Mythology credits Saint Parasurama as being the father of Kalaripayattu having learned it form God Shiva himself. Kalaripayattu means the fighting art of the Kalari. In ancient South India the Kalari (yard for practicing Kalaripayattu) was a place of learning for subjects such as medicine, philosophy, astrology, architecture, and geometry, in addition to combat art and yoga.
Another definition is ‘Kalari’ (Battlefield) and ‘Payattu’ (Training in the art of combat). Kalaripayattu includes strikes, kicks, grappling, preset forms, weaponry and healing methods.