Kalaripayattu (pronounced as kalarippayatt) is a martial art, which originated as a style in Kerala, southern India (North Malabar). The word Kalari first appears in the Tamil Sangam literature to describe both a battlefield and combat arena. The word kalari tatt denotes denoted a martial arts feat, while kalari kozhai meant a coward in war. Each warrior in the sangam era received regular military training. It is considered to be one of the oldest surviving fighting systems still in existence in the world. It was originally practiced in northern and central parts of Kerala and southern parts of Tamil Nadu.
Kalaripayattu has three variants, which are distinguished by their attacking and defensive pattern.