Martial Arts: Bodhidharma, a Buddhist monk from India, introduced Kalari into China and Japan in the 5th century. He taught this art in a temple. Today, this temple is known as the Shaolin temple. The Chinese called him Po-Ti-Tama. What he taught has evolved into Karate and Kung Fu.
Ancient Indian Sports
There are a lot of similarities between the three. At times there were a lot of changes made in the original nature of the Indian sport-forms. These changes were so fundamental that the game lost all similarity with its original form in India. Some Indian games were not transmitted abroad and remained confined to India.
The teacher here was not looked upon only as a coach as in western martial arts like boxing and fencing. This relationship between a teacher and student in Judo and Karate presumably had its roots in the Guru-Shishya tradition of India.
The oath that every student of these disciplines has to take is evidence of this. A teacher of Judo or Karate traditionally commands the deep respect of students. Each lesson always started with a bow of the students to the teacher.
The aim of a Karate practitioner is mainly to disarm and disable his opponent. This would be done without mortally wounding him. This can be looked upon as a reflection of the Buddhist attitude towards life. Further both Judo and Karate are deeply interwoven with meditation unlike other martial arts like boxing, wrestling, fencing, etc.
The concentration aspect in Judo and Karate perhaps stems from this. Both Judo and Karate are sought to be kept as arts to be used for just purposes for protection of the weak, etc.
Thus it was quite possible that these martial art forms originated in southern India. From here, they were subsequently transmitted to China, Korea, and Japan by Buddhist monks. But it has to be conceded that they were neglected in India. Like Buddhism, they withered and today the world considers them to be a legacy bequeathed by the countries of the Far-East.
Indian Traditional Games
Yoga in early India -From times immemorial, Yoga occupied an important place in the cultural history of India. It received an unparalleled and distinct recognition as the only practical system of physical, mental, moral and spiritual culture. In ancient India, every known school of thought, every creed of symbolism and diverse traditions of religions accepted Yoga as the ultimate achievement in life metaphysically and theologically keeping their inherent contradictions aside.
Yoga was one of the fundamental doctrines devoted to the means of attaining perfect health and mental poise. As a matter of fact, Hieun Tsang, the famous Chinese traveler, visited the Nalanda University to learn the “Yogasastra”.
The Yoga Art
The process of imparting knowledge on yoga, the science and art of living has been in vogue for thousands of years. A statue excavated from the Indus valley civilization shows a man in a Yogin attitude. This further only justifies the old age of yoga. The yoga art flourished under its own intrinsic vitality. This art was guarded by the Yogins who handed down the treasure of knowledge to their disciples.
In the later Vedic and post -Vedic age, yoga had been an integral part of the ancient civilization. It further blossomed in the forests during the later Vedic period. This fact has been aptly illustrated in the verses of the Yajurveda.
In the post-Vedic times, the practice of Yoga was developed into a formal system with detailed textbooks. Buddha himself revels in the terrain of yoga. His biography, further, reveals the existence of yoga techniques. Between 4 BC and 4 AD, yoga literature with a definite methodology was available. The Bhagavad Gita itself is considered as a great Yogasastra.