Reviving Tradition: Karrasamu Returns to Andhra Pradesh’s Martial Arts Scene

Experience the revival of the traditional martial art of karrasamu in Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh, as coach BA Lakshman Dev breathes new life into this ancient combat practice. Discover the discipline, the grace, and the cultural heritage that define this unique form of stick fencing.

The Resurgence of Karrasamu

At VMRDA Central Park, the air crackles with energy as a diverse group of practitioners wields sticks with precision and grace. Led by Coach BA Lakshman Dev of Baldev’s Indian Traditional Martial Arts, over 50 individuals ranging from five to 60 years old gather each morning to hone their skills in karrasamu. This traditional martial art, once on the brink of obscurity, has experienced a renaissance in Visakhapatnam under Lakshman’s tutelage.

A Legacy of Excellence

For over 15 years, Lakshman has trained countless students in the art of karrasamu, producing national-level champions and igniting a passion for the sport across the coastal city. A third-generation practitioner, Lakshman attributes the sport’s growing popularity to its ability to enhance flexibility, focus, and overall fitness at any age. He envisions a future where traditional combat sports like karrasamu are integrated into school curriculums to preserve cultural identity and inspire the next generation.

Unveiling the Origins

Karrasamu, with roots dating back centuries in Andhra Pradesh, emerged as a means of self-defense against theft and robbery in rural villages. The term ‘karra’ signifies stick, while ‘samu’ denotes combat, encapsulating the essence of this martial art form.

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The Way of Karrasamu

Beyond self-defense, karrasamu is a holistic lifestyle that instills discipline, concentration, and self-control in its practitioners. Women, drawn to the sport for its empowering qualities, find themselves transformed by its physical and mental challenges. P Sudha, a national silver medalist, attests to the confidence and vitality gained through her karrasamu journey at Baldev’s Indian Traditional Martial Arts.

Impact beyond the Arena

For students like B Mahalakshmi and S Narayana, karrasamu transcends mere physical training, enhancing concentration, strength, and providing a meditative escape in the bustling city. Lakshman’s introduction of other traditional martial arts forms, such as Gatka and Silambam, adds layers of cultural richness to the martial arts landscape in Visakhapatnam.

Challenges and Recognition

Despite its enduring legacy and the success of national medallists, karrasamu struggles for recognition under the state sports quota, hindering its growth and development. Lakshman laments the lack of governmental support and infrastructure, a common hurdle faced by many traditional martial arts in the modern era.

Explore the world of karrasamu, where tradition meets innovation, and age is no barrier to mastering the art of stick fencing. Join us at VMRDA Central Park in Visakhapatnam as we celebrate the resilience and beauty of this ancient combat form.