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Indian Martial Arts
HH thanks for the info, i knew boxing was separate, and i think was called mushti yuddha (mushti = fist, yuddha = fight). Interesting point about female wrestling, didn't know that.

Also I think when people use "wrestling" to translate mallayuddha, its a bit of a mistake because it clearly seems that mallayuddha was a broad spectrum which included wrestling like kushti today to real fighting in which all tactics from knees, soccer kicks, stomps, biting, eye gouging, punches, choking etc were allowed with no rules similar to the spartan pankration. I presume it must have ended with death, submission, or the king stopping it, and seems to have gone out of vogue slowly over time like pankration, and we are just left with wrestling except in isolated pockets like those Jyeshtamallas who practiced vajramushti until recently.
HH, BhV:

Also, in that section of mahAbhArata where arjuna fought mahAdeva disguised in form of a kirAta chief -- there is description of how after losing the arrow-bout, arjuna gets in the malla-mode, and losing that contest, he gets into muShTi-yuddha and finally a "slapping" fight... the idea throughout was a duel unto death.
A few examples of Vale Tudo:



This is closest to pure unarmed combat.

No gloves, no rounds, no rules.

There are no spectacular KO's because you are much more conservative without gloves which protect your knuckle's, also more likely to use your kicks because legs are much stronger & don't need any gloves.
<b>UK Sikh martial art maestro revives ancient shastar vidiya</b>

Tue, May 5 03:50 PM

London, May 5 (ANI): In a fluorescent-lit sports gymnasium in Hounslow, West London, a UK Sikh martial art maestro is promoting "Shastar Vidiya" , an ancient fighting technique lost to generations of Indians.

"Shastar Vidiya", a little-known fighting technique from north India <b>died out when the British Raj banned it after the final, bloody defeat of the Sikh empire in the mid-19th century</b>. Now, one man is determined to bring it back from the brink of extinction.

Nidar Singh Nihang, 41, has spent 20 years studying the secrets of "Shastar Vidiya" in order to pass it on to younger generations.

It is a journey that has taken him from being a food packer in a Wolverhampton factory to one of the world's top authorities on ancient Indian fighting styles.

<b>Now he is looking for young apprentices willing to devote their life to learning the secrets of an art that he believes risks dying out altogether.</b>

"Most people who practice <b>Indian martial arts nowadays are simply learning the toned down exhibition styles that were allowed by the British</b>. Unless we start teaching the original fighting styles they will be extinct within 50 years. <b>I want to find two or three sensible, intelligent and tolerant young apprentices who can pass on what I've learned to future generations</b>," The Telegraph quotes Nihang, as saying.

<b>Although "Shastar Vidiya" was widely practiced across the subcontinent long before the emergence of Sikhism in the mid-16th century, it was the Sikh tribes of the Punjab that became the true masters of this particular fighting style</b>.

Surrounded by hostile <b>Hindu</b> and Muslim <b>empires who were opposed to the emergence of a new religion in their midst</b>, the Sikhs quickly turned themselves into an efficient and fearsome warrior race. <!--emo&:blink:--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/blink.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='blink.gif' /><!--endemo-->

The most formidable group among them were the Akali Nihangs, a blue-turbaned sect of fighters who became the crack troops and cultural guardians of the Sikh faith.

As Britain's modernised colonial armies expanded across the Indian subcontinent, some of the stiffest opposition they faced came from the Sikhs who fought two bloody but ultimately disastrous wars in the 1840s that led to the fall of the Sikh empire and allowed Britain to expand its Indian territories as far as the Khyber Pass.

Astonished by the ferocity and bravery of the Akali Nihangs, the Punjab's new colonial administrators swiftly banned the group and forbade Sikhs from wearing the blue turbans that defined the Akalis.

Sikh warriors were quickly given rifles and drafted into Britain's armies. The practice of shastar vidiya went underground and was nearly forgotten.

"The key skill "Shastar Vidiya" teaches is deception. It's the blows your enemy never sees coming that do the real damage," Nihang says. (ANI)
Nihang Nidar Singh is hated by many Khalistani types for his advocacy of traditional sikhi, the site of his group is:

Nihangs are Sanatana Sikhs who recognize ties to wider Dharma. Was the British ban aimed towards Nihangs?
Here is the link to Nihang Niddar Singh's Shastar Vidya page.

