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The Shirayán Vajramutthí Martial Arts

2008.08.31

The Shirayán Vajramutthí Martial Arts

शिरयान् वज्रमुट्ठी 

 

The martial art of Shirayān Vajramutthī dates back 1800 years. Originally, it was developed as a system of specific physical exercises in order to counterbalance monotonous, tiresome spiritual exercises.
Tradition makes no mention of an exact location but says that it all started somewhere in the South-Eastern region of the Himalayas, where the founder, his two sons and his military escort retreated.
The founder is said to have been the ruler of a small kingdom who had been overpowered and defeated in continuous skirmishes. The expelled ruler, Dēvasharmī, and his retinue then became wandering hermits wishing to spend the rest of their lives contemplating on life and faith. He, even in his exile, paid great attention to his sons’ physical and spiritual education. In this effort, his companions were of great help. They together compiled a training method for Aiykivara and Surayana that included various yoga positions and forms of motion from the ancient Indian martial art of Vajramushti and named it Samthijāō. Later on, this name evolved into Samthijāō Mutthī, then into Samthijāō Vajramutthī.
The Samthijāō Vajramutthī exercises were conceived and further developed by Dēvasharmī and three kshatriyas (warrior varna) Dhanī, Charaka and Pindu.
According to the tradition, during their wanderings, they met two Taoist travelers and an exorcist from Tibet, from whom they took over certain secret spiritual and physical practices, which they integrated into Samthijāō Vajramutthī.
By means of the Indian and foreign methods, the two sons started practicing the science of awakening the “Central Energy” with the help of which the accumulated spiritual energy can be transformed into bodily/physical energy. This process of energy generation is called Shirayān/Shirayāna.
In addition to the Shirayān practices, Samthijāō Vajramutthī was supplemented with other martial arts techniques and, after a while, the synthesis of these two methods was given the name Shirayān Vajrāmutthī/Shirayāna Vajrāmutthī.
The teachers, making use of the techniques acquired from the Tibetan exorcist, made up a method called Lungjāō for the development of the individual’s physical strength. Lungjāō is the personalized name of a certain rocky wall in the mountains found by spiritual means. According to the teachings, this is where the hidden personality of the practitioner, Ajāō, the tiger-man emerges from. Ajāō is the personalized name of the tiger-man, in full name: Lungjāō Ajāō.
Later on, the terms Samthijāō and Lungjāō were supplemented with other senses, and by now the entirety of Samthijāō, Lungjāō, Shirayāna and Vajrāmutthī has come to constitute the martial art of Shirayān Vajrāmutthī.
In Shirayān Vajrāmutthī, the Sanskrit ‘Vajramushtī’ stands for diamond fist, and ‘Shirayān’ designates the working of the energy. Into English, Shirayān Vajramushti/Vajramutthī can be best translated as the Diamond Fist of Concentrated Power.
In Shirayān Vajramutthī, in addition to the physical exercises and bare-hand fighting techniques, various traditional weapons took a key role, the most important of which were the long stick and the sword. In ancient Indian martial arts, archery had been of great significance but it was not retained here; the choice of weapons, however, has always been up to the teacher.
Shirayān Vajramutthī has never been practiced in large communities, rather it has been a ‘family martial art’ preserved and passed on in secrecy, wherefore it is not as wide-spread as other styles.
The practitioners of Shirayān Vajramutthī kept moving around in India and used the language of the particular area in their teachings, so the style can be related to various languages. The original name and exercises, however, have been retained to date.
As for the terms of Shirayān Vajramutthī, we give both the Sanskrit and Hindi commands and do not change the names of ancient practices even if they were taken over from languages other than the two above. These loanwords must have been terms of foreign practices adopted into Shirayān Vajramutthī during its development.
Shirayān Vajramutthī has a storehouse of tales, legends and other stories some of which lack any foundation, and sometimes contradict but as they constitute an integral part of the tradition, we also make them available for our practitioners in written form – as they have almost always been transmitted orally.

 

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