Kalari Masters
These are some of the teachers that I have studied with. Each kalari style does have some slight differences, some more than others. But the beauty of Tekkan Kalari is when ones learns an open hand form with chopping like cuts with the hand, he later can use the elbows instead of the hand cuts or where there are kicks he can use knees and so on. Even the long forms can be done in one spot, which makes sense, if you ran out of room to do your moves you therefore cannot step back. Hence there is complete flow in moving, non-moving with either empty hand or with the use of weapons. Such is the science of Tekkan kalari.
Agastya Tekkan Kalari Sangham
I am the first Western person to complete this family system of Sachiananda. Originally this style of Kalari (like most) came from Tamil Nadu South India. The techniques and forms of this particular form of Tekkan kalari at the first level are very short consisting of 12 short single steps Vada Chuvada) 8 long steps (Nedu Chvada) 8 triangle type steps (Kon Chuvavda). Intertwined with the above forms are different types of others steps totalling 16. Whilst using the different patterns there are 12 strikes using open hand, uppercuts, elbows, knees and kicks, also the use of the toe to hit marmans (pressure points) This Tekkan Kalari is very old, the techniques are simple and straight to the point. There is no influence from any other kalari system within this Sachiananda family art. The first 12 forms are really simple consisting of only 1 to 5 movements only. However the depth to which these basic forms have is quite remarkable. A unique stepping pattern of placing your foot in a particular spot after each kick I (done 4 times) gives a certain location which you must land and has only 4 possibilities of placing it, hence the four directions x 1 kick x 4 possible placing. This is what so unique about his family kalari. And this method is used throughout the system. Also using the sand as a weapon to distract your opponent by throwing it in his face. This is found with many of it forms.
There are also many types of sensitivity training drills both with open hand and with the weapons. Most prominent of weapons is the long stick (nedu vadi) and short stick cheru vadi) and medium long stick (Kuru Vadi). There are 12 fighting long stick forms and 8 short stick fighting form. There are also many drills to develop the sensitivity. One unique combative aspect of this kalari is the use of toe hooks. This is to slice slash and cut the opponent. Although there are other weapons, such as the knife and vettukati. There are also some odd shape weapons within his art. But, omits other type weapons such the spear (kutham). Having studied with this system including pressure points and revival, has a great deal of hidden knowledge. I eventually visited his other family members with Sachiananda Asan, who taught him. Though very old he still has a passion for training. There are 64 types of block attack techniques, or diverting moves some consisting of 5 or 6 movements. These form the basis of the Agastya Kalari. About Sachiananda Asan
He started at the age of 5 years old from his uncle but was much later when he was 14 that he really started to train seriously in kalari. He has formed the Agastya Tekkan Kalari. Seeing the Agastya was the founding father of Tekkan system some 1.500,000 years ago according to Vedic calculations. Today he does not really teach but now has a clinic in his home village where he treats locals to his family medicine of Marman Chilikisalaym, again a family held tradition of treatment. I have been lucky to have these medicines and their formulas passed onto me and their method of making. Though they are in Malayam and Tamil. They are very good medicines and I have had excellent results with them.
Anjaneya Tekkan Kalari
I have been involved with this Tekkan Kalari the longest since 1993 with some student who came to London on an exchange. The name of this Kalari is called Anjaneya Tekkan Kalari. Another name for Hanuman the monkey god. Master Mathavan had learnt from 18 masters over his 60 years in Tekkan kalari. He passed this art onto his son Adjit who with many of his local villagers practise in his own village. There are about 6 masters who had learnt from Master Mathavan who now congregate during the week or weekend
The style is very fluid, with many figure 8 type flowing movements, along with hooks, uppercuts, elbows, kicks etc. Because of the amount of masters who taught Master Mathavan in the 30s and 40s, there are many forms totalling 64. Once again they start from basic to the more complex forms. Covering much ground. In the forms they have names of the monkey god (Hanuman) Bhima (strong man) and (Krishna) etc. All the forms that are taught are kept to their origin from the area they were learnt. Often this is shown as the forms finish different, some with a back kick, or an uppercut, hands held in guard etc.
There are some 64 locks, including locks fighting from the floor, crouching position etc. This type of kalari is a style known as Neyattingara style, and has a distinct style of movement. The fighting forms are slow and fast, walking slowly then to start the fight, performing many stances as you proceed. One type of movement is called the dance of the peacocks (see video). Where special type footwork and jumps are done to pursue the opponent and confuse his movements. The forms are crouching low, jumping high, and is one of the few kalari systems to have floor fights.
There are also weapons, such as long stick (nedu vadi), short stick (kuru vadi) sword and shield (Parichayam), spear (Kutham) Machete (Vettukati), dagger, flexible sword, and some other unusual weapons. About Master Mathavan Asan Adjit Mathavan and the village group
Adjit Mathavan starting learning from his father at a very young age at 5 years old. He teaches the systems and keeps the same name Anaya kalari. He resides in the place called Neyattingara. Though he still teaches, he like many kalari teachers now operates treatments from his home or travels to. Again I am the first Western to learn his system. The village has a great atmosphere in the middle of forest opening is where they all train.