Sanatan Sikh Shastar Vidya
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Last Man Standing Preview - Kushti Wrestling - BBC Three

Bodhi or HH do you know if there are any references to kickboxing/thaiboxing in Indian literature?

I know mushti yuddha was boxing & mallayuddha in its harder version was like pankration but what about using only hands & legs but with no ground fighting similar to Muay Thai, is that mentioned?

I ask because in Muay Thai several moves are named after Hindu figures like Hanumanta as mentioned here:

I've uploaded a documentary on Hindu wrestling and the physical conditioning that these wrestlers go through. It's called The Physical Body and its filmed in a few akharas in Varanasi. There's not a lot of content that concerns the history or development of Hindu wrestling, its mostly the technical aspects of their physical training.

It's on megaupload.


It's a .avi file. Download VLC media player if you can't view it in your regular media player.
Quote:Modern Hindus are hopeless I know and rather play that joke of a "sport" known

as cricket but I was wondering about ancient India.

Did we have any events comparable to the ancient Olympics, Nemean, Isthmian and

Pythian Games of the Hellenic world?

Ancient Olympics for example were a deeply religious event in honor of Zeus

where the athletes competed nude.

Events included Boxing, Pankration, Pentathlon, Running etc.

What's interesting is that Greeks managed to hold them uninterrupted for nearly

1300 years until the Christian emperor Theodosius banned them for being "pagan",

they were held even as Xerxes Persian army was burning Athens. Compare that to

modern times where the commercialized "Olympics" haven't been held during both

world wars.

Traditional Hindu sports that I know of were Kabaddi, Bull racing, some form of

Boxing (Mushti Yuddha), Mallayuddha (Pankration) and Mallakreeda (wrestling the

way its done today).

Wrestling used to be hugely popular in North India especially Panjab at the turn

of the century e.g. The Great Gama.

Did we have any comparable organized sporting events in the pre Islamic Hindu


Interesting PBS documentary on Ancient Olympics Part 1:



Quote:I'll give a few examples from my native state, Tamil Nadu.

'Jallikattu' has been a popular sport in Tamil country since time immemorial. It

was used as a method to know the strength and physical fitness of a male. And as

such, in many cases, a woman was married to a successful competitor. This was

such a common phenomena that Andal (a female Azhwar) claims that Krishna

defeated several bulls to marry his sweetheart.
Mallayuddha was also a popular sport though it seems to have lost its hold in

the past several centuries. Pallava port-town 'Mamallapuram' is named after the

title of an emperor who was called 'mAmalla/mahAmalla' due to his proficiency in

the art of wrestling.

'Silambattam' (fighting with danDa) is another favorite sport in the Tamil

country. Along with 'weight-lifting' (in which a huge piece of rock must be

lifted), it became another favorite method to choose a strong man.

Sangam literature mentions that 'Tiruvonam' festival was for the warriors. It

seems that there was some sort of martial competition associated with this.

Similarly, in the pre-Tipu Kerala, mAmAngam at TirunAvAy had martial

competitions. It was held once every 12 years (like kumbh) and hence can be

compared with ancient Olympics. The practice was never broken even during

Portuguese attacks. It ended with Tipu's invasion as the royal houses of Malabar

were completely destroyed by that dAnava.
Other than these, bullock-cart racing seems to have been a favorite sport as

also kabaddi.Â

I might have missed a few other things. But these are the things which came to

my immediately.



Quote:Up until 19th century, malla was a very accessible athletic activity with every

village having its own Hanuman or Vajranga Akhara where youth would practice the

wrestling. Wresting was just a sport for Akhara-goers. More important aspects

were serious muscle and stamina building through exercises like mudgara chAlana,

daNDa-baiThak, squats and push ups. Lathi-fighting was also commonly practiced.

While British suppressed these institutions, they continued to flourish at the

patronage of the princely states or privately in villages due to their sheer

popularity. There used to be annual competitions of wrestling also, known as

Dangal, where champions from across the villages gathered to compete and which

went up to the state level. These Dangals used to be held all over the North

and esp. patronized by the the princely states. They used to be more popular in

Panjab, Haryana, Himachal, UP, Bihar and MP, and used to be held to coincide

with the festivals like Makar Sankranti or Dipavali etc amid much festivity.

