whatever the guru teaches, it will add up to only one quarter of that student's knowledge. A quarter he derives from his own personal interest, and from hard work; a quarter comes from God's blessing, and the final quarter comes in his old age from his own personal experiences.
Finally, the Master- spoke of the moral responsibility, of a trained student of kalaripayit:
We must forgive our enemy. Also, it is our duty to safeguard our families. If we want we can easily kill a man, but we may have to go to jail, and that will affect our families. So we must think of our families, and our enemies' families, and avoid fights, forgive enemies. It is easy to strike a person and to fight, but it doesn't enable us to escape from our responsibilities.
The masters of kalapayit:
The lives of the masters in their different villages generally follow the same pattern. After the morning's practice with the children, they turn to their other important function, that of doctors to the neighbourhood.
It is customary in the martial arts that the masters are also doctors. Because of the nature of the art, a person who practices fighting techniques for a long time becomes increasingly absorbed in medical knowledge, since almost ever da someone will be hurt in practice. As a young student t e master learns how to heal minor bruises and strains, but as he becomes a serious student with the possibility of eventually becoming a master, he will study more widely, learning how to set bones and heal internal injuries. Many masters remain at this level of knowledge, but others go on to study the full range of their indigenous medicine.
A day spent with such a master and doctor while he treats his patients shows how much western medicine is limited by its scientific blockbusting, pill-dispensing techniques. Even at the level of a village doctor the traditional (Ayurvedic) system of medicine in India shows a depth of care for the patient that is rare in the West.
Many of the patients are men who have hurt themselves while working, usually by working too hard. A day lost to a poor fisherman while he visits the doctor is a real loss, which continues until the doctor can help him to gain enough strength to go back to hauling the nets.
Deep, powerful massage is a most important part of the healing process. This mainly takes the form of foot massage. The doctor, supporting his weight on a rope stretched patient's oiled body.
One of the masters we worked with, Master Mathavan, runs a small private hospital, an old, mud-walled building with deep, thatched eaves set among coconut palms. Inside it is cool, scented by herbs and massage oil carried on a gentle breeze. Babies sleep on the clean earth floor while their mothers are ………..
source: The Way of the Warrior, the paradox of martial arts. Howard Reid & Michael Croucher. London BBC, 1983.