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Silambam (Tamil: சிலம்பம்) or silambattam (Tamil: சிலம்பாட்டம்) or Chilambam is a stick fighting, traditional south indian martial art. This style supposedly originates from the Kurinji hills, present day kerala Kerala, 5000 years ago, where natives were using bamboo staves to defend themselves against wild animals. As per sangam litarature Kurinji hills was one of the five physiographic divisions within Tamilakam, which later known as keralam after the arrival of Brahmins. Traditionally, the development of silambam is attributed to the ancient sage Aghasthyar, who is also credited with the creation Tamil language. The art was probably derived from movements of the shepherds, who always carry a staff, and to this day shepherds who have no prior silambam skill may be seen making silambam-like movements with the staff.

Silambam is a mainly a form of stick or walking staff fighting. The length of the staff is roughly 1.68 meters (five and a half feet). Size of the staff is related to the height of the silambam player. It should just touch the forehead about three fingers from the head, although different lengths are used in different situations. The 3 foot stick called "sedikutchi" can be carried covertly. Separate practice is needed for staves of different lengths. The usual stance includes holding the staff at one end, right hand close to the back, left hand about 40 centimeters (16 inches) away. This position allows a wide array of stick-and-body movements, including complex attacks and blocks. Unarmed silambam utilizes several routines based on the movements of animals, primarily snake and eagle forms.

Silambam was patronized by the ancient Chola, Chera and Pandya kings of South India during the Sangam period.

The references to "Silappadikkaram" in Tamil Sangam literature dating back to the 2nd century refer to the sale of Silamabam staves, swords, pearls and armor to foreign traders. The ancient trading centre at the city of Madurai was renowned globally and said to be thronged by Romans, Greeks and Egyptians among others who had regular sea trade with the ancient Tamil kings. The silambam staff was one of the martial art weapons, which was in great demand with the visitors.

After the art spread to the Malay world, "Silambam" came to refer to the art as well as the weapon. Several Malay martial arts such as Silat also incorporated the silambam.

The Maravar pada of Travancore kings used "Silambam" in their warfare against enemies. The soldiers of King Veerapandiya Kattabomman (1760�1799) relied mainly on their prowess in Silambam in their warfare against the British Army.

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