They would last from 3 days upto a week and end with one winner. Keshari (lion)

used to be the title given to the winner. Kashi was the capital of malla in

North. Arya Samaj tried to revive the wrestling, Akhara, and Dangal. My

grandfather was an Arya Samajist and I have seen him and his colleagues promote

Akharas and organize Dangals. In childhood I have also witnessed the spectacles

of Dangal and remember the frenzy that Dangal used to generate in our villages,

which can hardly be compared by our contemporary Cricket.

In medieval times malla-pehlwan contests often turned into a Hindu-Moslem clash

(can compare 80s Indo-Pak Cricket rivalry). Even in the last century Pakistan's

Gama Pehlwan's crushing defeat at the hands of a Kafir was felt like an insult

to islam itself, and required a new Pehlwan to be raised and trained at the

national expense to take revenge! In medieval times this was even more

pronounced, about which we have many a recorded as well as oral stories of these

In Awrangzib's time a Rathor pehlwan from Jodhpur challenged and

defeated Emperor's fighters; As a sport, to fight him then a royal lion was sent

to the arena; he wrested and killed the lion with bere hands, causing

embarrassment to Awrangzib. Likewise the case of a Martath General of Shivaji

fighting and defeating a mammoth war-elephant at Golkunda causing much loss of

prestige to Golkonda and giving Shivaji a psychological upper hand in

negotiations with the aged Golkonda sultan. There is another story of how the

King of Mahoba, himself a great wrestler, came to arena himself to wrestle with

a musalman pehlwan from dilli as it had become a challenge. (this tradition is

immortalized by Premchand in one of his stories). Even as late as 1930s, there

was a riot in Udaipur triggered by such a wresting clash.

During Akbar's time, the persian mode of wrestling - Pehlwani - got introduced

to North India causing interesting innovations in malla.
Like many other

cultural aspects, in malla too Hindu, Persian, and Greek formats very closely

resemble each other with slight differences, like in Pehlwani an opponent has to

be held on his back to ground for a duration to win the match, whereas in

classical Hindu format opponent has to be held up in the air.

differences in techniques too.


One correction, I meant Akram Pehlwan not Gama. Akram was a student and relative

of Gama, whom Japanese wrester Kanji Inoki defeated in mere 1 minute 5 seconds

in a famous bout in Karachi in 1976, breaking Akram's arm practically ending his





<<Did we have any comparable organized sporting events in the pre Islamic Hindu


mAnasollAsa of rAjan someshvara deva chAlukya gives interesting

details about organized athletic activities somewhat similar to what you might

call Olympics. He menions herein some sports that used to be held with public

in audience in which participants used to come from all across. These included,

if I remember correctly, races of various kinds, duels of different natures,

fighting with bull/elephant/tiger etc. and more. For certain daring sports,

even convicted fellons were allowed to participate if they opted for it, and if

they won the sport they won their freedom along with a handsome reward.


Quote:Mamangam is similar to the Mahamagam of Kumbakonam. It was celebrated in the

Tirunavay temple on the banks of Bharatapuzha. Initially, the Cheraman Perumals

(aka Kulasekarans) held the festival. Later, it was done by Valluvanad kings who

lost the place and rights to Samoothiri (Zamorin) during Tirunavay wars.

A local Nair told me that in early days, competitions were held for

Kalaripayattu (the martial arts of Kerala). Later, when Samoothiri captured

Tirunavay, the attack by Valluvanad Nairs gained great prominence. A small band

of Nair warrriors from Valluvanad will make suicide attacks to kill the

Samoothiri and thereby, regain the place and rights for Valluvanad. While they

never succeeded, the attempt was a display of ferocious bravery.Â

An account of one of these attack can be found in page 307 of the following



The writer claims that the king used to commit suicide once every 12 years

giving way to new king. But the local Nairs give another story: they claim that

Perumals used to abdicate (not commit suicide) at Mamangam and that a new ruler

is selected based on their proficiency in the various fights organised for this

very purpose. And that Samoothiris never abdicated at the end of 12 years. The

Perumals were supposedly crowned at the Tirunavay temple.

Unfortunately, this temple is now in the Malappuram district and very close to

Ponnani town (filled to brim with Muslims courtesy of Tipu Sultan). The once

grand temple filled with riches and devotees is now mostly deserted. The number

of pilgrims who visit the temple are not very high and most of them are Tamils

(who visit the temple as it is one of the 108 Divya desams sanctified by


Documentary on Mallakreeda:


Crudelli travels to india to learn secrets of ancient Wrestling

Demonstration of Kalari Vandanam. The body control and smoothness of movements are perfect.

Kalari Vandanam

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