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Kalarippayattu is an ancient martial art that has its origins in the Kerala area of Southern India, and can be traced back to the Vedic period.

Relationship to Shaolin

Although the art of Kalarippayattu is itself not well known outside of India, legend has it that around 525 AD the Indian Buddhist monk Bodhidharma traveled to China and the Shaolin Temple. Upon finding the monks weak and listless, Bodhidharama taught them the Eighteen Hands of Buddha, which later became known as the 18 Lohan Hands. This was a specialized set of exercises derived from the eighteen adavukal (adavu = technique) that form the basis of the Vadakkan, the northern style of Kalarippayattu, the introduction of which had a profound effect on the martial arts of China, Shaolin Kung Fu in particular.