Types of Martial Arts

Martial Arts Schools and Information

Indian Martial Arts

Indian Martial Arts have existed ever since times of antiquity or what is commonly known as the pre-Gupta period. India refers to martial arts in Sanskrit as “dhanurveda,” which translates to the "science of archery." For the Indians, martial arts have traditionally been considered to be a branch of knowledge aside from fighting techniques.

The fighting styles in Indian martial arts vary according to the region they came from and the time period they were established in. These include Dravidian martial arts such as Kuttu Varisai, kalaripayat, Gatka, Varma Kalai and some other older forms. The systems of Indian Martial Arts consisted of both armed and unarmed fighting along with meditation and other forms of mental conditioning. Like most fighting systems, the Indian version is linked to religion which is Hinduism in this case.

Those who are familiar with yoga poses will find that some of the positions are used in Indian martial art fighting techniques and these poses can also be seen in Hindu temples that house statues and paintings of deities and warriors. The principles of yoga, ayurveda and tantra, such as life energy or prana, meridians or nadi, energy points or chakra, and pressure points or marmam, are all part of Indian Martial Arts.

The use of weapons has been an integral part of the art of fighting in India ever since the beginnings. Indians used the basic types of weapons including spears, swords, axes, short bows, and long bows that were either made of wood or tipped with metal. When India began to experience technological advancements, the weaponry improved as it was made with flexible wootz steel.

The martial arts of India have influenced other Asian combative sports, especially in Southeast Asia. After the British colonized India, the martial arts systems began to lose their prominence because more Europeanized methods of fighting were used to train the police force and other officials. However, some forms of Indian martial arts have prevailed and continue to be taught to students across the globe.