Image by Katy Morrison, via Wide Angle magazine.
A friend sent me a link to this school for an ancient Sri Lankan martial art – Angampora. I’d heard of it but lost track. It looks like they have an established school in Nugegoda, and a decent website. It seems very interesting. The practice was banned under the British, but it survived. Today a few people preserve and teach it (to the worthy), swearing by the Lord Buddha and Ravana to use their power for good.
They linked to a PDF from Wide Angle magazine. It had some amazing quotes:
“If you watch the Kandyan dancing, you can see that they protected our fighting moves,” says Denzil. “The dance of the peacock, the dance of the python and so on – the movements look like a dance, but if you watch their hands, you can see that they are actually going to vulnerable points. The same with the way the drummers use the sticks.”
“Search around the world – if you can find it, let me know – but there isn’t another martial art that teaches you how to kill someone using a newspaper,” he grins. “If you know it well enough you can use anything as a deadly weapon. This is the superiority of angam pora.”
It sounds a bit like Krav Maga, the Israeli martial art, in that it focuses on ending fights fast, usually lethally. It seems to differ, however, in that there is meditation before and after, and – at the highest levels – the training is restricted to people that won’t use it for ill.
You are required to learn to defend yourself against harm others would inflict on you. You do not learn Angam kalawa with the intention of inflicting harm to others. Your daily practicing should commence and end after meditating. In meditation you are required to focus on learning the art without injuring you or any others who will help you to learn the techniques. (Technique)
Fascinating really. I did kick-boxing for a while, but that effort has waned now that my partner is on some global youth cruise/jihadi boat. The number for Master Karunapala is +94 11 5051770 or 5051793. I might give Sir a call.