Types of Weapons used in Kalarippayat
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Bali Kalari Sangham
Siddha Marma Chikitsa Gurukulam
Temple of Martial-arts

H.O Iron-bridge, Kollam, Kerala, India (Temporarily closed)
Branch: 2nd Floor Remya Bldg, Kadavoor Temple, Kollam (Working 9am:6pm)

Gurukkal: Kollam Mathews Mobile:0091-9847553600
Email: balikalari@gmail.com, balikalari@playful.com
Affliated to Nehru Yuva Kendra, Govt of India. No.NYK/4915/669/2016.
POLICE PERMIT No.01/2017 issued under the Kerala Police Regulation of Physical Training Rules - 2000

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Image of Kalari Weapons Image of Kalari Weapons oldest to latest Weapons

Sticks->Long Staff - NeduVadi or Kettukaari:

Short sticks of 3 chan or span in length known as Kuruvadi/Muchan Vadi/Cheruvadi and Quarterstaff/lathi/kettukaari almost 2 meter/6-feet tall made of Bamboo or flexible cane, 1.5 Inches in diameter weighing about a Kilo/2pounds is used for Stick fights and rotation techniques based on the various steps taught by a Guru. Sometimes two sticks are also used by a single person to whirl around the body. Stick locking techniques are also used by an adept to immobilise an opponent. Usually 10 types of attacks/hits to the body is done ranging from the head to the heal, and also jabs or thrusts to the vital spots are also applied which is fatal. Though Otta weapon and Marma-vadi are also made of stick, it is only taught at weapon training stage only to honest disciples.

Image of Short stick fight
Knife or Kathi:

Used to attack on the various parts of body and techniques on how to defend knife-attacks, making the opponent drop the knife by applying pressure on pressure points are dealt with. Mainly 8 types of attacks to the body is done, though there are different variations of the 8 techniques.

Mathew Gurukkal with knife Two knives

Sword & shield or Vallum-Paricha:
The typical Indian sword is less than a meter/40 inches long. It is light well balanced and flexible, and was weilded in pairs or singly with a shield. Using Sword & shield the trainees practice premeditated techniques or step combinations to develop the speed, power ,agility and mind concentration. Training drills use a recurring sequence of cuts and counters from opponents circling each other. Using this weapons the kalari artist makes lightining moves to attack the opponent with incredible leaps. As per Dhanurveda Samhita the Sword was to be used by the Kshathriyas of Indian clan in olden times. Sword & Shield made of Cane is used in many of the olden kalari's for beginners to practice the warfare.

Image of Sword & shield


It is a concealable weapon with many uses and a tradition devoted to its use grew up in Northern India, where the dagger was developed. This consists of a double edged twisted blade equipped with long metal wrist protecting guards for the forearm. The wrist gaurds are 8 Inches long and the blade is 9 Inches long with a total length of 1feet and 5 Inches length. Here also the premeditated techniques are used, though hightly dangerous unprogrammed sparring occasionaly takes place. The trainee tries to jab and slash the opponent with the blade and the opponent wards away the attacks with lightening speed. Weapons are normally used to injure, or to threaten injury. The techniques of bandish - locking or immobilizing were devised several hundred years ago to permit an armed warior to use his weapon to immobilise the opponent by means of a joint-lock or strangle.
Kids Dagger fight

Trident - Trishul or Trishoolam):

Image of Trishul Image of Shiva with Trishul
Used by the artist to thrust on various nerve-centres of the body. Also the three jutting points are used to trap the opponents weapon and flick it away. Also the hilt of Trident is also used for attacks to head or the legs.

Spear or Kundam:

The Indian spear is about 1.5meters/5 feet long with a cord of equal length attached to the butt, which was worn around the thrower's waist. It allowed the thrower to recover the weapon or Muktha-Muktham when it missed the target. It is considered to be a cavlary weapon. Used by the artist to thrust on various nerve-centres of the body. The user sometimes rotates the spear on one side slowly to confuse the opponent. Also the hilt of spear is also used to club on head or sweeping attacks to shin, knees or ankle of legs. As per Dhanurveda Samhita the Spear was to be used by the Vaisyas of Indian clan, in olden times.

Image of Spear

Club or Mace or Gada:

Used by the trainees to make attacks to the head and ribs and also the pointed end of mace is used for a thrust. Attacks are made by whirling the mace in circles. Practice of this weapon increases the strength of Muscles, increases the stamina and brings shape to the body. In olden days the club made of Iron was in use. But taking in to consideration the heaviness and dangers, for kalari artists, practicing with club made of Hardwood with enveloping circles of metal plates/bands covering the edges to prevent cracking of wood, is used. This weapon is normally used by people with good physic and strength. In the epic 'Mahabharatha', Bhima is considered to be an exponent of this weapon. As per Dhanurveda Samhita the Gada was to be used by the Shudras of the Indian clan in olden times.

