Kayyankali is a combat and an extremely violent one. Men of strength play it on the occasion of Onam. To play Kayyankali, men fight one-to-one without using any weapon. The stronger man wins.
Kayyankali differs from the other type of combat called ‘Attakamal’. Kayyankali is played singly. Meanwhile, Attakamal is played in batches and it is relatively less dangerous.
A Game of Strength:
This is an ancient style game, Kayyankali rewards strength and power. The game is risky. The use of any kind of weapon or even horses is strictly forbidden. Violence, blood and at times even death are part of a game in Kayyankali.
Players divide themselves into two equal teams to play Kayyankali. Effort is made to keep the players of two teams well matched. This is to ensure that the competition is made stiff and challenging for each other. The spectators assemble in large numbers to watch the ruthless match. They stand on both sides of the battle ground.
The Deadly Combat:
After making all the preparations, a player from one team moves to middle of the field. He poses a challenge to the opposite party. There is also a strategy involved in the way the player moves to the field. Combatant moves in taking certain measured steps, in accordance with the technology he wishes to adopt. His match from opposite team takes up the challenge. He comes forward taking the same measured steps.
What follows is a deadly fight. Combatants as a rule are allowed to use only their fists for attack. Left elbow is used as a shield for the attack. Meanwhile, right arm is used as a weapon for attack. Series of attacks and counter attacks take place amidst cheering from fans of both the teams.
Combat is considered to be good and interesting. This is when the combatant manages to shield himself from all attacks made by other player. Fall of the opponent on the ground indicates a victory for the other player. It needs great expertise to play the game. A novice and amateur player sometimes attack vital organs of the body. As a result there might be death of a player.
The game continues similarly with other players of the team amidst continuous applause from the spectators. The victorious team is rewarded with a big prize at the end of the game.
All Onam Sports:
Onakalikal, Talappanthukali, Kayyankali, Attakalam, Ambeyyal, KutuKutu