Learn Kalaripayattu, the ancient Indian martial art form in Brisbane

Kalaripayattu develops the body and mind through a powerful flowing practice. It is a comprehensive system that was originally designed to create an expert warrior.

The world has long found inspiration and guidance in India’s culture, traditions, arts, sciences, wisdom and way of life.

One of the ways of life in Kerala, along India’s south-western coast, is through the ancient martial art form Kalaripayattu.

Australian School of Kalaripayattu is dedicated to teaching and sharing this warrior tradition. We aim to impart the true depth of this martial art and preserve the great legacy of Kerala’s warriors.

Everyone is welcome to learn Kalaripayattu at our school.

Our students are adults, children, families, yoga practitioners, uni students, dancers, fitness enthusiasts, health professionals, office workers, engineers etc.

Kalaripayattu training is a step by step process where the student learns to achieve new levels of movement and technique, gradually increasing in challenge and complexity.

Kalaripayattu can be learned at any age under the guidance of a Master. New students are welcome to join our classes. You can see if Kalaripayattu is for you by attending a free trial class, or coming to watch a class first.

The stages of Kalaripayattu training

There are four extensive stages of training in this ancient warrior tradition, each stage building on the skills developed previously.

Filmed teaching students online during COVID-19 lockdown.

First stage - Meithari (body conditioning training)

Meithari is the foundation training to establish the skills that are required to advance through the entire Kalaripayattu system.

This stage involves physical training to develop stamina, strength, flexibility, speed, coordination, agility and balance. Patience, self-discipline, self-awareness and focus are also developed.

The exercises include a vast range of postures, footwork patterns, stances, jumps and leaps, kicks, leg swings, techniques, linear and circular movement forms.

Each movement is learnt one by one, before combining them into flowing sequences which gradually become more demanding and intricate. Behind the fluid grace of these sequences is the strength and power of movements which can, when necessary, be applied with lightning-fast speed and precision to attack or defend.

Second stage - Kolthari (wooden weapons training)

Kolthari involves training with wooden weapons of different lengths and shapes. There are various techniques learnt in defending and attacking with these weapons. Progress in mastering these techniques is coupled with increasing speed.

Wooden weapons are introduced after extensive body preparation training, as correct weapon practice can only be mastered through perfect control over one’s body.

These weapons are taught in form sequences and further develop the skills already gained in the body training as well as confidence, alertness and concentration.

Third stage - Angathari (metal weapons training)

Metal weapons are taught to advanced students who have learnt to control their body with Meithari and control their wooden weapons with Kolthari.

Metal weapons are taught in form sequences. As in previous stages, this stage begins with simple techniques and systematically and gradually goes on to more strenuous, elaborate and powerful ones.

These techniques are designed to gain complete control over the weapon by making it an extension of the body. This training removes fear and further builds confidence and alertness and immediate reflex responses.

Fourth stage - Verumkai (empty hand techniques)

After learning to use the weapons, the student has to learn to do without them against an armed or unarmed opponent, or multiple opponents. This is the most advanced and technical part of the martial art form.

It consists of an array of blocks, attacks, kicks, locks and throws. Special application techniques to the Marma (pressure points) are also learnt. The student learns how, where and when to hit a Marma, how to block a Marma attack and how to heal injuries to the Marma.

The superior speed and accuracy needed to apply these techniques are created through constant practice. By this stage of the training, fear has been considerably removed, and confidence, alertness and doubtlessness are achieved.

Kalari Chikitsa (Kalari treatment) training

Once the student has reached an advanced level in the martial practice, they can choose to learn the healing practice of Kalari Chikitsa.

In this tradition, one must understand how a person can be harmed before they can learn how a person can be healed. Kalari Chikitsa is an integral part of the Kalaripayattu tradition, and this combination of martial art and healing art is unique in the world.

A holistic system

Learning Kalaripayattu is not just about learning the martial art. When you become a student you have the opportunity to take part in many activities, such as learning medicine making, assisting in our treatment centre, participating in student workshops, performing in Kalaripayattu demonstrations and celebrating cultural events.

Master Biju Nair

All classes are taught by Master Biju Nair, a traditionally trained Kalaripayattu Instructor from Kerala, India.

Master Biju hails from a traditional Nair family. His ancestors were the traditional warrior class of Kerala, and the custodians of Kalaripayattu. Following in the generations of warriors before him, his duty is to pass on this knowledge to the next generation of students.

