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Thang-Ta, the martial poetry

Thang-Ta, the martial art form of Manipur has its roots running dwelled in the socio-cultural life of the tiny north-eastern state. Though it developed as a means of self protection as its original name Huyen Lallong rightly implies, Thang-Ta is no more limited to a physical sphere. It represents a value system and a sublime ethnic qualities which are eagerly preserved.

During the British rule, the practice of this martial art had been prohibited since it was viewed as an act of compat with the use of weapons. But after Manipur state joined the Indian Union, the Thang-Ta started to be actively practised and being shown in festivals and performance platforms.

The performers leap, attack each other and defend themselves. The dance-like movements are accompanied by the beating of drums. Thang-Ta has an unarmed version, called Sarit- Sarat. It is often learned only after mastering the armed version. Both men and women perform Thang-Ta.

This video clip was shot during Octave 2008, a cultural extravaganza held at Thiurvananthapuram, Kerala, which showcased the rich cultural heritage of the eight north-eastern states.