A master’s martial movement
Silambam is a combination of martial art and sport, which was once practised with 36 weapons including stick, surul vaal, kathi, maan kombu, etc. Out of these only 20 weapons are used now.
CHENNAI: Rathiraja Segar has spent more than half his life wielding the stick — his weapon of choice. At 36, he is a master of silambam, who enjoys imparting the knowledge of ancient martial art to the younger generation.
“It gives you good health, discipline and opens up avenues for a proper lifestyle,” he says. Rathiraja began learning silamabam from his grandfather at the age of 10. Now, he runs his own silambam academy called Veeraparambarai Silambalayam at Vadakarai in Red Hills, solely for taking this martial art form to the youngsters.
Around 50 students get trained at the academy that is run out of Government ADW Boys Higher Secondary School. Rathiraja offers training free of cost, accepting money only if someone is willing to pay him. Most of them are from economically backward families and participating in silambam competitions and other events takes them to different places, giving them the much needed exposure. Recently, two students from the academy received the CM Trophy in silambam. Rathiraja’s senior students Nirmalraj and Jacinth Newton assist him in training.
Silambam is a combination of martial art and sport, which was once practised with 36 weapons including stick, surul vaal, kathi, maan kombu, etc. Out of these only 20 weapons are used now. The fact that some of the props are soon being forgotten calls for attention towards silambam.Speaking to CE, Rathiraja says, “Practising silambam with natural sticks (pirambu, moongil), metal (vaal), and fire, one can balance their doshas (vata, pitta and kapha) and in turn gain good health.”