Master Biju grew up in a rural village in Kerala in Southern India. In 1996 he began learning the martial art of Kalaripayattu and its healing art Kalari Chikitsa under his village’s Kalari master, Suji Master.

After seven years with his Master, he went on to study with his Grandmaster, Guru Balachandran Nair (Satguru Hanuman Das), through the Gurukula system. Here he became completely immersed in the healing and martial art by living, learning and working at the Kalari full time for four years.

The Gurukula system is an ancient system of education in India, where the disciple receives the knowledge by taking up residence with the Guru. For Kalaripayattu and Kalari Chikitsa, as with training in any traditional art form in India, understanding and acquiring the knowledge is a long, demanding and rigorous process.

Master Biju has taught Kalaripayattu in India and Australia. He teaches students from a wide range of backgrounds, and all ages and abilities. He is committed to preserving his ancestor’s legacy of Kalaripayattu and sharing it to improve people’s lives.

Kalaripayattu class times

Tuesdays
Online Beginner – 7pm

Wednesdays
Online Intermediate – 7pm

Thursdays
Online New Students – 6pm
Online Advanced – 7pm

Saturdays
All levels in the hall – 8.30am – 10am

Kalaripayattu class location

108 Granadilla Street, MacGregor
Brisbane
(In the hall next to DM Henderson Park)

Free trial class

Scroll to the bottom of the page to sign up for your free trial class.

Questions about Kalaripayattu training answered

Who learns Kalaripayattu at your school?
Everyone is welcome to learn Kalaripayattu at our school. Our students are adults, children, families, yoga practitioners, uni students, dancers, fitness enthusiasts, health professionals, office workers, engineers etc.
Why do they learn Kalaripayattu?
Students are attracted to this ancient warrior tradition for different reasons. Some practice because they want to improve their overall fitness through disciplined physical and mental training. Others because they are interested in India’s culture or traditional art forms. Some students are initially attracted to the body movements which are described as graceful, powerful, rhythmic, fluid and grounded. Others have done some research into the history of Kalaripayattu and wish to explore it further. Parents also bring their children to encourage self-discipline, confidence and a focused mind.

Regardless of what brings students to this learning path, they will discover the true depth of this martial art as they pass through the different stages of training.

What's involved in the training?

We work on developing the body and mind through a powerful flowing practice.

Each class is one and a half hours long, and depending on the stage you are at can include:

warm up, kicks, postures, footwork patterns, stances, jumps and leaps, leg swings, dynamic movement sequences, weapons training, advanced techniques, pranayama and meditation.

Classes take place in a space where an atmosphere for serious training can be maintained. Students are expected to keep focused and attentive at every moment.

There are four extensive stages of training in Kalaripayattu, each building on the skills developed previously.

Meithari – Body preparation training

Kolthari – Wooden weapons training

Angathari – Metal weapons training

Verumkai – Empty hand techniques

Do I need to be fit or flexible to start classes?

No you don’t as Kalaripayattu will make you fit, flexible and much more. It’s a step by step process starting with simple movements, gradually progressing to ones that are more challenging.

Kalaripayattu develops many skills, and you may find some easier than others. Someone who is flexible may struggle with balance. Someone who is strong may struggle with speed. You will come to master your own body as you advance through the system.

What are the benefits?

Kalaripayattu is a rich and challenging process that will improve every facet of your life. It is a comprehensive system that was originally designed to create an expert warrior.

As all Kalaripayattu movements use the full body, every aspect of physical fitness is developed such as strength, flexibility, coordination, speed, agility, balance and stamina. Kalaripayattu creates superb body control, which develops from patience, disciplined training, and focused awareness.

With practice, you learn to still the mind and achieve Ekagrata (single-pointed focus). Confidence, alertness and doubtlessness are achieved. This mindset develops naturally through constant practice. Fear is removed, and you can remain stable and grounded, thus allowing you to confidently face any situation in life.

Do I need to wait for the new term to begin before I join?
Classes are ongoing so you can join anytime during the term. We run our classes during the general school terms as half of our students are school or university students, or parents of school students. If enough students are available during the school holidays, we run additional classes.
What are the minimum and maximum ages for training?
We teach students from eight years old. There is no age limit. You are welcome to come and observe a class first to see if it’s for you.
Are your classes taught by levels?

