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                         The training of the student in the kalari begins at a very early age of 9-years with an initiation ritual performed by the Gurukkal.  Attendance in the kalari is made a part of the daily routine and he goes through a series of symbolic rituals every day, before and after practice to acquire discipline and concentration. Kalarippayat training is mainly divided into three parts called Meithari (body preparative exercises) Kolthari (training in wooden weapons) and Ankathari (training in combat weapons)
         Wearing a Katcha or loin cloth and smearing his body with oil, the student after prostrating before the deities and the Gurukkal begins his initial training with the Meithari system which forms the foundation for the entire repertoire of Kalarippayat training.

                          The second phase is known as Kolthari which involves training in wooden weapons like Kettukari 12 span staff and Cheruvati 3 span staff etc. Ottakkol is a special curved wooden weapon in the Kolthari repertoire which serves as a training instrument for the coordinating the intricate movements of the body and feet and also as a stepping stone to the proper execution of the advanced Kalarippayat techniques.   Various sequences of Kolthari lead one to the proper understanding of mind and body in action.

                          The third and final phase of training is Ankathari or combat training with weapons.  This begins with Kattaram or dagger which is a knife shaped metallic weapon for duels at close quarters which includes several locks and many elements of barehanded fighting techniques. Sword and shield were the primary weapons of the medieval kerala soldier. As the supreme combat weapon in the Kalarippayat system, sword and shield training makes total use of the full range of body movements learned in the preliminary physical culture training. References of many of the present day Kalarippayat sword and shield techniques can be seen in the 4th century texts of Agnipuranam and the Vedic works of Dhanurveda. The techniques of Urumi or the flexible sword is an extension of the sequences learned in the sword and shield techniques to be used in mass combats.

                         The complex and rich repertoire of Kalarippayat weaponry also includes highly accurate techniques of spear fighting and the classical sequences of the Mace, the weapon of the epic heroes. There is also the Marapitcha Kuntham, a duel between a swordsman and a man armed with spear demanding distinct skills. Many advanced elements of empty hand fighting is taught in the different sequences of Kathiyum Thalayum in which one learns to defend oneself with a common 2 meter long cloth on one’s own shoulder called the Mundu.

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