Veera Tekkan Kalari
KrishnaKutty Nair Asan
One of the most famous kalari masters in Kerala is KrishaKuttyNair Asan, once boasting of 18 kalari schools in Kerala. He has done demonstrations in Singapore, Malaysia, Nepal, Indonesia, and throughout India. The tekkan kalari of KrishanKutty Nair is known by its many jumping sequences and back hand strikes, It's a very energetic style, with high kicks, jumps, leaps and rolling. Again there are many names of the Vedic deities, Hanuman, Bhima, Krishna, Shiva etc. The forms are long that contains much spinning, double punching etc. Krishakutty Nair is now more that 70 years old and had learnt from at least 8 masters in his lifetime. He has formed the Veera Kalari meaning warrior kalari. It is 90% Tekkan with slightly Vaddakan Northern kalari influence, though he says that it is still 100% tekkan and that the vadakan look a like movements are actually tekkan, and much confusion surrounds this theory. But the style is both powerful and free. There are 36 forms within this system. The weapons are a vast array of classical weapons. Spears, sword and shield, knife, stick, double swords, machete, deer antler horns and many more. Though I have learned his art, I was particular interested in the deer antler horns and how its was used as a weapon. Today Krishna Kutty Nair only retains his own school, which is called Veera kalari Sangham. His son also helps the training.
Ines Tekkan Kalari
Simbhalan Madavan Pannikar Gurukal
Master Simbhalan Pannikar who recently died in 2005, was a very active tekkan martial artist. He was an expert in Varma kalai (marman) pressure points striking. The word varma originated from the word secret in Tamil, involves the use of attacking pressure points to cause injury. Such points are at the junction of nerves and veins. He studied two styles of Southern kalari and marma over a 15-year period and developed his own particular fighting art based from his arts over the next 42 years. I was lucky to track him down and studied with him secretly in North Kerala. Because of my martial arts background I was able to easily absorb his tekkan kalari and he agreed for me to film all his forms, locks etc. His style is very strong, with the use of figure 8 strikes often with a heavy hand type strike and the banging of the floor to gain power. At the end of practically all his forms one has to open their eyes to look strong and menacing with hands hitting the waist. There is a lot slapping the thighs in his systems with represents distraction and breaking moves. The forms are tight and compact that all aiming at the marman points. The word Ines means secret in Sanskrit.
Cheleyan Tekkan Kalari
Ajay Kumar Asan
Ajay Kumar learnt kalari from his Grand father. And now teaches this art on the outskirts of Trivandrum. Although medicine takes much of his times, he still holds classes 3 or 4 times a week. This style of tekkan has lots of pull downs, zigzag stepping skills, block and attack at same time techniques. There are 18 long forms of nedu Chuvada and 12 Vatta Chuvada. The 18 long forms contain spinning skills, dropping down moves, crouching positions. Within the 18 forms, there are triangular forms, square, round and cross to highlight certain key moves with the ability to strike at them. The are some 64 drills or two man skills which involve the use of locks, elbow strikes, hand, leg, knee strikes etc. Also there are the long stick fights, short stick fight, knife fighting, sword and shield fighting plus axe are some of the weapons. This style of kalari has been retained in his family for many generations.
Netaji Tekkan Kalari
Padmabhavan Asan
Padmabhavan Asan is a 59-year-old kalari teacher of the tekkan style; his kalari is called Netaji Kalari School. Netaji is the name of a famous warrior that lived 100 or so years ago that fought the British occupation of India; he was a very strong exponent of kalari. This style is a well rounded system consisting of 24 forms broken down into 3 groups namely stationary, left or right leg stationary form, circular and triangle forming the long forms called nedu chuvada. He also has in his system a form of wrestling skills that have become known as kusti. He often uses the phrase 'Ad Tada kusti' meaning strike block then wrestle. And many fights go to the floor, kalari has these skills in it syllabus. There are a host of weapons, long stick, short stick, and medium short. Sword and shield. One of the most unique fighting applications in the netaji Kalari is the knife fighting and the vettukati fighting. Padmabhavan Asan has the uncannily ability to move swiftly in and out of locks during knife fighting.
Bodhidarama Tekkan Kalari
Radha Krishnan Asan
Radha Krishnan and his brother Soman formed the Bodhidarama kalari, in honour of the monk who travelled to China to impart kalari in Soong Shan province about 1500 years ago. Their main teacher was Krishankutty Nair. And so there forms are the same, although there are some other kalari style influence from a few others teachers.
Paul Whitrod Asan
Paul Whitrod Asan has formed the Agastya Kalari & Marman Sangham UK to honour all his teachers in the Tekkan kalari.
Having studied under various masters in Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Seeking some of the most obscure kalari skills, to keep it alive and promote in the UK.
This ancient Vedic art must be kept alive and he now teaches these arts honouring each masters skills and moves and their philosophies in the UK at his full time school.
To this day he travels the world teaching the authentic arts he has learned and yet giving them reality-testing training.