Classes are open to students of all ages and abilities. Everyone practices together – children, adults, beginners and advanced, just as they do in the traditional Kalaris in Kerala.

Students warm up and go through the movement methods together. Then they are divided into smaller groups where they can work at their own level. Even though they are training within the same training space, they are concentrating on different movements and techniques.

What will I learn in my trial class?

You will start with a warm up, and then be introduced to movement methods such as basic postures, stances, techniques, footwork patterns and movement sequences.

Your trial class is also a small demonstration as you will observe what other students are practising.

Free trial class

To reserve your free trial class, simply call us, or fill out the form below. Bookings are essential as we need to keep numbers limited.

For this term, classes will be a combination of online and offline training.

Saturdays will be a group class in the hall. During the week will be online classes.

New students attending Saturday classes (in the hall) will also be in the beginner’s online class on Thursdays at 6pm.

Select date for free trial class

Australian School of Kalaripayattu is the only place that I know of in Australia that promotes Kalaripayattu and Kalari Chikitsa in its true essence. It’s wonderful that this ancient Indian martial arts practice and healing techniques are being preserved and imparted onto us, as it offers many benefits to the modern life.

I found Kalaripayattu to be a great way to train your strength both physically and mentally. It definitely increases flexibility, balance and endurance.

In addition, being a dancer, I found the Kalari Chikitsa treatment to be very effective in managing a knee injury. It has assisted greatly in managing pain and mobility and has enabled me to continue dancing.

Amutha, Brisbane

Kalaripayattu student & Kalari Chikitsa patient

I’ve enjoyed practising Kalaripayattu for the last two years. It was one of my childhood passions and I am very fortunate to have a teacher like you to teach this ancient martial art. It has helped me to focus my energies, improve my stamina and flexibility.

Thank you for providing such an excellent and effective Ayurvedic massage treatment. I had severe shoulder pain and could not lift my hand comfortably, just a couple of massage sessions and the shoulder pain vanished. I love the authentic Ayurvedic oils and herbs you use for the treatment, your technique is authentic and you are very knowledgeable.”

Rajesh, Brisbane

Kalaripayattu student & Kalari Chikitsa patient

For more information about Kalaripayattu classes or Kalari treatments

Learn more about Kalari treatments

Kalari Marma Massage

Kalari Marma Massage is an ancient south Indian warrior massage specially developed to treat and prevent injuries and pain-related conditions.

Chavutti Thirummal

Chavutti Thirummal is an ancient south Indian warrior massage specially developed to increase flexibility, agility and strength.

Kalari Chikitsa

Traditional Indian Sports Medicine

Kalari Chikitsa is an ancient system of musculoskeletal treatments. Originating in Kerala in Southern India, Kalari Chikitsa was developed to benefit the warriors of Kalaripayattu. 

Kalari Chikitsa as a sports medicine

For the ancient warriors of Kerala, Kalari Chikitsa treatments were of primary importance to survival on the battlefield. Today, whilst no longer on the battlefield, the martial artists still use these treatments to support the strenuous daily training required to master their art.

Why traditional medicine making is part of Kalaripayattu training

Herbal medicine has always been a part of Kalaripayattu, the traditional martial art of Kerala. For a Kalaripayattu student, traditional medicine making is an integral element of their physical and mental training.

Marma in Kalari Chikitsa

At Kalari Ayurveda Centre, marma applications are an important part of our treatments for injuries and pain related conditions. Our method of marma applications comes from the martial arts tradition in Kerala, southern India.

About us

Australian School of Kalaripayattu is dedicated to teaching and sharing the warrior tradition of Kalaripayattu. We aim to impart the true depth of this martial art and preserve the great legacy of Kerala’s warriors.

Kalaripayattu class times

Tuesdays
Online Beginner – 7pm

Wednesdays
Online Intermediate – 7pm

Thursdays
Online New Students – 6pm
Online Advanced – 7pm

Saturdays
All levels in the hall
8.30am – 10am

Kalaripayattu class location

108 Granadilla Street, MacGregor
Brisbane
(In the hall next to DM Henderson Park)

kalari ayurveda centre

About us

Kalari Ayurveda Centre uses the traditional Indian healing systems of Ayurveda and Kalari Chikitsa to effectively treat your aches, pains and injuries.

Location

30-32 Nandala Drive,
Tanah Merah Qld

Martial Arts

Learn Kalaripayattu, the ancient Indian martial art form, at our school in Brisbane.

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