Belraj Soni is a differently accomplished and talented artist/demonstrator/trainer and organizer of traditional art forms of Kerala. Young, enthusiastic and committed, has undergone rigorous training in this art from one of the well known kalaris in Kerala and has been practicing for the last 30yrs. Started first vocational training under GURU C. S. MENON (UNNIGURUKKAL) Vallabhatta Kalari Sangham, Chavakkad. After a period of training session continued vocational training, body massaging course and updating new skills in kalaripayattu from Late C..VISWANATHAN Gurukkal Vallabhata Kalari Academy, Malapuram.
• University champion in Kalaripayattu 1990-91 • Kerala State Group Champion • Founder of Navaneetham Cultural Trust, a renowned cultural organization
• Kalaripayattu coach at Somaiya College Vidyavihar, from 2012 till date • Instructor of Kalaripayattu at Jawahar Balbhavan, Trichur, Kerala, including holiday camps from 1994 to date • Instructor at Vallabhatta Kalari Sangham, Tripunithura, Ernakulam- 1991 to 1994 • Guest instructor at Natakayogam, Pangode, Thiruvananthapuram • One week training programme school of Fine Arts, Ahmedabad in 2004 • Updating skills in the process during the last 30 years
• Presented Kalaripayattu at Bharatheeyam celebrations at New Delhi in 1989 • Bharatholsavam at Palaghat • Yuvajana Mela conducted by Kerala State Youth Welfare Board in 1989 • South Indian History congress organized by University of Calicut in 1991 • Ottakole form at Martial Arts Festival as part of Indira Gandhi Boat Race and Tourism Fair in 1992 • Specialised sword and shield form at Kerala Kalaripayattu festival organized by Directorate of Youth Affairs , Government of Kerala, at Nisha Gandhi Auditorium, Trivandrum in 1993 • All India National Integration Camp as an item in InterState Youth Folk Art Festival in Malappuram, Kerala in 1994 • Sadbhavana Fortnight celebrations conducted jointly by District youth welfare committee and Nehru Yuwak Kendra in 1994 • South Asia Fraternity Camp at Ludhiana, Punjab in November 2001
• Conducted ten days workshop on Kalaripayattu for Tribal students at Kanavu, (Gurukulam) Panamaram, Wyanad in 1996 • Conducted ten days workshop on Kalaripayattu and classical dance form in July 2001 • Organized ‘Harana kavacham’, a melodrama blending art forms of Kerala with Kalaripayattu in October 2001 • Conducted ten days workshop for school students in November 2001 • As organizing Secretary of Navaneetham Trust, organized and conducted a number of programmes in dance forms and cultural exchange programmes during the last six years • Conducted seven days workshop at “Diksha Manjari” Dona Ganguly’s dance school) at Kolkata in February 2006 • Conducted kalaripayattu workshop for 10days in Mumbai 2008,2009
Kerala is a beautiful stretch of land in the southernmost part of India, entitled as ‘Gods own country’ in the tourism map of the land. The state of Kerala has made rich and varied contributions to the world of which the topmost are Kathakali and Kalarippayattu.
Kalarippayattu is the age-old physical cum-martial art of kerala. There is no other ancient martial practice in the country to compete with its training system and application techniques, compiled by the Great Gurus or Masters of the land. Kalarippayattu is a rare combination of martial training, physical culture, self- defence practice and physiotherapic treatment. It has a high reputation as an art with highly developed body language and expression.
'Kalari' originates from the Sanskrit world "Khaloorika which means the place/space where kalarippayattu is practiced and it is taught in the traditional Gurukula system where students stay with their guru from their childhood and undergo training until they become experts. The Kalari will be kept like a temple and the space has to be respected though there are no restrictions of religion, cast or sex to get trained in kalarippayattu. The class will open with the lighting of Bhadradeepam (The Holy Lamp) and the blowing of the divine conch.
Kalarippayattu lies in the principles and practices of Ayurveda, Dhanurveda and Yoga. The main elements of Kalaripayatt include training in physical culture, armed and unarmed combat, breath control, higher forms of meditation and specific classes of treatments.
Jambuvan mura and Bali Mura are first-rated examples of excellence in unarmed combat. The legend is that Parasurama (picture parasurama), an avathar of Lord Maha Vishnu, and the disciple of Lord Siva, is the creator of Kerala and the founder of Kalarippayattu. Kalarippayattu is a concept of developing oneself to become a perfect individual. This training helps them to face everything in life with confidence. But this should not be abused under any circumstances other than self defence.
