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6 traditional Indian Martial Arts that are similar to fencing

India's rich history also includes various sword fighting techniques that are similar to modern-day Fencing


Kalaripayattu-(source iMalayalee News)


C.C. Chengappa

Updated: 20 Jun 2021 12:17 PM GMT

Fencing in India might not be all that popular given that the sport has been ignored for so long. THere are multiple martial art and traditional sport forms that do come within the mabit of sword fighting and are similar to fencing in terms of the demands made on the human mind and body. We take a look at a few famous Indian martial art forms that are similar to fencing.

1) Kalaripayattu

It is considered as one of the oldest forms of martial art around the world and has been developed around both mental and physical energies of combat. It is extremely scientific in the way it is taught and involves a lot more than just a sword fighting duel. The aim is to synchronize the mind and the body while using weapons such as daggers, arrows, swords etc. The main usage is in a one-on-one hand to hand combat which requires agility, flexibility and coordination.

2) Gatka

The famous fighters of Punjab belonging to the Nihang community are masters of this art. It involves a heavy dose of self-empowerment and is not just a form of self-defence. It is associated with strength and spirituality which was also emphasised on by Guru Gobind Singh during the era of the Mughals. These days it is more of a sport and is often performed as a competitive event at festivals where two swordsmen face off against each other with either sticks or a sword and a shield.


3)Thang Tha

The Manipuri sword fighting technique literally translates into 'sword and spear'. It involves rituals, demonstrations and the final aspect of combat which involves fighting with swords and spears. War dancing is also a common feature which is associated with the entire set of rituals that are conducted with various modes of combat. The sword is the most visible weapon which is used to perform several drills. Most recently, it was scheduled to be featured at the Khelo India youth games 2021.

Thang Tha(source - The Imphal Story)

4) Mardani Khel

The form of hand-to-hand combat first originated in Maharashtra in the 16th-17th century. It was a form of resistance to counter the Mughals who were invaders at that time. It involves the use of short and heavy spears, axes, shields, daggers and various kinds of knives. It evolved as a counter to the invading Mughals as a form of guerrilla warfare involving individuals trained in sword fighting and one on one combat.

5) Silambam

The technique of fighting or fencing with long staffs has its roots in Tamil Nadu. It was brought about and developed the during the famous Chola, Chera and Pandya dynasties. It gradually evolved into more than just a technique of self defence with historical evidence of armour, swords and shields also being used.

Silambam(source - Perks Sports Academy)

6) Pari Khanda

This was developed by the Rajputs and is a form of sword fighting that is still practiced in Bihar ot this day. It even incorporates elements of dance as part of its routine.

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