Our Story

Kalari – the place of practice and ‘payat’ the techniques of fighting come together as a wholistic system of martial arts and healing in the CVN Kalari, Calicut.

Gopalan Gurukkal, the founder, began his study of kalaripayat for the most practical of reasons. As a young man, he needed to be able to protect what he earned from selling toddy and return home with the money late into the night. He was fortunate to begin his practice with the teachers responsible for upholding and propagating kalaripayat in the 20th century, Kottakal Kanaran Gurukkal and his exemplary disciple, C. V. Narayanan Nair. Thus, Gopalan Gurukkal was part of the first wave of the resurgence and renewed pride in traditional arts all over the country that came with Indian Independence. From nearby Thalassery, he brought kalaripayat to the street which now bears his name in East Hill, Calicut, where he was known for his strictness and insistence on steady practice.

Vijayan Gurukkal, his son, brought the practice to a new generation, perfecting and refining not only the martial arts practice, but advancing the massage and healing techniques for which this kalari has become justly famous. Now in his sixties, his deep knowledge and serene presence form the sustaining spirit of the kalari.

Vikas Gurukkal represents the third generation of kalaripayat with consummate skill and finesse. He continues to practice the form at the highest level, leading students by example with speed, explosive power and sinuous movement. He illuminates the style of kalaripayat embodied in his family for students from all over the world, including France, Canada, the USA, Japan and Korea. His marriage to Sahana, a qualified Ayurvedic doctor, brings her expertise to the health and welfare of all those who attend this kalari.

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