Martial arts mean “arts concerned with the waging of war”. Various Indian Martial arts have originated from various ancient war skills.
Origin of Martial arts in India
- An Indus valley civilization seal shows two men spearing one another in a duel which seems to be centred on a woman. A statue of a spear thrower was also excavated from an Indus Valley site.
- Dhanurveda, a section found in the Vedas (1700 BCE – 1100 BCE) contains references to martial arts
- The Mahabharata tells of fighters armed only with daggers besting lions and describes a prolonged battle between Arjuna and Karna using bows, swords, trees, rocks and fists.
- The oldest recorded organized unarmed fighting art in the Indian subcontinent is Malla-yuddha or combat-wrestling, codified into four forms in the Vedic Period.
- The Charanavyuhaauthored by Shaunaka mentions four upaveda (applied Vedas). Included among them are archery (Dhanurveda) and military sciences (shastrashastra)
- A number of Indian fighting styles remain closely connected to yoga, dance and performing arts
- Written evidence of martial arts in Southern India dates back to the Sangam literature of about the 2nd century BC to the 2nd century AD. The Akananuru and Purananuru describe the use of spears, swords, shields, bows and Silambam in the Sangam era.