MARDANI KHEL- MAHARASHTRA

Involving the use of an “Indian sword i.e. pata and corded lance i.e. vita” is a South Asian martial art form known as Mardani Khel. This “weapon” based form of combat is said to have originated from Maharashtra located in the west of India. Apparently, this form of combat is said to have been developed under the famous “Maratha” regime that existed in Maharashtra mainly during the 16th and 17th century.

a. History/origin of the Mardani Khel:

Historically speaking, it is said that Mardani Khel was actually created in the state of Maharashtra. The reason behind the development of such a form of martial art was the geography of the state, which mainly comprised of a “hilly region filled with valleys and caves”. It is this unique landscape of Maharashtra that encouraged a more mobile form of combat, as a result of which the “Mardani Khel” was developed as form of martial art to be used in war.  Furthermore, it was only in the early 16th century during the reign of Shahji a “Maratha” king (father of the great Shivaji Maharaj) that this martial art form became popular. In addition, his son Shivaji also learnt this martial art form and was supposed to have been a master in it. However, unfortunately it was during the colonial rule of the British Raj (as was the case with many other martial art forms) that popularity of Mardani Khel gradually waned.

b. Weapon used in the Mardani Khel:

“An Indian sword known as the “pata” and a corded lance called “vita” is mainly used as a weapon in this form of combat. However, there are many other weapons that can be used, they are as follows:

  1. Talwar: Is basically a “curved edge” sword.
  2. Bhala: Is basically a “short spear with a thick head”.
  3. Bharcha: Is basically a “heavy spear” made of the metal iron.
  4. Bothati: Is basically a “lance” from a horseback.
  5. Lathi: Is basically a “stick or a staff”.
  6. Dhala: Is basically a “circular shield”.
  7. Madhu: Is basically a “weapon shaped like deer horns”.
  8. Kurhad: Is basically “an axe”.
  9. Dhanda: Is basically “a battle axe”.
  10. Khukuri: Is basically a “knife that curves inward”.
  11. Dhanushya: Is basically a “bow and arrow”.
  12. Katyara: Is basically a “push dagger with a H-shaped handle”.
  13. Bagh Naka: Is basically an “iron claw”.
  14. Bichuwa: Is basically a “Scorpion knife”.

 c. Technique used in the Mardani Khel and the training centre:

In terms of technique, a fighter basically uses a weapon in the form of a “pata” an Indian sword and “corded” lance to overcome an opponent. Furthermore, a shield along with a sword may also be used at times. As for training centres/schools, there are none available around the world for this “weapon” based martial art form.

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