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A mission to popularise Kalaripayattu

Thrissur Bureau
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Full of poise: Belraj Soni at a Kalaripayattu workshop in Thrissur. — Photo: By special arrangement
Full of poise: Belraj Soni at a Kalaripayattu workshop in Thrissur. — Photo: By special arrangement

A workshop on Kalaripayattu is being held here by the Kalabharathi Foundation for Indian Culture and Heritage.

The workshop, led by Belraj Soni, introduces participants to the basic movements in Kalaripayattu, breathing exercises and methods to increase the flexibility of the body.

“Most of my students are dancers, actors, theatre artistes and sportspersons. Some of them incorporate Kalari movements into their practice,” said Mr. Soni.

An instructor of Vadakkan Kalaripayattu for 29 years, Belraj wants to popularise the martial art form.

“I have conducted several intensive workshops in different parts of the country. The National Centre for Performing Arts, Mumbai, hosted one recently,” he said.

Kalaripayattu has complex movements. But Mr. Soni maintained that it was one of the easiest martial art forms to learn.

“All you need is a determined mind,” he said.

Kalaripayattu, according to experts, boosts stamina, strengthens the immune system, bestows greater power of concentration, self control, enhances posture and muscle tone and helps improve blood circulation.

Minu Sunderlal, a participant, said that she joined the workshop to make her body more flexible. “I am a dancer and Kalari movements will help my dance.”

Mr. Soni said it was ironical that foreign martial art forms were more popular among the youth than the indigenous Kalaripayattu. “If only they knew the demand for Kalaripayattu teachers outside Kerala. “I am persuading the NCPA to introduce a four-year certificate course in Kalaripayattu,” he said. He is currently a Kalaripayattu instructor with the NCPA and Somaiya College, Ghatkopar.

The workshop will conclude on June 25.

An instructor of Vadakkan Kalaripayattu for 29 years, Belraj Soni says it is one of the easiest martial art forms to learn.

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