The Creative Art of Defence

Ganapathy Murugesan combines silambam, kalari, yoga and elements of theatre to give students scope to create, rather than conform to the conventional structural patterns of any given style

Published: 04th May 2015 06:03 AM  |   Last Updated: 04th May 2015 06:03 AM   |  A+A-


Ever heard of a silambam-kalari-yoga cocktail? Ganapathy Murugesan likes to call it ‘Creative Martial Arts.’  The reason he says is that this form has an urge to ‘create,’ rather than to give form to a separate style.  And with wife Kasturi Goswami, a theatre artiste and yoga teacher by his side — it all comes together, pooling in elements of the dramatic.

defence1.jpgThe need to understand more about the self took him to these new pastures, and when we ask him why One is curious to understand why these three forms were chosen in particular, he responds, “Yoga is the base of all, as it has a steady flow with systematic breathing processes such as inhaling and exhaling, while at the same time, evolving from nature.”

He proceeds, “Kalari does not have any means of imitation and it uses animal forms. How a human being takes on the movements of an animal, keeping the essence of the animal becomes important in kalari. Silambam is characterised by the beautiful flow of movements with grace. There are natural openings and closure of the body in each movements.”  Through these movements, going to different extremes, both physically and mentally becomes possible, he says.

As we watch the demonstrations of this combined martial arts form by Ganapathy and Kasturi, we are amazed to see how they complement each other.

Having learnt yoga in Krishnamachari tradition, Ganapathy sought to understand how to apply his lessons on a yoga mat in real life situations. “There has to be a wholesomeness of thought, feeling and action in order to understand the warrior inside you,” he shares with us philosophically.

The art full of turns and twists, coupled with an effective treatment of navarasas, preaches that all emotions have to be given equal importance and acknowledging one’s fear will help one understand what he or she becomes after experiencing the feeling.

Kasturi gives us a woman’s perspective of how Creative Martial Arts is useful. “If you are being attacked,” she says, “it is not important to show what forms you know and it need not be an exhibition of your power. It is important to surprise your opponent and save oneself.”

She adds, “In Western art forms, the person first thinks and then acts according to the situation he or she is in. However in most of the indigenous martial art forms, the movements are made in such way that it comes automatically from within the body, without the need for thought processes to be registered in your brain.”

Incidentally, Ganapathy has also had a tryst with acting in short films such as Sumi, at the Cannes Festival, as well as his short film Kandavaparvam being screened at international film festivals. While Ganapathy has been part of Koothu P Pattarai group and now trains actors, Kasturi has been part of the Nandikar theatre group from Kolkata and has been part of Short+Sweet festival, wherein she credited with the Best Actress Award.

Ganapathy hopes to help his students use this mix of martial arts and theatre to prepare themselves for tough turf in real life.

Ganapathy trains Creative Martial Arts at Fitness Dojo at Kamdar Nagar, Nungambakkam.

Stay up to date on all the latest Chennai news with The New Indian Express App. Download now
(Get the news that matters from New Indian Express on WhatsApp. Click this link and hit 'Click to Subscribe'. Follow the instructions after that.)


Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp