The star of one of the recent viral posts on Facebook is 76-year-old Meenakshiamma from Vatakara, Kerala. She teaches the ancient Indian martial art form Kalaripayattu. In the video, she takes on a man half her age, with no signs of slowing down. Using both offensive and defensive tactics, she tackles him brilliantly. Watch the video here.
According to a report, Meenakshi Gurukkal — as female teachers are addressed in Malayalam — has been involved with Kalaripayattu for the past 66 years at Kadathanadan Kalari Sangam. She has been resonsible for training hundreds of students, many of whom are now teachers themselves. Kalaripayattu is a demanding exercise and requires utmost devotion, discipline and commitment. It also explains her fitness, flexibility and strength at her age. Meenakshiamma is humble about her skills and has vowed to practise Kalaripayattu — which she considers her true calling in life — for as long as he can.
The Internet, meanwhile, has gone gaga over her skills. After all, how many youngsters can claim to do what she displayed in the video? One Facebook user commented, “So happy to see that kalaripayattu is regaining it’s long lost glory. There used to be a time in ancient Kerala, when kalaripayattu training was imparted compulsorily to all. I hope one day the lawmakers in Kerala realize the importance of the same these days and start kalaripayattu training as a part of physical education in the schools.”
Another commented, “Wow! Impressive, a fit lady to be reckoned with. We all need to follow suit.” After much debate about women’s safety and need for self-defence education, one user brought the focus back on Meenakshiamma and commented, “Wow! Amazed that a video about martial arts (self empowerment) becomes a debate about how men should treat women…..as if women’s desire to learn the martial arts only implies that the society at large is violent or disdainful towards women!!!! Seriously people! I would cheer her on like a champ!!! Give me a skirt and some pomp pomps!!!! I’ll be her cheerleader!!!”
At the time of writing, the video has already crossed the 12-lakh-views mark.