From Kalaripayattu to Cricket: Indian Martial Arts

Online sports betting remains deceptively popular in India, from the national sport of cricket to martial arts such as Kalaripayattu. But what do you need to know about these disciplines as a punter?

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While online gambling and sports betting isn’t officially legal in India, it’s interesting to note that there aren’t any laws prohibiting such practices in the world’s second most populous nation. This is typical of countries across the globe, many of which have failed to legislate for the proliferation of iGaming during the digital age.

There’s certainly a large market for online betting in India, with an estimated 140 million people thought to wager here on a regular basis. This is driving annualised growth in the region of 20% nationwide, with this trend also underpinned by increased mobile Internet penetration rates and rising disposable income levels.

Cricket remains the single most popular sport from the perspective of punters in India, but there’s also a growing market for wagering on various martial arts such as Kalaripayattu and Huyen langlon.

We’ll explore the link between these sports and the markets that exist for them below, while offering some tips on how you can bet on your favourite India sport online.

The Link Between Cricket and Martial Arts

At first glance, the gentle sport of cricket appears to have little in common with mixed martial arts, which include a diverse range of disciplines that are renowned for being far more dynamic, combative and energy intensive.

However, this ignores the complexities and nuances of associated with playing cricket, which also features a number of different formats that pose a deceptively large number of physical challenges to participants.

For example, test match players often have to compete at their optimal level for a period of up to five days, requiring no little physical stamina and mental focus if they’re to achieve personal and collective success.

Even on a fundamental level, individual disciplines such as batting and bowling require a combination of strength, power, pace and coordination, while successful fielders must also be agile and athletic if they’re to contribute fully to their team’s performance.

It’s fair to say that such physical and mental attributes are also required across mixed martial arts, from karate and judo to Indian disciplines such as Kalaripayattu and Huyen langlon. This perhaps explains why several successful cricketers have also had the potential to become MMA fighters in the past, with India’s test match vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane offering a relevant case in point.

Rahane, who has also captained the test side with distinction in the absence of the enigmatic Virat Kohli, has previously earned a black belt in karate, while the talented batsman also began practicing the sport once again during lockdown in 2020.

Given that balance is also key to martial arts greatness, it should come as no surprise that the elegant Virat Kohli is also a known lover of MMA disciplines and training techniques. Other cricketers who share similar passions include South African legend AB de Villiers and the powerful West Indian batsman Chris Gayle, with these superstars both natural athletes who could arguably turn their hand to multiple sports.

There’s no doubt that Rahane utilises many of the attributes referenced above to achieve success in both cricket and karate, while his innate confidence, focus and level of discipline also offer huge value when practising any martial art.

With this in mind, it’s easy to see how cricketers have been known to excel in karate as well as other MMA disciplines, and this trend is likely to continue into the future.

Cricket and Martian Arts - Betting in India

If we accept the inextricable link between cricket and martial arts, the question that remains is how these disciplines feature as part of the sports betting landscape in India? Here’s a breakdown of India’s biggest betting sports and martial arts:

1. Cricket

Cricket remains India’s national and most popular sport, with an estimated 40% of native punters regularly waging on domestic and international tournaments online.

To this end, cricket betting online accounts for the majority of the $3 to $4 billion sports wagering industry in India, and this trend shows no sign of changing anytime soon. Most cricket bettors are ardent fans of the sport too, which should come as no surprise given that an estimated 88.4% of online punters in India are male.

Arguably, punters will spend incrementally more on cricket betting in 2021, with the national side conducting one-day tours of Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe this summer before visiting England for a highly anticipated five test match series in August and September.

South Africa are also scheduled to visit India in November, before the sides play a further three test matches in the so-called ‘Rainbow Nation’ stating in December. So, there will be ample opportunity to bet on cricket online in 2021, with www.cricketonlinebetting.in capable of helping you to place both ante-post and in-play bets across a range of markets.

2. Kalaripayattu

Next up is the so-called “Mother of all Martial Arts”, which is native to India and has been practiced widely for thousands of years.

Originating in Kerala, this martial art relies on raw power, rapid movements and immense physical strength, while the discipline features various levels where combatants are taught to fight with and without the use of weapons.

While the number of betting markets available for Kalaripayattu (or ‘Kalari’ to you and me) is relatively small, the annual ‘National Championship’ is widely followed and draws hundreds of participants from across the globe.

This ancient martial art has also recently been included in the 2021 Khelo India Youth Games, offering the opportunity for far greater exposure in the future.

3. Huyen Langlon

Arguably, Huyen Langlon represents an ever more obscure online sports betting niche in India, despite underpinning various tournaments and competitions on an annual basis.

Historically, this martial arts iteration originated in Manipur, while it features two components overall (namely armed and unarmed combat).

With the former, the primary weapons used are a sword and spear, the latter of which can be utilised for close combat or thrown from a distance.

The unarmed combat iteration is the most popular and widely practiced, however, with this featuring hand strikes, kicks and grappling and far more synonymous with classic MMA disciplines.

4. Silambam

Next up is Silambam, which translates into ‘mountain’ and is thought to have originated in Tamil Nadu (which is a thriving home for combat sports in India).

This martial art also features the use of weapons, with a bamboo staff most commonly used (the length of which is determined by participating fighters). Other weapons may include a sickle, a curved sword or a dagger, while knuckledusters may also be utilised in some instances.

There’s no doubt that this martial art is as hardcore as it sounds, with traditional teachers of the art often encouraging their students to live a life of meditation and abstention from smoking, drinking and even the consumption of meat!

Still, it remains a popular Indian martial art, with the National Level Silambam Championship remaining incredibly well known amongst participants and viewers alike.

5. Malla-Yuddha

Malla-Yuddha is another traditional martial art, and one that takes the form of combat wrestling having originated in the heart of Southeast Asia.

In many ways, this martial art is closely related to a host of similar wrestling forms through the ages, including Naban. To this end, it’s also the ancestor of ‘Kutsi’, which has been widely practiced in one form or another in India since 5BC.

Of course, the discipline isn’t as popular today as it was in previous generations, with the practice largely reduced to local tournaments in strongholds such as Kohlapur and Punjab.

However, it does make an appearance at the biggest international wrestling tournament hosted at Warananagar in Kolhapur every year, creating an opportunity for the best practitioners and punters alike.

The Last Word – How to Bet Online in India

As we’ve already touched on, cricket boasts a wide range of markets that are widely available through a selection of the best betting sites in India, whereas wagering on mixed martial arts events is a little more restrictive and harder to access.

However, you can use the aforementioned Cricket Online Betting site and similar resources to identify the best operators in India and range of markets that they cover, while also reviewing brands in terms of their wider reputation and live bonus offers.

This enables you to make an informed selection that offers the best possible value for money, based on your preferred sports, the size of your bankroll and the odds published by operators in real-time.

If you intend to wager on selected martial arts events, it’s also important to recognise that relevant knowledge and a detailed understanding of specific disciplines is absolutely key. Without this, it’s almost impossible to identify the best value odds and achieve a sustainable profit over time.

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