Indian martial arts was spread along with Hinduism and Buddhism and have influenced the martial arts of many countries in East Asia and South East Asia.

Among the martial arts influenced by India include Angampora, Ankam, Bokator, Eskrima, Krabi krabong, Kbachkun Dambong-Veng, Khmer traditional wrestling, Pencak Silat, Silambam, Silat, Thaing (Burmese) and Võ thuật Bình Định.

Despite inspiring many martial arts around the world, our oldest and deadliest martial arts from the southern states are dying over time:

1. Kalarippayattu – Kerala

Kalarippayattu is a well known Indian martial art and one of the oldest fighting systems in existence. Originated from Kerala, it is widely practiced across South India.

A kalari is the school or training hall where the students are taught to combat using strikes, kicks and weapons such as sticks, swords, three-bladed knives, axes and spears. Footwork patterns are essential in the fight. It has been used in films such as "Ashoka" and "The Myth".

2. Silambam – Tamil Nadu

Silambam is a weapon-based type of fighting from Tamil Nadu that has been practiced since 1000 BCE. The weapons used in fights include bamboo staff known as 'silambam'; 'maru' which is a thrusting weapon made from deer horns; 'aruval' is a sickle that is often comes in a pair ; and 'savuku' which is a whip. Some of the weapons used are indigenous to Tamil Nadu and can not be found anywhere else in the world.

Silambam also incorporates animal movements of the snake, tiger, eagle and footwork patterns play a vital role as well. Kuttu varisai is a variation of it where no weapons are used.

3. Varma Kalai – Tamil Nadu

Varma Kalai is a type of fight that focuses on the body's pressure points (Varmam). It is unique in that it is a combination of traditional massage, alternative medicine, traditional yoga and martial arts. It can either be used to heal the body or harm it.

The healing aspect is called 'Vaidhiya Murai' and is a part of Siddha Medicine (siddha vaidyam). Its combat aspect is known as 'Adimurai', 'Adi Murai' or 'Varma Adimurai' meaning "pressure-point striking". The fight is either done with bare hands or with a blunt weapon such as a stick or staff. Usually taught as an advanced stage of the Nadar Fighting Systems, strikes are targeted at the nerves, veins, tendons, soft tissues or ligaments, organs and bone joints.

4. Kathi Samu – Andhra Pradesh

Kathi Samu is an ancient fight form from Andhra Pradesh and was practiced by the royal armies. This prestigious martial art employs various kinds of swords. These days, it is practiced as a pastime by the families who were once soldiers for the Rajahs. The place where Kathi Samu is performed is known as 'garidi.'

The type of fight styles used these days are 'Vizianagaram' in northernmost coastal Andhra; and 'Karvetinagaram' in the southernmost Chittoor district. Stick fight known as 'vairi' has an important role in Kothi Samu and it is the prelude to the actual swordfight. The fighting takes place between two persons brandishing long and curved swords. 'Gareja' in which a participant holds four swords, two in each hand and 'Dal Farri Khadga' are other important aspects of the sword skills.

Source: Walk Through India
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