Kerala`s martial art form, Kalari Payattu, is very similar to Karate. To practice it, one has to develop acrobatic capabilities, when using swords or knives to attack their adversaries, and even an unarmed exponent. With the advent of Buddhism, this game spread to the Far East. Buddhist monks who travelled far and wide, mostly unarmed, to spread the teachings of the Buddha, accepted this form of self - defence. It is quite possible that some of our martial art forms travelled to China, Korea and Japan, but as in the case of Buddhism, gradually deteriorated in India.
The technique of Pranayama or breathing control, which is a prominent feature of Tae-kwan-do, Karate, Judo and Sumo wrestling was one of the many techniques spread in the Far East by Buddhist pilgrims from India. The idea that man enters into harmony with the five elements, through the science of breathing, is to be found in the most ancient records of Indian history. If mind and body are one, the possibilities of development of one`s physical and mental capabilities are limitless, provided they are united and controlled. Using this as the foundation, Bodhidharma, a Buddhist monk started a new trend in the Shaolin temple in China, from which probably stemmed most of the rules and precepts, which governs all martial art forms.