Kalaripayattu demonstration in schools is sure to attract some takers for this ancient martial arts form.

“This looks very difficult and it seems most of them are already frightened seeing the sword and kicks,” said Std IX student M.H Swathi pointing to her juniors, some of whom were flinching away when ever the performer’s swords clashed with each other.

At the “Health and Self-Confidence through Kalaripayattu”, a Kalaripayattu martial art form demonstration session conducted by the 12-member team of Travancore School of Kalaripayattu, the crowd could hardly contain its excitement.

Recently, at the Government Girls Higher Secondary School, Manacud, where this year’s first demonstration session was held, the crowd clapped, cheered and sometimes shrieked as the team began their locks, holds and fights using sword and shield.

If it’s not aerobics and karate classes, which the school has been promoting, the students can now choose to go the traditional way with this ancient martial art.

The project was sanctioned by the Public Education Department last year under which the team could conduct a one-time demonstration in schools. Last year, such sessions were conducted in 10 schools.

While the half-an-hour session was thoroughly entertaining, a few were doubtful of taking up the art form. But secretary and group leader of the martial art school, G. Radhakrishnan assures that the students will be taught only Meippayattu (body flexible techniques) and Kuruvadippayyatu (short staff fight).

“The training in dangerous weapons is taught only after a few years into it. There has been a good response from school students. Many approached us last year but are doubtful of finding enough time for daily practice,” he said.

This year, the team decided to allow the students to choose their own timings and suitable days to practise at their centre. School’s physical trainer L.B Mabel also agrees that such flexible timings will help the students and also ease the concern of the parents, who do not want their child to compromise on the tuitions and study time.

“Though many had joined the karate and aerobics classes, only a few were willing to dedicate time and effort to purse it further. If the classes are conducted with options for flexible timings, many more will be interested,” said Ms. Mabel. Akhila L. Kumar who has trained in karate for three years assured her friends that all the martial arts work on the same basic defence mechanism.

“Learning a martial art is useful. We are hearing a lot of incidents nowadays about assault on girls and it will be helpful in such situations if we are trained in some martial art form,” she added.