Image of club or Gada
The long Flexible Sword or Urumi:

This is the longest and the most dangerous weapon in kalari ranging from 5ft to 7ft length or more. It is made up of a handle with finger guards and long slender double edged flexible blade made up of spring metal . The artist whirls the Urumi around his body and at a time he can defend himself from a large number of enemies if he is sourrounded. At the time of winding up the practice generally it is slashed on to the waist in such a manner, so that it curves winding on the waist of the kalari artist without causing any harm to him. The guru states that perfection and speed comes with practice and the sound of blade-moves in the air itself panics the enemy. This weapon is taught only in the end when the guru finds the disciple to be very honest and feels that he has obtained maximum body and mind control and feels that he may not misuse the powers. It is normally carried by exponent, concealed in the waist. If not handled with care the flexible sword may cut the ankles of leg or even the neck.
For practice of beginners a blade like portion from the stem of coconut glades were extracted and training is first given using it. Also as a substitute, long thin flexible cane is also used.

Image of urumi fight
Bow & Arrow or Ambum-Villum:
Mathew Gurukkal in Archery Archery at Balikalari

Archery is Considered to be the best weapon or Uttamam type and is used along with the chant of Mantras being send at enemies at a distance. The practice includes clear vision and accurate depth perception, the strength to draw the heavy bow and a firmness of resolve which allowed an accurate release of the arrow towards its target.
The story of Arjuna, a well-known archer, is used to illustrate the concept of aiming: while competing at a tournament, archers were asked what the target was and all except Arjuna answered that it was a painting of a fish set high on a pole, but Arjuna answered that to him only 'The eye of the fish' was visible. He shot on the target and won the tournament.
In epic 'Mahabharatha', 'Arjuna' was the most skillful archer in the use of this weapon and so was 'Rama' of 'Ramayana'.
The best archer was able to widen and narrow his field of concentration selectively so as to zero in on the selected target while also being aware of other activities beyond this pinpoint which might affect accurate targeting. Even today the tribal people of Wynad District are very experts in archery. They hunt birds and animals using their bow and arrows with timing and perfection.
A good archer was able to shoot an arrow perfectly from a moving horse back with out loosing the balance or without snagging the saddle.
The bow is made up of layers of bamboo glued together or sometimes from the branch of certain trees which was flexible and also made from wood of beetelnut tree. The bowstring is madeup of various strands, extracted out of special tree bark, being glued together until it becomes thick enough to fit snugly into the arrow's nock. Various other materials like nylon threads or metal links were used.
The arrow heads vary in their shapes depending on what purpose it is used like whether to shoot at an enemy or to cut the hand/throat or to send a message stealthly to someone etc. Arrows are carried in a traditional made quiver tied with bands at the back. As per 'veda or Samhita of weaponery'Book or Old scripture, the bow & arrow was to be used by the Brahmins of Indian clan in olden times.
The bow and arrow used currently in the olympics are moulded out of strong plastic,fibre material and metal bands. These bows have been tecnically and technologically improved to create more flexibility and to produced maximum distance for the arrows and the bows are very costly ranging from Rs.10,000/- to 15,000/- and arrows approximately cost Rs.100/- per arrow.

The twisted stick or Otta Kol:

This weapon is Usually known as 'Otta', similar to the elephant tusk, is a unique weapon carved out of wood with a particular curve or designed from tamarind wood of a similar shape. It is said that Otta is the most significant among weapons practiced in Kalarippayat. Now a days this is been practiced only in kalari's and not carried along with a person like other weapons. Used by the artist to thrust on various nerve-centres of the body or Marma, and slash on various weak areas of body etc. Also the curve of the otta is used to immobilise an opponent at times, to lock him. It has two bends with a handle/butt 6 Inches long with thickness 1.5 Inches and the portion close to the handle is 4.5 Inches wide and normally tapers to the tip. Otta is almost 2.3 feet long with a protection to the holding hand known as 'Aathu'. It is considered that a person who is an expert in handling 'Otta' has a very flexible body and it is difficult to defeat him even when he is asleep. There is generally two types of holding techniques of the otta. The Guru holds it like holding a normal short stick with the point up and the disciple holds it in the reverse manner with the point facing downwards. There are basically 18 adavus in the otta training.

Image of Ottakol or twisted stick Image of Otta payat

The bath Towel - Thorthu or Thala:

In the picture below the bath-towel is used to tie the opponents hands and disabling his movement.

bath-towel locking technique

A Cloth piece approx. 4ft x 2 Chan, is used by the Guru or an expert to ward of the attacks from knives or other weapons and used to entangle the attacking hands or legs or neck along with the weapon to strangle the opponent, thus forcing him to drop the weapon. The cloth is made wet to produce more effect during combat application. The same towel at times is tied in a particular fashion, so that it becomes stiff or hard enough and can be aimed to strike an opponent on the vital points of hands or legs or head to disable him or drop his weapon. Lots of various advanced techniques like throwing a towel ball on opponents face, or throwing towel on opponents weapons etc are also present.

Axe or Mazhu/Kodali:

This weapon was used by the legendary Lord parasurama - Sage & warrior of the Indian epic, who with his spiritual powers hurled the Axe in to the Arabian Sea and extracted the land of Kerala. Mainly used to attack to neck, or limbs like hands or legs.

Image of parashuram Image of Axe attack

Air Guns & Air-pistol training:
Air-guns training Air-Rifle at bali kalari Air-pistol training at bali kalari

At Bali Kalari we give both training in the Ancient and the mordern Rifle shooting for the most elite warriors of kalaripayat who have successfully done the training. Various training like Rifle shooting on targets from the simplest to the most complex techniques of shooting are taught. Empty-hand fighting strategies when confronted with enemies holding pistol or Air-rifles, etc are taught only to very few luck ones as a part of the verum-kai tactics.
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