History of Angam Pora
Sri Lanka is a country with a rich history that dates back over 3,000 years. Tales of great sports enjoyed by the kings who ruled this land also abound with unarmed combat holding a special place of honour.
In a time when “survival of the fittest” was the norm, this tiny nation held its own against many invaders and conquerors. Referred to as “Pearl of the Indian Ocean” by the kings of India, Sri Lanka was a magnet for pearls, a much sought after commodity that adorned the crowns of many a ruler.
The might and techniques of the local martial art were well documented and the envy of many an invading army. Known as Angam Satan Kalawa or Angam Pora, this close quarter combat style incorporated both hand-to-hand techniques incorporating the ancient art of pressure point attack, as well as weapons, such as staves, swords and shields and blades.
Historical records state kings in ancient Sri Lanka directed and set up a number of warrior or Angam clans. The Sudaliya Clan and the Maruwalliya Clan of the Kandyan kingdom were famed above all others, and received strong support of the king and court.
The Angam clans had schools to train fighters for service in the King’s army and defend the at times of trouble, such as the Kotte Klan, Ritigala Clan, Warnasuriya Clan. As was common at that time the heads of the Angam schools held distinguished office in the king’s council.
The advent of British rule in 1815 saw an end to the practice of the art, as the British understood the danger in having an opposing force that was well trained. Martial art schools were closed and the practice outlawed on pain of death.
But the art flourished in secret, kept alive by elders and practiced through the warrior clans. Although part of the knowledge was lost, the Angam martial art has been preserved to this day and is now practiced by a new generation of both men and women.