When you think of heroic games in Tamilnadu the first one
that strikes your memory is "SILAMBAM"
A kind of martial art where your weapon is a long
stick.. Right from the SANGHA period the Tamil kings have
patronised. Even in Thiruvilayadal Puranam there are mention
game in it. One of the ancient medical journal Pathartha Sindhamani talks about its ability to heal
ailments and also adds that regular practice makes one
physically strong. Footwork is the hallmark of this game.
Every step has its own name and significance to it. Many of
the movements resemble those found in Bharatha Natyam dance.
In the advance version of Silambam sharp weapons like knife,
spear and many other arms also used. Even wars have been
fought with warriors resorting to Silambam as the main form
There were no formal schools to teach Silambam. Only the
traditional 'Guru-Sisya parambara' method was followed
whereby the teacher passed his knowledge to his disciple and
this continued like a chain unbroken. Later there was an
institute to teach Silambam was established at Vellore Fort
and several others cropped in the Southern parts of
Tamilnadu only to vanish due to lack of patronage. But even
now no temple festival passes-off without the enthralling
display of Silambam in its finer form.
Thanks to the initiative by Y.M.C.A. boxing enjoys
certain amount of popularity in and around Chennai. Some
private clubs also followed suit but did not last long.
Another heroic sport that is unique to Tamilnadu is what
is known as 'Manju-Virattu' OR 'Jallikattu'. It is not
'Bull-fighting' as in Spain but kind of Bull chasing and
capturing. It has proved fatal many a time but still enjoys
immense popularity among rural youth in South Tamilnadu. The
one held at Alanganallur in Madurai area attracts tourists
throughout the world.