E P Vasudeva Gurukkal

Maha Acharyan E P Vasudeva Gurukkal

E P Vasudeva Gurukkal, born in 1932 in Malaparambu near Calicut district to Kunnamkulam Cheruvathani Ezhuthupurakal Pangodu Thandar and Kunjuamma, received his early education in Kalari from his grandfather Aiyappa Thandar and later formal training under Chandappan Gurukkal and Pathriyil Gopalan Gurukkal.

Beyond Kalari, he delved into diverse disciplines, learning magic from Vazhakunnam Thirumeni, circus acrobatics from Thalasheri Achuthan Gurukkal, Judo from Thalashery Baskaren, and Yoga from Swamy Buoyoananda and Swamiji Puthooran.

Spreading Kalaripayattu

In 1959, Vasudeva Gurukkal established his Kalari training center in Kaduthuruthy to share Kalari techniques with everyone. Over 10,000 students, both Indian and international, have trained under his guidance.

Gurukkal’s fame reached international heights in 1981 through the BBC program “Way of the Warrior,” which featured the experiences of nine renowned martial artists. A documentary titled “India through the Eyes of Hilary,” supervised by famed mountaineer Edmund Hillary, further solidified his global recognition by highlighting the Kaduthuruthy school and Gurukkal himself. His expertise was showcased on various channels, including Australia’s 7th Channel and Doordarshan, with over 300 Kalari sessions broadcasted on Asianet TV’s morning show.

Gurukkal served as the vice president of the World Association of Martial Arts. He was honored with the Thapasiya Award and the title of “Maha Acharyan” by the Kalari Sangam. He also authored a book, “Kalaripayattu: the own martial art of Kerala,” and traveled extensively throughout the world.