Silambam Song & Book
Silambam SongClick to listen
Silambam Rule BookClick to Open
We take pride in introducing your good selves to the Ancient Martial Art of Silambam. The art was patronized by the ancient Chola, Chera and Pandya kings of South India during the Sangam period. The Maravar pada of Travancore kings used silambam in their warfare against enemies. Silambam tactics were frequently used during ancient times for self-defence by Tamils, Marathas, Rajputs and Mohals. Chatrapati Shri Shivaji Maharaj taught tactics for his soldiers. Many Southeast Asian martial arts were influenced by Silambam.
Silambam is an Old Martial Art. It is a defensive and offensive game, up to the entry of British it was used as weapon in war. British banned it. After Independence we revived the game.
Silappadikkaram a Tamil Sangam literature of 2nd century vividly describes Silambam. It refers to the sale of Silamabam staves, swords, pearls and armor to foreign traders. The ancient trading centre at the city of Madurai was renowned globally and said to be thronged by Romans, Greeks, and Egyptians among others who had regular sea trade with the Tamil kingdoms. The bamboo staff, one of the first weapons used in Indian martial arts, was in great demand with the visitors.
The soldiers of King Veerapandiya Kattabomman (1760–1799) relied mainly on their Silambam prowess in their warfare. Some records trace the origin of this art to a divine source – Lord Muruga, and within the Tamil mythological framework,Sage Agasthya is also credited with the genesis of Silambam. The word silambam refers to the bamboo staff which is the main weapon used in this style. There are numerous sub-sects in silambam like nagam-16 (cobra-16), kallapathu (thieves ten), kidamuttu (goat head butting), kuravanchi, kalyanavarisai (similar to quarterstaff), thulukkanam, and so on. Each is unique and may differ from one another in grip, posture, foot work, method of attack, length of the stick, movement of the stick etc.
The word silambam refers to the bamboo staff which is the main weapon used in this style. There are numerous sub-sects in silambam like nagam-16 (cobra-16), kallapathu (thieves ten), kidamuttu (goat head butting), kuravanchi, kalyanavarisai (similar to quarterstaff), thulukkanam, and so on. Each is unique and may differ from one another in grip, posture, foot work, method of attack, length of the stick, movement of the stick etc.
Ancient contact between Tamil Nadu and Southeast Asia brought Silambam to the Malay Peninsula during which time the word Silambam came to refer to the art as well as the weapon. Many Southeast Asian martial arts were influenced by Silambam including silat and krabi krabong.
An expert Silambam stylist will be familiar with varma ati (pressure-point fighting) and knows where to strike anywhere in the body to produce fatal or crippling effects by the least use of power. In one-on-one combat an expert would just slide his stick to opponent’s wrist many times during combat. The opponent may not notice this in the heat of battle until they feel a sudden pain in the wrist and throw the stick automatically without knowing what hit them. When two experts match against each other one may challenge the other that he will hit his big toe. Hitting the big toe can produce crippling effects on the fighter, making them abandon the fight. This is called solli adithal which means “challenging and successfully hitting”.
The state of Tamil Nadu is considered to be the cradle of modern and scientific staff fencing, popularly known in Tamil as Silambam. The use of the long staff for self – defence or mock – fighting was a highly organised game in the state as early as the 1st and 2nd centuries A.D. In the Vedic age, young men were imparted training to defend themselves with staves, both as a ritual and an emergency. The staves wielded by ace fencers were given distinctive names, and treated with reverence.
The length of the staff depends on the height of the practitioner. It should just touch the forehead about three fingers from the head, although different lengths are used in different situations. It usually measures roughly 1.68 meters (five and a half feet). The 3 feet stick called sedikutchi can be easily concealed. Separate practice is needed for staffs of different lengths. The usual stance includes holding the staff at one end, right hand close to the back, left hand about 40 centimetres (16 inches) away. This position allows a wide array of stick and body movements, including complex attacks and blocks.
There are proven historical records which throw ample light on the fact that almost all the countries in the world practice Silambam (Stick Fencing) in some form or the other. Although it goes by different names in different states in India, Silambam Fencing justly qualifies to be called an Oriental Martial Sport. In an era of sedentary life style and desk bound work situations, Silambam, with its multitude applications, has rightly become an art of self-defence for both men and women alike. Endowed with eye catching swirls, swift movements and exciting maneuvers, it has developed into a highly skillful and technical sport fit enough for conducting competitions.
Now this game is practiced by school and college students in a big way. This will inculcate discipline, proper frame of mind and behavior among.
Tamil Nadu Government has started evincing keen interest to develop this art and has included it in sports list for the Technical Studies (ie., Medical, Engineering, Law, Agriculture etc.,). Silambam Fencing has been introduced successfully as an “Introductory Game” in the “VII S.A.F Games” held at Chennai during the year 1995.
In Tamil Nadu at ,“Tamil Nadu Physical Education and Sports University”, Melakottaiyur, Chennai, PG Diploma, Diploma and Certificate courses are offered for Silambam Sport.
To promote and propagate such a culturally rich art form, tournaments are being conducted in various levels (i.e. District, Divisional, Zonal, State, National, Asia Level, Inter-National) and also catering to special segments (i.e. Women’s Meet, Children’s Meet, Educational Meet etc). for U 14, U 17 and U 19 (Sub-Junior, Junior, Senior) age categories for both men and women by us.
The enthusiasm shown by youngsters to learn this art is also on a rise in the recent years, not just in rural areas but also in cities.
“Silambam” is a good physical exercise. It not only enhances your physical fitness but also helps in promoting friendship and teaches a person patience, self-discipline and politeness, and encourages love towards fellow humans,” Though women have begun to come out of the closet, not many happen to be from the middle-class section of society. Mostly the upper-class women in urban areas are aware of their rights and asserting their individuality. A middle-class woman perhaps still fears social backlash or is afraid of losing family support. Nonetheless, the Indian woman has taken up multiple roles as an entrepreneur or an entertainer, as a leader or an employee. Thus, the women who learn Silambam art can develop self-confidence, courage…
Indian Silambam Federation was formed in the year 1993 and registered under societies act in the year 1997 (Registration No, 52 / 1997). Tamil Nadu Silambattam Association was formed in the year 1980 to propagate and popularize the Silambam as Game / Sport with well-defined Rules and Regulations.