Lavanyaa Gladston, under the banner of NeoKalari, has been conducting online classes for the past ten months. She is delighted to see more students signing up for virtual classes. “Kalaripayattu is a graceful martial art and many people are showing interest to learn it,” says Lavanyaa. She has students across ages from 8 years to early 50s, and many of them have been with her from the start of the virtual classes. “Initially, we started the online classes to address the needs of our regular students. But over time, word has been spreading around and we started receiving interest from new learners also. With our experience in training the art, we started crafting the classes, so that students will be able to understand and do the varied movements that the form comprises of,” adds Lavanyaa.
People take up kalari for reasons like fitness, being healthy, martial arts, learning a traditional form, strengthening the body and so on. “It develops awareness keeping the mind focused and alert. Since the classes are virtual, we have students from across the world joining as per their convenient time. We start the sessions with heavy workouts and interesting body sequences followed by bare hand techniques. With students who have been practicing for a few months, we are also starting weapons training. Some might be learning kalari for the first time, and we insist that they gently ease into the form and not injure themselves. Since trainers are not physically present with the students, they have to be careful while doing the movements,” the kalaripayattu instructor remarks.
As a concluding note, Lavanyaa says that kalaripayattu has stood the test of time and effectiveness. “Online is another mode that the form is stepping into. Students getting up early and coming for the morning classes in itself is a habit for development, and keeps them energetic during the day,” she sums up.