Kalari or Kalaripayattu of ancient India is the world’s oldest martial arts. Infact, it is the mother of all martial arts in the world. Ancient buddhist monks who travelled from India to China to spread buddhism are said to have taught these martial arts to the Chinese.
For instance, one of the buddhist monks Bodhi Dharma who founded the Zen buddhism and is called Chan in China was a Kalarippayattu master himself! From his native Kancheepuram in South Indian state of Tamilnadu, he went to China in 522 AD to the court of Chinese emperor Liang Nuti. He taught Kalarippayattu at the Shaolin monastery to the buddhist monks to defend themselves from the frequent attacks by local bandits and dacoits. It has to be noted that all far eastern martial arts are taught by Buddhist monks. In China it is Kung Fu, Karate. In Japan the Samurai warriors are Zen Buddhists.
The Shaolin temple itself was founded by an Indian Dhyana master Buddhabhadra. On one of the walls of the Shaolin temple a fresco can be seen, showing south Indian dark-skinned monks, teaching the light-skinned Chinese the art of bare-handed fighting. On this painting (see image below) are inscribed: Tenjiku Naranokaku which means: the fighting techniques to train the body (which come) from India.
China-India martial arts masters meet at famed Shaolin Temple
ZHENGZHOU, June 20 (Xinhua) -- Martial arts masters from China and India met Sunday at the Shaolin Temple, which is famed as one of the holy sites of Chinese Kungfu, to commemorate the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries.
Twelve Indian masters the traditional Nithya Chaithanya Kalari Indian martial arts training center, which was founded in 1993 by Murugan Gurakal, performed Indian martial arts called Kalaripayattu on the same stage where monks of the Shaolin Temple performed their Kungfu Sunday morning.
"Shaolin Kungfu is the mother of Chinese martial arts and Kalari is mother of Indian martial arts, " said Murugan Gurakal, chief instructor of the Indian Kalari group.
Murugan Gurakal said he hoped his countrymen could learn a lot from Shaolin Kungfu .
Indian masters performed Kalari, or Kalarippayattu in front of the abbot with techniques including long stick fighting, knife fighting, sword, shield and flexible swords on the platform, which attracted many tourists.
Also, Shaolin monks performed many types of Kungfu including Tung Chi Gong, Er-zhi-zen and "Eighteen Weapons."
Shi Yanhao, a monk who performed Tiger Fist, said, "I am happy to see the mysterious Indian martial arts. Their performance was excellent and they were flexible in their body techniques."
Sino-India martial arts masters meet at famed Shaolin Temple
Book of dead -is from Garud Puran