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Sword and shield fight in Kalaripayattu

Sword (vaal) and shield (paricha) have a prominent place in Kalaripayattu, the classical martial art form of Kerala since a royal glory had been attached to these two weapons.

Vaal Payattu or the fight using sword and shield was the most popular weapons among Kshatriyas, the ruling clan of Kerala in the days of monarchy.

While the sword is used for attack, shield is for defense from the enemy’s sword. The shield is also used to fend off attacks with Churika and Urumi.

There are different methods of fighting with the sword and shield. The system in vogue in Kalaris (practice rings) is Puli Ankam (Puli means leopard and Ankam is fight) with the term itself denoting the fierceness of the fight.

This fight has twelve adavus or tactics within it. According to ancient masters, swords are classified into three; Uthamam (the best), Madhyamam (the middle type) and Adhamam (lowest).