Classical and folk-arts like kathakali, koodiyattam, theyyam, thira and contemporary theatre have incorporated this martial system in movements and body compositions to highlight and create various expressions on stage.
The seven sacred steps in the southwest corner (Kannimoola) of the Kalari are called poothara. Poothara pranamam is an important and foremost feature in Kalari
1. improve blood circulation and muscle functions
2. strengthen muscles and promote its flexibility
3. improve self confidence and mental agility
4. augment body balance and physical fitness
5. improve the sportiveness
6. achieve self reliance
Designed in a special sequence. It gives control and flexibility to the body and is a peculiar combination of Vativu (specially designed poses) and Chuvadu (basic foot positions and movements). Before training in Meithari students are taught various exercises like Nerkal, Veethukal, Konkal,Thirichukal, Iruthikal and Pakarchakal. In ten different exercises the students develop special grip to the floor with his toes. It also gives proper orientation to the body balance, suppleness and flexibility.
Meithari, if regularly practiced gives controlled, flexible and graceful movements of the body along with power, flexibility and stamina. It naturally helps to develop Pranayama or breath control and enables the practitioner to achieve the softness of cat and fastness of Antelope, in action. The reflex of the body reaches its highest degree so that the artist can easily evade the attack of enemies.
After achieving a satisfactory level of perfection in the performance of Meithari, the student will be initiated into training of kolthari or fight with wooden weapons. There are mainly four types of wooden weapons used in the kalari - Kettukari, Muchan, Otta and Gada.
Lessons of metal Weapons) The next stage of kalari training is Ankathari or practice of Metal Weapons. It involves combat training in weapons like Kattaram (Dagger),Kuntham (Speal), Val and paricha (sword and shield) and Urummi (A long flexible sword).
This is the fourth stage of Kalari training. A vast set of Piduthangal (Locks) and throws are combined with knuckle and elbow hits directed at Marmas or vital points of the opponents body is the peculiarity of this system. By this method one can disable the enemy completely.
Usually, knowledge of this kind is not passed indiscriminately to any student but only to those with a disciplined life who guarantees that the knowledge will not be misused.
Teaching of Marmam or vital spots is the secret and last training part of Kalari practice. It is kept secret due to its fatal nature and will be divulged to well disciplined and dedicated disciples only. The word Marmam is derived from Sanskrit words Mrung or marane. Marane means death were as Mrung means closed to death.
Kalari Chikilsa is a form of treatment developed for injuries that occur during the training and practice. Massaging with hands and massaging with feet using medicated oils are the main process of Kalari Chikilsa. This is mainly meant for settings of broken and management of wounds and ache. Marma Chikilsa is an allied form of treatment developed by great Gurus for the injuries on vital points. This type of Marma Chikilsa relieves injuries on vital points very fast and it is one of the most accepted type of treatment for vital spots.
Ulsathana (foot massages) and Samavahana (hand massage) treatments are purely based on susrutha and vagbhada achariyas (two sages) method mentioned in the Ayurvedic Grandhas (palm leaf-inscriptions that contain the assembled knowledge of the ancestors in the Kalari's).This system is over and above the Bali and Jambuvan (The two epic figures of Mahabharatha known for a science in which they used massages)
Uzhichil (complete body massage) is done by applying medicated oil to attain a healthy constitution, body flexibility and proper blood circulation. This treatment also helps to cure many physical aliments. Foot massage is done using feet while holding on to one rope. The ropes help him to control his own balance and the pressure of the strokes.
Roots , herbs or leaves will be put in a cloth. "Geedrenkt" in heated oil after which the specific spot will be treated. Swellings, blood clotting or rheumatic diseases are treated by this technique.
Conducted by Belraj Soni
For the first time in Chennai
SAPTHAM(Fine Arts Club of Anna University) in association with Navaneetham Cultural Trust
January 7th to January 13th, 2017
Timing: 6.30 am to 8 am
4.30 pm to 6 pm
6.30 pm to 8 pm
Venue: Anna University Campus
Contact: 9500008794, 9094413141
3rd Floor, Unicorn Studios
Crescent Royal, Off Link Road
Behind China One, Andheri (w)
Tuesday and Thursday
6.30 am to 7.30 am
Somaiya College Vidyavihar(E), Mumbai
Monday, Wednesday, Friday
6.00 am To 8.00 am
IIT Bombay Powai
Monday, Wednesday, Friday
6.30 to 8.30 pm
Tuesday & Thursday
4.00 pm to 5.30 pm and 6.00 pm to 7.30 pm
Manohar Mangal Karyalay,
Near Mhatre Bridge, Erandwane, Pune
Contact: Shraddha 988-11 4-8850