INDIAN MARTIAL ART (SILAMBATAM)
The Indian Martial Art of “SILAMBATAM” dates back to some 2,000 years. Its origination is still a mystery even to the historians. However, there is no doubt that it originated from South India. This art was a secret for many years as the Grand Masters kept them to themselves. Eventually, as the years passed-by, when these masters at certain times had to defend themselves from evil group’s attack, used it to the surprise of their attackers and defeated them. Only then it came to light.
Then, slowly these Grand Masters came out of their shell to accept students, and started to teach their various methods. But, in accepting their students, they were very careful in their selections. This was necessary, so that the art is not learned by some hasty personnel for the purpose of self-gain. Such being the case, the masters made the students take vows and tests. One of the vows is that it should only be used to defend oneself but not to harm anyone unnecessarily. Though some fine points of this art were kept secret, it was taught widely.
In the art of ‘SILAMBATAM’ there are different movements named after the Grand Masters. The steps, the movements, attacking and defending methods differs with each individual masters. Here are some various names, such as IYANGAR VARUSAI ; KALA KUTHU; KURA VANJI; KARNADAGAM; PANCHA VARNAM and many more.
Singapore being a multi-national country, all kinds of Martial Arts are being taught by various nationals. In the olden days ‘SILAMBATAM’ was quite active and learned by many. Later it became unpopular. Being inline with all other Martial Arts, we are now trying to spread this ancient old art amongst our young generation, as part of our Cultural Heritage to be remembered. We appeal to all concern, in promoting this art.
MR. PAKRI MOHAMED (GURU)
He is a master of all Indian Martial Arts. Originally he acquired these skills in South India from the 1st students of the Grand Master Mah Guru Puran Shariff. He started teaching the arts in Singapore in the 50s and the 60s until he went back to his homeland to settle there.
MR. T.N. SAMY (INSTRUCTOR)
In the year 1961, while watching Mr. Pakri Mohamed, during his classes, was invited by him to join his students, Mr. T.N. Samy accepted the invitation half-heartedly and started his training then. As days passed-by Mr. T.N. Samy started to change himself. He became very interested in the art and began to take it seriously. With a determined mind he trained seven days a week from 1961 to 1965 wanting to completely learn whatever available from his master. During these years he mastered the art of stick fencing (Single and Double). Later he continued his training under the watchful eyes of his master for another 2 years mastering the arts of short sticks and madu. After this he furthered his skills to the finer points as he gained the confidence of his master.
In 1974 together with his co-students he had an opportunity for a stage demonstration at the National Martial Arts show held at the then National Theatre. In 1975 with the blessings of his Master Mr. T.N. Samy showed his skills and ability in a documentary movie titled “ASIAN WARRIORS “.
Since, then he has been teaching this art as a fully qualified Instructor. He has conducted class all over Singapore, and a number of students including some Malaysians have learned this art of stick fencing (SELAMBATAM) from him.
Among his well disciplined students are Mr. R. Ganesan (Singapore) and Mr. Ratnam (Malaysia; Seramban). Mr. T.N. Samy is now holding classes at the Singapore Tamil Movement, and is also expanding it to some Community Centres.
Mr. T.N. Samy is one of the early members of the Singapore Martial Art Instructors Association which was found in 1980.